Friday, August 27, 2010

Kink Flick Review: Secretary

Secretary is a film about a quirky, somewhat disturbing romance. A young woman lands a job as a typist for a lawyer. He gives her some unusual assignments—and punishes her if she fails. She relishes the kinky interactions. After a bump or two in the relationship road, they fall in love, get married and keep the kink alive.

Many, many BDSM stories use this movie as a template. That's not always a good thing.

The office worker who enjoys a Secretary-style BDSM fling with her superior is now a fictional staple. A few recent examples of “boss” BDSM stories include: Punishing Pansy by P. Friday, Heidi and the Kaiser by Selena Kitt, Beck and Call by Abby Gordon, Confessions of a Submissive by Claire Thompson, and Office Slave by J.W. McKenna. (I have written one of these tales too, but I’ll save that discussion for another post.)

Lee, the typist in Secretary, is an insecure, unhappy young woman. She’s a cutter. She goes from the nut-house to typing school, and then to submissive-land. That bugs me. The subtext is: a girl has to be crazy to get involved in BDSM.

Tymber Dalton’s popular book, The Reluctant Dom, also has a cutter character. She “heals” through BDSM. I think that’s crazy. A Dominant can't fix a person who self-mutilates. I recently read a blog defending Tymber’s book. The blogger explained she’d much rather see a cutter being cured by a flogging than fixed by drugs or psychotherapy. Um-kay. The problem is this: beat-down therapy happens only in fiction.

The lawyer in Secretary is a creative Top/Dom. That's fun to watch. Unfortunately, he believes his perverse activities are despicable. Crazy Lee is far more comfortable with her kink than he is. Of course, she has to use some BDSM self-talk tapes to get that way.

Secretary gives us a mish-mash of nearly every sort of kink interaction. A little D/s, a bit of S & M, some bondage, a lot of spanking, a smattering of uber control, a scene of pony play, and quite a lot of SAM (smart ass masochist) behavior.

There's only one thing in the Secretary kink smorgasbord I find authentic: BDSM is portrayed as a game. Too bad this message gets obscured by all that self-loathing and healing.

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