Needs Help: Bondage Is Bad

Deadlock Clock: 6th May 2014 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [64]
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There are quite a few problems with Bondage Is Bad.

To begin with, there are no clear guidelines as to what it's supposed to be; everything from a villain wearing leather to a positively-portrayed character owning a pair of fluffy handcuffs seems to be on there. The Playing With page (not my gag, honest) claims that a straight example involves a negative portrayal and no positive counterbalance, but there are entries on there which have a straight example and an aversion. A few entries read like appraisals of whether specific works are respectful enough. Some of the fetishes on there aren't even directly bondage-related.

When the TRS was overflowing, I revised the seven-paragraph intro and deleted some of the more opinionated entries. I don't know if that helped much. They're available on the history page, if it would help anyone.

edited 16th Mar '13 12:12:24 PM by abloke

2 SeptimusHeap16th Mar 2013 12:44:49 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Fixed the tag. It needs to be written in Wiki Words to work.

Anyhow, this trope is about BDSM As A Sign Of Villainy, but the usage (aside from spurious misuse) is Evil Bondage.
Okay. What could be done to shore it up?
4 nrjxll23rd Mar 2013 09:26:15 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I think at least some of the misuse is from the "absolutist" nature of the trope. With any "X is/are Y" trope, where Y is a moral judgment, we're always going to get a ton of examples of "subversions" where X is not Y or the work contains examples of both X being Y and non-Y. Unfortunately, this seems to be a pervasive problem with no easy solution, so I'm not sure if I have any suggestions about how to prevent it.

[up][up]I'm not sure I understand the distinction.
I could be wrong, but I think the difference is that one involves using an interest, costume or persona that suggests BDSM to project an idea of evil, while the other is claiming that the practice itself is evil. These ideas, and others, seem to have been conflated into "They've All Got It In For Bondage". These are a few of the things I deleted; the first two were in the description, the other was from a lengthy entry:

  • "According to Dan Savage, this trope is mostly about letting mainstream people ... [get] turned on by kinky stuff while patting themselves on the back for being better than kinky people."
  • "Since 1990, psychiatry has acknowledged that SSC BDSM is often done between mentally healthy individuals, and more and more organizations who have already stopped spreading prejudice are now instead starting to fight it."
  • "[...] bigoted and a careless mistake ... The only thing that can really be said in defense of these portrayals is that the murder victim who took part in these fetishes was in each case keeping the fetish secret from their significant other."

I think there might be a trope in the idea of villains dressing in bondage gear or having a dominatrix-themed persona, but it would have to be clearly outlined so it didn't end up like that.

edited 24th Mar '13 5:45:56 AM by abloke

Anyone got any ideas for this? I was going to suggest splitting it into two or more tropes, but they'd probably need to go through YKTTW.
The first sentence in the description implies this trope is heavy in the YMMV. "reinforce the idea that they're evil", "x symbolism", "creepy and heinously unsexy", and the use of "the 'ick' factor" are all very subjective phrases. How can we tell that the idea being reinforced is that they're evil? Symbolism can change from culture to culture and group to group. What may be "creepy" to a prude is not necessarily "creepy" to a pervert. Sex appeal is obviously subjective. And an "ick" factor is what exactly?

And nothing about this trope implies Depraved Homosexual. Unless, of course, All Gays Are Perverts... which is true in the fantasies of homophobes everywhere and false in this great big thing called Real Life. Actually, I'm taking that out right now.
A lot of the intro, before I got at it, was essentially a treatise about how wrong it is to suggest that bondage isn't okay. The reference to Depraved Homosexual might have been added to suggest that it's an unfair "heteronormative" condemnation trope and therefore wrong. I'm guessing.

There might be a couple of tropes which could be derived from this. There are certainly a lot of villainous characters with a BDSM theme, even if you do limit it to something more overt than just wielding a whip, wearing leather or using the word "naughty". Even the idea of bondage being portrayed as evil might be a trope. With careful restraints (er...), these could possibly be tropes. I'm not sure, though.
The use of "bad" just makes it sound subjective, even though it isn't. I'm not sure if this trope's problems warrant a rename, but BDSM-Themed Villain would make it clear this is when the villain has a theme or outfit motif... thing... about BDSM.
I was thinking Bondage Themed Baddie. I don't want to take this to YKTTW unless there's a consensus that the current trope doesn't work and that the idea of a BDSM-themed villain isn't covered elsewhere. A lot of the elements could come under tropes that already exist: Hell-Bent for Leather, Spy Catsuit, Whip It Good, and the like.

It would have to be more restricted than this page (I'm not doing these puns deliberately), so it didn't result in the same problems.

edited 5th May '13 4:02:06 PM by abloke

11 nrjxll5th May 2013 04:28:04 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
Now that I grasp the distinction, I think both of the concepts Septimus Heap was talking about - BDSM As A Sign Of Villainy and Evil Bondage - are tropes. So if nothing else, this needs a split.

edited 5th May '13 4:28:11 PM by nrjxll

[up][up]You seem to be wanting to turn this trope into something like Combat Sadomasochist (to which I just moved one misplaced example). A lot of good examples wouldn't fit that description.

edited 5th May '13 5:42:30 PM by Prfnoff


The Sign Of Villainy proposal so far does not require the representation of BDSM to be particularly accurate or psychological; just what the character wears or uses.

edited 5th May '13 5:10:06 PM by DunDun

14 nrjxll5th May 2013 05:41:25 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
[up]Yeah. BDSM As A Sign Of Villainy would be a thematic/motif trope, more closely related to things like Red and Black and Evil All Over than actual personality tropes.

Evil Bondage, meanwhile, would be what this page seems to have originally been intended as: the portrayal of BDSM itself as explicitly morally wrong.
[up][up][up] I'm not trying to turn it into anything in particular. I'm just suggesting things that could be salvaged from what it is now. That suggestion was for a trope to do with appearance or theme.

I think Evil Bondage was at least partly the idea of this page, but it ended up with vague guidelines and a lot of whinging. If the page can be engineered into a proper trope, it would need some rules. No railing against or appraisals of an author's politics, no justifying edits explaining why a depiction is "wrong", and no manifestos outlining everything the editor thinks is wrong with the public's attitude to BDSM.
So, are we saying we should split this into (a) an outfit motif denoting the series' villain and (b) a villain or otherwise evil character is into heavy BDSM? If so, the "BDSM As A Sign Of Villainy" could use a better name.
17 SeptimusHeap7th May 2013 02:04:23 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
I am not clear what (a) has to do with this. Personally, I like the idea of turning this into Evil Bondage, as it's the most straightforward trope here.
Would Bondage Is Evil work, or would it have a lot of the same problems as the current name?
19 Larkmarn8th May 2013 08:23:42 AM , Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
How about Bondage Is Immoral?
Bondage Is Base?

There don't seem to be many examples of that. Most of the examples on there are based on some connection an editor has spotted between a villainous character and BDSM and, with some of them, reading an agenda into that. It would need fairly narrow goalposts.
21 nrjxll8th May 2013 04:27:23 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
That's one reason I'm in favor of (a).
(a) is what I was interpreting from BDSM As A Sign Of Villainy: the BDSM motif is what tells the audience that this character is the villain (regardless of whether they really are an intentional villain).

(b) is what I interpreted from Evil Bondage: the BDSM motif/element is a character trait of the villain.

(a) is a costume the villain wears. (b) is a trait of the character's personality. That's how I was interpreting the discussion, anyways.
This trope has over 1200 inbounds, so I don't think redefining/renaming it to Evil Bondage is a good idea.

I think if we split this into BDSM Is Evil and Bondage Themed Baddy (or BDSM Is Evil and the other one or both), then we could keep Bondage Is Bad as the name for the proposed definition/name of BDSM Is Evil in the crowner.
I would keep the title of Bondage Is Bad, but that might deal with negative reactions to bondage in general and not portrayed as evil.

Page Action: Bondage Is Bad
12th May '13 2:03:34 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
At issue:
Bondage Is Bad has no strict guidelines on what it covers, and presently includes examples based on costumes, dialogue, the perceived attitudes of the authors, and other things. It is also being used as a platform for attacking works deemed to portray it in an unacceptable way.

Three tropes have been suggested; these names are not final.

  • BDSM Is Evil: The practice itself is actively (read: not just if you look at it a certain way) portrayed as base and immoral.
  • Bad Guy Likes Bondage: A villain is shown to have an interest in BDSM.
  • Bondage Themed Baddie: A villain has a BDSM theme or motif.

Total posts: 64
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