dagas_isa: Jade being a BAMF (Jade - Bamf)
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Title:: Domination in lowercase. (Homestuck, Jade/Karkat, Humiliation (verbal))
summary: Behind the scenes commentary for Submission in All Caps
content notes: The characters involved are under 18 in canon. However no mention of their canon ages are made in either here or the story itself.
other notes: If you're someone who finds author commentary to be a detriment to enjoying the story, please don't read. I'd much rather people enjoy the story for what it is.



GG: karkat, do it. your mistress commands you.

CG: …FINE. I, KARKAT VANTAS, AM THE FUCKING LEGEND OF SEXUAL PROWESS. THE SLURRIES OF MY RED AND BLACK CONQUESTS COULD FILL AN ENTIRE FILIAL PAIL AND SPAWN A MILLION GRUBS WHO COULD HATCH AND CONQUER AN ARM OF THE GALAXY BY THEMSELVES. MY BONE BULGE MAKES MY MATESPRITS GASP IN BOTH DELIGHT AND SUPPRESSED FEAR AND MY KISMESISES GASP IN BOTH RAGE AND SUPPRESSED DELIGHT. MY PROWESS IS SUCH THAT IF ALTERNIA WERE STILL AROUND AND FUNCTIONING, AN IMPERIAL DRONE WOULD HAVE TO FOLLOW ME AROUND CONSTANTLY JUST TO CAPTURE THE GENETIC MATERIAL OTHERS EXCRETE AT THE MERE BRUSH OF MY SMOLDERING GAZE UPON THEM. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANTED ME TO SAY?



I wrote "Submission in All Caps" earlier this year as a Porn Battle entry that asked for a Jade/Karkat fic with a combination of prompt words that encouraged a playful femdom story. Since a lot of the story would be written through chat logs, verbal humiliation would be a key part of the D/s dynamic. Or well, verbal commands would be. Verbal humiliation would simply be the most intuitive way to convey the long-distance D/s dynamic. There's just one problem. Or well, two.

First, Karkat is the master of self-deprecation. Watch:

CG: I'M A DISGUSTING WORTHLESS BILGESACK ON THE GARGANTUAN TEAT OF A LABORING, LEPROUS MUSCLEBEAST. MY SELF ESTEEM IS SO SMALL, ITS EXISTENCE IS A MATTER OF CONJECTURE AMONG THEORETICAL PHYSICISTS. I SMELL SO BAD, THE STENCH CANNOT BE EXPRESSED WITH EVEN THE MOST ELOQUENT, FLORID LANGUAGE. …
(source)


(this, by the way, goes on)

In other words, as a task, this isn't something he needs to be told to do, and it's certainly not something that's challenging for him. He loathes himself to the point where it's speculated to be canon self-hatecest. He insults himself all the time and then does it some more. He's very colorful and creative about it too. Yep, when it comes to verbally putting oneself in his place, Karkat Vantas is simply the best there is. And while verbal humiliation and self-loathing is definitely a kink of his on some level, there was something else making me uneasy about writing self-deprecating verbal humiliation. That rant he gives above, this is Jade's reaction to it in canon (same page as above):

GG: do you even remember the right password?
CG: SOMETHING ALONG THE LINES OF GRATUITOUS SELF DEPRECATION FORCED INTO MY MOUTH, INVOLVING REFERENCE TO SOME KIND OF WEIRD HUMAN COUPLING RITUAL?
GG: youre being deliberately dumb
GG: it was...
GG: IF I HATE MYSELF SO MUCH, THEN WHY DON'T I HATEMARRY MYSELF?
GG: remember?
GG: i was just using the password system to poke a little fun at you, and you turn it into this whole overdramatic thing, jeeeeez.



In other words, Jade has very little patience for his shenanigans. So, while I could see Karkat easily going on long elaborate speeches about how worthless he is, and putting himself down on several levels, what I really had trouble seeing when I wrote the story was Jade being able to playfully dominate him while he did that. Karkat would run too far with it, further than Jade would feel comfortable. Worse, I couldn't see her actually enjoying the session if it meant Karkat saying this about himself again. It's too close to the exact behavior he does on his own that exasperates her.

While the fic itself is from Karkat's point of view, I constructed the fic and the events in it from Jade's point of view. I thought of her and what commands she might give if she wore going to dominate Karkat. Even if one side of the conversation was ever shown, I wanted the reader to be able to imagine Jade on the other end grinning with absolute joy with whatever show she had Karkat performing for her. And when I thought about it that way, I had another approach to verbal humiliation that worked perfectly for this story: effusive—exaggerated, even—self praise.

I'll say this, personally, I find it a lot easier to put myself down, even when I think I'm actually pretty good at something than I do with actually admitting that I'm pretty good. There's something about building myself up, and then putting it out there for people to evaluate and decide if I'm really as good as I say I am, whereas the worst anyone can do if I put myself down is to agree with me (this isn't true, but it took a lot of time to learn this). But, more to the point, self-praise can be just like self-deprecation or other kinds of verbal humiliation in the way that it exposes people and makes them vulnerable.

Self-praise, in this story too, makes much more sense than traditional verbal humiliation in the D/s dynamic between Jade and Karkat. It suits her temperament and preferences to command this, than give him more space to insult himself. And it's the exact type of verbal-humiliation that places her needs and desires above his. Self-praise makes Karkat uncomfortable, and doing it shows his level of submission to his mistress.

Better, besides the speech quoted at the beginning of the passage, I could imagine Jade or even Karkat under Jade's command writing any number of these effusive exaltations, all shining light on one exaggerated or real positive aspect of his characters. The one about his sexual prowess that I actually used, and then the ones I mentioned in the story about Karkat being a nubby-horned magical girl, and the ones where he praises himself as the leader who saved his race and created Earth. But there is, I imagine, also the unmentioned speech where Karkat claims to be a trendsetter in redefining the high-waisted pant, the speech about Karkat's super-virus programming ability, and the fact that he can still recite by heart the full-theme to the Thresh-Prince of Bel Air. And, perhaps, when Jade feels that Karkat must truly be punished, he must give a full soliloquy as to why he, Karkat Vantas, is the best hate-lover of all times and why his standards for a kismesis are so impossibly high, he can only love-to-hate himself.

And in conclusion, I absolutely loved writing this story, and it really was thinking outside the traditional idea of verbal humiliation that allowed this story to come together as it did.
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