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jsmn_kink ([personal profile] jsmn_kink) wrote in [community profile] jsmn_kinkmeme2015-06-05 08:16 pm
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☆ Previous Rounds: Round One

Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 01:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Don't get me wrong, fellow memers: I ADORE non-con and dub-con stories about Strange. In fact, I love any stories were he's physically, emotionally or psychically stressed to breaking point, so I guess that also includes those heartbreakingly painful ones with Grant.

But recently, the sandwich!fic and the French soldiers!fic have had me in full-on squee overload. I'm not embarrassed about it, but I don't know why I find them so incredibly hot/exciting/poignant. The more realistic (pain, weeping, shit) and less theatrical (collars and BDSM) the better, but that's just my preference, and I fully embrace my fellow memers who love the theatrical stuff: I'm not judging! But why do I dig it? I just don't know.

In the fandom, Segundus and Drawlight seem to suffer the most, but Strange really gets worked over too.

So I'm asking the people like me who also LOVE this stuff: why do you love it? And why Strange?

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 02:20 pm (UTC)(link)
As someone equally taken by the sandwich!fic and French soldiers!fic, I wish I could say why I love them so much but I don't really know. I also tend to prefer my fic a bit less theatrical, just because I find I have a harder time connecting to that and losing myself in the story.

When it comes to liking terrible things happening to characters I love, I've actually thought about this before. I always end up back at a documentary I watched once about women involved in the horror movie industry. They asked one participant why she loved horror so much and she said that she also loves romantic comedies, but since that wasn't considered outside the norm, no one would think to ask why she liked those.

For me, I always kind of end up at: you just like what you like. Though I'd love to know if other people can pin down their thoughts more succinctly than I can.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 03:53 pm (UTC)(link)
I hear you! There is no way I am going to tell even my closest friends that I read a really good fanfic last night where Jonathan Strange was gang-raped, and I loved every second of it.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 08:30 pm (UTC)(link)
*guffaws*

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 02:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I'd wager it's at least partly to do with seeing the - pretty, privileged, somewhat innocent and boyish - "hero" defiled. I think there's usually a character in every fandom who gets to fulfil this role - and who else would it be in JS&MN?? - Norrell is too repressed, Childermass is way too knowing, Lascelles too evil, Drawlight reads as a bit of a tart. Etc. Segundus is probably next-in-line, but he comes across as rather timid, so it's less satisfying to take him down.

(And where there's hurt, comfort is usually close behind...)

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 02:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Someone smarter than me will probably be along soon with a proper psychological explanation for this, but to me it feels like the fic equivalent of kicking over a really nice sandcastle - it's so lovely, you want to admire it and stick the boot in at the same time.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 03:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Perhaps that's how it works for some people (the same people who like Lasclelles? XD). There's nowt so queer as folk (as John Childermass might very well say).

Personally, I have never wanted to kick over a sandcastle, but I adore Jonathan, and I would happily read about him being horribly abused.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 02:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I wouldn't necessarily say it can be pinned down to qualities such as privilege or innocence so easily... Certainly, attractiveness plays a role, as does a certain level of arrogance (preferably justified) and competence- we like to see the strong, capable, proud characters suffer more than others I'd say, that's definitely true. But I used to be strongly into the full metal alchemist fandom (don't know if anyone else here is) and there used to be a LOT of fics written in which Roy Mustang got horribly hurt in various ways, and he wasn't a particularly privileged character and he certainly wasn't innocent, in any interpretation of the word- in fact, this has just reminded me of one other quality that these kind of "fandom punching bag" characters often have- they've often been shown to suffer in canon, or have a backstory which involves (or could conceivably involve) suffering. When it comes to Strange this is fulfilled by his wartime experiences and his grief after losing Arabella (particularly in the show which ephasised the drama of both events).

Come to think of it, I'm not entirely sure if there are any specific qualities of a character that can be pinned down when it comes to why people like to see them suffer... I dipped in and out of the BBC!Sherlock fandom for a while and it seemed to me as if people (typically different people but not always) were just as fond of hurting John in fic as they were Sherlock, despite those two having highly different personalities... I guess it's just a matter of personal taste, and in this fandom, Strange is one of the few characters who ticks enough boxes (whatever those are) to warrant this kind of treatment.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 02:59 pm (UTC)(link)
(privilege!OP)

There's probably a "fandom punchbag" (lol) Venn diagram to be drawn, then we could see more easily what these characters have in common.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 03:12 pm (UTC)(link)
This sounds like a very good idea... The main issue I can anticipate is designing an objective enough method of deciding whether or not a character does or doesn't have a particular quality (privilege being a very good example- when it comes to Strange he's about as textbook privileged as you can get without being literal nobility, but a lot of other characters- in any fandom- are less clear cut)... A general consensus seems to be the best way to do it, at least for now.
... I may be getting far too into this.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 03:22 pm (UTC)(link)
*strokes chin*

We would of course need to precisely define our categories. Maybe allocation could be made by readers both inside and outside a particular fandom?

("Fandom Punchbags: a multi-fandom thematic analysis")

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 03:40 pm (UTC)(link)
I like how you think, and where this is heading. ^_^

my only reservation is that while any such analysis would necessarily have to be multi-fandom in order to collect enough data points to be truly robust, but I'm not sure if it'd be possible to have people from outside a fandom decide on the characteristics/qualities of characters as they wouldn't have the necessary experience with the characters in order to make such decisions.

Perhaps a compromise measure would be to have all people who were submitting decisions on certain characters to give a rating, maybe out of ten, of how much they liked that character in general, and to get a roughly even mix of people who do and don't like the character deciding their qualities. This wouldn't be a perfect solution, of course (many people can like a character despite being all too aware of their flaws, and it is also possible to dislike a character for the "wrong" reasons) but it would help increase the level of objectivity, at least in theory.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 03:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Maybe "privilege" is a many headed beast, and the boxes that Strange ticks are all boxes that come under the heading "privilege". He's a tall, slim(ish), white, young(ish), rich, charming, attractive(ish), intelligent (well, intelligent enough to be a scholar of magic), happily-partnered, magically powerful, unusual (almost unique at the start) man: any one of these would be reason enough to make him alluring as target, if that was what makes people want to see him brought down.

But for myself, when I read these stories, I have a dual response: I am drawn into what it must feel like to do these things to him, and also what it must be like for him to experience them. And then when the rescue comes, i swap my attacker mentality for a tender mentality, and before you know it, I'm in a soft and cosy dreamworld.

Is this oversharing? I hope not. Does anyone else switch sympathies like me?

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 03:51 pm (UTC)(link)
(me again): I forgot to say that I wasn't aware of being jealous of Strange for any of these things; I tick some of them myself, as everyone does.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 07:34 pm (UTC)(link)
(Initial responder to privilege!anon and also enthusiastic approacher of ven diagram experiment later)... I completely agree that pretty much everyone (obviously I can't speak for absolutely everyone) isn't enjoying this kind of fic because they feel in any way envious or spiteful towards the character in question... I feel like often it's characters with power, not necessarily privilege (the two can go hand in hand but not always, particularly not in fiction) who get the brunt of this kind of treatment... Whether it's magical/supernatural power, authority of some kind or just superior intelligence/charisma to everyone else, those kinds of characters do seem to be highly targeted for this kind of treatment. I'm still not sure what all this means, it's an evolving question in my mind and has been for quite sometime, but I'm also almost certain that it's not because of jealousy/envy of the character, but something far more subtle than that.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 08:21 pm (UTC)(link)
(privilege!anon)

Agree, I don't think that enjoying this type of fic has much - if anything - to do with spite and envy. As another poster mentioned, it's possible to engage with multiple perspectives, even throughout the course of a single fic - abuser/abused, rescuer/rescued. This makes me think that these stories have some kind of fundamental appeal that somebody who knows more about narrative theory than I do would be able to identify/explain.

Re. the Venn Diagrams Experiment - actually, we're getting ahead of ourselves somewhat! - we need to first decide on the essential criteria for a "punchbag" story...

Anyway, I'm tired and rambling (nothing new there though).

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 08:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh yes, that's definitely true, I can't believe I forgot that. Obviously it's not just about inflicting physical or sexual pain, but also psychological (with or without the physical/sexual element)... I don't know whether the definition of a punchbag fic should include the type of character typically featured in such fic, that seems like it could end up being horribly circular if we're trying to establish what kinds if characters get such treatment.
H/c seems to be a very common feature of such fics, but certainly not a required one...

Another common thread I've noticed is that the hurt element is typically inflicted by an outside force, such as an OC or a group of OCs (like the French soldiers in the fic that sparked all this debate) or a character who is a notable canon villain, rarely by a character who is thought to be a friend or ally (unless the fic is shamelessly and wilfully OOC). This could be because one of the key draws of such fics is the simplicity of their morality- punchbag fics typically have a clear moral divide between the hero/victim and the villain(s), as well as any potential rescuer/comfort giver. Whether this is a necessary and fundamental aspect of all punchbag fics I'm not sure yet but it seems very common to me.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 04:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Not that I don't thoroughly enjoy the hurt bit, but the comfort after the fact is definitely a huge draw for me.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-07 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
Agreed.

Re: Non-Con Strange: what's going on here?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 08:27 pm (UTC)(link)
For me, it's any character who gets taken way out of their comfort zone that gets me. Specifically characters who seem very good at covering up a lot of the issues they have lying underneath. Something traumatic or horrific happening to them strips that artifice away pretty quickly and shows them on a much more emotionally vulnerable level, that gets you to sympathise. And then in that state you have the comfort part. Does this make any sense?