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Discussions & Debates > Comparative sexuality of male and female lead characters in Literature

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message 1: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 301 comments All I can say is I'm doing my part.


message 2: by L.E. (new)

L.E. Watson Emma wrote: "Male protagonists in most spy-thrillers, action and adventure are shown as bed-hopping sluts, while the sexuality of women protagonists is almost never discussed ..."

It does annoy me in action movies when you see the superhero fall in love with a woman, then the sequel comes out and the superhero has acquired a new love-interest — as if film-makers think a settled relationship is just not interesting enough to engage an audience! It also annoys me when villainesses are characterized by their casual sexual relationships.


message 3: by Amber (last edited Oct 30, 2014 01:25PM) (new)

Amber Martingale | 657 comments Louisa wrote: "Emma wrote: "Male protagonists in most spy-thrillers, action and adventure are shown as bed-hopping sluts, while the sexuality of women protagonists is almost never discussed ..."

It does annoy me..."


One movie that DIDN'T happen in was the original animated 101 Dalmatians or the live action version and it's sequel 102 Dalmatians... . Cruella de Vil was never shown to be interested in even lesbian sex...though we ARE talking about Disney movies... .


message 4: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Little | 45 comments Well, I'd say in 50 Shades, putting aside the wealth of problems I have with the book, that the main component that's meant to be erotic is that Ana has orgasms. I know that seems like a pretty weak premise but that seems to be about the only part that even scratches the surface of her sexuality. I almost went with it being the humiliation being a turn on but really she's just treated badly and not in a way that a sub that likes humiliation would normally be into.

Christian hardly ever does more than be an ass that has sex with her a lot (once that finally starts happening) and she gets off for the first time and most of the books focus on the fact that she has orgasms and has never had them before.

Other than that the sex is very boring and repetitive and it never gets into the actual kink and Ana makes it pretty clear that she likes the thought of him being a bad boy that needs to be saved more than any kinky aspect of the sex. And he gives her orgasms that she's never had before.

I think it's the very lack of any exploration of female sexuality that might contribute to part of the popularity of the book. "You mean an author cares if her female lead gets off for once?" might be enough that it made the book popular. It's not much though and it would have been far more interesting if a) Christian hadn't been such an ass and b) she had discovered she actually liked kinky sex and the books explored more of that.


message 5: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 657 comments Emma wrote: "50 shades of grey ..... don't get me started. I've never met anyone who liked the book, yet everyone has read it.
"gasp, flush, blush" ..... "down there" "Inner goddess" "Clambering".

I kept read..."


Dream on... .


message 6: by Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 772 comments It depends what you read. Authors like China Miéville seem to never sex shame their characters. Like in Embassytown, Avice hops into a few beds, talks a bit about past relationships and sexual exploits (with both men and women) but its never done in a derogatory or shameful way, its very understated and mentioned where its relevant in the plot but not overly dwelled on. Its the first author that comes to mind but I am sure that within a few days I could come up with a few more.


message 7: by Sparrowlicious (new)

Sparrowlicious | 160 comments That's very interesting Alicja! (Now we know that there are some authors who don't do this shaming crap.)

I remember when I read the first Fifty Shades book the things that annoyed me were that Christian was such an ass and Ana's sub-consciousness. And of course the author's writing style. To be honest, I like fanfiction. I knew befor reading this book that it was once Twilight fanfiction. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. But seriously, thre are so many better fanfiction authors out there. ):
Can't say anything about erotic lit. Some people say, Fifty Shades is better than most of it when it comes to the writing. That doesn't sound good.


message 8: by Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 772 comments Sparrowlicious wrote: "That's very interesting Alicja! (Now we know that there are some authors who don't do this shaming crap.)

I remember when I read the first Fifty Shades book the things that annoyed me were that Ch..."


I hate sex shaming in any type of reading. I read a ton of m/m romances and fanfiction (I've in the last week picked up a Teen Wolf Sterek habit) and I've found enough with sex shaming there.

Aside from sex shaming, I think erotic lit should be evaluated differently. No one reads erotica for its literary greatness, mind blowing themes (although a different kind of blowing certainly), and its general impact. Erotic lit is read for fun (and/or to get off) and usually involves kinks of troupes because that's what people who read it are looking for. I haven't read 50 Shades so I can't comment on the sex shaming but I read Twilight (don't hold it against me) and it really irked me to have that whole elevated status of virginal innocence. I found out that in later books she doesn't have sex until they marry... that fact that's he's over a century older then her? No problem. Sex before marriage? Shameful.

I think that comes from the prevalent double standard. When describing the same sexual behavior on men and women, the words describing men tend to be positive and words describing women tend to be negative. Although I've also seen the trend where these days men also get called things like sluts and women get called things like players.


message 9: by Amber (last edited Nov 06, 2014 09:23AM) (new)

Amber Martingale | 657 comments Sparrowlicious wrote: "That's very interesting Alicja! (Now we know that there are some authors who don't do this shaming crap.)

I remember when I read the first Fifty Shades book the things that annoyed me were that Ch..."


Not supposed to sound good.

Amber wrote: "Sparrowlicious wrote: "That's very interesting Alicja! (Now we know that there are some authors who don't do this shaming crap.)

I remember when I read the first Fifty Shades book the things that ..."


Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός: That's because no matter how far we've come on women's rights and social equality, the human species is STILL rampantly patriarchal (with a few exceptions, like some Native American tribes). This is in response to your comment "I think that comes from the prevalent double standard. When describing the same sexual behavior on men and women, the words describing men tend to be positive and words describing women tend to be negative. Although I've also seen the trend where these days men also get called things like sluts and women get called things like players."


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Embassytown (other topics)

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China Miéville (other topics)