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OTPs and power dynamic

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Jul. 30th, 2010 | 10:20 am

I have some really smart people on my friend list – dude, you guys rock.

So, in honor of you guys, another poll.

Poll #1599110 Problematic couples

It is all about the power dynamics.

Older/ Younger – strangers meeting up
2(40.0%)
Mentor / Disciple – From a young age, but not birth
3(60.0%)
Parental figure / Child figure – not blood relative
0(0.0%)
Imprinter / Imprintee – Like Jacob/that baby
0(0.0%)
Brothers!!! Look, I read Sam / Dean.
0(0.0%)


I kind of adore the mentor / disciple couple – I blame this on watching Return of the Condor Heroes at the impressionable age of 5 (potentially younger), where the main heterosexual couple is between little dragon lady (the elder) being the kung fu master of our young male hero. And since then my biggest happy button is mentor / disciple relationship. In a way, the couple often falls into the parent / child couple (whether actual parent / child, or an older person who completely assumes the role of the parent).

The power dynamic of the parent / child couple mostly makes me highly uncomfortable because it is often handled badly. My main problem with this couple is when the two people involved initiate on a sexual relationship when both are still in the role of the parent and child. I have read stories where parent / child couple worked for me, but only when the relationship have shifted in a way where the power dynamics have become more balanced or shifted in favour of the child. I’m going to use Obi-wan / Anakin (from the prequels) because their relationship at the time of ROTS works for me in the fic-relationship context. But set a fic before the time of ROTS with Obi-wan / Anakin in a sexual relation – well, the author better be damn good, otherwise I’ll be running the other way.

When it comes down to the whole older / younger couple situation, it is all a question of power dynamics for me. If handled correctly, and depending when a platonic/familial relationship become sexual, it can be an excellent piece of work, and will have my undying love. However, handled wrong, where it is all about the creepy factor, well, no, just fricking no. The younger person or the child figure in the relationship must be mature enough to pursue the relationship. The relationship itself must have shifted so much that the power dynamic is no longer overwhelmingly in the favour of the adult/mentor.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that the child figure must have matured enough that they know what they are getting into. The parental figure need to not be the person with all the power, the one who can potentially abuse that power. Basically, it mentor / disciple (or any of the above) is like one of my favourite type of otps, but only when the power dynamic is more balance, hence, not at the start of such a relationship, but perhaps near the end, or even after the transition into partners or equals.

This made more sense in my brain.

Also, the reason imprinter / imprintee is so problematic for me, is that often it is used in fiction as a consolation prize. That, “you might have lost the girl you love, but LOOK, here is your ACTUAL, TRUE love,” um, fuck no. As someone said in the comment – the amount of guilt that the imprintee must deal with suck. This is why mutual imprinting is awesome, one sided imprinting is often stupid (especially in the case of consolation prizes), but can potentially be awesome if dealt in the right way.

In conclusion, my psychosis knows no bound.
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Comments {8}

Vel'ithya Tevriel

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from: velithya
date: Jul. 30th, 2010 11:32 am (UTC)
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I can't work out whether we're voting for couples we don't like or ones that we do.

In any case any kind of teacher/student where one person isn't old enough is just ick for me.

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witty, somehow

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from: naanima
date: Aug. 1st, 2010 10:56 am (UTC)
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I must be more clear next time.

I think you hit it on the nail. It is the age factor, like the younger person must be mature enough (old enough) to understand/comprehend the relationship, and they must be the initiator to make it ok for me.

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Elizabeth McCoy

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from: archangelbeth
date: Jul. 31st, 2010 12:01 am (UTC)
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You forgot Social Status! The Prince(ss) and the Pauper(ess), etc.

Social status is one of my happybuttons, when done right. Even if there's not a Luv relationship in there.

(Oh, and then there's species...)

But. Er. My very first Mary Sue. Had. Um. Much older male luv interest. (Try 6K and 16! AHEM.) And they had a Very Understandable Misunderstanding (she thought he was the bad guy, and he kinda was...) and there were fireballs thrown around and whatnot, but eventually -- in the parts I never really got written down -- my Mary Sue caught him when he was weakened by other stuff and they worked out the misunderstanding and there was hawtness. Ahem.

((...this got terribly odd when, allowing for metaphorical parallels, 95% of my Mary Sue's love interest was replicated in This Guy I Met, and eventually married. He was only twice my age (17) at the time, BUT HEY. I know my kinks, YES?))

So I have this thing about uppity gals and the older guys who put up with their hormone swings (and, in fiction, learn not to be too high-handed). *cough* (Hm. Lessee... The Witchwood Cradle, as I recall. I loved that book.)



Re Imprinting... ElfQuest. Recognition. Anything else will be held up to the Recognition yardstick to see if it is found wanting. *cough*

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witty, somehow

(no subject)

from: naanima
date: Aug. 1st, 2010 10:54 am (UTC)
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You know, it is kind of really freaky just how much of our kinks/otps are hold overs from out childhood.

See - love age-differential relationship, I just like it better when it doesn't follow the trope of older person being the initiator of a relationship. Hell, I think Tamora Pierce novel made me LOVE older-man and younger chick. EXCEPT it only goes anywhere when younger chick initiate the relationship.

Ah, power dynamics.

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Elizabeth McCoy

(no subject)

from: archangelbeth
date: Aug. 1st, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
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Ha, true enough that I met my fellow and started chasing after him! (He was doing the whole "But I'm twice your age!" thing and I thought about this and said, "SO???????")

I'm more amenable to it going the other way in fiction.... iiiiiffffff it hits my kinks of "building up the insecure younger's self-esteem" in just the right way.

Age-differentials -- have you read Bujold's The Sharing Knife series? That one hits my kinks nicely. O:D (And I think she's the one chasing the older fella, though it's mutual enough that there's not thaaaat much chasing involved to catch him.)

(*coughs more at her Mary Sue and mumbles something about the universe also including things like "imprinting/recognition" as a means of keeping powerful mages from blowing each other up instead of teaming up* It was a teenage mary sue! I'm not to blame! *sob* But power-dynamics. Yeah. Mmmm, power dynamics...)

Yeah, childhood OTP/kinks... I guess certain things are just, well... Imprinted on? *beth ducks and runs*

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baka_neko

(no subject)

from: baka_neko
date: Jul. 31st, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
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Given that I is Naona Bohra fan, older younger dynamic works very well, especially if younger is actually of legal age. Unfortunatel, parent-child and even siblings stuff is too uncomfortable for me to enjoy it, because well, one RL example is all you need to make your squick factor hit stratosphere. I quite like the mentor and disciplee one too; and hah, I loved the Condor Heroes too for the same reason! At least until Singapore tv ruined it for me. -__-;;

Imprinting...by which you mean young kid imprints and grows up determined to make imprintee mine?

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tsukineko

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from: nekomancy
date: Aug. 1st, 2010 10:39 am (UTC)
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I think she was thinking Twilight - imprintee - Renesmee :P

but doesn't the whole deus ex machina of this "imprinting" thing leave you absolutely in adoration / devotion of the other person so there's no guilt?

hmm tha'ts just like Larissa Ione's Dmeonica series of "bonding".

Oh and yeah I like the master/disciple one, it's close to the parent / child relationship but not as ... squicky sometimes. and yes I grew up on condor heroes too!

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witty, somehow

(no subject)

from: naanima
date: Aug. 1st, 2010 10:52 am (UTC)
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What nekomancy said!

I think it is why I LOVE Naona Bohra's manga. The possibility of child abuse freak me out. As long as everyone involved is an adult I feel like freaked out.

Also, Condor Heroes pretty much made a whole generation of people LOVE mentor/youth couples.

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