Phantom of the Opera teaches girls bad, bad, orful thingz!
Of course, to call it a two-and-a-half-hour musical about rape vastly understates the bizarreo-world factor of this musical, although it's hardly an inaccurate statement.Where do I even begin?
At first, I was merely staggered by what this show must do to thirteen-year-old girls. I mean, it's just utterly designed to be seductive to anyone who doesn't want to own their sexuality and is drawn to any sort of narrative of submission, ordeal or apprenticeship. I should have, in fact, been all over this shit. At thirteen, I surely would have been. And the gaggle of girls that age we saw in the bathroom surely were.
....What a completely bizarre and vaguely intellectually offensive show. Man, when this first came out, gender and sexuality scholars must have been like "happy birthday to me" -- what a goldmine of crazy!
Perhaps with "It didn't make me any less dominant..."
I wanted to be Christine for a few months, sure.
Then I asked myself "Why shouldn't he be singing my music?" and it was all over but the shouting. :)
And of course, rather than asking whether stories like that one attract people who have D/s leanings, we have to ask the same old tired "won't people get D/s leanings from this?" question.
And, honestly, what all the stories like this about D/s-y romance taught me was not "Be submissive!" but rather "If you be your dominant self, you will never be happy. Dominance is for the villains, and the villains are always either vanquished or voluntarily give up what's presented as their only chance for companionship because they realize they can never be themselves without doing harm."
These stories do not tell you that D/s is harmless, or is awesome, and I'm always stunned when feminists say they do. These stories are very, very, very clear about erotic power dynamics' destructive potential. They have to be. It's not socially acceptable for them not to be.
It may well be socially acceptable for them to be in romance novels and such geared toward adults, but all the stories I was allowed to see as a youth? None of those said that submission ultimately leads to fulfillment. They said, as I stated above, that dominance was what made the villains hot. The villains, by definition, lose.
Submission is something the heroine experiments with -- Hell, gets hypnotized into experimenting with -- and ultimately rejects. Do you really think Christine has the same dynamic she had with Erik with Raoul?! Yeah, right.
Why, when we examine this stuff, do we ask how it will affect a child we assume to be a vanilla tabula rasa? Why don't we ever, ever, ever ask what this says to people who are already dominant or submissive? Because they usually say "Your relationships are tragedies waiting to happen." If not "You're gonna grow up to be a homicidal maniac who can never be responsible about sex and love, kiddo. Sorry to tell ya, but we thought you should know."
If y'all need me, I'll be cranking Point up to max volume (and, yes, it is about rape, and yes, that is problematic. But FFS, the guy is a homicidal maniac! It's not like the show says "woo, rape!")...
...provided I can freaking find my copy of the OCR, anyway.