I’m super lucky that my role as a sociologist at large enables me to both write about things happening in society, as well as simply comment on them (among other things).
Recently, I was asked by a great reporter coming up via Playboy – Nicole Theodore – to discuss this guy named Kirill. Here’s Nicole’s sum up of who Kirill is and what he does:
Kirill Bichutsky, AKA “Kirill Was Here”, AKA the “Slut Whisperer” is the infamous New York City nightlife photographer who gets paid to give champagne facials to barely clothed party girls. He is beloved by some and loathed by others, which is to be expected when you’re a man who pours alcoholic beverages on women for profit.
His website, he says, receives between four and six million visits per month. The site is loaded with photos of inebriated, topless women, celebrities such as Lil Jon and Drake and ridiculous pictures of club debauchery. There’s even a series of photos of a woman running around the club with a tequila bottle cork in her derriere. I’m not kidding. (here)
Nicole and I spoke for a long while about Kirill – what he does, who gets paid (and how), who he’s like (Hunter Moore? Joe Francis? neither!), and what are some of the wider social implications of getting a champagne facial.
It’s a great, interesting long form read wherein Nicole runs thought and emotional gamuts. She brings Kirill into her office, she talks to women who’ve gotten popped by him in a club, and she wrestles with what she herself thinks. It’s wonderful work on multiple levels.
(pictured: Kirill gives a model a champagne facial in the Playboy office)
Here are some of the things I contributed:
1. Though he may be tasteless and not my thing, Kirill is not an extortionist or exploitative. At least, not in the one-to-one manner in which he’s frequently discussed.
2. Kirill is an artifact of wider social phenomena. Though he may tap into something that makes us uncomfortable, he is not solely responsible for any of it. To make that argument is to turn him into some sort of social-cultural-gender demigod.
3. It is not up to anyone to limit women’s pleasure or expression – even if you don’t like it, even if it involves Kirill saying all sorts of shitty things and taking (IMO) some questionable photos.
(pictured: example of Kirill’s work)
Please take a break from whatever you’re doing and read this piece. Not only is it great, it’s a sign o’ out times, which is less great but necessary to engage.
Images via Kirill and Playboy.com
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