Okay, so last time we talked about Fenris, a not so well known character. But what about someone more well known? Sometimes your malesub fantasies aren’t about people who aren’t physically vulnerable, they’re emotional punching bags who just don’t measure up. They’re allowed to be less than. And sometimes a guy can get emasculated on a daily basis and still be popular.
Superman: Fun With Self Cuckolding
No, seriously. Superman might be superhumanly invulnerable, bends the laws of physics and take nothing after his biological parents (top tier scientist of Krypton), favouring a J-school background and problem solving based on hitting things. He’s a muscle bound power fantasy who can be hard to write for precisely because he is basically a god. But there’s a weeny little thingee in his canonical relationship with Lois Lane (or really with women in general) that hints the Man of Steel refers to his chastity cage not his strength…
Superman dates back to 1938, making him a cultural icon that pretty much everyone knows. His creator, needing to make a living like everyone else, distilled him out of sketches of a socialist hero of the people into a heroic commercial success. But as well as a story about a man that bounces over buildings, it’s also a story about a rather repitative love life.
Once you leave aside largely forgettable perils, the general plot of the earlier stuff runs as a rejection tango- Superman as Clark gets pushed aside by the modern career woman Lois, who is, herself often depicted as chafing against her gender strictures and happily shrewish and controlling. She’s an Intrepid Reporter, of the kind that chases a scoop past sanity, and after being rescued a few times, develops a thing for manly-man superman, while overlooking her coworker- well actually she seems to like him a fair bit. They go on dates a hell of a lot for someone who is beneath her notice.
Of course she’s generally written as smugly thinking how nice it is she has Clark wrapped around her finger, something that is also spelled out that Superman knows. It’s dressed up as Charles Atlas-esque “needs a real man!” gender existentialism, and hand waved away that perpetually nebbish Clark is being trapped by his own unwillingness to share who he is. Which is ah…
The artist responsible for Superman has a secret identity of his own, the pen behind a notorious book of BDSM comics, that was basically an insexe of its day. The publisher got time in prison, but Shuster escaped un-noticed thanks to anonymity.
But even as Shuster was dropped from his own product (comics are a mean business) that particular dynamic sees its echoes. For example, Superman and his cousin, Lana Lane. It’s essential to the character.
He wants women who give him shit. Sure, he likes to play alpha when he rescues them, but this is like a guy with foot long cock wearing a falsie so he can have sph. And eventually, because the secret identity plots get resolved (repeatedly) if you tell the story long enough:
Lois, being Lois, even when being called “Young Lady”, still is going to boss Superman around, especially after she confirms she still has the upper hand in this relationship. Because the thing is, he is Clark Kent. Superman is a hyper mascho ideal he puts on to get shit done while still living as who he is, which is a guy who wants to chase women he knows are take-charge and think they are controlling him.
Of course you can take the character in other directions, and sometimes it wanders into tiresome Betty-and-Veronica style love triangles between the ladies in his life or into the wide range of superman being a dick.
However being reject by Lois is so iconic, that even when he comes back from the dead (Death of Superman, a desperate attempt to revive a moribund franchise) he has a shape shifter pretend to be him (as Clark) and have Lois reject the double to throw herself at Superman. We can’t have anyone thinking Lois likes Clark now, can we?
The most recent movie incarnation, as well as making him Jesus, dropped the journalism rejection subplot completely. But even that awkward mess of a movie still kept a bit of dependency. I’ll consider Supes hugging Lois’s legs and crying as fanservice.