Soooo...

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Soooo...

Postby Valerie » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:31 pm

Please don't make fun of me.

Has anyone here read Fifty Shades of Grey? I'm about halfway through the first book, and I like it so far. I was curious because I'd heard such mixed reviews of it-- a lot of "it's really good," and a lot of "IT'S HORRIBLE AND ABUSIVE AUGH." Of course, since the basic theme is a dom/sub/S&M relationship, I had to read it to see if it actually was abusive or if it was just non-S&Mers seeing it that way.

I'm not really that involved with S&M, so I might not be the best one to make that call. If any of you are more familiar with that scene, maybe we can have a discussion on it? Extra points if you've read the book so that you can point out to me what is and isn't accurate/okay.

From a writing standpoint, it's very obvious that this was once a fanfic. From a feminist standpoint... Main Character Girl seems to think that if someone doesn't molest/rape you in your passed-out-drunk sleep, it means he isn't interested. Hmmmm.

Here are some questions I have regarding the subculture:

1. In the book, they write up a contract to define what is and is not acceptable in their relationship. For example, there's a list of what the dom expects from the sub, followed by "hard limits" (which seems to mean "things that one or both parties refuse to do") and "soft limits" (which seems to be "things that one or both parties are happy to do"). I think I've heard of contracts like this before, in the real, non-book world.

They're not legally enforcable, so I assume the point is more for uh... if something goes wrong? Like if Person A is into erotic asphyxiation, and Person B accidentally hurts Person A while doing it, then Person B can say, "No, look, I seriously wasn't trying to kill her! She signed right here and everything!" (To maybe get a lesser charge, should something go so wrong.)

It's written consent, basically, right? And are these contracts common? (Well, you know, for the S&M crowd.)

2. Is it common for a dom to be so demanding in non-sexual situations? The guy in this book has this whole list of rules: what the sub can wear, how often she has to eat, a list of approved foods for her to eat, how many hours of sleep she has to get each night, etc. Is this accurate or is it the author not doing the proper research? At what point is this considered abusive? Does it just depend on your perspective?
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Re: Soooo...

Postby timemonkey » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:00 pm

Not part of that subculture but pijt one seems fine but point two is seriously crossing the line.
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Re: Soooo...

Postby Artemisia » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:09 pm

I actually like bondage a bit, but there's no way I'm reading 50 Shades of Grey.
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Re: Soooo...

Postby thebitterfig » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:32 pm

No Shades of Grey on my Kindle (excessive male power turns me off - equality is sexy), but I'll admit to cruising the Kindle Free Best Sellers list for romance genre, and having bought a few paid ones (In Every Port by Karin Kallmaker was enjoyable, and probably the complete anti-50SoG).
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Re: Soooo...

Postby Kamino Neko » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:35 pm

Valerie wrote:a lot of "IT'S HORRIBLE AND ABUSIVE AUGH." Of course, since the basic theme is a dom/sub/S&M relationship, I had to read it to see if it actually was abusive or if it was just non-S&Mers seeing it that way.


IME, the people who are into bdsm, and have read it are some of the most vocal about it being a terrible and abusive relationship. There are some who do like it (inexplicably - although the only one I've seen personally defend it is a man who's fairly creepy about his kink - he had a special rule on the message board I know him from put in place to SHUT HIM UP about it in inappropriate threads), and a lot of knee-jerk 'hey, don't say that about bdsm' from people who are into the scene, but haven't read the book (they are generally very quickly corrected by those who have read it that it's a terrible example of a BDSM relationship), but...yeah. If someone who's into BDSM comments on the book, from what I've seen, 99% of the time, they're complaining about the abuse even louder than vanilla types.

The most common complaint is the complete lack of aftercare - whatsisface will just wander off and leave her bound, not check on her well being, etc etc etc.
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Re: Soooo...

Postby Valerie » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:36 pm

timemonkey wrote:Not part of that subculture but pijt one seems fine but point two is seriously crossing the line.

Yeah, that's how I feel about it, too. But if they're both consenting adults and they go over all of this before agreeing, maybe it's okay...? It's worth noting that the contract also has a time limit in the book. (Three months, though, last I remember, they were negotiating to get it down to one month.)

Artemisia wrote:I actually like bondage a bit, but there's no way I'm reading 50 Shades of Grey.


I was about to ask why, but then I remembered that you um, aren't interested in het-sex. XD;
Do you know enough about the culture to help with my questions?
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Re: Soooo...

Postby Valerie » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:42 pm

Kamino Neko wrote:
Valerie wrote:a lot of "IT'S HORRIBLE AND ABUSIVE AUGH." Of course, since the basic theme is a dom/sub/S&M relationship, I had to read it to see if it actually was abusive or if it was just non-S&Mers seeing it that way.


IME, the people who are into bdsm, and have read it are some of the most vocal about it being a terrible and abusive relationship. There are some who do like it (inexplicably - although the only one I've seen personally defend it is a man who's fairly creepy about his kink - he had a special rule on the message board I know him from put in place to SHUT HIM UP about it in inappropriate threads), and a lot of knee-jerk 'hey, don't say that about bdsm' from people who are into the scene, but haven't read the book (they are generally very quickly corrected by those who have read it that it's a terrible example of a BDSM relationship), but...yeah. If someone who's into BDSM comments on the book, from what I've seen, 99% of the time, they're complaining about the abuse even louder than vanilla types.

The most common complaint is the complete lack of aftercare - whatsisface will just wander off and leave her bound, not check on her well being, etc etc etc.


Ooh, that's interesting to know. I imagine they would know better than non-BDSMers.

Yeah, he does some things that I deff do not find okay. As you mentioned, he just wanders off a couple of times without even saying where he's going. There's another time that she says "no" and he gets all "if you struggle I will gag you." (Clarification: She was saying "no" because he was about to take her socks off, and she'd just gotten home from jogging. He should have listened to her "no," of course, but it makes me feel less icky about it that it was "no don't take my socks off" instead of "no I don't want to have sex right now." Still not okay.)

I guess the basic gist of this thread is that I'm trying to make sure I know which parts are accurate and okay, such as the contract thing, etc., and which parts are not accurate and okay, such as the aftercare issue, the "sock consent" issue, etc.

Consent can be tricky in vanilla relationships, and I feel that there are probably a lot of misconceptions about the boundaries and meaning of consent in BDSM relationships.
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Re: Soooo...

Postby Lia S » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:43 pm

I remember reading people who are seriously into bdsm saying it is wrong (ignoring the safe+sane+consensual principle, among other things, if I remember correctly).

Artemisia wrote:I actually like bondage a bit, but there's no way I'm reading 50 Shades of Grey.


Not even if someone tied you down and put it in front of you? :lol:
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Re: Soooo...

Postby Valerie » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:46 pm

thebitterfig wrote:No Shades of Grey on my Kindle (excessive male power turns me off - equality is sexy), but I'll admit to cruising the Kindle Free Best Sellers list for romance genre, and having bought a few paid ones (In Every Port by Karin Kallmaker was enjoyable, and probably the complete anti-50SoG).


This is a complete TMI alert, so I apologize, but I am totally into dominant guys (or gals). Which is hilarious, because I always initiate sex with my husband and then tell him what to do to act dominant. So maybe I actually like submissive guys. :lol: I've just always been faux-sub, I guess?

I still don't really consider myself part of that subculture, though. I just like rough sex and mean words, is all. >_>;
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Re: Soooo...

Postby Mec » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:21 pm

I'm curious about a lot of things -- and I'm not judging something until after I've read it. So I've read the free sample part of each book.

I can't comment on the BDSM part at all.

Very fan-fic-y. I mean that in both a bad and good way.

The male lead came across more as an object than as a human being -- a money and success object. Well, there's been plenty of fiction objectifying people of all types, so it's his turn in the barrel. The female lead came across as hopelessly naive -- not just a little naive, but someone I wouldn't even want to know.

Take out the relationship, and what's left of him is cardboard, and what's left of her is nothing.

Or, so I got from the first couple chapters.
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Re: Soooo...

Postby Artemisia » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:35 pm

Valerie wrote:
Artemisia wrote:I actually like bondage a bit, but there's no way I'm reading 50 Shades of Grey.


I was about to ask why, but then I remembered that you um, aren't interested in het-sex. XD;
Do you know enough about the culture to help with my questions?


Yeah... I struggled getting through the novel Ash because Aisling starts to head into a het relationship before falling in love with a woman.

And probably not, unfortunately :(
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Re: Soooo...

Postby Valerie » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:43 pm

Mec wrote:I'm curious about a lot of things -- and I'm not judging something until after I've read it. So I've read the free sample part of each book.

I can't comment on the BDSM part at all.

Very fan-fic-y. I mean that in both a bad and good way.

The male lead came across more as an object than as a human being -- a money and success object. Well, there's been plenty of fiction objectifying people of all types, so it's his turn in the barrel. The female lead came across as hopelessly naive -- not just a little naive, but someone I wouldn't even want to know.

Take out the relationship, and what's left of him is cardboard, and what's left of her is nothing.

Or, so I got from the first couple chapters.


H'oh yeah, Ana's a complete Bella.

"Ohhh I'm so plaiiiin-- back off, two guys who are asking me on dates all the time, not interested-- but look at HIM. He is so GLORIOUS and BEAUTIFUL and SHINY. *gasp* WHAT IF HE LIKES ME!? oh no he totally couldn't like me because I am soooo plain and soooo boring not like my best friend who is totally hot and awesome why doesn't he like her OMG WHAT IF HE DOES LIKE HER THAT WOULD BE SO HORRIBLE oh no if only I didn't have this crippling shyness holding me back from MY ONE TRUE LOVE who is totally this guy that I just met like five minutes ago that I'm so sure hates me lol."

I think a fun exercise would be rewriting both of these books with the genders switched.
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Re: Soooo...

Postby timemonkey » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:52 pm

Valerie, there was discussion about the book over on Girls With Slingshots. If you figure out which posts corrispond with the strips which involve their version of the book you can see what people who are into BDSM had to say (nothing really positive as far as I remember).
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Re: Soooo...

Postby thebitterfig » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:59 pm

Valerie wrote:
thebitterfig wrote:(excessive male power turns me off - equality is sexy)


This is a complete TMI alert, so I apologize, but I am totally into dominant guys (or gals). Which is hilarious, because I always initiate sex with my husband and then tell him what to do to act dominant. So maybe I actually like submissive guys. :lol: I've just always been faux-sub, I guess?

I still don't really consider myself part of that subculture, though. I just like rough sex and mean words, is all. >_>;


Dunno if anyone reads Jennie Breeden's Id...
"I just can't say that stuff to you."
"Why not?"
"It's mean!"
"That's the POINT!"
"Can't we just cuddle?"
"We cuddled this morning, now it's MY TURN!"

Right, but for all that to work, there has to be an underlying equality, doesn't there? That seems to be the problem of 50SoG, that things seem bleed over into control and abuse. Power games don't really turn me on. At the same time my literary dream girl is Eliza Bennett (but who doesn't love Lizzy?). That is to say, a girl totally capable of kicking even Mr. Darcy's ass when it needs kicking. Still, it's not really about having power over the other. Definitely not Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont. Of course, those two are intended to be turn-offs, once revealed from under their wigs. Going back to BDSM, I bet how someone mostly vanilla interprets the scene is very different than how it feels from inside.

But hey, what are these forums for, if not celebrating our individual turn-ons, in a mostly non-porny way?
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Re: Soooo...

Postby Valerie » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:23 pm

thebitterfig wrote:
Valerie wrote:
thebitterfig wrote:(excessive male power turns me off - equality is sexy)


This is a complete TMI alert, so I apologize, but I am totally into dominant guys (or gals). Which is hilarious, because I always initiate sex with my husband and then tell him what to do to act dominant. So maybe I actually like submissive guys. :lol: I've just always been faux-sub, I guess?

I still don't really consider myself part of that subculture, though. I just like rough sex and mean words, is all. >_>;


Dunno if anyone reads Jennie Breeden's Id...
"I just can't say that stuff to you."
"Why not?"
"It's mean!"
"That's the POINT!"
"Can't we just cuddle?"
"We cuddled this morning, now it's MY TURN!"

Right, but for all that to work, there has to be an underlying equality, doesn't there? That seems to be the problem of 50SoG, that things seem bleed over into control and abuse. Power games don't really turn me on. At the same time my literary dream girl is Eliza Bennett (but who doesn't love Lizzy?). That is to say, a girl totally capable of kicking even Mr. Darcy's ass when it needs kicking. Still, it's not really about having power over the other. Definitely not Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont. Of course, those two are intended to be turn-offs, once revealed from under their wigs. Going back to BDSM, I bet how someone mostly vanilla interprets the scene is very different than how it feels from inside.

But hey, what are these forums for, if not celebrating our individual turn-ons, in a mostly non-porny way?


Yeah, there has to be mutual respect and a fuckton of trust for that sort of thing to work properly in a way that makes everyone involved happy. If I ask my husband to do something and he doesn't want to do it, that's the end of the discussion. If he does something and doesn't like it, then it doesn't happen again and that's that. He extends the same courtesy to me, obviously, because that is what consenting adults who have respect for each other do.

That's my real problem with this book. I think I can see the chemistry(?) between the main character and her love interest, but whether the respect is there... that's a cloudier area. I think he makes an honest effort to account for her feelings, but he's pretty messed up (spoilers if you haven't read the book: he was sexually abused at the age of 15 and it's been hinted strongly that he was neglected/starved as a child at some point), and that makes it even harder to figure out exactly where he is between "decent sexual partner" and "abusive dickface."
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