Monday, June 15, 2009

Story of O(bession), O(bjectification) and O(bsoletness))

Ok, I know it’s not Thursday but I’m ranting regardless.

I don’t like the Story of O.

There I’ve said. Has the universe trembled? Has the world staggered in its journey around the sun?

I think Sir Stephen is a LOUSY master and in some ways, characterizes all the WORST characteristics of a bad dominant.

Not only does he not personally oversee a lot of the humiliations that are vested on her (thus placing her in potential danger physically), he is unconcerned and uninvolved with the possible impact on her psyche.

Not to my mind, the personality traits one would seek in someone who is to become the focus of your entire existence.

I won’t even waste my breath on what I think of Rene – wuss that he was.

I could never understand the fascination O had with Sir Stephen, the deep and intense regard she continued to accord him – but it tells me there was something seriously askew about her personality and speaks to me of a frightening lack of perception and insight on her part.

The reality is that while O mistakenly read into Sir Stephen’s prurient and sexually-complicit domination a depth of engagement of thought and emotion that never existed, Sir Stephen was (to my mind) well aware of her fascination and obsession and used it to manipulate and force her into situations that were potentially harmful to her on many levels – physically, mentally and spiritually.

I do not in any way dispute the right of a dominant in a relationship to push, encourage, demand certain concessions and acquiescence from his submissive; in fact, a good dominant is conscious of and active in, pushing limits and creating emotional spaces in which the submissive can expand and grow spiritually, physically and mentally.

But there is (again my opinion only) a commensurate understanding that her wellbeing on every level is always a factor to be seriously considered and taken into account – it is called a “dynamic” for a reason – there is, after all, supposed to be a ‘give and take’ – not just a take, take, take.

It always astonishes me how anyone into kink even on a peripheral level fastens on to the Story of O as the penultimate ‘love story” of the D/s or M/s relationship.

The REALITY is it is anything BUT.

On the one hand, it is more than likely a very good mirror of many relationships I do see out there – relationships wherein one partner is ALWAYS the taker and the other ALWAYS the giver. Relationships where narcissism, self-obsession and selfishness are prominent and a true balance sadly absent.

On the other, the reality is that O is simply a toy to Sir Stephen, one to be used and played with and then discarded with nary a thought – after all there are many other toys out there. And had she sought that type of relationship (for there are individuals who seek that level of objectification and find in it answers the emotional need deep within), then that would be fine. But O did not seek to be a toy but rather a cherished, beloved part of his life.

And in the end, even her request for death (as she finds herself unable to live without him and has been discarded), is treated in a cavalier and dismissive fashion.
So screw you Sir Stephen – you aren’t a dominant, you aren’t a Master – you, like many out there, are simply an abusive, self-centered little boy.

and don’t get me started on Anais Nin ….


Gillette said...

Oh, golly, I adore your writing and your rantings.

Have you read The New Story of O? Different author, I believe. If so, thoughts on that one?

Loving Annie said...

Ah Selkie... you are being intelligent and perceptive here - analyzing it correctly, as much of life needs to be analyzed. Good job :)

The more you start seeing clearly, the less enchanted you will be with many books you read, of any kind.

(even though for erotica I still like quite a few by Violet Blue and Alison Tyler.)

And don't even get me started on tv, and the lack of thought in so many of the utterences and plots...

I am beginning to think that there is an evolved level of thought, a consciousness that takes awareness into account --- and then the reacters, non-thinkers of a sort, who don't see A or B or even C, who choose not or cannot read into anything and see beyond the surface.

The Story of O shows you what is wrong rather than sexy... to someone like you who wants healthy love, even with a little s&m involved :)

There is a difference between erotic thrill - and cruelty, insensitivity, lack of regard and selfishness.

Pygar said...

I bought a copy of the novel for a vanilla female friend when we met for lunch some months ago. She is very sexually aware and confident (well it is her job!) but does not get D/s or BDSM at all. (I recollect she my even have blogged about the gift!)

Well the gift was a mistake - she could not get past the issues that Selkie raises so the eroticism was lost on her ... in fact she didn't really get as far as that!

So I guess you must be right Selkie.

However, it was the eroticism of the novel that is my first memory so many years ago of recognising that side of myself. I also thought it described O as a powerful woman who grew through her submission. She came out well - it was the men who came out poorly. But then it was written by a woman!

- xPx

Amber said...

Well, it took me a while to understand that the erotic appeal in cases like O's, and other women/men like her, *IS* Sir Stephen's callous behavior towards her.

O claims she wants his attention and his love and all that but she really doesn't; she's getting off on him being a total asshole.

And a lot of masochists also get off on reading that book for the same reasons. I didn't care for it myself and for the reasons you state, for the most part.

Although I myself have fantasies where I'm just treated like dirt and in my fantasy, I simply love being treated badly. But in reality I would be heartbroken at such treatment.

As always, the tricky part for people who attempt such a relationship in real life is maintaining a balance between the two; getting off on being treated badly and yet keeping high regard for each other in reality.

It's just a big ball of confusion, the whole thing, lol! :)

Anonymous said...

I think if one is going to engage in the discourse of actively deconstructing fiction or indeed many things in real life you are going to find a great deal wrong in most things. Sir Stephen can easily been seen as a pig and with a little active suspension of disbelief he can be seen as the opposite. Fiction is art and art is in the eye of the beholder as they say.

littleone said...

i really shouldn't read comments made prior to mine.. they tend to make me feel inadequate to comment.. especially if i differ from the common opinion...........

But i have to say this about the Story of O

When i read it for the first time exactly 40 years ago (i can't believe it has been that long!!) i read the whole thing as a piece of fiction.. i wished that that sort of thing could really happen .. in the real world !!

Imagine my great surprise some 20 years later when i discovered such a thing really did exist in the real world !!

It is interesting to me that i read the book (then and many times since) in a different manner than you selkie... i never "saw" the men.. just O.. just the things that were done to her... or the clothes she wore.. especially her piercing..........

i never read it deeply or with an analytical mind......i just read it for the deep emotions it stirred inside of me.......

would i recommend the book to a newbie?? nope... if they have found me.. they know the lifestyle exists in the real world..... BUT still i keep the book and still re-read it from time to time..

And i have the Story of O to thank for my very own piercing....... done 33 years after i first read the book......

who is coming out of her doldrums thanks to friends like you .. who keep nudging... :) :)

Mystess Lady Evyl said...

Oh my god that was the best. Laughed right away at the first line. I never really thought about it but I totally here!

cutesy pah said...

I agree with you completely, selkie! The Story of O was never a "love" story but a "horror" story, in my opinion.

But, now you've got me curious about your thoughts of Anais Nin.

Florida Dom said...

Selkie makes some great points but the book was written by a woman who was a real life sub for her Master. The story is documented in the documentary film "Writer of O'' which has been shown in the past on the Sundance channel. The film gives her real name although she didn't use it on the cover of te book. And gives his name too. And goes into the controvery the book caused. You can probably google it if you're interested.

selkie said...

Gillette - nope, haven't read it but will look for it!

and yes, Annie - I actually very much enjoy erotica - I was weaned on the victorian smut - Frank Harris, Venus in Furs, the pseudo-Victorian Pearl, and more contemporary books such as Tipping the Velvet, - I must look for those authors you mention

Indeed Sir J! But then again art is indeed in the eye of the beholdr and is labelled as such - or not - by the reader. I do realize my opinion is contrary to many LOL

Pygar, O reminds me of Tess (as in Tess of the d'urbervills) all her good traits, all her wonderful characteristics in the end are worthless for that is how she is treated. In the end, O, like Tess, is punished for being a good, hard-working, sincere and committed female...

and while I hear a lot of people talk about the eroticism, the story never appealled to me on any level - I found the writing stilted and shallow - but then as I said, I was a precosicous and was reading rich, tingling, delicious smut at a very early age!

Ambr, I thinmk you're right on the nose with your interpretation - and yes, Florida Dom, I am familiar with the author who "outed" herself some years ago. So in that respect, yes, i agree that the author most likely had that kind of objectified dynamic with her master.

morningstar, I'm fascinated by your prspective - which again undrlines Sir J's point - we all get individual things from individual expriencs. and I'm going to keep nudging...gently gently... I love that your own intimate piercings were first thought of from lingring lovly thoughts of O's - grins, I totally forgot about those piercings of hers and it crtaintly was not a factor when I got my own LOL!

grins, Lady E- I thought you might thinmk likewise!

CutseyPah - indeed, exactly the way I see it! Horror story is a good metaphor!

and I promise, a rant coming to this spac soon about Anais Nin....

Anonymous said...


The eroticism in the book peaked my curiosity.

But the way O was treated made me recoil.

I always felt it was a mean book.


Liras said...

I wrote a long and emotionally pointed comment which has disappeared. Oh dear.

So, trying again, I will say that I did not like the story, I saw not a second of attractiveness in Stephen and I do not like soulless, thoughtless submission.

I read "O" and knew I was not submissive, if that was what it was. I like nice and strong men, not nice guys with hard dicks. But in searching for passion and desire, I have not confused those two qualities with cruelty and disinterest.

I was not pleased that O become a monstrosity without a brain. For that is what I saw.

A flower that did not have enough life within to turn towards the sun.

But supposedly, that is a badge of honor for some.