metaphortunate: (Default)
metaphortunate son ([personal profile] metaphortunate) wrote2012-08-01 09:08 pm

tale as old as time

I've never read 50 Shades of Grey, but while I was lying around sick last weekend I enjoyed Jennifer Armintrout's sporking of same. It's funny! But man, are there a lot of people out there moaning that the writing is terrible, and no wonder they can't get published if this is what people want, and - more seriously - that isn't it terrible that women apparently find this sexy and want to fantasize about a creeper like Chedward Grullen. I do find it kind of funny that when Twilight came out it was all "what about the children" fretting about what kind of example Bella was for teenage girls and now that 50 Shades is apparently "mommy porn" the zeitgeist effortlessly shifted to fretting about, apparently, what kind of example Ana is for middle-aged moms.

About the bad writing: as @PennyRed says: "Um, hello? It's PORN." Porn doesn't have to be lapidary or groundbreakingly original. It gets popular on different terms. Bitterly announcing that 50 Shades's overwhelming popularity is a sign of the end of literacy and shows why your carefully crafted novel can't sell - i.e., it's wasted on the inferior readers of today - is pathetic. You don't see moviemakers do this. Kathryn Bigelow doesn't go around blaming The Hurt Locker's depressingly small box office on the popularity of Big Wet Asses #14. Or at least not in public.

Not, to be clear, that Ms. Armintrout does that either. She's got a sense of humor about the writing ("Chapter 8: This One Time I Fucked A Girl So Hard She Turned Into a Pirate"). But she goes on and on and ON - and she's hardly the only one - about how she cannot believe that there are women out there who talking about wanting their own Christian Grey. Because the dude's an abusive creep.

But I kind of think she's missing the active ingredient of the fantasy. 50 Shades didn't introduce the concept of abusive creeps to women at large. Twilight didn't. How many of the girls whom everyone is all worried about their reading material, have already encountered the abusive creep up close and personal in real life? The appealing aspect of 50 Shades/Twilight isn't that the hero is an abusive creep. The appeal is that in this fantasy-fulfillment fiction, the abusive creep is just misunderstood, and really means well, and only wanted the best for you all along.

Does that sound familiar? Because it's what people have been saying about Rene Welling at Readercon. Hell, it's what people always say first thing at cons and in high schools when some asshole harasses a woman. He didn't mean anything by it. Man, don't you think women want that to be true? I'm reminded of one time at Wiscon when people were making fun of the healing cock trope and [personal profile] commodorified stood up and said, gosh, you know, why would a community overwhelmingly made up of women be attracted to a fantasy where one bout of good sex would cause you to just magically get over your trauma from being raped? It's a mystery! We all shut the hell up. Why would women resonate with a fantasy where the scary dude who won't leave you alone turns out to be only scary in a thrilling way, turns out to be sexy, turns out to be rich and secretly kind and fixable under his rough exterior and perfect once he's been tamed by the power of your love and understanding?

Cause we get told and told that these creepy dudes should be forgiven, understood, worked around, given the benefit of the doubt. And yet, of course, when you were the one in the situation, you know what happened. And it's fucked up and disorienting to have the world at large telling you what you know isn't so. You end up all, am I crazy? Am I the one that's crazy? Do I really have to break my community now to deal with this? And, y'know, sometimes you do. I'm so grateful to [livejournal.com profile] glvalentine for doing that. But I tell you what that is not: it's not a relaxing wank fantasy. And there's a place in life for fantasy. Sometimes you don't want to read only manifestos. And if you'd like to take a break from cognitive dissonance, and you don't fantasize about fighting; maybe sometimes you fantasize that maybe the world works the way people tell you it should, and you're neither crazy nor being lied to and manipulated ALL THE FUCKING TIME, and that if you follow the rules you'll be rewarded and safe and get love and good sex and fun. It's a lie, you know it's a lie, but it's not hurting anyone for a woman to enjoy a fiction for a while. All porn should be so harmless.
sara: Well...I thought we needed some kind of official group battle cry. (official group battle cry)

[personal profile] sara 2012-08-02 04:39 am (UTC)(link)
A-fucking-men.
laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)

[personal profile] laurashapiro 2012-08-02 04:41 am (UTC)(link)
I love you so much right now.
cofax7: climbing on an abbey wall  (Default)

[personal profile] cofax7 2012-08-02 05:03 am (UTC)(link)
You make some very good points here!
kore: (Default)

[personal profile] kore 2012-08-02 07:50 am (UTC)(link)
Great post. Just really great. Yes.
cme: The outline of a seated cat woodburnt into balsa (Default)

[personal profile] cme 2012-08-02 08:09 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks so much for putting these together! I think that "If only it really worked like that!" is one of the funadmetal appeals of fantasy, and I can't believe I never thought to apply that idea to this sort of porn.
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)

[personal profile] commodorified 2012-08-02 09:42 am (UTC)(link)
one woman stood up and said, gosh, you know, why would a community overwhelmingly made up of women be attracted to a fantasy where one bout of good sex would cause you to just magically get over your trauma from being raped? It's a mystery!

this feels all kinds of attention-seeking, but I'm having a Spot of Bother atm (ASIDE from the fact that, well, you can safely assume that if one is a member of Central Canadian Fandom one knows Walling and is currently thinking out some really tricky social and ethical questions wrt to one's own behavIour, which can be summarised as 'so, what *else* is he not welcome at until he cleans up his mess some?' with a side of 'how the fuck I missed that for *mumbelty* years?' ) going forward) so I'm just going to go ahead and say: I am very very glad I risked Synchronised Side-eye and went ahead and said that, then. Cause it was Useful, Yay.
commodorified: All my friends tell me I actually exist, and by an act of faith I have come to believe them (friends)

[personal profile] commodorified 2012-08-02 06:46 pm (UTC)(link)
It's already improving. I am betoddlered 'til the young man's sibling appears. HOWEVER, the OBGYN is MUCH happier than she was about state of sibling when I acquired toddler on 45 minutes' notice, so the grinding freakout is gone.

Now I am just all FUCKING TODDLERS HOW DO THEY WORK? *g*
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)

[personal profile] commodorified 2012-08-03 04:39 am (UTC)(link)
All is well. And by well I mean beautiful perfect and nursing strongly; we just got back from sneaking into the room :)

<3
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)

I'm NOT "drinking alone". There's a toddler around here somewhere...

[personal profile] commodorified 2012-08-04 10:10 am (UTC)(link)
Boy children, when sleeping on their bellies, are capable of twisting themselves around such that they pee OVER their diaper pad and diaper cover. I THINK WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN TOLD.

Then they roll off the wet spot and stick their elbow in your ear and their pee covered belly on your pjs.

I mean it's nice to know I can still change an inhabited bed. 35 lb of inhabitant is easier than 235 lb, and more apt to sleep through it, too.

Randomly, if the Vaseline Intensive Care you decide to apply to the toddler's rather scaly back while you're up hasn't been used in awhile there may be a partial plug in the nozzle that causes the lotion to squirt SIDEWAYS.

ALSO when I took the bedding and pjs down to the washer I stepped in the spot where A Certain Feline had WIPED HER ASS ON THE RUG.

I? Have had a neat double of schnapps and am GOING BACK TO BED NOW.

(don't worry, by the time you see this it'll be hilarious. I just need someone else on the planet who will appreciate it properly to know What Just Woke Me Up.)
ailbhe: (Default)

[personal profile] ailbhe 2012-08-07 11:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Reading it here has been very useful to me, too, so thank you! I've never really understood it like that before and now I do.
princessofgeeks: (Amanda by hsapiens)

[personal profile] princessofgeeks 2012-08-02 12:27 pm (UTC)(link)
THANK YOU
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)

[personal profile] ironed_orchid 2012-08-02 12:34 pm (UTC)(link)
I love the way you link these two apparently disparate things as symptoms of living in this world and dealing with all the baggage that comes with that.
wild_irises: (Default)

[personal profile] wild_irises 2012-08-02 06:33 pm (UTC)(link)
This.

(Logged in now.)
amaebi: black fox (Default)

[personal profile] amaebi 2012-08-02 03:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Brilliant and beautiful, as everyone's said. :)

Now, if we humans were just better at the distinctions between fiction and life, metaphors and actualities, stories as analytical devices and stories as imposition of interpretation and stories as actuality....
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

[personal profile] kate_nepveu 2012-08-02 04:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Right. I mean, after considerable effort I have managed to talk SteelyKid (who will be four next week) out of asking for "Beauty and the Beast" from one of her books of fairy tales, because like I said, she's not even four yet, that is not a story I want as an unexamined bedrock assumption of how the world works for her.
norah: Monkey King in challenging pose (Default)

[personal profile] norah 2012-08-02 03:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Oooh, GOOD connection. Much love to you.
jesse_the_k: Ultra modern white fabric interlaced to create strong weave (interdependence)

[personal profile] jesse_the_k 2012-08-03 12:32 am (UTC)(link)
Syncretic insight for the win! Thanks so much for pulling the pieces together.

As it happens, my intro to porn was at age 11 with Story of O. There were pretty good reasons why I was thrilled by the sex and totally squicked by the slavery. Oh! for some fan fiction then. I'm so happy that menarche is often accompanied by fic these days. If for nothing else, the first meatspace sexual encounters will be measured against a standard where we get to enjoy ourselves.
dancingsinging: (Default)

[personal profile] dancingsinging 2012-08-03 04:02 am (UTC)(link)
Hee hee "Anne Magical Dragon Rape McCaffrey"!

Also, you're brilliant and insightful. What a great post! I wish I could hang out with you in person.

kiya: (Default)

[personal profile] kiya 2012-08-03 08:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I think I want to thank you for making the first explanation I've seen of the appeal of Creepy Stalker Asshole Boyfriend genre stuff that actually makes it make any damn sense at all to me.

But also: augh.
minoanmiss: Bull-Leaper; detail of the Toreador Fresco (Bull-Leaper)

[personal profile] minoanmiss 2012-08-04 09:55 pm (UTC)(link)
This is a really excellent, important insight. *makes a note*
labingi: (Default)

[personal profile] labingi 2012-08-05 07:01 am (UTC)(link)
Here via various linkspam posts to say this is my favorite Readercon post ever: you really tied it all together, and it rings very true.
dhara: (Default)

[personal profile] dhara 2012-08-15 03:02 am (UTC)(link)
thank you so much for making that connection for me - I couldn't work out the appeal of "secretly-not-actually-a-horrible-creep" creepy dude, even though as soon as I typed that description, I understood: BECAUSE ACTUAL TERRIBLE DUDES AREN'T LIKE THAT. Women aren't wishing for the
unmitigated creep, he's real enough. It's everything else.