It’s sometimes said that spankos are the vanillas of the kink community, and if you’re a spanko you know exactly what that means. Compared to many other BDSM practices, simple OTK palm-to-bottom action seems relatively mild. And while there are obviously lots of overlapping practices (playing with bondage or whipping or age-play, etc.), most of the time a spanko’s main interest and source of arousal is the act of spanking itself. The rest — like lecturing, corner time, mouth-soaping, etc. — is erotic only to the extent that it showcases or leads up to the main event.
I’m not saying that watching an authoritative woman (or man) on screen, or reading about them in a story, is not sexy in itself — it definitely is. But if s/he never delivers a spanking, one’s interest would wane, right? Well, mine would. *g* However what we consider “the main event” is apparently not interesting enough to carry a plot….or is it?
This is what I was pondering while being frustrated over the kinds of kink films which have been available to spankos. I’m not talking about the vids you can find on Spanking Tube or the ones made especially for this audience by the likes of Chelsea Pfeiffer or Pandora Blake. I’m talking about mainstream movies, the likes of which include “Secretary,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” or most recently, “The Duke of Burgundy.”
Full disclosure: I’ve never seen “Secretary,” my DVD player wasn’t working properly during “Fifty Shades of Grey” so the sound was off and I had to rely on subtitles, and I’ve only just (like last night) seen “The Duke of Burgundy.” So perhaps I’m not qualified to speak on this topic, but that’s never stopped me from having an opinion before. *g*
And seriously, I do think my point is a valid one, regardless: That it doesn’t seem as if producers believe a film about normal average people who just happen to have a kink would appeal to the masses. So the films are about people who are somehow “damaged,” have deep emotional scars, or whose thinking or psyche is twisted in some way.
I am not saying that having baggage makes one not “normal,” because goodness knows we all have baggage and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. But what bothers me is that such individuals and their kinks will naturally be associated with each other in the minds of most viewers. That is, because those are the only sorts of films covering the subject, it will be assumed that people who are kinky are that way due to some sort of emotional scarring.
It would be different if there were also films who portrayed relatively well-adjusted people who happened to be kinky as well. It’s not the existence of those very odd women in “The Duke of Burgundy” I object to, it’s the NON-existence of any other kind of kinky lesbian relationship to compare them with.
But then maybe a story about a domestic discipline couple just wouldn’t sell, unless they also had some weird “hook” about them. Maybe the romance of spanking isn’t enough — maybe there has to be beautifully photographed shots of insects* interspersed with the discipline in order to set the tone of how twisted the lifestyle is beneath it all. (*This, in case you haven’t seen it, is a shot at “The Duke of Burgundy.” And brats, if you ever want to make your tops appreciate you more, then take them to this movie. Unless you’re self-centered, controlling, emotionally immature, and into golden showers, in which case it’ll be nothing new for them.)
So then I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of movie we could make, which would sell and still portray us as balanced individuals. Maybe a couple of lesbians in the Old West? You could have top/brat and cowgirls and leather all in one. Or maybe the “turning” of someone completely vanilla into a rabid spankophile? Then the dramatic tension would come from the delicious confusion and eventual arousal of someone very new to the lifestyle. Or set an everyday couple in a compelling situation, like having to survive in some dystopian future, and make sure one tans the other’s behind at regular intervals. 😀
Any other ideas out there? With all the creative F/F spanko writers in this community, surely we can come up with something! Maybe some rich lesbian spanko will read this and want to fund the project. Or even…..Kickstarter, anyone? 😉
Hmm. Stepping back for a moment, it has been a very short period of time that we’ve had any main stream commercial movies in which lead characters who were gay have been portrayed as “normal” and “relatively well-adjusted.” For generations, most leading gay characters in main-stream commercial movies, even if honorable people, were portrayed as somehow damaged, or emotionally scarred. My sense is that “Hollywood” tends to follow, rather than lead, and that in the future, as spanking gains more and more acceptance, we’ll start to see spanking scenes in movies between characters who are not obviously deserving of a DSM-5 diagnosis.
Having said that, do any of you recall seeing the 2010 Julianne Moore and Annette Benning movie, “The Kids are All Right?” I’ve long thought that the movie, which I enjoyed a great deal, would have been even better if they’d just added two or three scenes of Nic spanking Jules, instead of having then watch gay male porn movies together. Maybe in the remake….
Also, I’m unsure why you are limiting your remarks to main stream movies, and not extending them to main stream TV and best seller books. I’d certainly have been interested in seeing some early Friends episodes in which Monica and Rachel were not only roommates, but in which Monica was topping Rachel. And how about reviving Star Trek Voyager and adapting some of the Janeway/Seven of Nine fanfic into actual screenplays?
Finally, I love detective fiction and witty sexual banter, and I’d love to read a sort of Nick and Nora Charles type series centered around a pair of romantically involved lesbian detectives who solve crimes together and engage in clever repartee and spanko activity.
I think that’s a good point about Hollywood portrayals of gay characters, Hupo. And that’s partly my objection. It’s only recently that we’ve started to show them as real people, so can’t we wait for such things to become boring before we rush to portray them as damaged again??
But your suggestion about TV series made me realize that I have my own doubts about the sustainability of the subject. It’s one thing to let everyone know it’s normal once, in a movie (or a book, as you suggest) — it’s quite another to have in people’s faces constantly. *g* Or is that my own spankophobia showing? I guess I’m just so conscious that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so I’m happy just to have occasional reminders of it.
I think you’re right about the film “The Kids Are Alright” having spanking potential. 🙂 But to be honest I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as you did. However I’ll address you and Tigger regarding that on the board.
I would LOVE a lesbian spanko Nick & Nora type of series! Know of any screenwriter who would take that on? 😀 Thanks for your analysis and input.
I don’t see spanking being seen as a normal part of a TV show without it being used as a derogatory or flawed aspect of a relationship any time soon. But I have to point out the I Love Lucy show had regular disciplinary spankings on it and no one thought anything about it. It was before the feminist movement and with TTWD misunderstood by mainstream. I think there would be a lot of protests if it were to appear on a show today as the norm whether M/F or F/F or M/M. I don’t think there is any way that F/M would happen without it being derogatory. The poor men that are the subs in their relationship are misunderstood more than anyone (IMO).
I’ve never seen I Love Lucy, but the general public was really fine with DD?! I know the show was a comedy so maybe they just thought the spanking was funny instead of taking the idea of DD seriously?
I can recall 4 on screen spankings and I also remember references to a spanking as well. Each spanking was when Lucy had done something totally outrageous that was against what her husband Ricky would permit. One of the spankings was while on stage in front of an audience. it never expressly talked about DD but it was shown at times.
I think the show originated in the 50s and the main characters were a zany bratty woman with a hot tempered Cuban husband. It was such a popular show that the Presidential address (or something like that) was moved away from that timeslot.
Wow, I can’t believe I never replied to this, Micah! I apologize profusely, Hon. I honestly thought I had, because I think that was an interesting point you brought up — it was seen a funny and sort of romantic in the 50s, as long as it was man dominating woman. The movies and TV series couldn’t be really graphically sexual, but spanking was often a stand-in for foreplay in the “war between the sexes.” Or if it was an established relationship like “I Love Lucy,” then it was okay because she was handful and her husband was expected to keep her in line.
I personally think the feminist movement did us a favor by eliminating the expectation that men were expected to dominate (and punish) their wives, because in RL there were (and still are) incidents of non-consensual abuse. But if it’s totally consensual, I don’t see why it can’t be portrayed in a more “conventional” sense. I don’t really think it’s that people see spanking as deviant. These days, I think it’s because it really isn’t weird enough, and current programming tries to look for more and more outrageous things to attract viewers.
I’ve never seen 50 Shades (read reviews tho) or Secretary (know nothing), but I saw Duke of Burgundy, twice in fact! I agree with your point that the media outlets portray these relationships as “weird” and outside the normal range, and the general public probably also views them as such. Like you said, spanking is on the mildest end of the whole BDSM spectrum, my (educated) guess is if incorporated into a regular story as a normal part of the character’s life, most people would have no objections, but ONLY as a sexual/erotic kink and NOT as DD. It just seems so much easier to accept the former than latter for a number of reasons.
Hi Peach, I agree to a certain extent. I think DD would seem very outdated and possibly unhealthy to most people in this day and age. So yes, they would have a great deal of trouble accepting it as “normal.” However I think if it was implied that the characters got off on it, and then it so happens one of them gets seriously annoyed at the other…..a spanking could result in a semi-top/bottom scenario, don’t you think? 🙂
I don’t think that would seem too objectionable, because even in vanilla relationships there are times when one individual wants to smack another (wring their neck, give them a good talking to, etc.). And that’s what I would want to see — something loving, romantic, possibly humorous, but warm and caring. *sigh* I don’t know, maybe I’m asking for too much.
Yeah I forgot many DD couples get off on it. lol What you said makes total sense cause then it’s more like a sexual kink/fetish with just a little twist on the dd spanking! 😉 I also think playful, humorous, and semi-serious types of DD would be accepted by the viewers too. It’s the pure DD, the old fashioned “parent-child” type that may be hard.
I don’t think you are asking too much Alyx! 🙂 Just the right amount. *bg* I mean shows like Xena could’ve easily incorporated some DD into it and still be as popular if not more. No worries there!
Oh btw, I loved the woman who played the top in the Duke movie so much I bought the whole Bergen DVD just to watch her! Her voice is low and husky, very sexy. 😉 Well actually TMT was the one who told us about this Danish TV series, I think. And I was not disappointed! Now Denmark is on my bucket list! lol
If you are interested I would be glad to lend you my DVD set. *bg*
Yes, TMT mentioned several times how taken she was with that series, and especially that actor. 😀 I can see the appeal for sure. *bg* And thanks for the offer, but if she is that sexy I’d probably want my own set. *LOL*
You know I have been thinking about this since I first read it, Alyx. I have read everyone’s comments, which have been well thought and of course always articulate with your villagers.
I have gone back and forth on how I feel. First we have the gay issue where people think it is unnatural no matter what the laws say. But then the spanking is accepted as DD by a lot of the same people who think gays are unnatural.
I have never understood why people need to judge when no one on earth is perfect. As long as they don’t hurt others what does it matter.
So why do our heroines in stories have to have a warped background? Why do they have to have something wrong with them? Because we feel that if they don’t the story will have no drama? Why can’t someone write a story where you have two female characters that love each other, are Top and Bottom and where life is the drama? Where the external influences are what makes the readers cheer for the characters to win?
I think it is possible— why because if you would of asked me 10 years ago if gays could get married in the USA I would of laughed and said not likely in my lifetime. It only takes one adventurous, stubborn, persistent person writing the right story at the right time and getting the right person to notice to make it happen. So why not?
It’s very heartening to hear your views, CJ. I’m glad to hear that you’re optimistic about it. And that’s a good point about the right person at the right time. I’m also one of those who didn’t assume we’d have gay marriage in my lifetime. But the pace of change over that issue really picked up in the last few years, and then there was suddenly a critical mass of people who felt the same way, and voila! So I’m gonna hope for the same with this too. 🙂
Great post, Alyx, and I love everyone’s suggestions too. I would LOVE some kink stuff in the new Xena series, if it happens.
I’ve been thinking about this, and the other day I was remembering how I felt the first time I saw Secretary, some ten years ago. Even though I feel the same frustration now, back then I think I was just relieved they didn’t debase their relationship by implying there were some sort of parental attachment disorders going on. And I felt their darkish/ messed-up characteristics were skilfully woven into their endearing character. The thought of two oddballs finding each other like that made me happy… maybe I identified with them a little (a little!!) 😀
Perhaps for the context of the time, Secretary was pretty revolutionary. But I totes agree. It’s time for progress.
Wow, a kinky Xena?? The mind boggles! 😀 (That would actually be very cool and a good way for them to “push the envelope” a bit, the way the original series did with the lesbian relationship. Not to mention all the great fanfic that would come out of it. *eg*)
As for Secretary, I agree with you. It was a quirky and funny movie, and I actually got the impression that their kink was the most normal thing about those two oddballs! *LOL* Maybe that’s the thing you identify with? 😉
P.S. Bout time you posted something! 😉
A very interesting topic, I always like coming to your site Alyx because it reassures me that I am ‘normal’. I think one of societies big issues is the don’t ask don’t tell policy that we all live by. It leaves people unsure of where they fit in and doesn’t give them an opportunity to talk to anyone.
Definitely agree that we are the vanilla of the kink world however I am not sure the rest of the world is ready to see it that way. I hope you are right and that it will just take the right person at the right time to start paving the way. I can’t seem to gather my thoughts long enough to produce an articulate statement so will just continue rambling. The more we see kink in mainstream media the more normal it will become. I also think people will be exposed to less on the Internet by not having to go looking for the thing that makes them tick.
Hupotasso I couldn’t agree more about “the kids are all right”. That scene just didn’t seem to fit at all. Also perpetuates the myth that lesbians still need something else to get them going.
I’ve been wondering for a while now, how or even if I am going to tell my very vanilla gf about TTWD. If only someone would write a show where I could say hey…. would you look at that. That looks like something I’d like to do.. Who knows, maybe it will happen soon!
As always, a very thought provoking post, I always enjoy the articulate and educated responses.
Hey Needatop, thanks for your comment! I think we’re all perfectly normal. At least, I think whatever is weird about us is not due to our kink! *LOL*
But you’re right, “don’t ask, don’t tell,” while initially saving us from outright discrimination or abuse, in the end makes us invisible. And it’s hard to gain acceptance if people can’t see how very normal you are.
There aren’t any spanko shows, but there are definitely spanko scenes in a lot of mainstream shows. All you need to do is be watching it together, and then make the suggestion! I will keep my fingers crossed for you, because it’s so much better when our loved ones can participate in TTWD with us. 🙂