Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Recently, Maymay, my favorite young sexuality warrior, was attacked by two women named Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks, who are affiliated with the branch of the Salvation Army that deals with sex trafficking. They set about to defame him, name him a pedophile and a generally disgusting human being, and make out his KinkForAll unconferences to be recruitment centers for children to become involved in “violent and unhealthy sexual practices.”

Anyone who knows Maymay knows what an earnest, intelligent, caring and free person he is. His recent post, where he responds to the woman who alerted him to the bulletin by first writing a ranty post, then gracefully apologizing for her anger, is nothing short of inspiring.

As one commenter said, I want to be like him when I grow up.

At the moment, he’s looking for support, which is why I’m making this post to begin with. If you have a moment and care about the cause of sexual freedom and education, please check out his post and signal boost it.

In specific, he asks that you follow these guidelines:

* Refer to me as maymay.
* Name Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks as the sources of attacks.
* Do express your opinion, but do so civilly. Do not use hateful language when you refer to Donna M. Hughes, Margaret Brooks, or their affiliates.
* Link to my blog post(s) about this[0][1] and the posts of my friends,[2][3] but NOT to Donna M. Hughes’ or Margaret Brooks’ writings; linking there merely amplifies their damage.
* Link to your friends’ blog posts who have written about this when they do.
* Quote my blog if you feel tongue-tied or inarticulate.

It is my hope that all of us can rise to his example in this fight. We’ve all been Ranty McRantypants from time to time; in the blogosphere, it’s easy to do so. Attempting rational discourse and bridge-building is just incredible in this sphere, but it looks like it has begun.

Let’s go.

Submit to FetSpank.com :: add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Read Full Post »

There must be more I can do to advance the cause of healthy feminist kink, but, as Trinity knows, it’s impossible to ignore the incredible vitriol and anti-kink rhetoric coming from radical feminists like Nine Deuce. I never go to those pages on my own, but I’ve gotten back to the blogrolls lately, and there have been more links to that space on Let Them Eat… It becomes impossible to ignore after a while, like a train wreck you can’t look away from. It’s relatively easy for me to ignore the insane right wing – not because I don’t think they have influence: they have a terrible amount of influence in this country. But they’re big and they’re a constant target of their polar opposites on the left as well as of reasonable people throughout the land, and I don’t feel much of a personal responsibility to battle them on a daily basis.

Feminists, though…well, they’re supposed to be on my side, right? I’m a woman, I’m a feminist, I see and experience oppression under the same patriarchal systems of power that they do, yes? Yet it seems to be the job of these particular wingnuts to invalidate kinky women’s experiences, undermine our sense of agency, silence us and rail against any type of education that might give us some other perspective than “BDSM is bad. Reallllly baaaaad.”

We know all this. I know all this. And it may be a sign of my own masochism that I keep feeling the need to dip my toes into these discussions and wait for them to get torn off by crocodiles. It’s probably long since time for me to quit it, since I’m increasingly surrounded by 8- and 9-toed peers who keep braving the waters as well.

But as anyone who knows me well knows, if you want me to shut up and leave you alone, there is one damn thing you don’t do. And that’s attack people I care about.

The short version: Orlando dives into the soup, like he does. (I think his toes are still intact, but his whole body’s poked full of holes.) After getting his left brain chewed on for offering facts and studies by women who’d rather he shut up if he can’t provide personal experience, then getting the other cheek slapped for daring to provide the “anecdotal evidence” that their own arguments so often rest on, and other bits of his head ripped off every time he tries to understand and be civil, he finally responds from a place of hurt and exhaustion having spent most of the previous week in the hospital caretaking his wife, who has aggressive cancer. He pours out his soul and implores these people he still considers intellectual peers and reasonable people to have compassion for the real human beings we’re talking about when we talk about this subject.

And they accuse him of using his wife’s cancer as a manipulative ploy to score points on the Internet.

Now, I don’t know Orlando in real life, though I came close to doing so and hope to meet him and his Murre – may she be whole and healthy and strong again – before long. But his voice is one I respect mightily and am wholly moved by regularly, and I’ve come to have a serious affection for him and for Murre both by extension and by direct contact.

In some ways, I have a purer affection for them both than I might if I knew them, as I still know them only as they present themselves online, and not as who they truly are, warts and all. I daresay many of us have similar online relationships, and are similarly protective of them.

And so I just want to give a shout-out to the blogosphere at large and say this:

Do not. Fuck. With people I care about.

To Polly, Nine Deuce, Joan Kelly (a “passive-aggressive liar with a martyr complex”?? Really??), Laurelin, and the rest of you who jumped in to kick someone already in pain in the guts: how dare you. This is not some troll trying to get you in a twist by jumping in with stupid counter-arguments. This is a thoughtful, careful, real human being who is doing his best to give you the respect he somehow continues to assume you deserve even as he is in disagreement with you. This is someone who consistently, throughout the time I’ve been reading him, has made an honest attempt to engage you in discourse and given you ample opportunity to get to know him. And when in his frustration and exhaustion he finally stops beating his head against the brick walls of your own anger and pain and shows you his throat, you don’t hesitate to step up and slit it.

You cruel, twisted fucks. And you dare to say that what consensual kinksters do is evil.

Fuck you. Fuck you right in the ear, until you learn how to think a bit better about who deserves your compassion.

(Sorry, Orlando. I had to.)

Submit to FetSpank.com :: add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Read Full Post »

A reminder: Topologies

I’m writing in two places now.

Go check out Topologies for the viewpoints of me and two other fab dominant women on what it means to be dominant and female.

Read Full Post »

I just know I’m going to get it for this, but here goes.

The ever-erudite and thought-provoking Orlando has got me thinking again. In an ongoing series of posts, he is examining privilege, entitlement, and the concept of slumming in the context of sexual power dynamics.

I recommend reading the series (though he charmingly and inaccurately calls them “tedious”), but the short version goes something like this. “Susie,” a traditional housewife profiled in the 1970’s conservative Baptist psychology book Sexual Sanity, is having a libido mismatch with her husband that is distracting her to the point of neglecting her duties in the home. The prescription is, of course, giving up the romance novels, soap operas, and masturbation, focusing on her marital duties, reading the Bible, oh, and maybe incidentally the husband should think about paying more attention to her.

Orlando points out that while these are people whose options were limited by their culture, lifestyle, beliefs, economics, and so on, he and Murre enact a kind of reversal of that traditional dynamic deliberately – in essence, slumming in a traditional provider/housewife arrangement. One of the going critiques of BDSM is, in essence, that we are performing a parody of relationships and power dynamics in which people have no choice: Orlando is at the laundromat writing his post while doing the household laundry because it is part of an elaborately negotiated D/s agreement; his neighbor, Rosa, is doing the laundry because that’s what’s expected of her by her husband, and what is simply done.

While these musings were interesting to me, it was really his last post that got me going. In it, he brings up the above point and adds commentary that he has collected from some radical feminist blogs: to wit, Nine Deuce’s tongue in cheek but extreme comment that males into BDSM dominance should kill themselves, and FactCheckMe’s analysis of MtF transexuals as merely men slumming as women.
(Don’t read that post, by the way, unless you want your head to explode. You have been warned.)

Orlando quite rightly points out that the telling people to renounce their privilege is pointless at best, dangerous at worst, if you give them no other options:

Radicals in general (I am not just speaking of radfems)…have focused on creating an elaborate critical literature to uncover the ways that privileged classes abuse their power in concealed ways, including the “inverted” abuse of slumming. Sheila Jeffries, to take a local example, is not simply critical of male dominance and male submission, she is critical of all male sexuality. Usually these sets of critiques are deployed to make people who deny that they are privileged realize that they are. But once someone acknowledges this privilege, the analyses remain underfoot, blocking any sort of coherent suggestion for further behavior.

At least, that’s the best version. In a darker version of things, the condemnation of all options becomes the suggestion. When 9/2 suggests that kinky men should kill themselves, she is sort of joking. When FCM tells MtF transexuals to “ke[ep] your dick and STFU,” she is not joking at all. But both authors arrive at their conclusion by systematically invalidating everything that the target class might do, either as entitlement or slumming or both. Behind 9/2’s suicide hyperbole is a genuine void left by her critiques: there is no course of action left for those men that she considers acceptable, and yet it is clearly important to her that they take her advice.

And this is where my frustration really sets in with the entire discussion – not with Orlando’s continued analysis, which you should totally read. But with what we talk about when we talk about privilege.

I am a white, Western, middle class bisexual cis-female. As such, I benefit from white privilege, cis privilege and class privilege, but not from male or heterosexual privilege. Honestly, I don’t think about that lack very much – not because it’s not important, but because I largely don’t feel my lack of that privilege in my day to day life.

I do frequently feel my own privilege, though: the ways I’m able to spend my days, the people I spend them with, the things I spend money on, hell, the money I even have. My education, my freedom, my ability, in short, to make choices.

In the endless and horrific comments to that made-of-fail post by FactCheckMe, she points out that what makes privilege privilege is the ability make choices.

I want to know exactly what’s wrong with that.

Hear me out. It seems to me that the radical movements that seek the destruction of the patriarchy and the liberation of women, minorities, and other oppressed people are missing the goddamn point, which is this: privilege is good. Power, for that matter, is good. Orlando writes, “We absolutely do not want the most privileged classes of humanity to exercise their power to its full, raw, extent.” And that is where he and I part ways.

You know what I want? I want everyone to be able to exercise their power to its full, raw extent. I don’t think that the way to empower some people is to take power away from others. I agree that pointing out privilege and making people aware of it such that they gain a greater understanding of the positions of oppressed people is an essential step for breaking down the monstrous inequalities that exist.

However. There is, as Orlando points out, nothing you can do once you’ve been made aware of your privilege. All you can do is understand that you can never understand.

So what next? Am I to go through life feeling constantly guilty that I can enjoy power dynamics and physical violence in a consensual way when there are so many people in the world who are abused? Am I, like some radical feminists, to give up penetrative sex entirely, even if I love it, because some women are raped? If part of male privilege, as FactCheckMe says, is being raised to believe that whatever you want or desire, however trivial, you can have it – does that mean I must never follow my own desires, especially not the frivolous ones?

People, this is backwards. The path to addressing privilege and ending oppression is not to remove even more choice from oppressed people. It’s to work to ensure choice for everybody.

Now, it’s facile and privilege-soaked to say such a thing, I know. But seriously? The only way to make sure that the subsistence farmer really wants to be there is to give him the opportunity to go to college and do something else. The only way to know that a woman is truly choosing stay-at-home-mom-hood is to open other possibilities through education and at-work childcare.

Which brings me to my next point, which is about the values we place on various types of life work.

Looking at, say, the subsistence farmer above and saying, oh, look how much better his life would be if he could go to college – that’s class privilege talking. But turning around and telling that college-educated person that he’s not allowed to become a subsistence farmer himself because that’s slumming – that’s ridiculous.

The problem here is partly one of choice, yes: in order for equality to truly exist, the presence of choice is paramount. But it’s also partly a problem of values: as a society, we automatically place a college education, a career in business, law or medicine, and the “earning” of vast amounts of money above learning a trade, raising children, keeping house, telling stories and growing food.

Which is to say: it is deeply problematic to pity a farmer because she never got a college education and became a doctor – even if that person had every opportunity to do so. Seeing someone’s lack of choice in the world and seeking to help correct it is a good thing. Seeing someone’s deliberate choice and deciding it’s wrong because of some misguided idea of wasted potential or perceived insult to those who do not have that choice available – that’s insanity.

Of course, if everyone had privilege, we couldn’t call it “privilege” anymore, as the word implies privilege above someone else. But “power”? There’s an entire philosophy around that. To borrow a phrase from Starhawk, what is desirable in this world is to increase everyone’s power-with rather than power-over. To help others, as best we can, to come into their own power – and express it in the ways that make the most sense to them.

The way to do this is not to take power away from others – power is not a zero-sum game, any more than love is. I submit to you that it is impossible to smash the patriarchy, to destroy white power, or to crush heterosexism. These are systems that are so entrenched, and belong so much to the majority, that they cannot be destroyed using force. But they can be phased out, little by little, if we fight to increase the power and agency of all people. The more people know, the more people are aware of and have access to all the opportunities and possibilities available in the human experience – the fewer people can be recruited to the dark side, brainwashed, or swept under by the tide.

I’m not saying that people won’t make bad choices, or be manipulated, or even – dare we say it – not be smart enough or strong enough to do the right thing. But that’s not the point. If we don’t allow people to choose – if we don’t even give them the benefit of the doubt that they have agency – then we’re totally screwed. If the patriarchy or whatever cultural force that’s like the water the fish are swimming in is so pervasive that we can’t trust human beings to have free will, then it’s going to just be one paternalistic ruling class after another telling us what’s right.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not the world I want to live in, however imperfect my current world is. Here’s what I’m working on: being the change I want to see in the world. I’ll skip the post-patriarchy and take a world where a poor man can choose to be a doctor, an orphan girl can grow up to be president, a university-educated person can choose to become a dairy farmer without ridicule or judgment, people across the gender spectrum can choose to play with power dynamics in intimate relationship to another person if that’s what turns them on, and in short – anyone can pursue their kind of happiness in peace, so long as it harms no one. (And by “harm” I mean “non-consensual harm,” not some goddamn cane marks.)

Maybe I’m just an idealist. Or soaking in privilege. I don’t know. Have at.

Submit to FetSpank.com :: add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: Stumble It! :: :: :: post to facebook

Read Full Post »

Tuesday Advice: go read this

Tuesday advice languishes again, I’m afraid, and why? Because all y’all don’t have enough problems.

That is, I’m out of questions again. Help a sister out, will ya?

My advice to you this week, then, is to hie thee to the new blog, Topologies. It’s a spankin’-new space where me and two other awesome dominant women discuss and redefine what it means to be a dominant woman.

Go. Tell your friends. And send me questions!

Submit to FetSpank.com :: add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: Stumble It! :: :: :: post to facebook

Read Full Post »

I realize lately that I’ve been feeling an uncomfortable internal conflict over two major lines of thought I’ve been reading in the blogrolls.

One: the argument that those of us who are kinky and whole have been having with the radical feminists over whether submission is okay for women (In case you’ve been sleeping: the kinkyfeminists say yes, the radfems say you must be brainwashed by the patriarchy).

The other: why is the general image of male submission, and for that matter, female dominance, so fucked up that both truly dominant women and truly submissive males almost don’t want to identify as such and feel that their sexualities are being hijacked?

Now, it’s certainly true that one of the reasons I stopped doing professional domination is because I wanted to stop contributing to the mainstream image of what female dominance and male submission is. With a few lovely exceptions, it was hurting me to be involved in a business that consistently objectified both the client and me, without allowing for true sexual fulfillment for either of us.

I made a post recently about the wacky ignore lines that are available on Niteflirt. I came to the conclusion that ignore lines, along with financial domination, have the same ethical problems for me as heavy humiliation play, only with the added bonus that I would feel like a schmuck for taking their money for doing nothing. Ignoring seems like the end result of the kind of humiliation play I don’t like to engage in: the “you are a worthless disgusting pathetic small-penised worm beneath my queenly notice” variety. It hurts me that this type of request is so popular for certain submissive men, particularly those that seek professionals. Especially since many of the men who want financial domination include a very scary real-life aspect of wanting me to financially destroy them, which I could definitely never do. It’s not too large a distance between “i’m a worthless piece of shit beneath your heel” and “I want to be actually destroyed,” and so I was never comfortable going down that road with my clients.

Yet the thing that keeps itching at my brain is this: if we decide that (as Tom Allen puts it) “sissified sissy maids who insist on talking about their sissy clitty,” men who want to be treated like dirt, and even men who want to have their money taken from them and to be ignored by the object of their worship are all suffering from the delusion that their sexuality is not okay and so they are punishing themselves for it, then are we not invalidating what may be their true desires just as cavalierly as the radfems invalidate the desires and agency of submissive women?

It’s a stretch, I know. And I think the answer lies in how one separates a kink from a pathology. If you are, say, an insensitive prick at work and you treat women like shit, and you go to a dominatrix who treats you like shit for an hour, and then you go back to work and at least for a while you’re a little nicer…well, maybe that kind of domination is doing some good in the world, and maybe those desires are healing. If instead, however, you’re that same prick and you pay a dominatrix to expunge your prickitude so you can go back and be a prick some more, then that seems control-freaky and pathological to me. By the same token: if you enjoy buying a dominatrix gifts and sending her money because you have a lot of money and enjoy showing your admiration in that way without asking anything in return, then that’s cool (these, I must advise those who are considering pro domination, are definitely the unicorns of the paying male submissive world). If instead you send a dominatrix gifts without clearing it with her and then start demanding a bunch of her attention in obsessive ways, or if you send your entire paycheck to a dominatrix each week and are therefore living in a cardboard box, there might be something wrong with you.

But what about the place of the desire for being made to feel less-than in a non-monetary D/s relationship? I don’t want to play make-fun-of-the-small-willy, but I’m sure there are people who truly do. While I find the entire sissy-maid thing distasteful and sexist, I know that there are dominant women out there who do not find it so, and believe it is their prerogative to play with sissy maids. And while I got sick of wearing corsets and heels all the time, I used to get a lot of enjoyment out of decking myself out in traditional fetishwear (until I was obligated to, which is the issue, of course). After all, there are sexist dynamics reflected in male dom/female sub SM play as well, and while I think it’s important to beware of abuse, I also will fight tooth and nail to defend the right of healthy submissive women to do their thing.

I want to reclaim the masculinity and power of the submissive man as much as anyone. But might there also be room for the stereotypical submissive man in there, a way to reframe his desires without destroying them? That is: I’m sick and tired, too, of there being only one idea of what a female dominant is, of what a male submissive is, and that being representative of those entire sexualities. It’s a huge and monolithic image to do battle with, and I want to do my part to encourage greater diversity. But I also think it’s dangerous to decide that the people who really want those things can only be either pathological or participating in a monetized script.

Your comments wanted.

Submit to FetSpank.com :: add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: Stumble It! :: :: :: post to facebook

Read Full Post »

Thanks in large part to Trinity, but also to a good friend of mine from grad school, I’ve been spending a lot of time over in some of the radical feminist blogs, particularly in the discussions about BDSM. My friend was hungry to find the intersection of radfem and BDSM online, in intelligent, academic discussions, but couldn’t find much. I have to say that even after some searching and much reading, I have to agree.

Even Trinity is tired, and I can’t blame her. Like so many of us, I get sucked into comment threads that infuriate me for hours, mainly because I can’t stand the idea that there are people out there who are supposed to believe in the total liberation of women, but not in a woman’s capacity to make choices about her own sexuality. I can sympathize with Trinity: I just have to go over there and prove them wrong, right?

But it’s exhausting. It’s draining, reading the same arguments over and over and trying to refute them with logic over and over. It’s like arguing with Objectivists: their theory of rationalism is completely airtight, and so if you disagree with any part of it, you’re just being irrational. All a certain kind of radical feminist has to do is drop the word “patriarchy” into the conversation, and automatically your arguments are moot because you’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy. It’s circular, and completely unproductive.

But my friend – who by the way is a pro-porn, pro-sex-worker, pro-BDSM radical feminist – raised this question to me, and I felt the need to answer it.

A lot of pro-submissive blogs say, “True feminism would never judge a woman’s sexual choices or desires.” True. Unnegotiably true.

But does anybody have a real choice when awash in a culture that equates feminity with submission? That defines female identity via female sexuality? That objectifies all women, regardless of what they want? It makes me think of one of the cases we studied in my psychology class in college – a fifth grade teacher had one black student in her all white class. He was smart, played well with the other students, appeared to be comfortable and socialized just fine. But from day one in her class, he wore gloves. After a few weeks, she asked him about the gloves, and over a period of gentle questioning, she learned that he wore them not because he had a health problem, but so he couldn’t see his hands. During the day, when he was in the mirror-free environment of the school, the only reminder he had of his black skin was when he looked at his hands.

This is, of course, a horrifying parallel: what might we be doing, unconsciously, out of an internalization of misogyny? This is the radfems-against-BDSM’s main point, most of the time: how can we be sure that female submission – particularly to men – is a real choice with informed consent, when that woman is operating in a society that consistently reinforces the idea that women should in fact be subordinate to men?

I really want to address this right now, in a non-sarcastic way, not coming from a place of anger and disbelief. Because however wrong-headed I think some arguments are, I can’t ignore the seriousness of the question that engenders them.

My answer? We can’t be sure. We can’t be sure of anything. We hope that women who are choosing to be sexually submissive are doing it out of a combination of healthy self-aware sexuality, earnest desire, and personal power. We try and educate people about BDSM so that they can distinguish it from physical and emotional abuse. We examine our own desires when and if we find them disturbing to us, and try to ascertain – not necessarily where they are arising from, which in a patriarchy may indeed be a dead end – but where they are leading. How does our expression of our sexuality affect us, both in the moment and in the rest of our lives? Are we loving to our partners? Our children? Our friends? Are we happy and productive in our work? Does our sex leave us feeling fulfilled, joyful and relaxed?

These questions, of course, all have to do with the personal sphere: how do you experience your own sex life? If we agree that the personal is political, then we must look outward as well. But this, to me, is where radical feminist arguments get really problematic.

In the comment thread above, for example, Nine Deuce asks her readership whether a private sex act can be anti-feminist, as opposed to feminist or simply neutral. This led into a discussion of “degrading” acts, the most oft-referenced one being the “facial.” One commenter defined “degrading” as follows: “If you engage in a sex act that a reasonable person would agree is degrading or humilating, whether or not you do (this one is tricky, I know, and relates to the abovementioned brainwashing), then it’s anti-feminist.”

To which I say: okay, what? So you’re engaging in the act, you don’t find it degrading, but if some mythical “reasonable person” would, then it’s anti-feminist and you must have been brainwashed? Oh great, we’re back to Ayn Rand.

Sorry. I know, I said I wasn’t going to be sarcastic.

Another commenter responded rather brilliantly: “if we start off with the idea that men find certain sex acts degrading (and perpetrate them on women in order to express misogyny), and we then state that any reasonable person would also find these sex acts degrading, then are we not granting that men have established the standard of reasonability?”

This, exactly. And this is where this questioning of female agency – which is what this kind of thing most certainly is – really burns my ass. Not only are they saying that in a patriarchy, a woman’s ability to make choices for herself is compromised by the messages she receives from society. They’re also responding to this supposed state of reality by letting the patriarchy define the discourse of what women should rightfully choose for themselves! I.e.: if it’s a standard heteronormative sex act, or if it’s portrayed in mainstream media, or worse, if it’s been popularized in pornography – it must be wrong to desire it, and you can’t trust yourself as a woman if you do.

Which brings me to my firm and unshakeable belief about sexuality, BDSM, and the whole enchilada: however a woman chooses to express her sexuality, when it is her choice, is okay inasmuch as it causes her no harm either in the act itself or in the remainder of her life. And because the alternative – self- and other-policing, self-denial, shame and closeting – is so much more dire, the only choice we have is choice itself. We must be permitted to express ourselves in loving relationship in the way that makes the most sense to us, feels best to us, is hottest to us. Trying to cure someone of his or her kinky desires is not only futile, it’s monstrous. If we start questioning our ability to make choices for ourselves because we don’t live in a perfect society…I’ll let the reader speculate for a while, hopefully in abject horror, as to where that leads.

The other thing that I think a lot of radfems miss is the following: when two consenting, self-aware adults take an act that is supposed to be degrading and do it together in a loving context, this is a subversion of the dominant paradigm and thus has the potential for healing on a personal and on a political level.

I already talked a bunch about how BDSM can potentially be healing. On a personal level, I’ll add to it the concept of shame, since the subject of degradation is on the table. In my own experience as a submissive, I have had a lot of my shame stripped from me by what some might call “humiliation play.” While embarrassing, even mortifying at times, the further I go in this direction with my dominant – who incidentally, insists that this is not “humiliation,” as he is more interested in helping me break through unnecessary taboos than in making me feel bad – the result is that in my everyday life, I am more relaxed, less uptight, less worried about what people think, and prouder of who I am.

When BDSM play strips you down to your bare humanity, without all of the social constructs that cause neurosis – that’s subversive. That’s healing. That’s radical.

When people like us go out into the world and show how the patriarchy is broken – not by parrotting it, as we’re accused of, but by exaggerating it, fetishizing it, entering into its incredible power in a deliberate way and releasing that energy in ecstatic union – that’s radical.

Suppressing pornography doesn’t make it go away. Never has. Adding to the body of work pornography that you find more accurately expresses your truth – that’s a healing act.

Patriarchy exists. It is systematic, and deeply entrenched. But we cannot stop it by setting up a utopic alternative where freedom of choice in sexuality is even further suppressed because it frightens us to look at it. Another commenter on the same thread finished a comment by saying, “It might be difficult to imagine what a politically progressive sexuality would entail but I’d think it’s worth the effort anyway.” I don’t know. Sounds pretty boring to me. Not to mention terrifying. It may be true that certain kinds of kink arise out of patriarchy. I don’t know, and I don’t really care. I don’t think it’s so; if it is, then where does gay leather come from? Where does femdom come from? Why are there people who like to pop balloons? I think that kink arises from how everything in our lives affects us and can get kinked in our heads, usually at a young age. And I think erotic powerplay is so pervasive because power dynamics are an inescapable part of the human condition. The struggle for dominance is age-old and comes down to biology. And no, this is not going to be an evolutionary defense for Gor. I just think that feminists are fooling themselves if they think that in Teh Future of Post-Patriarchy, there will be no BDSM because everything will be all egalitarian and shit.

Oh crap, there’s the sarcasm again. Just a little speech impediment.

Patriarchy is the current reality. Power dynamics are an overarching reality – human beings organize themselves into hierarchies, no matter what utopian formula you try. The best thing we can do to reality is to embrace it if it works, and deliberately subvert it if it doesn’t. The more I do kink in my own life, the more I learn about my own assumptions, my own struggles with power, my own relationship to others. It makes me stronger, by showing me what I can take, by showing me what I’m capable of, by dancing me close to the edge and pulling me back. Playing with power is like taming fire. You have to take care not to get burned, but the benefits and the opportunity for growth are near-endless. You don’t want to let it get out of control and burn your house down. But the answer to that should never be to relinquish fire.

I’m sure I’ll be spending more time over at the radfem blogs, pissing myself off; it’s hard to stop. But I realized that I get a lot more joy out of reading beautiful things like this explication of the uses of the bizarre in kink. A blog I stumbled across by clicking off of the radfem blog comments when someone said something reasonable. I guess it wasn’t a total loss after all.

Submit to FetSpank.com

add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: Stumble It! :: :: post to facebook

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »