tenlittlebullets: (Default)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/83452708647/klaus-theweleit-writes-of-the-soldier-the)

"[Klaus] Theweleit writes of the soldier: ‘the arena of war is first and foremost his own body; a body poised to penetrate other bodies and mangle them in its embrace’. A body, that is, incapable of acknowledging its own penetrability. A ‘male’ body.

[…] The [young soldier’s] body is treated as something that must be broken before it can be made stronger. In order to survive, the young cadet inevitably develops a 'thick skin’ which Theweleit warns us not to read metaphorically:

'And little by little the body accepts these painful interventions along its periphery as responses to its longing for pleasure. It receives them as experiences of satisfaction. The body is estranged from the pleasure principle, drilled and reorganised into a body ruled by the “pain principle”: what is nice is what hurts…’ (Theweleit 1989)

A kind of masochism, then, is the consequence of such training, a channelling of the need for pleasure into a need for pain: a pain to be endured, overcome, transcended, as proof positive that the body can – indeed, must – be dominated. This is at the heart of becoming a soldier."

- Jonathan Kemp, The Penetrated Male, 41-2

#OHAI CAIUS MARTIUS CORIOLANUS #also arguably #the winter soldier #the soldier #the male body #male sexuality #masochism #coriolanus #aufidius #THAT FIRST BIT IS SO AUFIDIUS IT HURTS #but the masochism's more evident in martius imo tbh #do u understand how many times i have read this section istg #relevant to my interests like FUCK #mumblingsage #sure u must have approved of this bit #jonathan kemp #the penetrated male #pleasure principle #is weak #pain principle #is where it's at yo

‘a pain to be endured, overcome, transcended, as proof positive that the body can—indeed, must—be dominated’

THERE. THAT’S IT. THAT’S MY ‘TERRIBLE AWFUL NO-GOOD VERY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS’ KINK IN A NUTSHELL. Except it leaves out the key point that makes the whole thing so hrrrrnnnngh: the domination isn’t just over your body. Mastery of the body is only the prerequisite, the means to an end; the end, the real victory, is taking power out of the hands of the motherfucker who’s trying to hurt you in the first place.

Your commentary is VERY YES and also explains why I really love character types that can best be described as “snarky martyrs.”

On the other hand, I do want to point out the specific soldiers Kemp discusses included precursors to the Nazis (I think? thepurposeofplaying you may have readier access than I my Nook is charging on the far side of the room) and this dominance over the body, when it neglects the soul, can go—really really bad.

Deliciously bad sometimes. Like in fiction, where nobody’s on the wrong end of it.

(actually thepurposeofplaying Shinelikethunder’s comments sort of remind me of our discussion about masochism styles, and how male masochism is constructed vs the boringly predominant passive femsub construction?)

Yeah, believing it’s a Good Thing to inflict adversity on other people in order to teach them that triumphant response to adversity is always going to be fucked-up on some level, and the consequences if it’s uncritically taken too far can be horrific. OTOH, I do think narratives about it are important, because everyone’s going to face varying levels of adversity in their lives and it’s an important coping tactic–and, as you said, when you’re writing fiction, you can create the pain that enables a character to develop mastery over their pain without having to justify inflicting it on a real person.

A related narrative kink that plays into this is hurt/comfort as a sort of grace, which I think the Winter Soldier movie summed up beautifully in just two lines of dialogue: (paraphrased) “It’s okay, I can deal with this on my own” / “That’s the thing, though. You don’t have to.”
tenlittlebullets: (winter soldier)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/82859919063/whump-and-tropey-hc-appreciation-for-great-fandom)

This is not going to be coherent meta, but I just wanted to string some ideas together for possible later development:

Point 1: My Thing for pretty people getting punched in the face and bleeding prettily for their ideals is totally a kink, but it’s also, emotionally, about the idea of taking a lot of damage and hurting like fuck but still continuing to fight–that being hurt is not the same as being broken, that vulnerability is not helplessness, that fear doesn’t have to mean cowardice. The not giving up or being broken, at least not permanently, is crucial to what makes this particular emotional kink tick.

Point 2: grimdark is lazy, good is hard work. Go read it, it’s great meta.

Point 3: There are lots and lots of problems with what the misapplication of social-justice concepts has brought to fandom culture, and this is not the time to get into all of them, but a lot of them boil down to what is excusable versus what is the expected or commendable course of action. It’s most noticeable with the glorification of anger and verbal abuse, but there is a parallel glorification of helplessness in the way Tumblr SJ approaches victimhood, illness, disability, and arguably adversity in general: the refusal to shame people who are struggling or who’ve had bad things done to them has long since tipped over into the idea that it’s perfectly okay and normal to just roll over and give up, or even that trying to recover and get your shit together and fight back against the assorted corporeal and non-corporeal bogeymen in your life is implicitly shaming towards those who aren’t doing the same, and so you shouldn’t talk about it too loudly or too approvingly.

Point 4: I fucking hate this aspect of Tumblrfandom, and I hate it for the exact same reasons I hate gratuitous grimdark. It’s lazy. It normalizes and glorifies helplessness as the appropriate response to the existence of evil in the world. It demands not just pardon but approval for sitting back and doing nothing in the face of adversity. They’re two sides of the same shitty coin, and I wish the backlash against grimdark in media could be accompanied by a parallel backlash against fandom’s victimhood culture. I want to talk loudly and approvingly about narratives of being hurt and damaged and afraid and not giving up. Of fighting even when you can’t fix everything and you don’t think you’re going to win, because it would be wrong not to fight. Because sometimes it is wrong not to fight.

Point 5: In conclusion, it is really hard to dismantle and critique these trends in fandom (and a lot of activism in general, I think) and find ways to fight them without enabling the exact silencing/shaming behaviors that the original social justice concepts were designed to combat before they were distorted. But you know what? In this case, I don’t think an upswing in the kink described in Point 1 would hurt. At aaaall. Embrace your desire to whump the living hell out of your favorite characters just to watch them refuse to break, or break them just to watch them insist on putting themselves back together. Make them suffer deliciously for what they care about, because those kinds of narratives are delicious and viscerally satisfying and weirdly comforting for a reason.

Point 6: [image of Captain America on a WWII-era propaganda poster, bearing the caption: RESIST THE GRIMDARK INVASION / WITH HOT IDEALISTS GETTING BEATEN UP FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S RIGHT] [similar image, bearing the caption: WE BLEED SO PRETTY / BUT IT’S WORTH EVERY DROP]

Original Tumblr tags: #in a broader sense i think i only kink on a character's suffering if i think they can take it #like that is an integral part of the enjoyment #watching someone get kicked when they're down is no fun unless you know they're going to get back up #and knowing they've been totally fucked up but they're going to struggle back to their feet anyway is half the fun

In retrospect, this post doesn't even look like a harbinger of my imminent descent into the Hydra Trash Party landfill, it looks like a perfectly logical sequence of events. Note that my first post to actually use that tag was like... one week after this one.


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