Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness - Understanding a trope

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November 11th, 2013


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12:23 am - Understanding a trope
I read a modicum of fanfiction, which usually involves glancing at and avoiding a wealth of fanfiction that is not to my taste, sometimes because it's dreadful, but just as often because it's about subjects and involves tropes that I have no interest in.  One of these is the alpha, beta, omega trope, which is also explained in rather graphic NSFW detail here.  So, this is clearly a BDSM-related trope and it often involves werewolves (typically in fandoms where the characters are not normally werewolves)[1].  However, I was talking with teaotter about a story she read that subverted this trope in interesting ways, and realized that it was about more than BDSM & werewolves, it was also a fetishized version of stereotypical 1950s male/female gender roles.  I'm still not into it, but I now think that its existence is awesome, because that implies that at least for the audience of most fanfiction, these sorts of ideas are starting to drift far enough outside of the mainstream that they can enter the realm of exotic fetishization, and that's actually very cool.

[1] When I was reading X-Men: First Class fanfiction, I remember when the trope hit big there, and I was confronted with a surfiet of stories about the X-Men as a pack of werewolves, where I just wanted to read about mutants.

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:mlerules
Date:November 11th, 2013 02:20 pm (UTC)
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Fascinating. And, as you note, quite cool.
[User Picture]
From:siderea
Date:November 11th, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
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There was an SF story written no later than 1976 (date of publication of the anthology I read it in) about a day in the life of a future mafioso that illustrated the diversity of his criminal rackets. One of the gigs he gets is the disgusting-to-him-but-their-money's good task of scaring up an unscrupulous clergy member willing to officiate the illegal wedding ceremony of a heterosexual pair of perverts, so characterized because they have a 1950s inegalitarian relationship, and want the woman to swear "love, honor, and obey", which is the illegal part.

I think the author thought he was making fun of what he thought the excesses of feminism were, but maybe he really did mean it, esp in light of the then-radical egalitarian plot twist at the end.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:November 13th, 2013 11:06 am (UTC)
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Do you remember who wrote that story?
[User Picture]
From:siderea
Date:November 13th, 2013 05:02 pm (UTC)
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No, and I'm not sure where my copy got to.

ETA: HA! The internet knows all:
THE UNDERCITY, by Dean R. Koontz 1973, originally published in Future City: The Undercity is an early Dean Koontz short story about a criminal mafia-type organization that operates in a far future New York City that itself is a virtual double of Asimov's New York City in The Caves of Steel. Society is extremely permissive in this future, which made the Mafioso’s job pretty difficult. Most of the big crimes from our era have been legalized, or at the very least decriminalized. Gambling, prostitution, the transportation, sales and use of drugs, numbers, and all other forms of vice were no longer illegal; in fact murder had been decriminalized as well, but only when forms of conduct were adhered to - essentially people could duel with each other, and if one of the duelers was killed, so be it; the other got a pass.

[...]

It is hard to tell if this civilization is halfway between utopia and dystopia, but things are not all right in New York. What The Undercity is not about is how the law works, or even how it fails to work. It is about how someone who operates outside the law can game the system for personal financial advantage. It stands for the proposition that all you need in order to win is some kind of proscribed conduct. In other words, no matter what is disallowed, someone somewhere at some time will want to break that rule, and if you are there at the right time and place, you can facilitate that need and make some illicit profit. For example, in this story the gangster: [...]

Married couples that would be prevented by statute from marrying otherwise (such as a brilliant, controlling old man and a dim-witted, subservient young woman who would be prevented from marrying by the Equal Rights Act, which states that people must only "marry their equals."


Edited at 2013-11-14 05:09 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:syna
Date:November 12th, 2013 04:42 am (UTC)
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You know, you're right-- when I first read through those links I was majorly squicked out, particularly because my formative experiences with yaoi involved highly misogynistic fare; but thinking about it even more I'm glad that these ideas have been externalized and fetishized and are no longer linked at all to gender per se.

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