Log in

No account? Create an account
17 April 2016 @ 05:32 pm
and speaking of The Taming of the Shrew  
'I Don't Know Whether to Kiss You or Spank You': A Half Century of Fear of an Unspanked Woman

Cooper gets the idea [of spanking Claudette Colbert's character] after picking up a copy of The Taming of the Shrew, but it gets him nowhere, and in the next scene he throws the book in the fireplace.

Many of the spanking films seem to have Shakespeare’s play in mind, most obviously 1955’s quasi-adaptation Kiss Me, Kate. In alluding to the play, they suggest there’s something timeless about this kind of violence. Men have always had to spank their women when they’ve gotten out of line. Yet one thing you can say for Shakespeare’s play is that Kate isn’t physically abused. Indeed, a fetish site has looked through the stage history of the play and been unable to find any spankings until after World War II.

Repeatedly, in movies, newspapers, and Mrs. J.B.M.’s letter, the phrase “old-fashioned spanking” is used to align the act with a long tradition. A spanker is guilty, one story notes, of having “backslid into the past.” Another spanker “exercised a once universal but now frowned upon right.” Yet it’s a struggle to find examples of this form of marital discipline occurring very long ago. The spanking forums, which revel in finding precedents for their kink, come up really short on any before the last century. Of course, the more violent practice of wife beating, and the law of coverture that authorized it, has a long, ugly history—but wife spanking was new. It makes no appearance in histories of domestic violence. It was a particularly modern response to modern anxieties.

(link via a commenter at The Toast.)