Bondage and overall kink in mainstream media

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Katievick24
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Bondage and overall kink in mainstream media

Post by Katievick24 »

Would you say the representation is good or bad in movies tv and books etc?

I feel as if it’s been really negative recently and more and more considered weird. Like the new episode of the show the boys has a whole bdsm dungeon plot where one of the characters is strapped up and…tickled with a feather. Like? They show presents that as some wildly crazy and weird thing lol
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Dpsiic
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Post by Dpsiic »

It always is here in the Uk, mention bondage and everyone assumes you are into hard core BDSM, whips and chains or are a misogynistic rapist.
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copperfox
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Post by copperfox »

More often than not, I think that bondage and kink are used in TV/movies as ways to shock the audience and keep the plot “interesting”. Now, my take is that, this generally portrays bondage/kink in a bad light. Crime-related drama TV/movies are especially bad about this, IMO. A character associated with “bondage” is the weird loner and sex-craved predator…you know, the one that most likely committed some crime in question that needs to be solved in an hour or less.

On the other side, lots of movies and TV shows—specifically focusing on ones which are not bondage-themed here—have no problem showing characters having fun with fuzzy handcuffs in the bedroom, or even having a pretty lady don a dominatrix-style outfit (complete with whip). However, I’d say that this is really where portrayal of any bondage/kink ends, generally speaking. Once a movie/show brings out other BDSM-related gear (which are not nearly as generally understood or viewed as mainstream)—such as ball gags, leather cuffs, hoods, or sleepsacks (as examples)—that’s where the “lightheartedness” that (most) everyone can relate to ends. Lots of times when those types of items are discussed—it’s specifically to provide a shock factor—deliberately keying in on the “oddity” of a situation, and emphasizing their non-normative nature and furthering the stigma (whether intentionally or not) associated with bondage and kink-related activities in the real word—which is obviously a horrible thing for the kink community. And heaven forbid there’s any scene or depiction of a dungeon or BDSM-related furniture.

All that said, my disclaimer here is that my research on this subject is limited to what bits and pieces I remember from movies and shows over the years, as well as my own general feelings I’ve had on the topic. There’s probably some good examples of bondage/kink portrayed wonderfully and accurately in mainstream media…but again, I would think those are far less prevalent.

Great question!


Edited to add: One more point that I’d just thought about. When bondage/kink activities are depicted or discussed in mainstream media…it’s always within a clearly and overtly sexual context. As we all know here, kink is not always about sex! A person can have a kink that is sometimes (or often or always) integrated into the bedroom…or, his/her kink can be totally and completely non-sexual in nature. What I’m getting at here is this: Even if mainstream media did a great job portraying kink in the bedroom—this would (again, IMO) still be detrimental to the kink community from an overall perspective.

As an example: What, then, should the mainstream population think of the guy/gal that engages in self bondage? That person simply must be sexually-frustrated or crazy—after all, what other reason would someone have for tying, taping, chaining, or cuffing themselves up?

Again, just my (late night) thoughts!
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Post by takeru »

What I am aching for in mainstream media is a depiction of bondage without domination and submission. Now, I'm happy media has begun to depict BDSM in some or the other form, and that allows us to easily open up or discuss things with our friends and partners. However, I find that it is primarily the domination and submission aspects that get highlighted.

When I started out with bondage - and I am curious how it is with others - I don't remember the feelings of domination or submission at all! For me, the aesthetics of seeing someone else tied up as well as the sensuality of being tied up myself were and still are primary. Yes, over the years, I learnt what domination and submission feel like and do enjoy them. Pain is a mixed bag. But it seems that the mainstream depiction of BDSM is domination and submission, and sadism and masochism. The B of bondage seems to be depicted very rarely if at all.

I'm happy there are a couple of Youtubers and perhaps content or tutorial-producers on other platforms that have begun looking into it. VoudouRopes and TheDuchy come to mind. But I'd love to see similar content through movies or shows or other mediums.
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copperfox
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Post by copperfox »

takeru wrote: 2 weeks ago What I am aching for in mainstream media is a depiction of bondage without domination and submission. Now, I'm happy media has begun to depict BDSM in some or the other form, and that allows us to easily open up or discuss things with our friends and partners. However, I find that it is primarily the domination and submission aspects that get highlighted.
Oh, this is definitely a big gripe from me as well, @takeru! I love to be tied up—but I don’t consider myself a submissive at all, nor is the the dom/sub aspect particular interesting to me. This is still a conversation that I have with my wife—who can’t wrap her head around the fact that the these things are, while related, can be completely separate kinks. I like bondage simply for the sake of bondage.

I’d also note that—because the dom/sub aspects are what get highlighted rather than the bondage (the latter just being a necessary byproduct of the former, I think)—any bondage that’s depicted, generally speaking, is horribly done or not really well thought out. Characters loosely tied up in a way that anyone could escape (maybe with a couple loops of rope), an ineffective gag, “struggling” to get free in a way that just makes me shake my head. But again, if the dom/sub aspect is what’s being emphasized, I guess the thinking is that there’s no need to be any more elaborate from a bondage perspective.

You mentioned that pain is a “mixed bag” for you. I’ve never tried anything involving impact play or pain, but recently have been thinking about opening up a bit just to see. Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten into a couple “secondary” kinks—but nothing that gives me the pure enjoyment that bondage does. So, I’m curious…why did you try pain-related play in the first place? How and where did you start? Do you have any tips or recommendations for someone who just wants to see if it’s another “dormant” kink?

Closer back to the original topic (because I’d really love to see this emphasized more as well)—what would bondage realistically look like in the mainstream media if it were separated from the dom/sub aspect and was portrayed in a positive light? What kinds of situations would this involve characters getting into? I’d love to see people “caught” in self bondage and then explaining how relaxing it is to be tied up. Or, perhaps a TV show dedicated to TUGs and escape challenges.
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Post by Katievick24 »

To your last point @copperfox im not really like feeling like I need to see tugs and the interest of being tied up explored, I just hate seeing writers saying “we need people to find this character weird, hmm about they’re into bdsm?” Like the example I mentioned form the boys.
Tickle torture was included in a moment the audience is supposed to go “oh those freaks”, like there were some other odd things as that show loves to have shock value but like, maybe try something else than bdsm dungeons to make your character feel weird to the audience
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Post by tiedinbluetights »

There is a Forbes article [spoilers and disturbing content warning] on that episode of The Boys 'Dirty Business' that comments on the disturbing aspects of said episode. I won't provide a link to the article, as it can be easily found through your favourite search engine.

I personally don't watch TV shows much anymore. I do believe that it is becoming more and more difficult to find positive portrayals of bondage and kink in mainstream media, and so I turn to sites like the ones mentioned by @takeru to find bondage and kink positive media.

And of course, TUG stories too! Plenty of positive portayals here too.
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Post by ExcessivelyCurious »

Oh, I'm convinced the vast majority of people writing that stuff have no actual experience with BDSM and made no attempts to do any proper research. As others have said, it's just for shock value or to seem "weird". All the people I've met who are into the more hardcore sexual stuff are also the most conscientious about it; a lot of talk of consent, safety, etc. The ones I know are also mostly massive nerds (myself included) and there's a lot of laughing and joking around, which certainly isn't represented in the media portrayals. There are some bad people out there, yeah, but unfortunately that goes for any group/hobby.

You will ocassionally get something like 50 Shades of Grey that does attempt to portray it as sexy buy still makes all the same mistakes anyway, that one in particular depicting a very unhealthy relationship (it's widely hated in kink communities).

The concept of non-sexual TUGs doesn't even seem to occur to most people, so it doesn't really surprise me that they don't tend to turn up.
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Post by uemndlr »

About portraying somebody as weird, I bet the authors of "Addams Family" are so grateful that BDSM exists. It allows to make the Addams' do the nastiest things to each other, and everybody enjoying it.
copperfox wrote: 2 weeks ago I’d also note that—because the dom/sub aspects are what get highlighted rather than the bondage (the latter just being a necessary byproduct of the former, I think)—any bondage that’s depicted, generally speaking, is horribly done or not really well thought out. Characters loosely tied up in a way that anyone could escape (maybe with a couple loops of rope), an ineffective gag, “struggling” to get free in a way that just makes me shake my head.
Yes, Almodovar's "Tie me up" film is very guilty of this. The ropework is just lousy for a film with this name!

Sometimes it's also used to make a character more intellectual:
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ ... AndBondage
(Watch out: Tvtropes link!!)
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Post by takeru »

copperfox wrote: 2 weeks ago You mentioned that pain is a “mixed bag” for you. I’ve never tried anything involving impact play or pain, but recently have been thinking about opening up a bit just to see. Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten into a couple “secondary” kinks—but nothing that gives me the pure enjoyment that bondage does. So, I’m curious…why did you try pain-related play in the first place? How and where did you start? Do you have any tips or recommendations for someone who just wants to see if it’s another “dormant” kink?
My IRL bondage experiences are fairly limited. So, I'm probably far from the best person to ask about this. My main experiences are with online hypnodoms. This is usually dom/sub in nature and can include pain play, but can also include bondage. And for some reason, the sound of spanking just felt hot to me. IRL, to recall, there was a longish period of time during my tween and early teen years, in which I found it felt "nice" to subject myself to burning or stinging pain in particular areas of the body. Well, this has carried itself over from a particular obsession I have had since childhood! So, I guess, the pleasure in pain aspects have revealed themselves as I followed my "heart" to try out "hmm, may be this feels good". I usually avoid it these days because I notice my skin takes longer to recover and I like it in its natural tone rather than the reddened tone.

And there are other tools - such as adjustable clamps or even vibrating ones - I imagine I'd enjoy. But I haven't yet laid my hands on them.
copperfox wrote: 2 weeks ago Closer back to the original topic (because I’d really love to see this emphasized more as well)—what would bondage realistically look like in the mainstream media if it were separated from the dom/sub aspect and was portrayed in a positive light? What kinds of situations would this involve characters getting into? I’d love to see people “caught” in self bondage and then explaining how relaxing it is to be tied up. Or, perhaps a TV show dedicated to TUGs and escape challenges.
My encounter with bondage, even though in a context separate from dom/sub, has still been in a sexual-sensual context. To put it simply, good ropework with a cute outfit can look really pretty to the top and yet be stimulating yet restrictive for the bottom. So, I can probably only comment about that. I can imagine a movie or series incorporate a sensual shibari scene, with all the ropework acting as decorative for the top and the audience while being sensual and possibly sexual for the bottom. Add suspension to that, and that'd already be quite a thrill!

Non-sexually, I think the people here would have more to say about it. But given the very young age that most of us first encountered and experimented with the kidnapping of superheroes, villains, damsels and dudes, I don't think it'd be ethical to capture it on screen. Even then, if we do push the ages of the characters to more ethical years, may be, we could still capture it.

But at the end of the day, I think that being tied up or tying somebody up is a [potentially private] hobby for most of us here. I don't really watch many movies, so I cannot say how exactly hobbies and "free-time" activities are actually depicted. If somebody has anything to add to this, or recommend any genre, I'd be happy to know! At the moment, this seems more suitable for a documentary rather than a movie or show. If a movie or show depicts healthy communication between a couple, discussing something particular that one partner found out about the other, bondahe can simply be another such topic!
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Post by illest »

Strangely I feel like it's reversed in Japanese culture. Most anime scenes that portray bondage that I've seen do so in a light-hearted fashion. However a lot of irl scenes over there come across as hardcore and in some cases creepy.
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Post by takeru »

illest wrote: 2 weeks ago Strangely I feel like it's reversed in Japanese culture. Most anime scenes that portray bondage that I've seen do so in a light-hearted fashion. However a lot of irl scenes over there come across as hardcore and in some cases creepy.
Do you know if the IRL ones incorporate D/S? Or is it primarily bondage?

Shibari and karada through anime fanart is certainly amongst my earliest exposures to bondage. I have tried to find anime, but the scenes are either for a very short duration or the other aspects of the anime simply make it unwatchable for me.

And while I have come across japanese bondage scenes through adult sites, like most things on adult sites, I have considered them unrealistic. So, I'm only left to wonder what the IRL scenes might be like.
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Post by MedicAndrea »

I feel like it shows up in mainstream stuff more and more but there’s still some ground to make up in terms of realism. Either it’s super light stuff that would be ineffective in real life or it’s portrayed on the fringe level where it’s almost comical how odd it’s portrayed
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Post by wannabetiedup »

This is a very interesting discussion and my own opinion on this will only add to the confusion lol.

Bondage is such a broad term that I don't know if I would recognise the most appropriate portrayal of it in any mainstream media production. I think ask everyone on this site what they think represents their own ideal, and we'd probably get different answers from each. I think outside of those with these interests those nuances and differences are probably irrelevant. Brought up on hyper-sexualised or super-fetishised images of it, a la Pulp Fiction, 50 Shades etc, that is what those outside will instantly associate with bondage.

Like others have said, I'd love to see the idea of bondage in a relationship setting being shown as it really is. One side nervously asking/suggesting a bit of tie up fun, the other side nervously giving it a go. Responsibility of creating rules and boundaries with each other beforehand, showing how much respect and trust is involved would be a great thing. The aftermath where both sides have had just the most wonderful experience would be nice to see too. Sadly, the trust thing here too has been reduced to one-liners and punchlines of "that's my safeword" etc., which again just reinforces the negative picture people have of it.

Anyway, I'm rambling, so I'll stop there!
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