50 Shades of Prudishness


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I find quite interesting to compare the film ratings given to the movie 50 Shades of Grey according to the countries it was released in, as it might underline how culturally different we are inside "Western world".
Not discussing the quality of books or adaptation, I observe this (very) soft erotica movie is restricted to 17+ yo in the US, to 15+ in Australia, to 18+ in the UK, to 18+ in Canada (but to 16+ in Quebec), and to 12+ in France!

Quite often people use religion to explain prudishness but I'm surprised to observe that you could paint nude bodies on churches walls five hundred years ago while you can't post the same on Facebook today.
So is it really a matter of religion? Is Quebec so culturally different from Ontario to justify a difference? Is our body representations so different depending on our passport?


The only ones allowed to see our naked bodies today are the TSA with their nude scanners.


Remember that movies may or may not be identical in their release from country to country.

Dark Archive

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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


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To Comrade Longears
c/o Olympia Press

Dear Sir,

La Principessa read the excerpts from The Teamster and the Termagant back before I tried to kick it to her and, occasionally, asks me when she's going to get her own "piso erotica short story."

I suggested that instead of a short story, she deserved a six-volume novel entitled 50 Shades of Red. She practically swooned.

I hate to impinge on the creative process, but if you could include the following acts, she would be much obliged:

Spoilered for Disgusting Goblin Sexiness

Spoiler:
--[redacted]
--[redacted]
--[redacted redacted]
--being [redacted] and then [redacted]
--[redacted redacted redacted]
--looking up in hot lust and saying "[Redacted redacted redacted redacted]!"

Thanks in advance,
Don Juan de Doodlebug


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Considering that 50SoG started out as Twilight fanfiction, how could it be anything but a romance about a deeply defective relationship? Once the urge to publish the pile of whatever became too great, the rewrite was called Snowdragon's Ice Princess, IIRC, then when fantasy didn't show appeal, she rewrote it again, this time with a genius title and a serious marketing campaign.

That said: Depictions of BDSM have a long, sad story about defective relationships. L'histoire d'O started off the trend, and it's a commonly severely misunderstood book. It is, compared to 50SoG, a well written one, which makes it far more relevant... but it still shows a defective and abusive relationship. For some reason, such relationships hold more of a story than happy ones.

Finally, it also needs to be said that desire is a very fickle and diverse thing. Someone who desires to be controlled in various ways WILL be drawn to someone who can provide that. It is typically not a good thing, but it remains his or her desire. Sometimes, the choice is stark: happiness or sexual fulfillment. As strange as it sounds, this is not usually a simple one.

Silver Crusade

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Sissyl wrote:
Considering that 50SoG started out as Twilight fanfiction, how could it be anything but a romance about a deeply defective relationship?

+1

BDSM deserves a better representative.

To be honest, I've been a bit gunshy about slamming 50SoG for a while because it feels a bit like, coming from my direction, a man policing the sexuality and expression of said sexuality of women. Kind of like the recent pearl clutching (and lacking in nuance) article about women writing slash.

But 50SoG really does bother me, given how some people have taken it seriously as a representation of BDSM combined with all the other unhealthy portrayals it gets on mainstream media, up to and including almost every single remotely kinky NPC in fantasy RPGs.(yeah, still tilting at that windmill) I'm not entirely sure I'd be so harsh on 50SoG if there were any visible and healthy alternatives out there; they do exist, but they don't get nearly as much attention as anything like 50SoG. It would be nice if SSC was more well known is all I'm saying.

It just feels like as this subject matter is pushed into the shadows, it's the darkest and most twisted iterations of it that get pulled forth and given all the attention. And that continued to propagate all the problematic...problems...plaguing...yeah.

Then again, "portrayal != endorsement" and all that. I just worry how much it does get taken as such. And there goes the guy riding in on his white horse again, though I'd add that these patterns turn up in M/M fiction as well.

Of course this is all kind of hypocritical coming from someone writing a damaged romantic relationship, but dammit I'm at least aiming to have the text own up to it. But it still likely wouldn't qualify as a good representation either.


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Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:

To Comrade Longears

c/o Olympia Press

Dear Sir,

La Principessa read the excerpts from The Teamster and the Termagant back before I tried to kick it to her and, occasionally, asks me when she's going to get her own "piso erotica short story."

I suggested that instead of a short story, she deserved a six-volume novel entitled 50 Shades of Red. She practically swooned.

I hate to impinge on the creative process, but if you could include the following acts, she would be much obliged:

Spoilered for Disgusting Goblin Sexiness

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks in advance,
Don Juan de Doodlebug

I am limbering up (however you choose to define limbering) right now and the first blasts from my mighty quill will be with you shortly.

What I disliked most about 'The Story of O' was a) the fact that the heroine was a complete doormat and had no personality to speak of b) the flowery mimsiness of the language and c) the fact that nobody, not O, not Sir Stephen, seemed to be taking the smallest bit of pleasure in what they were doing and instead went about their tasks with a sort of stony-faced stoicism.

"Flogging time again, Sir Stephen. What a bore."
"Yes. Pain in the arse, isn't it, ha ha. Well, suppose we'd better get it over and done with. Don't want to miss 'Pingu' again"

Well written? Possibly. Graham Greene called it 'A pornographic novel without a hint of obscenity' - what's the flipping point of that? - and if '50 Shades' is worse, I don't want to read it. All of my female colleagues at work went to watch it yesterday, along with my boss and his girlfriend, so I'll get a summary off them.


The thing about O is that it details an inner journey. We never really get to learn why she lets herself be subjected to it, but it is written according to the classic heroic journey myth. An interesting idea is that her lover and Sir Stephen are the same person. However, they really aren't the point. YMMV, of course.


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It's got 27% on rotten tomatoes. I'm guessing it's a crappy movie.

Paddington on the other hand has 98%. We should all go see that.

Silver Crusade

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Irontruth wrote:

It's got 27% on rotten tomatoes. I'm guessing it's a crappy movie.

Paddington on the other hand has 98%. We should all go see that.

I don't want flashbacks to those damned "hunka love" bear commercials that have been playing lately. Speaking of creepy as hell....on several levels...


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Mikaze wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

It's got 27% on rotten tomatoes. I'm guessing it's a crappy movie.

Paddington on the other hand has 98%. We should all go see that.

I don't want flashbacks to those damned "hunka love" bear commercials that have been playing lately. Speaking of creepy as hell....on several levels...

but..but...I got you one dressed as an orc! I named him Sir Borcington! I paid extra for the plush armor and axe....


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Mikaze wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Considering that 50SoG started out as Twilight fanfiction, how could it be anything but a romance about a deeply defective relationship?

+1

BDSM deserves a better representative.

+2

Then again, we've seen this all before haven't we? And yet we survived.

Still, we deserve better.

MUCH better.

Spoiler:
Fun Freehold Fact! My mom bought me that last for my birthday a few years back...did not know the subject material,but I did. Great, hilarious moment there...


As you say, we did survive. We will survive a trashy fanfic about another unhealthy relationship too, even with a big movie budget. The worst that will happen is the new influx of wannabes after this movie have their heads full of bad ideas.

Silver Crusade

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Freehold DM wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

It's got 27% on rotten tomatoes. I'm guessing it's a crappy movie.

Paddington on the other hand has 98%. We should all go see that.

I don't want flashbacks to those damned "hunka love" bear commercials that have been playing lately. Speaking of creepy as hell....on several levels...
but..but...I got you one dressed as an orc! I named him Sir Borcington! I paid extra for the plush armor and axe....

That makes it bearable then.

Or....barable.

I'm not even sorry.

Silver Crusade

Yeah, the things I'm most worried about now are people getting hurt and the requisite moral panic, whether the former happens or not.

Freehold DM wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Ahahahahhahaaaha


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holy s!&!, this website exists


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Valentine's Day Musical Interlude that I originally secretly posted on Facebook for La Principessa's benefit and then later reposted for the whole world.

After one trip to the Christmas Basement, we were socializing with Mr. and Mrs. Comrade and the song came on. "Oh, I like that song," La Principessa said. "What a surprise" I quipped and then she hit me.


Angstspawn wrote:

Not discussing the quality of books or adaptation, I observe this (very) soft erotica movie is restricted to 17+ yo in the US, to 15+ in Australia, to 18+ in the UK, to 18+ in Canada (but to 16+ in Quebec), and to 12+ in France!

Is Quebec so culturally different from Ontario to justify a difference?

Quebec culture is quite a bit less sexually repressed than the rest of Canada, despite Quebec being nominally Catholic.


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I'd expect Frenchies, even ones who's nation didn't modernize until the '60s, to be less sexually repressed than Anglos any day of the week.


It's 15+ in Denmark... Damn it, we are more prudish than the French? :( Then again, the fewer people who see that piece of s!&#, the better. (I haven't seen it, but I've read chapter by chapter critique of the first 11 or so chapters of the book, until I couldn't take any more.)


This.... This piece of crap got turned into a movie? Really?

W... T.... F?

How is it that that we life stylers always get the crap and BS dragged into the mainstream while anything that MIGHT portray us in a more positive light, or even actually just give a more real depiction of BDSM in general gets shoved to the background?

Closest "good" thing that I can recall was that one crime show... CSI or whichever? With that Grissom guy. Man had a pro domme he went to. From the episodes of it I can remember, they do a fairly decent job of drawing the line between actual BDSM with it's SSC (Safe, Sane, and Consensual) mantra, and the abusive aholes who use it as an excuse.

I... I have just lost all faith in Hollywood. Good gods what the hell were these producers thinking? Ever since the writer's strike years ago, TV and Film have been full of utter crap, because the producers found out that people don't really care that much about what they watch. A few good gems, yes, but... Ugh...

I need to go kill something on Skyrim. Or roll up a new character for PF that may never get used. This... The fact that this thing got mainstream attention in the first place was already nauseating... The fact it got turned into a movie is just... I'm gonna go lay down.... I feel, quite literally, physically ill after finding out about this... I just... I can't even... Screw it. Bed time.


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Artemis MOonstar wrote:
How is it that that we life stylers always get the crap and BS dragged into the mainstream while anything that MIGHT portray us in a more positive light, or even actually just give a more real depiction of BDSM in general gets shoved to the background?

Holywood always goes for the sensational over the realistic. You're a gamer, you should know that. Mazes and monsters gets made by hollywood and dorkness rising gets made by 10 geeks and a radio shack camera.


How the tripe got made into a movie? Easy. A hundred million books sold. That should inform you about quite a few things, mainly about humanity.

Think about it this way: Rape fantasies are extremely common among women. Why? Because it is a way to safely indulge in breaking the boundaries you live within without guilt. This has been the recipe for hundreds of Bollywood movies marketed to women (THE FIRST UNDERWATER RAPE SCENE!!!). The principle is the same for 50 shades. The abusive relationship actually makes it EASIER to enjoy the transgressive stuff. Otherwise, it would be a woman CHOOSING to participate in strange stuff, which would make her more difficult to identify with... which in turn would mean less sales.

"Power is the great aphrodisiac" (Kissinger) is often quoted. It's usually taken to mean that you are attractive if you're a powerful person. Sure, but it applies just as well to the direct, intimate power in a relationship. We are social creatures, utterly aware of nuances of power in our interactions, biologically coded to connect power to emotions. It should come as no surprise that some, indeed many, of us connect that to sexuality.

If nothing else, there are a lot of us out there. Hundreds of millions. See?


If Mr. Grey were black, would we be having a conversation about how this portrays all black people?


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.


Irontruth wrote:
If Mr. Grey were black, would we be having a conversation about how this portrays all black people?

as someone who has(had) contacts in the BDSM community in my area, and at least one serious group of mostly black swingers, I would have to say yes.


Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:
50 Shades of Red.

It figures someone beat me to it.


And one for Alex


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Remember, if you're handsome enough and rich enough your worst qualities will seem to be endearing.


Hey, you shouldn't say such things out loud when we have the option of blaming something else!


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I read only the first tome of the trilogy, and will not watch the movie.

It made me laugh or smile a few times, because it was so badly written, and the characters are so lacking any psychology (or even common sense).

An archetypal "splendid physical specimen" (including being muscled and well hung, of course ), multi-talented (pianist, helicopter and glider driving, classical music connoisseur...), millionaire and a quasi virgin, feeble and clumsy girl who can ONLY fall head over heels for him.

It never aroused me, so I guess it's missing its point.

Oh yeah, I'm French, so maybe that explain, or excuse a lot.

But honestly, when you've read Sade... 50 Shades is nothing.


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I learned a very important lesson from 50 shades

When presented with these two options

"Hey baby, can I tie you up"

and

"Hey Baby, can I tie you up, oh and by the way, I'm a millionaire"

option two is the go to choice


DM Lil" Eschie wrote:

An archetypal "splendid physical specimen" (including being muscled and well hung, of course ), multi-talented (pianist, helicopter and glider driving, classical music connoisseur...), millionaire and a quasi virgin, feeble and clumsy girl who can ONLY fall head over heels for him.

well stated.

The Exchange

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Irontruth wrote:
If Mr. Grey were black, would we be having a conversation about how this portrays all black people?

Exactly. I just don't get the sensationalist "but people will get the wrong idea of BDSM" talk. It reminds me of how many people were saying that Gone Girl was highly problematic because of it's depiction of women.

Fifty Shades of Grey is a cultural phenomenon. It's an incredibly badly written fan fiction that for various reasons made it into the mainstream. It's an escapist sexual fantasy that apparently appealed to a lot of people.

What it expressly isn't is a representative of BDSM culture. It never claimed to be and never aspired to be anything like that. It's a sexual fantasy with BDSM - that's it. People are either smart enough to understand that or dumb enough that they didn't need the guidance of a book or movie to do dumb things themselves.

When you see an action movie, it is quite clear that real violence doesn't look like that. That if you try driving like you are in a Fast and Furious movie you would wind up hurting yourself and others.

The same is true of just about any genre - stories told in it are exaggerations, ignoring the sane and mundane parts in favor of highlighting a more appealing, unrealistic version of their subject matter.

Fifty Shades is no different. People would no more watch it and get the wrong ideas about BDSM than they would watch Ocean's 11 and decide to pull off a sophisticated heist. It's obvious that real sex doesn't look like it will in the movie.

I might be a bit too harsh since I see the matter from an outsider's perspective - I don't know much about BDSM at all. However, I just can't sympathize with the notion that the book/movie would do any real damage in public opinion of the BDSM community.


DM Lil" Eschie wrote:


But honestly, when you've read Sade... 50 Shades is nothing.

I wonder when the Pasolini revival's gonna begin.


Lord Snow wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
If Mr. Grey were black, would we be having a conversation about how this portrays all black people?

Exactly. I just don't get the sensationalist "but people will get the wrong idea of BDSM" talk. It reminds me of how many people were saying that Gone Girl was highly problematic because of it's depiction of women.

Fifty Shades of Grey is a cultural phenomenon. It's an incredibly badly written fan fiction that for various reasons made it into the mainstream. It's an escapist sexual fantasy that apparently appealed to a lot of people.

What it expressly isn't is a representative of BDSM culture. It never claimed to be and never aspired to be anything like that. It's a sexual fantasy with BDSM - that's it. People are either smart enough to understand that or dumb enough that they didn't need the guidance of a book or movie to do dumb things themselves.

When you see an action movie, it is quite clear that real violence doesn't look like that. That if you try driving like you are in a Fast and Furious movie you would wind up hurting yourself and others.

The same is true of just about any genre - stories told in it are exaggerations, ignoring the sane and mundane parts in favor of highlighting a more appealing, unrealistic version of their subject matter.

Fifty Shades is no different. People would no more watch it and get the wrong ideas about BDSM than they would watch Ocean's 11 and decide to pull off a sophisticated heist. It's obvious that real sex doesn't look like it will in the movie.

I might be a bit too harsh since I see the matter from an outsider's perspective - I don't know much about BDSM at all. However, I just can't sympathize with the notion that the book/movie would do any real damage in public opinion of the BDSM community.

I think the difference is that people who know nothing of the BDSM community may not realize it that it's not supposed to be like that.

Of course that's true of lots of classic BDSM depictions from the Story of O on down. This just went a lot farther into the mainstream.


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.


Heh. I remember, gobbo. And this is out of HOW many movies? =)


I don't know. How many movies have black people in them?


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.

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

EDIT: After reading a variety of posts, I think people have some excellent points: Rape fantasies are popular. One proposed reason is that the woman gets to have sex with a stranger without being considered "at fault". But if you read the books, the core is how emotionally abusive and manipulative he is of her. I hate to imagine women fantasizing about being in such an incredibly emotionally destructive relationship. The sex? Meh. Whatever happens behind closed doors between two or more consenting adults is fine with me. The depiction of their relationship? Terrifying. Even more so that hundreds of millions find it titillating...


Well, total number of movies > number of movies with black people >>> number of movies with black villains. Right?


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Bad Meaning Good: Top 10 Black Movie Villains


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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

Sovereign Court

Say what you will about 50SoG, it does lead to some odd mash ups and spoofs ...

50 Shades of Steve Buscemi

50 Shades of Santa

And, it should go without saying, but these are probably NSFW for some folks ...


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Sissyl wrote:
Well, total number of movies > number of movies with black people >>> number of movies with black villains. Right?

True, but irrelevant.

Well, total number of movies > number of movies with white people >>> number of movies with white villains. Right?

Their being movies in which there are black people, but no black villains doesn't say anything about blacks not being seen as human enough to be villains.
As long as there are a reasonable number that's simply not true.

I'm not sure it ever was. Black people were portrayed as menial servants and comedy relief as well as villains long before they got the chance to be mainstream heroes. I'm not sure there was ever a time when villain wasn't an acceptable role for blacks. Even if it was just the gang thug or other heavy as a flunky to a white main villain.


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.


There is Barkhad Abdi from the movie Captain Philips. There was a caricature of a black villain in Blackhawk Down, a whole movie about white people fighting black people. Speaking of white guys going to fight black people..., if we go all the way back to 1980, there is Dogs of War, starring Christopher Walken, and XM-18.

"Black cat is bad luck, bad guys wear black, must have been a white guy who started all that... "

EDIT: Oh yeah, and Clubber Lang and Apollo Creed from the Rockey series, but I can't remember when they were villains and when they were good guys...


thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Well, total number of movies > number of movies with black people >>> number of movies with black villains. Right?

True, but irrelevant.

Well, total number of movies > number of movies with white people >>> number of movies with white villains. Right?

Their being movies in which there are black people, but no black villains doesn't say anything about blacks not being seen as human enough to be villains.
As long as there are a reasonable number that's simply not true.

I'm not sure it ever was. Black people were portrayed as menial servants and comedy relief as well as villains long before they got the chance to be mainstream heroes. I'm not sure there was ever a time when villain wasn't an acceptable role for blacks. Even if it was just the gang thug or other heavy as a flunky to a white main villain.

There is a difference between being a villain because your ethnicity is seen to be evil/wicked/sinful/dangerous/whatever and being a villain because you're the actor that best suits an interesting villain character. And no, it is certainly not enough to have a reasonable number.


Sissyl wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Well, total number of movies > number of movies with black people >>> number of movies with black villains. Right?

True, but irrelevant.

Well, total number of movies > number of movies with white people >>> number of movies with white villains. Right?

Their being movies in which there are black people, but no black villains doesn't say anything about blacks not being seen as human enough to be villains.
As long as there are a reasonable number that's simply not true.

I'm not sure it ever was. Black people were portrayed as menial servants and comedy relief as well as villains long before they got the chance to be mainstream heroes. I'm not sure there was ever a time when villain wasn't an acceptable role for blacks. Even if it was just the gang thug or other heavy as a flunky to a white main villain.

There is a difference between being a villain because your ethnicity is seen to be evil/wicked/sinful/dangerous/whatever and being a villain because you're the actor that best suits an interesting villain character. And no, it is certainly not enough to have a reasonable number.

If your claim is, as it apparently was, that "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", then it's certainly not necessary to have all movies with black people have black villains.

Or am I misreading the claim? I took it to be an anti-political correctness thing: "Hollywood can't have black villains because that would offend people". If you meant more of a "Hollywood doesn't cast black characters in complex villain roles where they can be seen as actually human beings not caricatures", then I come a lot closer to agreeing, though they've been getting a little better and I don't think it's restricted to villains.

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