Thoughts on a Movie D/s Folks Should See

Now then class, in my previous post I mentioned I wanted to talk about a movie I think all D/s people should see. What movie is this? I shall tell you in due time. This is the part where I talk about this film which displays an D/s relationship in a charming and entertaining manner, and thereby tease you into wondering what movie I could possibly mean. Some of you may think you already know. And some of you who think you already know are wrong. And no, this film is not pornographic. This the part where I smile smugly, ask if anyone cares to guess, and then pretend to answer questions. But what is the movie? The title of the movie is…

You didn’t think I would give away that easily did you? Anyway, so does anyone have a guess as to what movie I am talking about? Yes, you there, the lovely young woman in the front row, what is your guess? Is it the movie “Secretary”? No, it is not. But the fact that you winked at me when you said it means you’ll have to stay after class.

I will give you some clues. This is a mainstream film, and one often rather highly regarded. It has a 94% rating at rottentomatoes.com. The story involves a wealthy bachelor and an ambitious woman intent on improving herself. And it is, not deliberately I feel safe in saying, a delightful presentation of a two people working out a romantic D/s relationship.

The film in question is, of course, “My Fair Lady”. Yes, the musical with Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn. If you have not seen it, and you are interested in D/s, then you should definitely watch it.

Why? I am glad you asked. I will explain.

In the movie, Audrey Hepburn’s character is not weak or psychologically damaged or in some way in need of therapy. Her main problem is that she is poor and wishes not to be. Into her life comes a man who says that in six months time he can teach her proper English, and thereby be able to pass her off as a duchess or “get her a job as a lady’s maid or a shop assistant which requires better English.” She sees a chance to make herself better. She is not weak. She is strong, and with a will of her own.

So she goes to this man, Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison’s role), and does her best to get him to agree to teach her. She is even willing to pay for the lessons. With money, you dirty minded fiends in the back row. Hmph. Anyway, in the process of trying to make the arrangement with Higgins, she discovers he is not a man of tact and polite manners. She begins to question whether she should go through with her plans as she see how he talks down to her and treats her with a lack of what might be known these days as common courtesy. Indeed, Higgins treatment of the young woman Eliza might almost be call misogynist these days. Not just in this scene, but through out the film.

The change in Henry Higgins is not from tactless man to polite man. His journey is from a man who believes he will never let a woman in his life, to a man who believes needs one woman in particular in his life. Higgins is not cowed, not weakened in this story. He remains strong and egotistical from beginning to end. But he learns the value of having this woman, Eliza Doolittle, this submissive woman, in his life. Yes, I said it. She is submissive.

She not only submits to his teaching her to speak, and eventually teaching her courtly manners, she also begins to take care of him. She steps into a role of communicating between him and his house staff. But at the same time, Higgins has stepped into the role of taking care of her. And they become reliant upon each other. They form a Dominant/submissive relationship.

No, there are no whips or chains in this film. No bondage scenes or sex scenes or even kissing scenes. This is not about BDSM games. This is about two people working out a D/s relationship between a strong, determined, submissive woman, and a strong, harsh, Dominant man.

There is even the scene where Eliza, who has run away from the relationship, stands up to Higgins and tells him off in a lovely song. And his reply to this?

By George, I really did it, I did it, I did it! I said I’d make a woman and indeed, I did. I knew that I could do it, I knew it, I knew it! I said I’d make a woman and succeed, I did! Eliza, you’re magnificent. Five minutes ago, you were a millstone around my neck, and now you’re a tower of strength, a consort battleship. I like you this way.

She has shown her strength, and he admires her for it. Brilliant. But the true clue to the nature of their relationship comes a few minutes earlier in the film, in this exchange:

Eliza: Ooh, you are a devil. You can twist the heart in a girl just as easily as some can twist her arms to hurt her. What am I to come back for?

Higgins: For the fun of it! That’s why I took you on.

Eliza: And you may throw me out tomorrow if I don’t do everything you want me to.

Higgins: Yes. And you may walk out tomorrow if I don’t do everything you want me to.

Their relationship is voluntary. And in the rest of the conversation, they make clear to each other that neither one will change. And then Eliza walks out on Higgins, and he finally comes to realize how much he desires to have her in his life.

WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER AHEAD!

And ultimately, she returns to him, to live with him and be with him because in the end she wants that relationship. She wants to be with him, knowing she will be ordered about. And he takes her back, even though he has just said in the film emphatically he would not, because he wants her strength and joy in his life.

This is exactly a D/s relationship, and it is shown to us in a beautiful film with comedy and great songs, excellent set design and costumes, and sharp writing that is among the best Hollywood has ever produced.

Ah but, the purists interject, in George Bernard Shaw’s original play Eliza Doolittle does not return to Henry Higgins. I know. I read it. Shaw was against Eliza returning to Higgins. She was to stand on her own, free and independent. There was no room in Shaw’s world for a voluntary D/s relationship. He could not even conceive of it being possible. He ends his “What Happened Afterwards” addition to Pygmalion this way:

She [Eliza] is immensely interested in him [Higgins]. She has even secret mischievous moments in which she wishes she could get him alone, on a desert island, away from all ties and with nobody else in the world to consider, and just drag him off his pedestal and see him making love like any common man. We all have private imaginations of that sort. But when it comes to business, to the life that she really leads as distinguished from the life of dreams and fancies, she likes Freddy and she likes the Colonel; and she does not like Higgins and Mr. Doolittle. Galatea never does quite like Pygmalion: his relation to her is too godlike to be altogether agreeable.

But what Shaw could not see (and what many still today cannot see) is that Eliza can return to him, not as a creation to a god, but as a woman to a man. Higgins can be domineering and rough and tactless, and she can be smart and strong willed and liberated from the poverty that held her down, and they can still be a couple. When she recognizes that her submission to him is an expression of her strength, and has been all along, and he recognizes that her strength has been the most appealing part of her all along, then they can come together. And in my opinion, the film “My Fair Lady” brings them both to that, intentionally or not.

But getting back to the D/s side of this conversation, I think D/s folks ought to see this movie. It holds a lot for D/s folks to learn.

Dominants can learn something from Eliza’s journey from common, ignorant, uncultured girl to a tower of class and refinement. Do you want to know how to polish out the rough edges of your submissive and not ruin her strength? Discipline. Not punishment, though it may sometimes seem that way to the submissive. Discipline. Keep the discipline firm. Be stubborn at times. But direct it. Do not be arbitrary. Focus the discipline. In time, she will adapt. Perhaps not as suddenly as changing in a moment, but in time she will adapt and adjust and she will be closer to you as a result.

Submissives can learn from the movie as well. Want to see the perspective of a Dominant? Higgins may not be your Dominant exactly, but he gives an insight into the way Dominant men think. Not in his attitude toward women as much as in his attitude about himself. Where you, the submissive, may see harshness and meanness, he, the Dominant, sees practical attitude about people, and even kindness and compassion. What you may consider a loss of temper, he hardly notices or remembers. Not because he is callous and without feeling. But because he is a Dominant male. Such is his nature.

Am I saying “My Fair Lady” is a perfect example of D/s for all to follow? No. It is merely an example that is entertaining. Is Higgins a perfect Dominant? Or course not. The movie is not a guideline for how to live a D/s lifestyle. It is, after all, just a movie. But it can be helpful, as an examination of D/s. And it can be a place of common ground with others who have seen this film but who perhaps have a hard time understanding how a D/s relationship could be.

Your homework, class, is to go see the film. And if you are so inclined, write on your own blog or comment here about the movie, whether or not you think I am right, and/or your own thoughts about the nature of the characters and their relationships in the movie.

And you there, the lovely young woman in the front row, do not think I have forgotten about you. What is that? Will you get a spanking? Only if you earn it. Now get up here and lean over the desk.

Oh, and, uh, class dismissed.

4 Responses to “Thoughts on a Movie D/s Folks Should See”

  1. Well, now I want to see the movie…you always give me something to think about…thank you…

  2. I remember watching My Fair Lady (I have the DVD) after discovering my own submissiveness, and it IS rife with D/s, isn’t it? And it is funny……there is nothing wrong with Freddy, but….she just doesn’t want him. I love the song “Show Me.” Flowery words and a puppy dog trailing behind her is not what she wants. As exasperated and headstrong as she is……she WANTS Higgins. I know how she feels 🙂

  3. Butterfly Joy Says:

    Oh how I adore Audrey when she cries trying to pronounce the words right in front of that stupid machine.

  4. This is excellent, both in concept and in eloquence! Your review of “My Fair Lady” as a means to teach, demonstrating D/s lifestyles as so much more than kink, and exemplifying the poignant beauty that exists in the exchange of Dominance and submission, was quite brilliant. As I’ve only ever seen a small portion of the movie, you’ve certainly given me impetus to view it in its entirety. Thank you. More simply said, great job!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: