50 Shades of Prudishness


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Silver Crusade

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I'm not sure, but there seems to be a pattern in the development of how minorities have been portrayed by Hollywood/Western pop culture:

First you're portrayed as jokes at best and simple villains(whose villainy is rooted in your identity) at worst.

Then you join in on the joke, because it's safer to be seen as a powerless, harmless joke.

Then come the subversions and the challenges to prejudiced expectations. And then your "exotic"ness gets banked on.

Then you become saints. And you're only allowed to be portrayed as saints, be they inspirational or tragic.

And finally you get to be portrayed with nuance and displaying the full range of humanity.

It's not a solid theory, and even folks that should have reached the end of that stupid, prolonged, ethnicity/religion/orientation/identification-wide hazing ritual still don't get to enjoy a 100% completion bonus, but the pattern seems to actually be a thing. I'm looking at that from the inside of one marginalized perspective and from the outside of another primarily, so this could be way off base.

(I think it was Terry Pratchett's bit on the "camp" vampire photographer that crystallized the "harmless joke as safety" thing for me.)


That was pretty much my claim too. Off course black characters in movies should be able to be villains, but there are few enough examples so far. Usually they are heavily stereotyped gangsters, in movies dealing with all black environments, movies about slavery, and so on. I may not have been clear enough, thejeff, but I don't really see how you got interpretation #1.

Edit: Okay, I see it, I guess, but I would say that people getting offended by blacks cast as villains is an effect of blacks not being seen enough as people to be able to handle seeing blacks as complex, nuanced people. This is why they are confined to being saints, above.


I did think you were talking about the saint stage.

I just don't think there's actually been an "Then you become saints. And you're only allowed to be portrayed as saints, be they inspirational or tragic." stage for black people in US film history.

Even at the closest they've come, there's still been plenty of black identity villains.

When do you think this period was, when blacks were only portrayed as saints?

Silver Crusade

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thejeff wrote:

I did think you were talking about the saint stage.

I just don't think there's actually been an "Then you become saints. And you're only allowed to be portrayed as saints, be they inspirational or tragic." stage for black people in US film history.

Even at the closest they've come, there's still been plenty of black identity villains.

When do you think this period was, when blacks were only portrayed as saints?

That was overstating, and I don't think it applied across all mediums at the same time, but for both African-Anericans and LGBT folks there seemed to be a Very Special Episode phase on television couple with positive portrayals, when they started showing up, being denied the chance to have human flaws. I'm remembering some criticism of Dances With Wolves from Native Americans in particular there, saying that while it may have portrayed them positively, it failed to portray them as people.

It would probably be more accurate to say that "saint" gets added to your pool of choices alongside "stock villain" and "joke", and that's it.

For black people specifically, it feels like the 70's was when "saint" was unlocked and the 80's when it took off. For LGBT folks(well, the LGBT portion at least) it seemed to follow ten years later? The T portion only seemed to get treated like people with any regularity in film/TV towards the end of the last decade. Heck, maybe actually this one.

For Middle Eastern representation....Right now it feels like it's easier to find comedians than serious dramatic actors and (non-mook-extra) action stars.

(Still bitter about Prince of Persia's casting)

((Exodus too. Holy crap, Hollywood. What the hell.))


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Mikaze wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I did think you were talking about the saint stage.

I just don't think there's actually been an "Then you become saints. And you're only allowed to be portrayed as saints, be they inspirational or tragic." stage for black people in US film history.

Even at the closest they've come, there's still been plenty of black identity villains.

When do you think this period was, when blacks were only portrayed as saints?

That was overstating, and I don't think it applied across all mediums at the same time, but for both African-Anericans and LGBT folks there seemed to be a Very Special Episode phase on television couple with positive portrayals, when they started showing up, being denied the chance to have human flaws. I'm remembering some criticism of Dances With Wolves from Native Americans in particular there, saying that while it may have portrayed them positively, it failed to portray them as people.

It would probably be more accurate to say that "saint" gets added to your pool of choices alongside "stock villain" and "joke", and that's it.

That's closer to how I see it. Though I think it's different for different minorities. Native Americans have long had a "noble savage" positive stereotype, along with the more negative stereotypes. Blacks, not so much.

However, along with that, there's a common complaint from the "anti-political correctness crowd" that they aren't allowed to say to say anything negative about minorities that I think the perception of a "only allowed to be portrayed as saints" stage falls into.

Edit: <Looks up at thread title.> Now that we've reached some kind of agreement, we should probably let this drop.

What about those 50 shades anyway?


Geez, gray is a boring color anyway, no matter the quantity of shades.

Silver Crusade

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thejeff wrote:
However, along with that, there's a common complaint from the "anti-political correctness crowd" that they aren't allowed to say to say anything negative about minorities that I think the perception of a "only allowed to be portrayed as saints" stage falls into.

Oh yeah, I'm definitely with you on that. And that element typically impedes things improving more than anything else.

(during the long discussion I had with some friends after coming out, one mentioned how "political correctness run wild" more often than not means "I hate that I can't be an ass to certain people anymore". That really rang true, I thought.)

Quote:

Edit: <Looks up at thread title.> Now that we've reached some kind of agreement, we should probably let this drop.

What about those 50 shades anyway?

"Again" is a terrible safeword.

Also, more kink portrayal in media needs to focus on aftercare. Like seriously, h/c is a thing for a reason.


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Mikaze wrote:

I'm not sure, but there seems to be a pattern in the development of how minorities have been portrayed by Hollywood/Western pop culture:

First you're portrayed as jokes at best and simple villains(whose villainy is rooted in your identity) at worst.

Then you join in on the joke, because it's safer to be seen as a powerless, harmless joke.

Then come the subversions and the challenges to prejudiced expectations. And then your "exotic"ness gets banked on.

Then you become saints. And you're only allowed to be portrayed as saints, be they inspirational or tragic.

And finally you get to be portrayed with nuance and displaying the full range of humanity.

It's not a solid theory, and even folks that should have reached the end of that stupid, prolonged, ethnicity/religion/orientation/identification-wide hazing ritual still don't get to enjoy a 100% completion bonus, but the pattern seems to actually be a thing. I'm looking at that from the inside of one marginalized perspective and from the outside of another primarily, so this could be way off base.

(I think it was Terry Pratchett's bit on the "camp" vampire photographer that crystallized the "harmless joke as safety" thing for me.)

I don't disagree with anything you've said, but finally being portrayed with nuance and displaying the full range of humanity depends on the ability of the artist(s) doing the portrayal as much as the audience's acceptance of whoever's being portrayed.

Hell, don't ask me, I'm still waiting for a rom-com where a girl meets a guy who who acts the way guys always do in rom-coms, and by the end of the movie she realizes that she's not living through a series of Hollywood meet cutes, she's just dating a f**king a**hole. That is, the relationship dysfunction described in 50 Shades sounds about par for the course.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

A: Yay for Terry Pratchett. The Truth was from the period when his writing really started to get more dramatic and compelling (culminating in Night Watch and Thud!). Although I'll always have a place in my heart for the Johnny Maxwell trilogy...

B: We're talking about black villains in post-1980 Hollywood and nobody's mentioned Simon Phoenix yet? I'm very disappointed in all of you. :(

C: On the original subject, I've never even picked up a copy of FSoG (or Twilight, for that matter). But, is anyone familiar with Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series? Anyone who appreciated Lymneris's portrayal as an empyreal lord would do well to look into that series. glances at Mikaze expectantly And given the protagonist's predilections, it handles the idea of a submissive heroine very strongly.

Hm... am I allowed to discuss good books in this thread?

Silver Crusade

Hitdice wrote:
Hell, don't ask me, I'm still waiting for a rom-com where a girl meets a guy who who acts the way guys always do in rom-coms, and by the end of the movie she realizes that she's not living through a series of Hollywood meet cutes, she's just dating a f**king a**hole. That is, the relationship dysfunction described in 50 Shades sounds about par for the course.

Cracked has gotten a lot of mileage out of that. I think there's an entire article dedicated to showing signs of psychopathy displayed by romcom leads.

Kalindlara wrote:

C: On the original subject, I've never even picked up a copy of FSoG (or Twilight, for that matter). But, is anyone familiar with Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series? Anyone who appreciated Lymneris's portrayal as an empyreal lord would do well to look into that series. glances at Mikaze expectantly And given the protagonist's predilections, it handles the idea of a submissive heroine very strongly.

Hm... am I allowed to discuss good books in this thread?

Oh good God yes. Even if some parts had me SCREAMING FOREVER.

How I never thought to connect Lymnieris and Kushiel, I'll never know. I still wonder if Jacqueline Carey really did start the series to challenge some anti-BDSM statements by another writer as rumored, but either way I'm glad she did. Even if...yeeesh. crosses legs

But yeah, discussing good alternatives should definitely be a thing here! (I've got an "anti-Gor" recommendation but man it just doesn't feel appropriate for this forum as it is primarily h/c erotica. It does confront and own its problematic elements while eschewing the gender essentialism plaguing 50SoG and Gor itself though.)

Also, yeah, Simon Phoenix is definitely one of the most fun villains in the past twothree decades. Wesley Snipes really seemed to be having the time of his life with that role.


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50 shades of Greyhawk?


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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Yeah... I've been thinking of starting a Kushielverse reread over in the books section of the boards. Maybe try to do 3 chapters a week. Anyone else interested?

Silver Crusade

Kajehase wrote:
Yeah... I've been thinking of starting a Kushielverse reread over in the books section of the boards. Maybe try to do 3 chapters a week. Anyone else interested?

Doo eet.

Even if you need to skirt around some details. (currently following only one other WIR thread, for Last Herald-Mage, and it's been fun seeing different perspectives and where they intersect)


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Terquem wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
Pryllin wrote:

Hiya. Sorry to get political, but 50 Shades actually has little to do with sex and BDSM and the 'soft erotica' tag is way off the mark.

I just read this review that makes me realise how dangerous the movie really is.
50 Shades Review

Thanks so much for that link.

When the first book hit it big and a couple of my wife's friends talked about how great it was, she borrowed it. It sickened her. I tried to read it a bit. I had the same reaction. As the review you linked to says, the sex has nothing to do with it. It's the incredibly abusive, repressive relationship.

Both the book and movie are all about how emotional terrorism of a woman is perfectly OK, as long as there's sex involved the man can be redeemed in the end and either has A) a lot of money, or B)is immortal and can offer that to the woman.

It's very, very depressing and scary that this is so popular.

There I fixed that for you

While your answer is tongue-in-cheek and admittedly amusing, I think that's the true danger of a book/film like this one. It reinforces the message, "If you're a good enough woman, you will redeem this horrible, horrible person and your life will be GREAT."

So it encourages women to stay in horrifically-abusive relationships, with the unbelievably unfair statement, "If *YOU* are good enough, *HE* will change."

It's a lie. An abusive man will *always* be abusive, no matter what you do. Redemption is a lie.

Encouraging women to suffer through unbelievably cruel relationships on the pretext that THEY will be the ones to somehow redeem their "men", and if they don't, they deserve the abuse, is so beyond-the-pale wrong I don't even know how to start addressing it.


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Mikaze wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I did think you were talking about the saint stage.

I just don't think there's actually been an "Then you become saints. And you're only allowed to be portrayed as saints, be they inspirational or tragic." stage for black people in US film history.

Even at the closest they've come, there's still been plenty of black identity villains.

When do you think this period was, when blacks were only portrayed as saints?

That was overstating, and I don't think it applied across all mediums at the same time, but for both African-Anericans and LGBT folks there seemed to be a Very Special Episode phase on television couple with positive portrayals, when they started showing up, being denied the chance to have human flaws. I'm remembering some criticism of Dances With Wolves from Native Americans in particular there, saying that while it may have portrayed them positively, it failed to portray them as people.

It would probably be more accurate to say that "saint" gets added to your pool of choices alongside "stock villain" and "joke", and that's it.

For black people specifically, it feels like the 70's was when "saint" was unlocked and the 80's when it took off. For LGBT folks(well, the LGBT portion at least) it seemed to follow ten years later? The T portion only seemed to get treated like people with any regularity in film/TV towards the end of the last decade. Heck, maybe actually this one.

For Middle Eastern representation....Right now it feels like it's easier to find comedians than serious dramatic actors and (non-mook-extra) action stars.

(Still bitter about Prince of Persia's casting)

((Exodus too. Holy crap, Hollywood. What the hell.))

but..I liked that movie...

Silver Crusade

Freehold DM wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

(Still bitter about Prince of Persia's casting)

((Exodus too. Holy crap, Hollywood. What the hell.))

but..I liked that movie...

Hey I said it was the casting I was bitter about. :)

That and the lack of time shenanigans worked into fight sequences.


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It was a decent movie... but the ostrich race man was such a complete failure as comic relief that the rest of the movie fell flat for me.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
NobodysHome wrote:
Terquem wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
Pryllin wrote:

Hiya. Sorry to get political, but 50 Shades actually has little to do with sex and BDSM and the 'soft erotica' tag is way off the mark.

I just read this review that makes me realise how dangerous the movie really is.
50 Shades Review

Thanks so much for that link.

When the first book hit it big and a couple of my wife's friends talked about how great it was, she borrowed it. It sickened her. I tried to read it a bit. I had the same reaction. As the review you linked to says, the sex has nothing to do with it. It's the incredibly abusive, repressive relationship.

Both the book and movie are all about how emotional terrorism of a woman is perfectly OK, as long as there's sex involved the man can be redeemed in the end and either has A) a lot of money, or B)is immortal and can offer that to the woman.

It's very, very depressing and scary that this is so popular.

There I fixed that for you

While your answer is tongue-in-cheek and admittedly amusing, I think that's the true danger of a book/film like this one. It reinforces the message, "If you're a good enough woman, you will redeem this horrible, horrible person and your life will be GREAT."

So it encourages women to stay in horrifically-abusive relationships, with the unbelievably unfair statement, "If *YOU* are good enough, *HE* will change."

It's a lie. An abusive man will *always* be abusive, no matter what you do. Redemption is a lie.

Encouraging women to suffer through unbelievably cruel relationships on the pretext that THEY will be the ones to somehow redeem their "men", and if they don't, they deserve the abuse, is so beyond-the-pale wrong I don't even know how to start addressing it.

I've actually heard similar criticism levied at Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Legitimately, I suppose.


Kalindlara wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:


While your answer is tongue-in-cheek and admittedly amusing, I think that's the true danger of a book/film like this one. It reinforces the message, "If you're a good enough woman, you will redeem this horrible, horrible person and your life will be GREAT."

So it encourages women to stay in horrifically-abusive relationships, with the unbelievably unfair statement, "If *YOU* are good enough, *HE* will change."

It's a lie. An abusive man will *always* be abusive, no matter what you do. Redemption is a lie.

Encouraging women to suffer through unbelievably cruel relationships on the pretext that THEY will be the ones to somehow redeem their "men", and if they don't, they deserve the abuse, is so beyond-the-pale wrong I don't even know how to start addressing it.

I've actually heard similar criticism levied at Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Legitimately, I suppose.

Except less so there, because the abuse isn't so twisted. But maybe more so, since that's aimed at young girls, who are more vulnerable to imprinting on such messages.


Try to imagine the trailer taking place in a trailer

"It was supposed to be for an interview. I just had a couple of questions

Cue some old woman in a rocking chair, pointing down the Road "Mr Greys about 5 miles over yonder"

She comes around the corner, sees a fat, bearded man leaning on a rickety porch overlooking the sunrise, and sit down to talk in mismatched lawn furniture

They look over some rusty pickup trucks with weeds growing up through where the engine blocks were "Which one is yours?" " All of them"

They open up a hatch and go into the dirt basement to reveal a torture chamber....

It would be a steven king novel.


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I think the main difference is that the Beast, from B&B is a real Jack Ass, to everyone, and that is established right from the start. He isn't hiding behind a façade of "cute meets." Belle figures this out right away, and isn't at first interested in saving him from being what he is, she is prepared to suffer his behavior, because she made a deal to take her father's place. she never, really figures it out until the beast begins to change his ways.

Now on the other hand, once the beast realizes Belle can break the spell, he begins faking it until he can make it, and that is a kind of manipulation in its own, but he isn't that good at it, and continues to be a pretty rotten person, until re realizes Belle won't be intimidated by his behavior and that she has honor. he grows up a bit, in my opinion anyway.

Now this has nothing to do with the fact that Belle is a snob, who considers her village too boring for her mind, and dreams of a place where she can shine as the intellectual she sees herself as.

Silver Crusade

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No one lowers expectations for healthy relationships like Gaston!


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Why exactly is wanting to move out of a racist, sexist, bodunk little town with the town bully in de facto charge of things a BAD thing?


How do you know it's racist, or sexist (other than getting belle's perspective on things) and who knows if Gaston really runs things, we only see about a dozen or so of the villagers supporting him most of the time (until he fires up the whole town because of the presence of a beast(

And Bodunk, muh, what, they have baguettes, how can it be bodunk when they have such a nice boulangerie? I bet they even have a starbucks around the corner

The Exchange

Quote:

While your answer is tongue-in-cheek and admittedly amusing, I think that's the true danger of a book/film like this one. It reinforces the message, "If you're a good enough woman, you will redeem this horrible, horrible person and your life will be GREAT."

So it encourages women to stay in horrifically-abusive relationships, with the unbelievably unfair statement, "If *YOU* are good enough, *HE* will change."

It's a lie. An abusive man will *always* be abusive, no matter what you do. Redemption is a lie.

Encouraging women to suffer through unbelievably cruel relationships on the pretext that THEY will be the ones to somehow redeem their "men", and if they don't, they deserve the abuse, is so beyond-the-pale wrong I don't even know how to start addressing it.

I keep being baffled by this way of thinking. The book isn't encouraging anyone to do anything, not anymore than the movie American Psycho encourages it's viewers to be serial killers.

It presents what is very clearly a fantasy. It never presumes to be a guide or to be based on any sort of real knowledge. It's entertainment. I find the notion that a non negligible amount of women would allow what they read in an erotic book to influence major life decisions laughable. And if some seriously stupid or disturbed women do... well, the Catcher in the Rye inspired a man to murder, too. It's a risk that society must except in order to allow the creative freedom that culture needs in order to thrive.


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Lord Snow wrote:
Quote:

While your answer is tongue-in-cheek and admittedly amusing, I think that's the true danger of a book/film like this one. It reinforces the message, "If you're a good enough woman, you will redeem this horrible, horrible person and your life will be GREAT."

So it encourages women to stay in horrifically-abusive relationships, with the unbelievably unfair statement, "If *YOU* are good enough, *HE* will change."

It's a lie. An abusive man will *always* be abusive, no matter what you do. Redemption is a lie.

Encouraging women to suffer through unbelievably cruel relationships on the pretext that THEY will be the ones to somehow redeem their "men", and if they don't, they deserve the abuse, is so beyond-the-pale wrong I don't even know how to start addressing it.

I keep being baffled by this way of thinking. The book isn't encouraging anyone to do anything, not anymore than the movie American Psycho encourages it's viewers to be serial killers.

It presents what is very clearly a fantasy. It never presumes to be a guide or to be based on any sort of real knowledge. It's entertainment. I find the notion that a non negligible amount of women would allow what they read in an erotic book to influence major life decisions laughable. And if some seriously stupid or disturbed women do... well, the Catcher in the Rye inspired a man to murder, too. It's a risk that society must except in order to allow the creative freedom that culture needs in order to thrive.

American Psycho presented the serial killer as a villain. This series presents this as a romantic sexy good thing.


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Terquem wrote:
How do you know it's racist

It looks different than us.. KILL IT!

Quote:
or sexist (other than getting belle's perspective on things)

Well, unless you want to go all unreliable narrator Belle doesn't TELL us the towns sexist, we see it. "A girl with a book? Weeeiiiird"

Quote:
and who knows if Gaston really runs things, we only see about a dozen or so of the villagers supporting him most of the time (until he fires up the whole town because of the presence of a beast(

You don't keep a torch and pitcfork mob on retainer without having SOME pull in the town.

Quote:


And Bodunk, muh, what, they have baguettes, how can it be bodunk when they have such a nice boulangerie? I bet they even have a starbucks around the corner

Its france. ONE place with baguettes= the boonies! :)


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Lord Snow wrote:
Quote:

While your answer is tongue-in-cheek and admittedly amusing, I think that's the true danger of a book/film like this one. It reinforces the message, "If you're a good enough woman, you will redeem this horrible, horrible person and your life will be GREAT."

So it encourages women to stay in horrifically-abusive relationships, with the unbelievably unfair statement, "If *YOU* are good enough, *HE* will change."

It's a lie. An abusive man will *always* be abusive, no matter what you do. Redemption is a lie.

Encouraging women to suffer through unbelievably cruel relationships on the pretext that THEY will be the ones to somehow redeem their "men", and if they don't, they deserve the abuse, is so beyond-the-pale wrong I don't even know how to start addressing it.

I keep being baffled by this way of thinking. The book isn't encouraging anyone to do anything, not anymore than the movie American Psycho encourages it's viewers to be serial killers.

It presents what is very clearly a fantasy. It never presumes to be a guide or to be based on any sort of real knowledge. It's entertainment. I find the notion that a non negligible amount of women would allow what they read in an erotic book to influence major life decisions laughable. And if some seriously stupid or disturbed women do... well, the Catcher in the Rye inspired a man to murder, too. It's a risk that society must except in order to allow the creative freedom that culture needs in order to thrive.

Perhaps it's an overdeveloped empathy gene, but I cannot comprehend this as being erotic "entertainment".

At least American Psycho gave you permission to hate the man. 50 Shades of Grey expects you to be sexually aroused by a man who abuses you for having the audacity to want to see your own family.

There is fantasy that provides an outlet for the vilest corners of your soul. "Geez. I wish I had the guts to kill everyone who looked at me cross-eyed. I wish I could cheat on my xxx and have sex with 100 different people over the course of 10 days. Wow. That goat is really attractive to me..."

Then there is fantasy that is beyond even that. "I wish someone would take control of every aspect of my life and mind and turn me into their personal sex slave, abasing me as a person to the point that I have no individuality left."

I personally cannot comprehend the latter as even escapism, and the notion that people are eating it up by the millions disturbs me quite a bit... it's like fantasizing that someone will come long and chop your fingers off for no reason. Even as a fantasy, it's a bit disturbing...

EDIT: And note that I NEVER said the book/movie should be banned. I indicated my disappointment/disturbance at its popularity...

The Exchange

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Quote:
Perhaps it's an overdeveloped empathy gene, but I cannot comprehend this as being erotic "entertainment"

And in horror movies people come in droves and pay money to sit in a dark room with strangers and watch people get mutilated on a larger than life screen. Is that less perverted?

What people enjoy as entertainment (or, in cases such as these, are aroused by) is very different from what they will ever consider to do in real life. When I play a Warhammer 40k computer game and enjoy the way a Space Marine hacks an orc to bloody bits with his chainsaw-sword while screaming fanatically for his god emperor - that's not a situation I would want to ever really find myself. But in the boundaries of a video game, I can see the appeal of the over the top violence.

The same goes with sexual fantasies. The things people like to imagine sometimes have very little to do with what they would actually like to do with their own personal lives in reality. I very much doubt that the billions of 40 year old housewives who read 50 shades of grey have any interest in actually becoming an abused sex slave. However, as an idea to toy with, to pick up and examine from the safe ventage point of a reader - that is something different. In the same way that my enjoyment of violence in my video games does not make me a violent person, people finding entertainment value in 50 shades of grey should not be treated as being unable to distinguish what they read from reality.

We are all RPG fans here. I would have thought this concept would be intuitive to us. Why is it obvious that we can tell that our games, with their dragons and wizards, are quit clearly unrelated to reality - but a grown woman reading 50 shades can't?

I must be missing something very basic here, because I can't make sense of this approach at all.


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It often strikes me that fictional displays of BDSM often seem to be written by people who know next to nothing about it, confusing abusive relationships with the consensual power dynamics of a BDSM session.

Sometimes they get stuff right though, Like the importance of safe words. =p


Lord Snow wrote:
Quote:
Perhaps it's an overdeveloped empathy gene, but I cannot comprehend this as being erotic "entertainment"

And in horror movies people come in droves and pay money to sit in a dark room with strangers and watch people get mutilated on a larger than life screen. Is that less perverted?

Yes, but not for reasons you might think. There's an uncanny valley of realism where something that's real enough to actually happen turns viewers off. Fantasy and supernatural elements do what fantasy and supernatural elements do: clearly place the story as something that can't possibly happen, so its ok to see someones arms break off, sprout legs , get turned into a giant cockaroach and squashed flat and still be less horrifying than someone being beaten with a hammer.


Sissyl wrote:
It was a decent movie... but the ostrich race man was such a complete failure as comic relief that the rest of the movie fell flat for me.

a bad parody character, that one.


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Freehold DM wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Be assured that we would. Recognition and treatment of blacks has come a long way, but they are not yet seen enough as people to be allowed to be villains in movies.

Missed this before and it reminded me of an exchange from two years ago:

Madame Sissyl: A related issue to "all the people of this race are evil and bad" is "all the people of this race are good". Quick, name five black villains in major Hollywood movies, made 1980 or later.

Me: Marcellus Wallace, Samuel Jackson in Unbreakable, Samuel Jackson in Django Unchained Denzel Washington in Training Day, Wesley Snipes in New Jack City.

Did it a minute, no internet searches.

Bow before my cineaste excellence.

good memory.

However, two of those movies used the same actor.

Later in the same thread, we came to the conclusion that Samuel Jackson is evil.


From what I've heard about this movie from people I know, it's eerily similar to a Criminal Minds episode.


I couldn't vouch for this, but Mr. Comrade is taking a course in Children's Literature and he told me that he was reading that "Beauty and the Beast" was originally intended to teach little girls to accept arranged marriages to ugly, old men because amor vincit omnia.

Beats me.


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Lord Snow wrote:
Quote:
Perhaps it's an overdeveloped empathy gene, but I cannot comprehend this as being erotic "entertainment"

And in horror movies people come in droves and pay money to sit in a dark room with strangers and watch people get mutilated on a larger than life screen. Is that less perverted?

What people enjoy as entertainment (or, in cases such as these, are aroused by) is very different from what they will ever consider to do in real life. When I play a Warhammer 40k computer game and enjoy the way a Space Marine hacks an orc to bloody bits with his chainsaw-sword while screaming fanatically for his god emperor - that's not a situation I would want to ever really find myself. But in the boundaries of a video game, I can see the appeal of the over the top violence.

The same goes with sexual fantasies. The things people like to imagine sometimes have very little to do with what they would actually like to do with their own personal lives in reality. I very much doubt that the billions of 40 year old housewives who read 50 shades of grey have any interest in actually becoming an abused sex slave. However, as an idea to toy with, to pick up and examine from the safe ventage point of a reader - that is something different. In the same way that my enjoyment of violence in my video games does not make me a violent person, people finding entertainment value in 50 shades of grey should not be treated as being unable to distinguish what they read from reality.

We are all RPG fans here. I would have thought this concept would be intuitive to us. Why is it obvious that we can tell that our games, with their dragons and wizards, are quit clearly unrelated to reality - but a grown woman reading 50 shades can't?

I must be missing something very basic here, because I can't make sense of this approach at all.

You make extremely valid points, *BUT* (and it's a big but) I think you're missing the key:

In every example you give (RPGs, Warhammer 40k, horror movies, etc.), you (the reader/player/observer) are either the protagonist or an omniscient observer. I've never heard a woman at a horror movie say, "Oh, I wish I was that blonde in the bikini top who's about to run off with the hot quarterback, have some great nookie, and then have an unfortunate encounter with a weed whacker!"

In -my- mind, "healthy" fantasies involve some semblance of power. Even in the rape fantasies I've read/listened to, it's always something along the lines of, "I'm so incredibly sexy he couldn't help himself, and as he is overcome by lust, so am I."
It's a one-time thing, and very empowering. Even the other domination stories I've read have the dominance end at the bedroom door.

"50 Shades" is the first form of entertainment I've experienced where you're expected to empathize with the victim as she is dominated, subsumed, and turned into nothing more than a slave.
I -know- there are niche RPGs out there where people like such things, but I imagine if you asked 100 people on these boards, "Would you like to play an RPG where my NPC dominates your character, subsumes you to his will, and uses you as a sex slave forevermore?" I would get around 95 "no" answers, if not more.

It is not the subject matter. If this book were insanely popular with men I wouldn't be nearly as disturbed. But it is a book about being such a complete victim that I cannot see it even as fantasy. It's very much what I said before -- while someone is welcome to write a book where the lead character chooses to cut her own fingers off on a whim, I'm not going to be particularly attached to that book once she does so. I am somewhat heartened that all of my female friends (wife included) feel the same way about it -- they find the whole idea of being stalked, dominated, and subsumed quite nauseating.

So in short (too late!), I find the book disturbing because:
(1) It is the only situation I can think of off the top of my head where the character with whom you are supposed to empathize is 100% a victim, with no power whatsoever. It's not a rape/domination fantasy. It's an, "I sign a contract giving up my individuality and becoming a slave to this man's whims," fantasy. -I- personally view it as an unhealthy fantasy. You are welcome to differ, and I don't ask that the book nor movie be banned. To each his/her own.
(2) As both of us have noted, this escapism is HUGELY popular among women.

I've always been disturbed at the kind of men women are attracted to: My friend and I called it "<obscenity> dazzle" -- women being attracted by the biggest jerks most likely to abuse them. "Nice guys finish last." The huge response to this movie simply reinforces my disappointment.


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Anyway, I know nothing about 50 Shades of Grey, the book or the movie, nor do I care.

However, being lucky enough to have recently fallen in love with a hawt militant commie NY schoolteacher, and, even luckier to have her fall in love with me, and listening to her tell horror story after horror story about either her past lovers or the lovers of her union sisters, I can understand the popularity of 50 Shades and can only rededicate myself to the cause of women's liberation through socialist revolution.

In the meantime, I totally support people squeezing out whatever pleasures they can during their short stay on this miserable f$+@ing planet. To each their own.


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@-NobodysHome: Submission fantasies are a common thing and I'm not sure why you think power fantasies are healthy while submission fantasies are not, regardless the fantasy of being subsumed by someone else can be as freeing as the fantasy of omnipotence.


Yuugasa wrote:
@-NobodysHome: Submission fantasies are a common thing and I'm not sure why you think power fantasies are healthy while submission fantasies are not, regardless the fantasy of being subsumed by someone else can be as freeing as the fantasy of omnipotence.

Again, I think you're mistaking me.

A short-term submission fantasy is one thing. The book is a MULTI-YEAR submission fantasy in all aspects of her life. She is told what to eat, who to see, what to wear, where she can go, etc. She is forbidden from seeing her friends and family. All the classic signs of an abusive relationship. THAT is what I feel is unhealthy. If the book took place entirely in the bedroom, I'd have no issue with it whatsoever.

And if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. The box office certainly says I'm wrong.

EDIT: And suppose we take out the sex entirely. Let's replace the story with a man who is able to return to his 6-year-old body and re-live his formative years under his abusive uber-controlling father who berates him for every shortcoming. Something like "Tiger Mom" except told from the young boy's point of view. I would be appalled if that book were insanely popular as well...
...I think the best way to put it is that I cannot comprehend the attraction of a fantasy of letting someone else be in control of every aspect of your life. Bedroom? Woo hoo! Who you see, what you wear, what you eat, what you say in public, etc? No. Just... no.


Obviously actually being in a abusive relationship isn't a good thing, just like actually being a hitman wouldn't be a good thing, though I like the Hitman games. I guess the submissive fantasy of being dominated for years doesn't strike me as anymore unhealthy than the power fantasy of stalking someone, sneaking into their house and blowing their brains out. *shrug* I get what your saying though, different strokes.


Or really, though it is much more fantastic, the power fantasy of being a typical adventurer in pathfinder, nothing like brutally killing a dozen sentient beings a day.


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Yuugasa wrote:
Obviously actually being in a abusive relationship isn't a good thing, just like actually being a hitman wouldn't be a good thing, though I like the Hitman games. I guess the submissive fantasy of being dominated for years doesn't strike me as anymore unhealthy than the power fantasy of stalking someone, sneaking into their house and blowing their brains out. *shrug* I get what your saying though, different strokes.

Yeah, I'm seeing that I (and my close friends) see the world very differently. Seems odd, since we're mostly Bay Area natives, including one who was a bouncer at a sex club (SHE has some awesome stories!).

And you and Lord Snow are definitely giving me pause -- you make a GREAT argument: Why is it any more unhealthy to fantasize about being totally controlled for 5 years than about becoming a hit man for 5 years? Both would be unhealthy behaviors in real life. Both have the exact same time frame. So my claim that it's just the time frame involved is losing its weight.

I'm left pondering my own psyche:
- Fantasizing about being dominant short-term. Fine
- Fantasizing about being submissive short-term. Fine
- Fantasizing about being dominant long-term. Not fine.
- Fantasizing about being submissive long-term. Not fine.
- Fantasizing about being a serial killer long-term. Fine.

Oops! Where did #5 sneak in? Looking at myself, I think there's why I'm rubbed the wrong way -- I have a fundamental objection to long-term dominance over a single person. As a serial killer, it's a series of "short-term relationships", if you will...

Well, you guys are giving me fun psychology lessons into myself, if nothing else...


I think the fantasy of abusive dominance/submission in a relationship simply carries an extra level of distaste for most of us. None of us have been killed by a serial killer but most of us have some experience in an unpleasant controlling relationship of some kind, even if just a mundane one with a parent/boss/lover etc.


Hey Stella!!!!!!

Although, IIRC, this scene was cut from the original release.


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Yeahyeah, that version where she struts down the staircase all sexy was just too much for me; no seriously, all I remember is watching it for a little while, and the next thing I knew m'lord Dice was beating me about the head shoulders with his shoe for "staining the carpet."

House goblins just can't win, Maing.


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The fantasies played in 50SoG are a bit more numerous than that. It's the sexual Sadism/Masochism one, yes, but also the power exchange in the Domination/Submission fantasy. BDSM is a complex, multifaceted beast, and every part of it is certainly not for everyone. Power exchange is a thing, and there are many who choose to live that way permanently.

Something not many seem to understand about sexuality is that the only requirement for something becoming a sexual point of interest for someone is that it evokes an emotional response. We thrill to things that make us feel. If someone gets excited by playing with food, you can be certain that that same person feels differently about food than most others. Nor, indeed, does this emotional response necessarily have to be a GOOD one. So, "some experience in an unpleasant controlling relationship" is quite enough.

But the fantasies do not end there. Ana is living a stupid life that goes nowhere, working retail and sharing an apartment. It's a situation many people can identify with, and a significant number of them want something different. Now, here's an attractive man, with oodles of wealth and power, who wants to give her EVERYTHING, all the pretty dresses, forever, and enslave her to a life of luxury. Note also that his threat is not "Obey me or I will kick your ass", it's "obey me or it's over". All in all, then, it's a pretty safe form of enslavement.

The fantasies are not the bad part.

The Exchange

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Yuugasa, I was asleep for the night but it seems that you and I share the same opinion here :)

NobodysHome: yeah, whether you agree with me or not it's clear that you see what I am saying - and I see what you are saying. Just to clarify, I haven't read any part of the book or even watched the trailer for the movie (I have heard this, though, which was hilarious). I actually share your opinion in thinking that the kind of fantasy to be found in 50 shades seems unhealthy and wrong.

However, I feel that specifically we, as role players, should know all too well that judging a group that enjoys a fantasy we do not share is wrong. It just seems to me that it doesn't make any sense to give less credit to the readers of 50 shades then we do to ourselves. Clearly some of those readers would find our violent war games appalling and might even think them dangerous and unhealthy. They would be wrong - and, most likely, we would be wrong to assume the same about their preferences.

That is why I'm taking a defensive approach for the book. I think it's filled with badly written shlock and I am not too pleased that we live in a society where it is one of the best sellers of all time - but I can't help but see accusations of it being unhealthy or dangerous as the same kind of fear mongering that our community always had to deal with. Show me some actual evidence - hard data that shows a correlation between reading this book and developing an abusive life style - and I would start considering that maybe for some reason this book is more dangerous than a Conan the Barbarian short stories collection. Until I see that, I'm inclined to believe that the readers of the book could be trusted to be able to understand that what they enjoy in text form is not what they should be doing in real life.

Anyway, time to get off my soap box. As always, it's interesting to talk with you :)


Musical Interlude spawned by the Free College thread but more appropriate here.


Sissyl wrote:

The fantasies played in 50SoG are a bit more numerous than that. It's the sexual Sadism/Masochism one, yes, but also the power exchange in the Domination/Submission fantasy. BDSM is a complex, multifaceted beast, and every part of it is certainly not for everyone. Power exchange is a thing, and there are many who choose to live that way permanently.

Something not many seem to understand about sexuality is that the only requirement for something becoming a sexual point of interest for someone is that it evokes an emotional response. We thrill to things that make us feel. If someone gets excited by playing with food, you can be certain that that same person feels differently about food than most others. Nor, indeed, does this emotional response necessarily have to be a GOOD one. So, "some experience in an unpleasant controlling relationship" is quite enough.

But the fantasies do not end there. Ana is living a stupid life that goes nowhere, working retail and sharing an apartment. It's a situation many people can identify with, and a significant number of them want something different. Now, here's an attractive man, with oodles of wealth and power, who wants to give her EVERYTHING, all the pretty dresses, forever, and enslave her to a life of luxury. Note also that his threat is not "Obey me or I will kick your ass", it's "obey me or it's over". All in all, then, it's a pretty safe form of enslavement.

The fantasies are not the bad part.

VERY well stated.

Silver Crusade

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Funny story on the news this morning. There is a drive in theater showing 50 shades and the spongebob movie simultaneously.

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