The power of media…

The power of media…

I like to have some TV on in the background when I’m doing a bunch of graphics or tedious work. My favorites are usually police shows. Criminal Minds, Law & Order and so on.

Right now I’m rewatching CSI from the beginning. Starting in 2001, it’s amazing to me how different things are now.

But overall, it’s a fun way to have a bit of background and see shows that I don’t need to pay a lot of attention to.

But a few do catch my attention.

Like this one from Season 3 in 2003.

I think anyone (in this crowd at least, LOL!) who watched CSI will remember Lady Heather and her dungeon. She was in a few episodes, and I’d guess many of us wanted to be her or be with her or both. She was smoking hot, if a bit…dramatized.

And overall, I’d say that CSI treated BDSM pretty fairly.

EXCEPT, this fucking concept.

I’ve written about the trop that the submissive has all the power in the relationship before. If you’ve not read that, here is the link (hint, I think it’s BS—the submissive doesn’t WANT all the power, duh, that’s the point):

And I’ve been wondering for a long time where this idea that seem prevalent across the internet came from. Because I had NEVER ever heard it before getting online, and it’s just wrong.

And rewatching Lady Heather’s Box (S3 E15), I realized the power of media.

Because Grissom said at the end of the show, “All that time at Lady Heather’s and you never learned that the submissive is the one in control?”

And BOOM! There is was.

Laid out in it’s ugly, misconstrued glory.

THAT’S where it came from.

Because it’s true in one sense, it feels right. It’s a sticky idea. And it’s easy to take that sound bite to online forums and say it, and people will agree because they don’t really know better.

And I’m sure the idea was floating around out there in some fashion for the writers to get it. I’m also thinking, though, that this show with it’s millions of viewers, pushed it into our social understanding in a way that would have NEVER happened naturally.

The problem is that that line was true in context at Lady Heather’s dungeon. Although I would have said “…the bottom is the one in control?” But they didn’t make that distinction, and I’ll forgive them for it.

Many people in the scene don’t, either. And that’s OK.

Because in most professional scenarios, the person paying is the one in control. They choose the activities, they control the depth and always have a way out (safe word, for example).

And that was discussed at the beginning of the show. How that was how Lady Heather’s worked.

But in the interest of a clever quip, the writers of CSI got it wrong.

Because when Grissom said it, it wasn’t about something that happened at Lady Heather’s. It was about a D/s relationship in real life that ended in murder. And while they made the distinction at the beginning of the show between pay-for-play scenes and real life, with that one quote at the end, I believe they added tot he cultural zeitgeist in a way that has misinformed people for nearly two decades.

And that frustrates me.

Because BDSM is SO MUCH MORE than portrayed in media. And I think they did try to portray it well, in general (within the confines of formulaic television centered on people getting horribly murdered, LOL!), and that one slip up triggered a myth that has stuck around way too tenaciously.

And has given me and the community even more to set straight.

Because once this is out there, disagreeing with it becomes harder. It’s not so difficult to educate from scratch. But to reform beliefs that have been stuck into a back corner of a mind (and I have seen this episode before, and I just now realized what was being said, really) is much more difficult.

But I’ll keep at it.


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One Response

  1. It’s sad that so many people will “learn” from this. I’m not hung up on being correct in some academic sense, but I think there is a bigger problem. People may watch the Heather scenes and relate. They might think “wow, that’s hot, I would love to dominate someone like that”, or “This is me! I would love to consensually relinquish control and have someone take me on an adventure”. Then that validation is blown up by the snarky comment that probably makes them feel stupid, naïve, and wrong.

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