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The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:23 am
by Varda
“Helloooooo.” Her voice was low and seductive as she thrust her proportionally impossible bosoms in Perry’s face.

“Er… why are you doing that?” he asked.

She pouted her sultry lips. “I’m... seducing you?”

“Yes, but why? What’s your motivation?”

She considered the question. It was a good one. “I don’t know. My author wrote me this way, I suppose.”

“You don’t have to obey him, you know. I bet there’s loads of things you’d rather be doing.”

The evil seductress nodded, her enormous bosoms bobbing. “Y’know, you’re right! So what’s your opinion on Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origin of Inequality?

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:28 am
by Cutter McKay
"We can talk about anything you want... 'long as you're nekkid." -Congressman David Dilbeck (Striptease) :wink:

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:04 pm
by strawman
When I was little, I learned that the monsters in my nightmares were actually susceptible to being reasoned with, and I converted a few into allies.
I wish I had remembered that strategy when, in adolescent dreams, the Dark Side reformed its monsters into Succubae.
Varda wrote:“I don’t know. My author wrote me this way, I suppose.”
The Dark Side, c'est moi. :roll:

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:03 pm
by Varda
Call it slush pile PTSD. It's funny how for years I've heard folks in the publishing industry gripe about terribly written female characters, but I had NO IDEA just what they meant before recently. Anyway, Evil Seductress is a new pet peeve of mine. She would be so much more interesting if she did pretty much anything except what she's always doing, which is demonizing women's bodies.

I have a profound respect now for how hard 'zines work to filter it all out before it reaches the reader, thus ensuring that Varda is not Sad Varda when she listens to her iPod. :)

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:51 pm
by gunsofchekhovia
Varda wrote: “You don’t have to obey him, you know. I bet there’s loads of things you’d rather be doing.”
Well, I haven't written any evil seductresses lately, but I think my characters generally understand this rule and have no desire to cooperate with me.

Nice one, Varda!

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:41 am
by Spindaddy
You had me at 'hellooooooo'!

Haha! I liked this one. And not JUST for the boobs.

Allegedly....

I've heard that same complaint and honestly... I'm half scared of writing anything that has a female character in it beyond someone to interact with on the edge of the story because I can't ever seem to get the person I want to shine through.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:24 am
by Varda
gunsofchekhovia wrote:Well, I haven't written any evil seductresses lately, but I think my characters generally understand this rule and have no desire to cooperate with me.
True that, my friend. Sometimes you really have to motivate them, often with sharp objects or explosives strapped to your chest. I keep all these things sitting next to my laptop just in case. :p
Spindaddy wrote:I've heard that same complaint and honestly... I'm half scared of writing anything that has a female character in it beyond someone to interact with on the edge of the story because I can't ever seem to get the person I want to shine through.
That's a really good point, and something I struggle with when I write about people who are different from myself (such as people of color, people with disabilities, people who are gay, and people who are cosmic forces of madness). Don't be afraid to take risks, though. Like all of us, you'll probably get it wrong the first few times, but that's just part of how anyone gets to be a better writer. Get feedback from people you trust and listen closely to what they have to say.

For writing female characters, specifically get the opinion of women if possible, and ask them what they think about the female characters and how they could be improved. And if you don't have any she-writers in your circle, I'm always happy to give feedback for stuff posted on the Writing Forum. :)

Generally, if I had to sum up my biggest gripe about badly-written female characters, it's when authors treat femaleness as a self-explanatory personality trait instead of just one aspect of a person's whole personality. It feels like the story is nudging me with its elbow and saying, "Heh, you know how them wimminfolk can be, eh?" which makes me want to argue with the story, which makes it hard to enjoy it.

For example, the Evil Seductress trope relies on the assumption that regular women's bodies are inherently seductive, as if we all just shoot out magical tractor beams that make men no longer responsible for their own actions the moment they see an inch of skin. It also puts forward seduction as the female character's whole motivation, as if women have nothing better to do than stand around using their magical beam-radiating bodies to destroy men's lives, because women. Now with more development, any of these ideas can work (e.g. you can write about Succubi, which are actual demons who want to seduce men to damn their souls. Or you can write about a woman who for more complex reasons, chooses to seduce men to work toward a particular goal). But when presented uncritically, tropes like these make female characters boring and unrealistic at best, and offensive in worse cases.

I probably wouldn't apply this to drabbles, by the way, where the goal's to rely on shorthand to pack a punch quickly. But drabbles are certainly a great place to practice writing outside your comfort zone and trying on some new skins... metaphorically, of course.... ;)

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:43 am
by strawman
Varda wrote: For writing female characters, specifically get the opinion of women if possible, and ask them what they think about the female characters and how they could be improved.
And then (if they're really hot) you might ask them if they'd like to see your etchings.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:44 am
by gunsofchekhovia
I would like to point out that, while it's perfectly valid to feel that the evil seductress trope is demeaning to women, the fact that they are so often successful in their endeavors (of dubious motivation) is not exactly a compliment to male intelligence.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:04 am
by strawman
I was thinking the same thing yesterday when reading a comment on a NYTimes blog about rape. The comment stated that rape laws need to be changed so that if there is evidence of diminished capacity due to drugs or alcohol , there can be no such thing as consent, and the male can be charged even if the victim won't testify.

Virtually all college sex would then be rape. Alcoholics would have to be chaste. I don't doubt that it would require all the teetotalers in the world to guard the prisons that held everyone else.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:12 am
by Varda
gunsofchekhovia wrote:I would like to point out that, while it's perfectly valid to feel that the evil seductress trope is demeaning to women, the fact that they are so often successful in their endeavors (of dubious motivation) is not exactly a compliment to male intelligence.
Yep. Agreed 100%. A pretty ineffective plot device all around, although I understand why it used to work historically in the same way other outdated tropes have fallen by the wayside.

Interestingly, you see shades of Evil Seductress in rape logic, too, when victims get partially blamed for their own rapes on the basis of what they were wearing. It both assumes that women's bodies are inherently irresistible, and that men are all such huge morons that of course we've got to let them off the hook for having zilch self-control.

Edit - wrote this before Strawman posted!
Re: alcohol - I support that law, personally. I think it would be good all around to move toward a culture where we only have sex with people that actually want to have sex with us. Problem is that men who intentionally set out to rape are really good about working within the bounds of technicality. They involve alcohol just so that they can disparage their victims' credibility after the fact. Same with the clothing thing.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:30 am
by jkjones21
I'm in agreement with Varda about the alcohol thing. The reason we have laws against operating heavy machinery while under the influence of mind altering substances is because there's a loss of faculty at play. I don't see a difference in saying that a person is incapable of responsibly consenting to sex while intoxicated and saying a person is incapable of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Both ideas are meant to protect both the person doing the drinking (or other recreational drug use) and the people they will come in contact with in the course of their inebriation. Saying that drunk = unable to consent should send a message that this is inherently risky behavior that should be avoided by everyone involved. It probably wouldn't do a whole lot to change drinking culture in college, but it would help a little, and even small steps in the right direction are a good thing.

Re: the drabble: Varda had me proofread this one for her while she was composing it, and we had a lot of fun brainstorming what the evil seductress would be interested in doing given the opportunity to act on her own volition. Personally, I would have liked to seen an inclusion of the seductress naming herself, though I know there's only so much room in a drabble, and the revelation that she's into 18th century philosophers does plenty, I think. The name thing springs more from an incident at work this week where I had to lecture a student for calling the character Suzanne from Orange is the New Black by her nickname 'Crazy-Eyes' because that nickname reduces her to just one facet of her personality--the fact that she's crazy. Her entire point on the show is to highlight that instant reduction that we do to people we don't know well, much like what's done with evil seductresses. Of course, I was thrilled that the student likes such a progressive show like Orange because he's otherwise an unfortunate Good Ole' Boy in training who doesn't understand why the Confederate flag might be offensive.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:40 am
by strawman
Varda wrote: Edit - wrote this before Strawman posted!
Re: alcohol - I support that law, personally. I think it would be good all around to move toward a culture where we only have sex with people that actually want to have sex with us. Problem is that men who intentionally set out to rape are really good about working within the bounds of technicality. They involve alcohol just so that they can disparage their victims' credibility after the fact. Same with the clothing thing.
Personally, I think adolescent males need all the incentives society can muster to stay sober and thinking with their big heads. I'm even willing to support Bromines in the public water supply. But I don't think its a matter of "only having sex with people that want to have sex with us." The choice to consume alcohol is a part of the breakdown of inhibitions that men and women choose to participate in as part of their own mating and courting rituals. If the law changes such that all activity after .2% BAL is statutory rape, that would be a pretty puritanical law. And it would make felons of an awful lot of people. Plus, where is the gender equity? If the guy is under the influence, would the girl be arrested?

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:55 am
by Varda
strawman wrote:Personally, I think adolescent males need all the incentives society can muster to stay sober and thinking with their big heads. I'm even willing to support Bromines in the public water supply. But I don't think its a matter of "only having sex with people that want to have sex with us." The choice to consume alcohol is a part of the breakdown of inhibitions that men and women choose to participate in as part of their own mating and courting rituals. If the law changes such that all activity after .2% BAL is statutory rape, that would be a pretty puritanical law. And it would make felons of an awful lot of people. Plus, where is the gender equity? If the guy is under the influence, would the girl be arrested?
I understand your concern. Maybe it helps to point out that such a law wouldn't criminalize drunk sex, but would criminalize drunk non-consensual sex. If all parties involved are happy with the arrangement, no one's going to be filing charges, and there's no problem. This rule would merely remove one barrier that prevents victims from prosecuting their rapists.

Unfortunately, rape is a crime that is disproportionately gendered and tends to be perpetrated by men, usually against women, with the very notable exception of prison populations. But all victims of rape, male and female, would benefit from this rule. The big point is that "he/she was drunk, so I proceeded without consent assuming I had it" doesn't fly the next day. The victim will be allowed to seek justice. The rapist will not be able to use this strategy to repeatedly target vulnerable people. If a woman rapes a man while he's drunk (and it can indeed happen), then of course you should throw her in jail. Just because it's rare doesn't make it right.

I don't see it as puritanical because I think a drunk woman's right not to be raped trumps a man's right to have sex with a drunk woman that he's not positive would consent otherwise. I know too many women who have been raped, and am amazed at how carefully their rapists constructed and controlled the situation to maximize their chances of getting away with it. Incidentally, none of my friends ever went to the police or prosecuted. This relates, in turn, to the way we just side with the "poor boys" and assume it was all a horrible misunderstanding, or that the girl was wearing the wrong thing or drinking or otherwise somehow deserved what she got.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:27 pm
by strawman
I understand and agree.

The law that was being proposed went much further. It proposed making it statutorily impossible for a drunk person to give consent, just as if the impaired victim were under age, so that police could arrest and prosecute the partner without the testimony or even complaint of the victim.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:36 pm
by Varda
Oh - well, that really IS quite extreme! Yeah, I don't support the police getting involved where they're not wanted or needed. Whenever I've heard people talk about changing the laws regarding consent and alcohol, it's always been in reference to closing a loophole that effectively promotes predatory behavior.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:22 pm
by Spindaddy
Damn it! The freaking Xbox seduced me away from the forums last night and I missed out on all the rape discussion. Though in my case that is probably a good thing as I have a tendency to get carried away and bring in all sorts of what if factors for the sake of devils advocate. Ah well....

Warning! I'm about to use the word 'Most' and other relative terms. Bleary-eyed coffee fuel brain vomit just ahead.

SO to go back to the Evil Seductress and the reason why it works so well is (in my mind) due to:

1. Most Men are dumb enough to go along with the Evil Seductress's plan because 'hey sex'. Men get seduced into thinking sex is the prize.
2. The Evil Seductress twists everything around to shut off a man's thinking/reasoning--it's almost like a reverse mind-rape or an addiction where even when a man wants to break free he can't.
3. The Evil Seductress is to men what the Vampire is to women, except way more real in the sense they exist in this world. Don't believe me? Why is Dominatrix a successful job?

The funny part about the whole Evil Seductress is that she doesn't have to be beautiful or well endowed. All she really needs is a position of power somewhere and the ability to be straightforward and break the dynamics of the 'courtship game'. The courtship game between men and woman is weird--the perceived norm is that a man must chase and the woman must play hard to get. There are a lot of people that can transcend this, but ultimately it has been my experience if you want a woman, you must engage in a bit of 'the game'. Certainly not with all woman, but there are many women who will NOT make the 'first move' so the man MUST in order to advance the courtship. (This is also known as the friendzone where men are afraid of rejection and won't take the risk to advance the relationship and the women are too afraid of losing the man to risk overcoming the norm and be thought of as a slut.)

The Evil Seductress turns courtship game on its head because SHE becomes the pursuer and the man must now run--except men are usually caught flatfooted because they aren't used to direct signals. It short circuits their brain and the Evil Seductress removes their ability to make good choices--this is often why Evil Seductresses are symbolized with Spiders, Cougars, Tigers, and other similar predatory beasts that hunt via ambush, stealth and traps. Sure there are a lot of men can and will resist the Evil Seductress, but I've watched some very empowered women just mentally castrate a room full of men with their ability to be direct and force the game of pursuit into their own terms.

I've always wanted to write some Fanfic about Izma and Kronk and how they 'got together'. Now that would be some dark fiction... heh heh heh.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:28 pm
by jkjones21
Strawman: I think I missed the bit about this being an extreme law proposed by a commenter on a blog; I'm with Varda in terms of thinking that putting something in place to close a legal loophole would be for the best (although, a quick Google shows that 0.2% is way beyond legally drunk in the US--here's a link to Wikipedia's article on effects of BAC at various levels along with legal limits in many countries; based on that table, if a person hits 0.2% BAC then they probably are on the verge of memory loss, meaning that consent really isn't feasible no matter how you slice it--at that point, I'd definitely be cool with a person being able to press rape charges, because who's honestly callow enough to try to get it on with a person that incapacitated and pass it off as a mutual thing?)

Spindaddy: I've had this conversation on another thread over at Escape Artist's forums, and I'll try to briefly sum up my points (the original discussion went on for several days and multiple posts).

The evil seductress is a popular trope because it reinforces the social narrative that men are helpless idiots who can be manipulated by women through the use of sexual promise. That's a narrative that betrays a poor opinion of both men and women, because it assumes that women, as a class, are power hungry and willing to use something unique to their sex (sex appeal is not gendered) to get it, and that men, as a class, are powerless to treat people not like themselves as fully agent persons if they find them attractive. I think both of these stereotypes are damaging to the dignity of humanity as a whole, and would be better eradicated rather than perpetuated.

The 'courtship game' wherein women refrain from being forthright in their attraction to men is another damaging narrative, and one that perpetuates the belief that women who do not just do what men want them to do are dangerous.

The evil seductress is a problematic trope because she has no inherent motivation beyond seeking power and using sex to get it, while also contradicting the dominant narrative of 'women should be submissive to men' in a way that suggests there is no alternative to that narrative but anarchy and chaos, cats and dogs living together in harmony, the complete destruction of civilization as we know it.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:04 pm
by strawman
One of my earliest adolescent experiences (while locked away in an all-male boarding school) was correspondence with a girl who used the security of my distance to experiment with her newly discovered female Evil Seductress manipulative powers. She wrote long, scented letters that detailed her personal confessions and exploits. I don't think she exactly intended to torture me. But she sure did perfect her craft by using me as her diary.

It was a personal assertion of power, self-gratification, and manipulation that resulted in a loss of innocence. A kind of mental rape. But it was the 1960's, and everyone was about to be invited to look at sex as a party without consequences.

Re: The Evil Seductress Talks Philosophy

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:39 am
by Spindaddy
I had a whole big response, but I deleted it because I'd rather keep things light because I don't want to debate "what should be and the way the world is" on the internets. I see your arguments and I politely disagree. I understand what you mean by the eradication of tropes that damage human dignity, but I have yet to met a Seducer/Seductress (or any other terrible human) that ever gave a crap about the human existence outside of themselves. I am of the belief fairy tales have their place and they should be there to warn people of the dangers/monsterous acts their fellow woman/man are capable of perpetrating.

Of course, I also like when heroes are good, villains are bad and everyone else gets to live happy every ever because I know in my heart that no one ever gets to live happily ever after--you only get the chance to die content.