Featured Post

NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Monday, June 22, 2015

SWORD, MEET CHALICE PART III

"Sugar and spice and everything nice,
"That's what little girls are made of"-- familiar nursery rhyme.

""When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news."-- Alfred Harmsworth.

In Part I and Part II of this essay-series, I referenced a transformation of will that must take place for real or fictional human females to personify the "feminine will:"

A male human being does not have to transform himself radically in order to become a vessel of all those things I associate with Nietzsche's "willingness"-- receptivity, romantic ardor, and so on. A female human being must undergo such a transformation, in order to make what I have called "the feminine will" possible.
Since I had been focusing upon the "Athena archetype" in fiction, this assumes that any fictional character subsumed under this archetype must be, like the Greek goddess, a female able to master the arts of war. This means, in the "dynamicity-terms" I introduced here, that I've been addressing megadynamic archetypes, whether they were dominantly armed or unarmed types.

However, I would be remiss if I did not follow up on the refinements I made in COMPENSATION CONSIDERATIONS PART 4, to wit:

The terms "combinatory mode" and "dynamicity mode" are new extrapolations from the established terms "combinatory-sublime" and "dynamic-sublime."

What this means is that although functionally the "Athena archetype" should only apply to female characters who undergo a transformation into a megadynamic mode, some audience-members may evince similar reactions to less dynamic versions of the archetype, which is to say any "girls" who show themselves to composed of something other than "sugar and spice." Thus even characters whose power of action is less than exceptional (either "mesodynamic" and "microdynamic") can inspire a fascination in that it's perceived as unusual that female characters can utilize violence at all. In other words, for most audiences, "man gets violent" is the equivalent of "dog bites man," while "woman becomes violent" lines up with "man bites dog."  In this review of a pair of film serials which atypically featured female protagonists, I noted:

Very few serials of the period depicted heroines who could fight.  It was a commonplace notion that any time a fight-scene broke out, any female characters would get shoved to the ground, where they would bump their heads and immediately pass out for the length of the scene. 
This may have been an extreme form of chivalry, implying that in most cases women had to be got out of the way of a real man vs. man fight, and that a bump on the head was a small price to pay to keep them from more serious injury. And yet, few if any persons of that time-period, male or female, would have really believed that women could not raise any kind of defense of themselves, either from men or other women.

Perhaps inevitably, specialized fetishes arose in reaction to the portrayal of "violent femmes." In my opinion, the three most popular at present are:

(1) BALLBUSTING. Though this fetish doesn't always concern only violent encounters of males and females, it certainly takes its cue from the real-world practice by which women, unable to equal male opponents in strength, can resort to kicking or kneeing the opponent's vulnerable nut-sack in order to discourage an assault. Since the fetish by itself does not place any priority upon fighting-skill, most fictional characters who practice this form of assault are likely to be *microdynamic*-- though of course there are a fair number of exceptions.





(2) CATFIGHTS. This fetish is by definition a violent encounter of two women. All three dynamicities can be represented here, ranging from characters who have no intrinsic fighting-skill, those who can fight with some modest skill, and those who are genuinely exceptional. While I'm not precisely a catfight enthusiast, it's my observation that a number of the hardcore fans tend to favor either the microdynamic or mesodynamic types, rather than the megadynamic types. Although their fetish depends on a trope in which women do not "act like ladies," there seems to be a sense in which the enthusiasts do not want these encounters to stray too far from the familiar associations of femininity.



(3) MIXED-GENDER FIGHTS: Fetish-scenes of this type can also encompass all conceivable combinations of dynamicity-types, but the most familiar type here will be one that opposes two megadynamic types, since this is the one that evokes the greatest sense of the feminine will that "swims against the current." As one example, I cite scenes from the 1992 film LADY DRAGON, in which Cynthia Rothrock takes out villainous Richard Norton, despite the fact that he probably outweighs her by over a hundred pounds.





I may develop these matters somewhat more in a separate essay. For now, I'll just note in passing that this argument references my definition of "impure states" in which the usually opposed phenomena of sex and violence join with one another in what I've termed "impure states."
In CROSSING THE LAWLINES PT 5 I specified that these states took two distinct forms: "erotic violence" and "violent sex." Only the first of these applies to archetypes that prioritize violence: the latter apply better to archetypes of *eros.*


No comments: