Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Have No Words

i know i promised you the second part of my feminism and BDSM rant, but this image took my breath away. literally. i'm tearing up, looking at this beautiful woman, who's body looks so much like mine. and i don't know how i could have managed to miss the add campaign that produced it. apparently the body shoppe does this kind of thing regularly. next to it's slick shots of it's products. and i don't think i can ever bring myself to spend money at any other body product store again. this is profound, in a way i'm finding hard to express. she looks like i do. fleshy and folded and round and lovely. she is lovely to look at. and i look like her. is this what my beloved sees when he looks at me? i don't think i've ever felt, for all the hard won self love and all the hard won sanity, as though i could be simply beautiful. beautiful despite my size and shape, beautiful within my size and shape, sure. but simply beautiful? i find the words inadequate to express this...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

FemDomme Feminist? Part I

so this whole nine duce debate flare up and subsequent rad fem insanity has me wanting to bash my head against a wall. on my best days i don't understand or really have much tolerance for hypocrites. and maybe i'm judging too harshly by calling these women hypocrites. but i know that if these same patronizing words came from a penis wielding human, they'd be frothing at the mouth over it. news flash! i don't need therapy, i've never been molested, i don't want to hurt the world for fun, i'm not crazy, delusional, or incapable of analytically looking at the way i live my life. and neither are the women you have insulted by saying these exact things to and about with venom and vitriol in your every post.

and since no one there wants to even touch femdomme, and i have a fucking blog, i get to do it. so yeay for me i guess...

here's the thing, female domination as a kink is just as much a part of patriarical sexuality as female submission. the idea of the strong amazonian woman who will crush a man with her thighs, belittle his tiny dick, fuck him for her pleasure, and then stuff him in a corner until future use is pretty common. yeah, the thought of it is pretty hot for me. though generally those are not the fantasies i have. but not only do a whole bunch of submissive men have that fantasy, they get super amounts of shit for it. because patriarchal sexuality dictates that a man should be the dominant one, the penetrator, the one on top. and in femdomme, those are almost never the case.

but if you want to talk about sexual power hierarchies as aberrant to the norm, femdomme is where it's at. in my relationship i am in charge. i make the decisions about what we are going to eat, how we are going to spend our money, what activities we are going to participate in, when and how we will fuck. but i don't do this in a vacuum. no one i've known in a long term BDSM relationship does. and yes, there was a time when i was a bottom in a relationship so i can talk about that end of things too.

when i got interested in BDSM i took the submissive roll. yeah, part of that was because the majority of the women around me engaged in this kind of activity were submissive, that was just the tiny bit of the local scene i knew personally. i won't say that i didn't enjoy the activities, and the physicality of pain play, but i really quickly determined that submission did nothing for me. i did not feel fulfilled by it the way my women friends did. i started topping, realized that was where it was at for me, and that was that. do i think patriarchy predisposed me toward my initial submission in some way? maybe. do i think it brainwashed me into wanting it? not really, but then i didn't exactly want to be submissive. i wanted to participate and lacked the words or knowledge of how i wanted to do that, and so followed the examples of those around me to whom i could relate. do i think this means all submissive women everywhere are brainwashed? fuck no.

there is an equality in health BDSM relationships that is hard to see from the outside. most people have defined roles within their relationships. some people seem to have stronger personalities, are more aggressive sexually, and just tend to be leader types. when these roles are not firmly established you get all kinds of conflict and emotional turmoil. having those roles defined, clearly expressed and acknowledge within a relationship is liberating. the give and take is circular, despite outside views and opinions. but i'm getting into defensive mode here, and i want to actually discuss the idea of power exchange not just hash out a meme about why my relationship is fucking awesome. even though it is.

so, the main questions being asked are:
1. can BDSM and feminism exist and cohabitate? can a woman be a feminist, or a man her ally, and be into BDSM with it's sexual power hierarchies and it's emotional and physical activities?

2. is consent shaded by growing up in the patriarchy to the point where it cannot be reasonably given? and if so, does that negate a woman's right to do so?

3. and just how does all that apply to femdomme v/s maledom?

so, ok, i'm starting to get to the point where i'm almost ok with calling myself a feminist most of the time. as i define feminism as the quest for equality of the sexes, the quest to give women their own voice and agency, and a desire to dismantle the detrimental beauty myth that keeps women hating their bodies... that's where i'm coming from, and that's the label i'm willing to apply to myself. i'm still just testing the waters of how i want to participate in that, but for now we'll assume i have a somewhat basic understanding of the theories. so let's look at it.

*equality of the sexes: is there sexism within BDSM communities? yes, i can say there is. i don't think it's any more or less prevalent than in "normal" society, though i think there's a much better chance of someone backing you up if you tell someone they are being sexist. because the argument that women are all naturally one way or the other is held by a fringe minority that most folks in BDSM don't actually agree with. i would love to see the sexism pointed out more often within the community, same as i would like to see it pointed out in main stream social circles. but overall, in terms of equality... unless you hanging out with Goreans who believe in the natural dominance of men, or Female supremacists who are on the other end of things, most BDSM folks want and support equality.

*giving women their own voice and their own agency: there is a demand on almost everyone who practices BDSM that they express their wants and needs in their relationship and to a greater extent, in their life. the insistence that you self analyse, and that you communicate the fruits of that analysis, contributes to individual growth. being able to say "i want" or "i need" in a safe environment is hugely liberating. especially when it comes to emotions and sex. i cannot speak for all women, but i know i have seen and experienced the growth and ability of many women (myself included) to make those kinds of statements in their daily lives as a result of the work they have done to be able to make them within their relationships. i don't think it makes BDSM better than any other kind of relationship, but i do think there is a great deal to be said for the stress on communication within that relationship style. maybe it's small, one woman at a time, but if the personal is political i think it counts towards the overall movement.

*dismantling the beauty myth: this one is harder to see as an over reaching thing. there is still so much work to do with the main stream media and ideology, but i think being part of an alternative sexuality with alternative standards of beauty is a good thing. i wish more men and women could learn about self love and body acceptance. and that's something i think can be pushed for regardless of kink.

given the above, i think that yes feminism and BDSM can co-exist. at least the kind of feminism i understand and relate to. this is getting hugely long... so i'll be asnwering the second and third questions in another post.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

S&M and Me

so, one of the things that i've been rolling about in my head is the idea of the intersection of power both within my relationship and outside of it. and i've been wanting to write a post for a while about how i view BDSM in a feminist context. but i've been dragging my feet. until yesterday, when ren posted about some BDSM articles on Nine Duce's blog. and that there were more than a few comments telling submissive women that they didn't know how to do feminism, in fact pretty much hadn't a leg to stand on in calling themselves feminists, because of their sexuality.

now, i am not a submissive woman. but i have friends who are. and while i don't see submission as a feminist action i don't think that one negates the other. in fact, i think more submissive women should explore feminism. not because i want them to change, cause i really don't. but because i think the intersections of power and sexuality are profoundly interesting and can perhaps deepen an already meaningful relationship based on choices.

the thing that's pissing me off more than anything on the thread is the total denial of female dominants. now, i understand that femdomme doesn't fit into neat boxes of patriarchy and male domination of poor deluded women. i get that. but an honest discussion of power hierarchy in relationships needs to look at M/f and F/m as well as M/m and F/f and all other permutations. maybe i'm hitting my head against a wall thinking that anyone there wants to have a look, and not just have a bash the men party.

but the thing that this has made me realize is this: i love my lifestyle. and i've been neglecting my beloved. not sexually, cause we fuck like bunnies. we're young, he's hot, i have a high sex drive. but in those aspects of our relationship that are unique to us, i have been neglecting him. i have let things slide, while giving him his permanent collar. which seems wrong somehow. that's another post all together. but i think i've been trying hard not to create this cognitive dissonance in my head that i actually did. and that's not ok.

so, well and truly thanks radical feminist hate for making me defend myself and my beliefs. i'm not afraid of exploring the intersection of my sex anymore. and in fact i'm looking forward to it.