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Archive for the ‘Men who fight back’ Category

One of my favourite men-in-pain is Wolverine. ‘Does it hurt?’ ‘Every time.’ Plus, you know, he was a test subject for a mad scientist, locked up, tied down, all manner of horrible things done to his body. He’s practically a mansub poster boy. Then there’s the whole unrequited love thing.

So, I went to edit together that clip, and then realised there’s a whole other thing in there that I love. Cage fighting.

There’s something really great about a man fighting for money. It’s degrading, but it’s a particularly masculine form of degradation. I guess it’s the macho equivalent of prostitution – when all else fails, when you’re desperate enough, when you’ve got nothing else to sell, you sell your body for other people’s pleasure and profit. I don’t know why so much of stereotypical femdom/mansubbery involves trying to degrade a man with forced fem or housework. Apart from the fact that, like Beej, I find it utterly insulting, and profoundly unsexy, there’s also just no need. There’s a perfectly good form of masculine degradation, degradation which is macho and tough and therefore actually hot for women, right here. Cage fighting, pit fighting, even forced thuggery – they all reek of shame and desperation and powerlessness, and other people’s use of your body. He’s down about as far as he can go. And he’s still fighting. Yum.

(Course, male prostitution appeals, too, in the right light. There’s a great piece of OC slash where Ryan’s a ‘hustler’. And yes, I know, it’s profoundly embarrassing that I’ve watched the OC, but I’ll explain why as soon as I can find the time to upload the relevant clip. Anyway, slash, Ryan, hooker, part 1 here and part 2 here.)

Then, maybe they can find a way to claw they way out of that world and struggle to make a better life for themselves, but there are some people who just won’t let them forget it, and keep trying to drag them back down… Mm. I love flawed heroes, repentant sinners, men struggling to escape the shame of their past. Jase Dyer in Eastenders, trying to put his violent past behind him, but hounded by the firm he ran with as a desperate teen. Ryan in the OC, trying to better himself, but constantly being dragged down by those around him. Michael Garibaldi in B5, a decent and competent man, but a recovering alcoholic, and people just won’t let him forget it. Russell Crowe’s ex-gunslinger priest in the Quick and the Dead, forced to face his past by his angry former compadres. Guilt, shame, remorse, and a dark side barely held in check; a heady cocktail.

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I was talking a couple of posts back about men who fight for their sovereignty. Big tough men who fight the bad guys, protect the weak, save the day – how much more wonderful when they fall.

I love the Lost episode A Tale of Two Cities, the opening episode of season 3. I love it for many reasons, but especially for the interplay between Jack, newly captured by the others, and Juliet, assigned to break him.

I love the way Juliet goes about this. She doesn’t shout, or posture, or throw her weight around. Noone calls anyone bitch. There isn’t even any violence. Just one-sided power, vain resistance, and eventual surrender.

And, of course, a hot guy crying.

Beautiful.

Here are the key scenes. Apologies for the four videos – WordPress won’t let me embed a playlist. On the plus side, that means that if you just want to watch Matthew Fox cry, you can skip to the end.

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From a certain view point, I kind of get the submission thing. I toyed with it in my youth. I can understand the appeal of devoting yourself entirely to someone you wholly revere. I’ve always loved the archetype of an apprentice entirely devoted to his or her master, devoted to the point of self-negation. There’s a mixture of a completely unselfish passion – a passion so pure that it doesn’t care if it’s returned – and a certain masochistic pleasure in being unsure of them.

Then there’s the appeal of someone’s desire for you being so all-consuming that they will simply take you if need be. I got that in my youth. Now it makes me feel icky. I far prefer the idea of someone’s desire for you being so all-consuming that they let everything around them go to wrack and ruin. Someone utterly destroyed by their desire. Their desire resulting in a loss of power, not in taking power. Heard Sting’s ‘Mad About You’? Epic. I love epic.

Then there’s a deliciousness in the alternation of tenderness and cruelty. Like salt and sweet, each refreshes and enhances the taste of the other. Throws them into sharp relief. Throw contradictions at someone till they’re so confused they don’t know which way is up, and everything feels more… more. Every tiny thing has huge significance.

In my early twenties I read The Captive Flesh. Good old Cleo Cordell. I’d always had a bit of a harem thing – I think most girls do, the result of a culture which quietly insists that we all want nothing more than to be consumed by a powerful man. But the Captive Flesh approach only works if the sheik/master/whoever is someone whose attention you come to really crave. Submission worked for me, a little, in my youth, because when you’re roleplaying there can be such a person, a person so radiant, so brilliant, so admirable, or so darkly fascinating, that the idea of giving yourself over to them entirely, just for sheer devotion, is buyable. Because it’s not a real person, it’s a character. It’s not a real situation, it’s a larger than life imaginary world. It didn’t last five minutes for me in the real world, and as I got older it became less and less appealing. The problem is, you see, that in the real world, people are just people. As I lost my little-girl desire to be validated by a man’s attention, I lost any interest I ever had in submitting to a man. (Subs, please don’t take offense – I’m describing my own mental processes.)

I don’t want blind devotion in a man, either. I don’t want a guy who’ll just do what I tell him. I’d rather have a man who fights for his sovereignty. Conflict, masochism, but no surrender.  I want a guy who’ll fight and curse and resist but be unable to help responding. At least to begin with. Maybe he could surrender at the end.

And then get up and fight again tomorrow.

Or, contradictions. A man who knows how to keep the flame alive in his heart, even while obeying. So that there’s always the danger he might suddenly stop obeying and start rebelling. A man who is hard-won. A man who can adore you with one half of his soul and fight you with the other.

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