Tuesday, January 24, 2012

10 Kinky Kids' Stories

I’m a masochist, meaning I like pain and the idea of being dominated by a powerful entity. I say ‘entity’ because in the realm of fantasy, the dominant character can be a person or an animal or a robot or anything really. Despite perception of masochism as a conscious deviancy, I believe it’s more like a sexual orientation as I have been this way all my life. This means I was a masochist when I was a kid and as such tended to be drawn to certain stories that unintentionally exemplified kinks. So, here I’ve made a list of the top ten (most likely unintentionally) kinky stories of my childhood. If this isn’t your cup of tea, feel free to move on.

10.          The Muppets. I’ve talked about this before. Gonzo, the “whatever”, is the weirdo and the outcast of the show. As such, he’s a friend to kids like me who don’t really fit in with their social group. As part of his weirdness, he is shown to enjoy doing things that make no sense to enjoy. While these may be simply bizarre things like walking around with starfish in his pants, it also includes him liking things that normal people find painful and thinking the hard way is more exciting. Yes, I know he’s not a masochist, but I always liked to think of him as one. You know, like me.

                “Wow! What an exit! Straight through a brick wall!” –Gonzo, after an accident involving gunpowder, Muppet Treasure Island

9.            The Disappearing Bike Shop by Elvira Woodruff. This book is about a kid who walks into a mysterious bicycle store and finds out it’s actually a time machine controlled by Leonardo de Vinci. Leonardo jumps the store around time, and the kid gets out in the 1800s. He walks around town and gets bullied by some local boys. For some reason, I really loved the bullying scene. The kid accidentally steps in some manure and the boys laugh at him. Ah, humiliation.

8.            The Monster’s Ring by Bruce Coville. This is an entry in a series of his based in the concept of a store that sells magic items with specific instructions, and no one who buys the items actually listens to the instructions. It’s a common cliché—TV Tropes has a page for it—but I encountered it here first. This book is about a bullied boy who gets a magic ring that allows him to partially turn into a monster. The bullying scenes have their own sort of kinky appeal, but it’s the part of the book in which he ignores the instructions I found most compelling. He transforms too many times or something, causing him to turn wholly into a demon. His clothes burn off, and he goes around getting revenge on bullies, only to find out he can’t change back. He goes back to the store and manages to convince the old man to change him back, but he has to run home naked.

7.            Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler. This is a kids’ book about a 6-year-old boy called Jacob Two-Two who goes on an undercover mission to expose an abusive prison for children. It’s basically about how adults tend to disrespect kids, and its protagonist fights against fantastic villains that symbolically represent that ageism. That’s not why I liked the book. What I liked was a scene in which Jacob Two-Two is forced to take a shower in a freezer. The book included an illustration of the kid coming out of the freezer naked and just having to stand there in front of the guard, which actually didn’t correspond to the events in the book, but I loved that sentiment of being exposed.

 6.           Flash Forward; not the 2009 science-fiction show, but the 1996 kids’ show on the Disney Channel. I thought this show was so sexy when I watched it back when I was 7 and the kids it depicted were 6 years older than me, but now it just looks like a dopey kids’ show. Funny how perspective changes with age. Anyway, the kink comes from how boys sometimes end up in embarrassing situations of public nudity. This happens to the protagonist Tucker a couple of times, and in one episode a boy is harassed by some guys at a party who try to make him strip as a part of truth or dare thing. To me, this was the ‘adult show’ I sometimes watched when I could handle the eroticism of it all.

5.            Planet of the Apes, the 2001 version. A lot of people don’t like this movie, but I’ve always found it entertaining. There’s this whole thing with humanity being treated as like a slave race by the apes that I find engaging. I particularly identified with the little human girl kept as a pet by the ape girl. When I first saw the protagonist rescue her, my thought was, honest-to-blog, “Why wouldn’t she be happy as a pet? I would if I was her.” I really have to laugh at myself now that I’m aware of my kinks.

4.            Dragon’s Blood and Heart’s Blood by Jane Yolen. This is a science-fiction/fantasy series similar to the Dragonriders of Pern insofar as the setting is ostensibly a fantasy world with dragons but it turns out to be a terraformed planet in the far future. The story is centered a boy named Jakkin, born into a life of indentured servitude, who secretly raises a dragon pit fighter to earn enough to buy himself out of slavery. His friend and fellow indentured servant Errikkin asks him to promise that if Jakkin ever becomes free, he will buy Errikkin’s contract; Jakkin agrees. So, at the end of Dragon’s Blood Jakkin does indeed buy himself free, and in Heart’s Blood we see that he upheld his promise and bought Errikkin. There’s a little conflict between them, though, because Jakkin wants Errikkin to be free too, whereas Errikkin is happy being Jakkin’s slave and makes every effort to subvert Jakkin’s attempts to free him. Errikken does a cheerful bow, insists on washing his master, and seems gleeful when Jakkin gets angry and orders him out. Slashfic, anyone?

                “I don’t want to be free. I’m perfectly happy with you as my master . . . What more do I need?” –Errikken, Heart’s Blood, pg. 18

3.            Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, the kinkiness of which I’ve previously written about. This is a book in a fantasy series called The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, which is a quirky and witty subversion of fairy tales and popular fantasy. This book in particular is a feminist take on the whole damsel in distress concept where a princess would get captured by a dragon and a brave knight would save her. This book has it that Princess Cimorene is perfectly happy being owned by a dragon, thank you very much. Flawed feminist subversion? Perhaps, but the story is fun and has a good message about being yourself even if the oppressive world you were born into doesn’t like it.

                “Being a dragon’s princess is a perfectly respectable thing to do . . . And it would be much more interesting than embroidery and dancing lessons.” –Cimorene, pg. 18

2.            The Animorphs series by Katherine Alice Applegate (and various ghost writers). This is a long-running science-fiction series about 5 shapeshifting kids fighting a guerilla war against body-controlling alien parasites called Yeerks. These books are violent, passionate, and visceral, so it’s little surprise that some kinky stuff comes up, especially when we’ve got Yeerks. The Yeerks are actually pretty fascinating when it comes to their relationships to their hosts. The villainous Yeerks who control involuntary Controllers [Pet peeve: Hosts should not be called ‘Controllers’! They are controlled. If anyone’s a ‘Controller’, it’s the Yeerk!] are interesting enough, but it’s the voluntary Controllers that are really interesting. There are the humans who are brainwashed by the Yeerk Empire, but the books never show their perspective. We do, however, get a look at humans who like being hosts of Yeerks in the Yeerk peace movement.

An excellent example of a blend of voluntary and involuntary Controllerdom is Cassie and Aftran in their Enemy Mine bonding session in Book #19: The Departure. Their whole conflict and companionship is engaging, increasing to the point that Cassie is willing to be a host to save her from the other Animorphs in a fleeting hope for common ground. Aftran is kind of arrogant, believing that it is natural order for Yeerks to dominate humanity, but she is ultimately honorable and is so moved by Cassie’s gesture of sympathy that she sets her host free and joins the peace movement. Then in #29: The Sickness, we have voluntary Controller Mr. Tidwell and parasite Illim, of the peace movement.

                “It always makes me feel… I don’t know. Empty.” –Mr. Tidwell, when Illim leaves him, pg. 97

1.            A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. This series is kind of a parody of clichés, where everything goes horribly for these three kids. Just when things start to look up, things take a turn for the worse. It reads like pornography. It’s entirely sexless (besides the odd horrible implication), but it has the same style of gratuitous content that pops up again and again. In this case, the gratuitous content is suffering, which for me is erotic, so to me I always considered it ‘porn for kids’.

So, there we are; ten stories from my childhood that appealed to my masochistic nature. I’m posting this as a form of self-expression. While others’ sexuality has always been normal, mine has always been wrong, deviant, shameful, to be hidden away. And when all the masochists are hidden away and ignored, the normal people come in and start talking about this deviancy like they know what they’re talking about, presenting new ideas as to why masochism is wrong, following in the same unfounded tradition as homophobia, and encouraging even more that masochists be ignored. It’s ‘masochists have been abused’ or ‘masochists are deliberately straying from the path because they hate us’ or ‘masochists have internalized oppression’ or any number of ideas that apparently trump personal experience. I have been like this as long as I can remember, and I have a very good memory (like, 'you wore blue the last time we spoke six years ago'). Masochism is my natural state of being. It’s not wrong, and it doesn’t indicate anything about my morality. It’s not a sickness to be cured; it’s me.

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