Helena Bosch Vidal
Design & research

Good vibrations
From repression to stimulation

2019, MA Thesis

From its creation in the late nineteenth century, the vibratory object has taken different signification, discourses, and uses, in accordance with the respective context, and power structures of each time.Vibrators were designed as tools to master bodies and sexualities, first from a medical perspective, and later from a commercial one.

How can one same technological object serve opposite purposes and follow contrary discourses?Good Vibrations analyzes repressive and liberating uses of the vibrator object in relation to female body. It also explores the social and erotic signification of women bodies through the ideas of the French philosopher Michel Foucault.

This study takes part in the late nineteenth century, with the introduction of technological devices, to the 1960s with the emergence of the pleasure industry.Throughout history, the sexual oppression applied through the vibratory objects indirectly implied an increasing appropriation of those objects for an emancipative usage. Vibrators were reinvented as objects for female self-pleasure and masturbation, but also as acts of resistance.