BDSM (the sexual equivalent of being into Renaissance faires) Part 5: Nine Deuce, you’re a homophobe!27 Feb
I’ve been catching a lot of grief lately from pro-BDSM bloggers and commenters for my posts on BDSM, and one of the most commonly recurring refrains happens to be that I sound just like one of those God Hates Fags assholes. Reader Gorgias was originally the most vociferous in his claims that questioning BDSM is akin to homophobia, and he posted several comments claiming that a large number of people in the scene report having lost their jobs and/or kids when their proclivities were discovered. I responded that I think people who are running around at work talking about their sex lives, whether their sex lives include weapons or not, are behaving inappropriately, as are people who expose children to their sexual activities. I don’t think it’s cool for people to be fired from their jobs or blackmailed because of what they do in their private lives, but I figured anyone who is being honest with themselves and who is engaging in this argument in good faith would know better than to pretend I think otherwise. Emotions are running high, everyone feels victimized, insults abound, so I suppose I can understand why things have gotten a little out of hand. But let me clarify a few things:
- I don’t think anyone ought to be fired from a job for what they do outside of work, as long as they’re not hurting anyone or wearing Crocs.
- I don’t think anyone’s kids ought to be taken away from them unless abuse is occurring. However, I think that it is inappropriate for parents to engage in a full-time M/f relationship that is obvious to their children. Raising kids in that environment, regardless of whatever consent does or doesn’t exist between the parents (I’m going to leave that argument to others), removes consent and discussions of feminism from the equation. There’s no way a kid can grow up in that environment and not assume that a gender hierarchy is natural and normal. Adults might be able to thoughtfully make the decision to engage in such behavior and balance that with their ideas about equality and/or liberation (again, I’ll leave that argument aside), but a kid can’t. A parent has every right to seek custody of their child and to deny it to the other parent if they do not want the child to be raised in such an environment.
- I don’t think BDSM ought to be criminalized. I’m a liberal when it comes to laws; I think the only way to combat a behavior is through changing people’s attitudes, not by banning things. I do think that serious physical damage ought to be prosecutable, whether the person suffering the damage wishes to press charges or not, because life and limb ought not to be in danger.
There’s my position.
As to this comparison between myself and religious fundamentalists who hate gay people, need I really explain the differences? Fine, here goes.
Let’s think first about what motivates homophobes. Men and women who are threatened by homosexuality are threatened by it because it carries the potential to disrupt their entire system of beliefs, to defy what they’ve come to see as the Natural Order of Things (NOT).
“Nature” is a very slippery and very powerful mental construct that has been used to justify and to condemn any number of human activities. When we decide something is “natural,” it becomes fundamentally unassailable, which is why the term is thrown around so much. The problem is, there is no such thing as “nature.” Nature itself is a human psychological construct. I mean, yeah, the world is still there and the things in it exist no matter what we call them, but exactly which items and processes will be included under the term “nature” depends on who the one defining the term is.
For western individuals who bumble around under the weight of the legacy of hundreds of years of Judeo-Christian ideas about sex and gender, the Enlightenment-era medicalization and biological essentialization of gender difference and female inferiority, and the general patriarchal tradition, the gender hierarchy is “natural.” That is especially true of religious fruitcakes who believe what people like James Dobson have to say about what Christianity is about (sex is dirty, women ought to submit to men, everyone who disagrees will burn in hell, etc.). For these people, “natural” means “designed and sanctioned by the Big Guy,” and everything the Big Guy says goes. The problem is, the Big Guy probably doesn’t exist, and so the people in charge get to repackage their methods of protecting their place at the top of the hierarchy as what the Big Guy wants. When men get to put words into the mouth of gods, gods tend to reflect the desires of men. And thus, god wants patriarchy.
Patriarchy cannot exist without two agreed-upon sex roles arranged in a rigid hierarchy: men over women. Patriarchy, being approved by god as it is, is thus seen as the NOT. When anyone resists performing their role as assigned, they are therefore Going Against Nature. When someone defies Nature and the world doesn’t spontaneously combust, the people who are heavily invested in the maintenance of the dominant conception of the NOT freak out like Japanese girls over a Paris Hilton sighting.
There are several ways to defy the NOT, but the most common one is to fuck the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Women who get down with other women lie on one end of the continuum; as long as they are doing it to titillate men, and as long as they remember that the party isn’t complete without a wiener, they’re tolerable. Women who get busy with other women and have no need for men aren’t. They threaten the NOT to an extent that makes men really uncomfortable, so men use what tools they have at their disposal to try to shove these women back into line, including violence, rape, and murder. But most men are content to just give lesbians the old sour-grapes routine and deny their worth as female human beings by accusing them of being unfuckable. If that doesn’t work, they may escalate. But men’s biggest fear is the male apostate. A man who fucks another man gives up the benefits of membership in the oppressor class and chooses to become, in the eyes of the average patriarchy beneficiary, just like a woman. There is no greater threat to the NOT than men who, in full cognizance of the benefits that come with being born male (that is, the privilege of using and abusing women), are content to shun those benefits in order to assume a “feminine” role. When men feel that the entire rationale behind their supremacy is in danger, they are forced to bring up Nature. “What you’re doing is against nature,” they say, and when one defies nature, the people who get to define the NOT, following another facet of “nature,” often react with violence (whether of the physical or emotional sort).
So how do I differ from a patriarchy beneficiary or an appeaser when I question M/f BDSM? I don’t see M/f BDSM as throwing a wrench into the NOT, but rather as a pronounced and exaggerated display of the sexual hierarchy that the NOT rests upon. F/m or F/f or M/m BDSM might (MIGHT) do so, but I’m not sure that switching between the two roles does much to dismantle the roles themselves, and it’s the roles that I think cause the damage. I think male supremacy is a Bad Thing, and maybe even the Worst Thing, as so many other Bad Things seem to flow either directly or indirectly from it. Eroticizing male supremacy won’t get us any closer to destroying patriarchy or the phony, restrictive, oppressive sex roles that allow it to exist. And make no mistake, my goal numero uno in life is to do as much damage as I can to both before having my ashes scattered on Pulau Perhentian Besar.
I think it would do us some good to look at BDSM encounters separately from D/s and/or M/s relationships. I’ve said a kajillion times that I don’t think people would be into BDSM in a post-patriarchal world, but we aren’t there yet. People might, in that world, still get excited by extreme sensations, but I don’t think that the accompanying power differential rituals would exist. So, I suppose we can leave BDSM in the context of the sexual encounter there (and open for argument). As for relationship BDSM, I’m much more dubious. I doubt very seriously that there’d be a psychological need for power exchange in a world in which human relationships weren’t based on patriarchal hierarchies. What I’m struggling with, and have been all along, is figuring out how we can get to that place from the one we’re currently in. It’s easy for one group to say, “Hey, if you will all just stop doing what you’re doing, we’ll all get where we want to go.” But where we want to go has been defined, at least in part, by where we’re coming from, and the place we’re coming from is one in which sex and power (as it manifests in the two sex roles) are nearly inextricable.
For some people, the trouble involved in untangling the two is more than one should be asked to deal with. It might be that it’s easier to find happiness in being where the individual is than in pushing toward the place where the group wants to go. Sometimes meshing individual desires and the good of womankind (and humankind, though most men don’t know it yet) as a whole just can’t be done. Sometimes I eat chicken, sometimes I shave my legs, sometimes it’s easier to do what the NOT tells me to than to be constantly giving everyone the metaphorical finger.
The appeal to nature is a powerful one, and our ideas of what is and is not natural are deeply ingrained. When someone does something that strikes us as unnatural, we recoil with horror and want to protect ourselves, our worldviews, and (if they exist) our children from what we perceive as a foundational threat. That may not be noble or laudable, but it is nonetheless a common human trait. It takes a lot of work and critical thinking to question the received wisdom on the NOT, so it’s no surprise that not many people do. I avoid discussions of nature for just the reasons I’ve outlined above. It’s dangerous and it’s generally bullshit (ask me what I think of patriarchiology — I mean evolutionary biology/psychology — some time), and I try to avoid it. But maybe I’m guilty of having my own NOT, one in which our current gender hierarchy is warped and out of touch with reality, one in which humanity is a given and in which sex roles don’t exist. But is that so threatening? My NOT might not be orderly or stable, but it carries a lot less potential for misery and violence than the one we’re currently rolling with.
It may seem on the surface, when I say that I don’t think that children ought to be exposed to BDSM, or that I’m concerned about the ambiguities and potential for abuse that exist within BDSM, that I’m just like some asshole who perceives a threat to the NOT and who is lashing out at something they see as “unnatural,” but that’s a fairly shallow way of looking at what I’m saying, and I think it’s a way of avoiding the central point of contention by claiming victimhood. I’ll admit right here that I’m guilty of using inflammatory language in some of these posts (OK, in all of my posts), but my previous BDSM posts were aimed at people outside of the radfem and BDSM communities. This one isn’t, so I’ve done my best to avoid it. Now, am I still a God Hates Fags asshole?
Here’s to civility.
I’m going to go act like a capitalist pig and conform to social expectations by drinking a bunch of beer to celebrate my impending capitulation to the patriarchy (getting married).
Good news, everybody! It’s now OK to watch MTV! Why, might you ask? Because it turns out that MTV is not actually the vanguard of society’s descent into a swirling abyss of Monster Energy Drink, chocolate-scented Axe, Clearasil, and chlamydia. No, it actually turns out that the executives over at Viacom, taking note of the success of the Colbert Report, have decided to try out satire on one of their other networks and have geared MTV’s programming at satirizing the vapidity and misogyny of American culture. Don’t believe me? Get thee over to their website and peep a few episodes of A Double Shot at Love with the Ikki Twins. (I recommend the sixth one.)
It has to be satire, right? Right? RIGHT!?!?!
For those of you who can’t stomach the 20 minutes’ worth of Proactiv commercials one must suffer through in the course of an hour of MTV viewing and are wondering what the samhill I’m talking about, I’ll sum it up by saying that MTV has found a way to make an entire season of television out of the concept behind those “And twins!” Coors Light commercials. You know the ones I’m talking about. They are, quite simply, the most embarrassing thing American culture (which is basically nothing but a giant pile of advertisements) has ever, ever produced. When I’m overseas and meet people from other countries, I cross my fingers and wish upon stars that they’ve never seen these commercials. I often lie awake at night wondering whether the leaders of other nations that possess nuclear weapons have seen these commercials, terrified that they have and are seriously considering nuking the United States in order to protect the rest of the world from our inferior genetic stock and our cretinous culture. Just watch this shit:
Holy shit is right. But it isn’t as if Coors Brewing Co. was the first entity to broach the bizarre subject of dudes thrusting beer bottles up in the air and grabbing their dicks while yelling, “Wooohoooo, gimme some pooosay!” over a set of twins. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been utterly bewildered by the oft-referenced obsession men have with getting the chance to bang twin sisters. I mean, shit, there’s even an episode of Fantasy Island about it. But I never really gave it much thought and just assumed, as I am wont to do, that it couldn’t possibly mean what I thought it meant, that there’s no way people are that gross. Well, people… oh, wait, I mean MEN – are that gross.
MTV’s producers, apparently unsatisfied with the level of salaciousness they had achieved with A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila (see my take on that show here), decided to “step it up” with the new season of the show. Apparently the already completely insane premise of the original show, that a woman who had spent several years turning herself into the one of world’s most well-known and least interesting sex objects had decided to pretend that she was bisexual and was looking for love, just wasn’t ridiculous or offensive enough for MTV. This time, MTV replaced Ms. Tequila with the Ikki twins, two former Hooters waitresses (I swear, both of them worked at Hooters) and car magazine models. That’s right, phony bisexuality wasn’t enough; they had to throw some implied incest into the mix. Because dudes love fake boobs, fake lesbians, fake fingernails, fake blond hair, AND TWINS!
I have to digress for a second. What is the fucking deal with dudes being into twins? Could it actually be that men delight in the idea that women would be willing to commit incest for their viewing pleasure? Goddamn it, I hope not. But I think that’s it. I mean, the majority of male sexuality in this culture revolves around domination and degradation, which is where the male desire to see women pretend to be gay, submit to unenjoyable sex acts, etc. comes from, so it’s only logical, but I really don’t want to believe it.
Back to the Ikki twins. I know it’s hard to believe, but these two women objectify themselves much, much more aggressively than Tila Tequila does, and they’ve got absolutely no sense of irony about it whatsoever. Check out this quote from their bio:
Get ready to meet the Ikki Twins – sexy, spunky and spontaneous, these bisexual twins are double the trouble and double the fun. Being that Rikki was born just a few seconds before her sister, she and Vikki have been inseparable since birth. The girls complete each other’s sentences and even their own father can’t tell them apart!!
Born in Pennsylvania, the twins’ family moved around a lot, living in nine different states before finally settling in Southern California. It was there the girls had two life-changing events – they began modeling and they realized they were both bisexual!!
Rikki was the first to discover that she was interested in girls – in fact she was attracted to girls before guys! Trying to follow “the rules” of society, Rikki suppressed her interest in girls and instead dated guys. But her attraction for women never went away. Rikki kept it private as long as she could, until the day that Vikki admitted that she was also attracted to women and in fact a bisexual. It was that conversation that gave Rikki the comfort she needed to come out as a bi-sexual as well.
At the same time they were learning each other’s secret, both girls were working as waitresses at a local Hooters. No one there could tell them apart, so in an effort to not call the girls the wrong names, they were nicknamed the Ikkis! It was also there that their lives changed forever! One day a coworker asked them to pose for a motorcycle website. As luck would have it, talent manager Dove happened to see those photos and the rest is history!!
Isn’t it cool! They’re both bisexual!!! Isn’t that awesome? Dudes like bisexuals! Especially dudes who like motorcycles and Hooters hot wings!!! Isn’t it lucky that they’re twins, that they’re both hot, and that they’re both bisexual!?! Rad! And who needs “the rules” of society? That shit’s gay (real gay, not hot gay).
Tila Tequila spent two entire seasons on the show proving to the young adult world that nothing is more important than getting people to want to fuck you (other than being on TV, of course) and that sexual manipulation is the only thing worth being good at. But Tila Tequila, as gross as she and her show might have been, was at least aware of how absurd the concept of the show was. Ms. T might be an embarrassment to womankind, and she might be the narcissistic, patriarchy-approved sell-out of the century, but she’s not stupid and she’s probably not evil. One got the distinct impression that she knew that there was something odd and kind of sad about asking 24 people to repeatedly humiliate themselves on national television for the chance to get naked and have empty sex with a woman with a barbed-wire strewn heart tattoo that says “C’est la vie!” in the middle. While it was obvious that she enjoyed the idea that they were willing to do so, you could also tell she felt a little sorry for them. And while she made the ridiculous claim that her show deserved the credit for the California Supreme Court’s decision to allow gay marriage (before Prop. 8), it was obvious that she wasn’t actually bisexual and that she knew that very few of the women on the show were actual lesbians. And that she knew the whole thing was a big game.
Not so with these two. They’ve gotten down with the titillation plan to the point where they truly believe that catering to male fantasies is a legitimate sexual orientation and that anyone who disagrees is a closed-minded bigot.
On to the show.
The first episode begins with two crates being airlifted by helicopter into the driveway of the McMansion in which the contestants for the twins’ vaginas — I mean hearts — will be living. One of the crates is blue and the other is pink (natch). Inside the crates are twelve men and twelve women, all waiting to see who the hot chick they’ll be competing for is. Mind you, they’ve got no idea they’re there for twins yet. As the crates come down, the men are hopping up and down like a bunch of Red Bull-saturated simians, screaming and yelling for a glimpse of the poontang (I’m sure I heard the word “poontang”). One of the twins comes out to greet the two crates and lets the women out first. The women squeal with excitement at being on television or whatever, and then the twin orders the box of men opened. The men come out and actually pump their fists downward and together in that stupid bodybuilder pose and bark like they’ve just seen Arsenio Hall in order to illustrate just how pumped they are that they might get the chance to pork the chick they see in front of them. But they don’t know the half.
The 24 contestants spend the evening trying to impress the woman they’re there to compete for, completely unaware that every time she leaves the room, it’s actually her twin sister that comes back to hang out. Makeoutery occurs, blah blah. The next day, one twin gets everyone together for a pool party (woooo, bikinis!!) and makes the announcement that she was born with another part. (Ha! Get it? She made the dudes think she used to have a dick! Sick!) Then the other twin comes out. The reaction from the men makes the previous evening’s ape impressions look dignified, while the women just look sort of shocked. Mind you, at this point the implication is that whoever wins the contest is going to be having sex with both twins. Seriously.
So, for about five episodes the twins force the contestants to humiliate themselves in various ways in order to stay on the show (bowl of goat dicks, anyone?) and make out with everyone in sight at every possible opportunity in between pole dancing sessions. Nothing new (I mean, is there a show on MTV that doesn’t include pole dancing and chicks making out?). But once they get down to the last few contestants, they really start going off, because now that they’ve separated the wheat from the chaff and whittled it down to two girls and two boys (isn’t it odd how that worked out?), it’s time to get serious. In what might be the most insane hour of television ever broadcast, they go to visit the families of the four remaining contestants, Scotty, Trevor, Rosie, and Rebecca.
At Trevor’s house, things get a little weird. His parents, it is noted, are religious and conservative. When they are taken aback that their son has brought home two “bisexual” twins who look like they just got in from a porn shoot, they’re branded reactionaries and told that their objections are akin to racism, that they’re completely backward and unreasonable. It almost blew my mind to see such an obvious refusal on the part of everyone involved to call attention to what was really going on. You see, the parents might be dicks for having a problem with bisexuality, but that wasn’t the deal. They were visibly worried that their son was being manipulated by two incestuous strippers, but everyone pretended that their disapproval stemmed from homophobia. It was unbelievable. The twins, noting how uncomfortable Trevor’s parents were, offered to help Trevor’s mother do the dishes, then proceeded to purposely bend over repeatedly and expose their entire asses to Trevor’s mother and father, both of whom looked as if they were about to die of embarrassment. They were purposely behaving wildly inappropriately, but the message was that the only shameful element of the entire encounter was the fact that the parents disapproved. Come on. Who the fuck wouldn’t disapprove of their child bringing someone home who made lewd sexual comments and bared their ass all night?
I thought it couldn’t get more ridiculous, but then they went to Rosie’s house. Rosie is a go-go dancer in Staten Island. Rosie’s cousin is an actual lesbian. Rosie’s mother has never heard anything about her daughter being gay before. Watching a room full of people each try to pretend not to be offended or flabbergasted by a different thing was actually really entertaining, but I ended up feeling sorry for everyone but the dog, whom the twins hated because Rosie paid too much attention to it (which is a big no-no). The twins, here noting that Rosie’s mother was a bit disconcerted by the announcement that her daughter was a lesbian, scooted over to Rosie and planted a sloppy, lengthy, lascivious kiss on her, as if daring her mother to object and thus prove that she was a homophobe. It was absolutely obscene, an obvious provocation.
The visit with Rebecca’s family was fairly uneventful, but then they went to Scotty’s house, where they had their most successful family visit. Scotty is quite possibly the biggest tool on Earth. His favorite adjective to use to describe the twins was “smokin’,” and when they took him to Las Vegas in the seventh episode, he jumped out of the limo at the hotel and yelled, “Vegas, baby!” while doing the bodybuilder pose mentioned above. He’s from New Jersey (surprise, surprise), and he took the twins there to meet his bros, all of whom have nicknames (Ill Will, Pistol Pete, and Big Chris — I swear), and his family. The twins wore red headbands as skirts and matching red bra tops with tassels all over them, which would come in handy when they got Scotty’s mother and aunt, who are Jewish, to do the “Hava Nagila” and to drink Manischevitz body shots from between their breasts (I’m not kidding). The twins basically offered to fuck Scotty’s parents during dinner and spent the entire evening shaking their tits all over the place. They even leaned out the windows of the SUV as they left the house and shook their tasseled breasts at his family while waving goodbye. Check out the episode highlights.
In the end it came down to Trevor and Rebecca. I know it’s a shock that it came down to a boy and a girl, but it did. The deal was that the twins would each choose which of the remaining two they were in love with, and if they ended up choosing the same person, then that person would have to choose between them (MTV must’ve gotten a lot of complaints from outraged parents, without which I truly believe they would have had the winner walk away with both twins). They both chose Trevor, he chose one of them, the couple lived happily ever after. Try not to faint.
There are several problems here:
- No one on this show save a few of the women who were kicked off in the early episodes is actually a lesbian or bisexual. It’s all a show, and one that’s being put on to titillate a male audience and a female audience that has been conditioned to conceive of its own sexuality in terms of what gives men boners. Isn’t it neat how in the end the twins both chose a man, thus reassuring the universe that everything’s still alright, that men needn’t fear that women can do without them?
- This show is openly promoting the idea that incest is hot, as long as it’s between two women (but two guys doing it is grooooss!). Apparently there’s no form of degradation that is too outrageous to ask women to submit to and pretend to like — ON NATIONAL TELEVISION in front of an audience of adolescents.
- Why would anyone be willing to eat a sheep’s eye in order to ingratiate themselves with a pair of morally repugnant assholes who’ve constructed their self-worth around how successfully they can use their “sexuality” to manipulate people? It’s ridiculous that people should be engaging in contests for affection, even if that affection does come in the form of a porn fantasy.
- I realize that a large proportion (if not all) of the women on this show were there to get exposure on television. Why is there a seemingly unlimited supply of women willing to pretend to be gay, expose themselves, and repeatedly degrade themselves in front of a national audience for a minuscule chance at Z-list celebrity? That was a rhetorical question.
- It’s absurd that the producers of this show are pretending that this parade of narcissism, humiliation, and vapidity is about “finding love.” In fact, it’s ridiculous that they’re claiming it’s about anything but a bunch of warped, shallow people seeking whatever kind of power appeals most to them (the power to use women for the men, and the power to give men boners for the women).
- The idea that anyone who objects to this steaming pile of misogyny, objectification, dehumanization, degradation, and indignity is a bigot is incredible. There’s nothing I hate more than hearing people who are behaving like immoral shitheads co-opting the language of the oppressed to defend their behavior in the face of completely justified outrage.
These twins are completely evil, though I don’t know whose fault that is. They’re fulfilling the expectations of a porn-sick, frat boy-centered society at every possible level. They’ve absorbed the message that women’s power lies in our ability to induce boners, so they’re exercising that power while they have it. I get it, but it’s terrifying. Every time the twins got the slightest inkling that someone was paying attention to anything or anyone besides themselves, they became visibly incensed. They wouldn’t brook anyone in the house forming attachments to anyone but themselves, which they proved by forcing the contestants to stab life-size cardboard cutouts of their fellow housemates with giant butcher knives. In the course of this show, people ate animals’ penises, licked several pounds of frosting off of a mannequin, dressed up as animals and tried to sell themselves to the twins by saying things like, “I’m a duck and I like to fuck,” allowed their parents to be sexually harassed and even physically molested, got into fist fights that resulted in their asses being exposed on national television, and who the fuck knows what else, all in order to get the chance to be on television and/or fuck a pair of evil twins. I’m pretty sure that means we’ve either hit rock bottom, or that we can expect to see people doing anal on the next season of A Shot at Love.
I’ve been extremeley busy for the last week or so, so I’ve been unable to participate in the semi-vicious circle of BDSM bloviation. Not that I’m all that interested in doing so (I’ve said what I have to say and the whole thing isn’t likely to end in a giant group hug). I’m working on two posts right now, which will probably appear sometime within the next few days: one being my take on A Double Shot at Love with the Ikki Twins, and the other being Porn Part 10: Nine Deuce the Sex-Positive Feminist (it’s not what you think). I’ll most likely wait on that last one for a little bit, though, because I’m so fucking tired of talking about sex that I think I’m turning into Morrissey (isn’t he supposed to be asexual?). Until then, don’t miss this.
Reader Lillie, in a comment on another post, asks:
[I]sn’t it actually irresponsible to assume that everything’s okay just because it has a sexual dimension? Or is “sexuality” such a sacred cow that even to suggest something might not be okay automatically makes you a bigot?
That’s an excellent question, and it’s one that I’d like to hear some opining on.
I have to warn you, two of the fake posters have some flat-out porn in them (which I think I can back since it’s there to prove a point), but this site is most definitely worth a look.
Props to reader Matt for the tip.
- The existence of gay porn does not disprove the argument that non-gay porn is degrading to women. There might be a different dynamic going on in a lot of gay porn (I remain unconvinced), but that doesn’t really mean anything other than that maybe gay porn needs to be analyzed by itself rather than under an umbrella with hetero porn. What we’re talking about when we talk about het pornography is the comingling of power with sex, which is THE CENTRAL FEATURE OF PATRIARCHY.
- Choice does not equal progressiveness. You can choose to do heroin if you want to, and it might feel fucking awesome, but that doesn’t make you a freedom fighter. You can be a feminist and be into BDSM, but you can’t claim that BDSM is feminist. Just because something feels good does not mean it’s feminist.
- F/m BDSM (generally) does not fetishize and sexualize the oppression of people who are still oppressed. Therefore, its existence does not prove that there’s nothing problematic about the mingling of sex with oppression in M/f BDSM, burlesque or not. Again, it’s a matter of the need for separate analysis.
- Questioning a practice does not equal abuse or oppression. And you can’t spend 15 paragraphs explaining that BDSM, as a “choice,” fits the (warped) definition of feminism and then compare the consequences of your choice to the oppression that lesbians and gay men face. Unless you are ready to say that female submission is innate or that being gay is a choice.
- In order for me to oppress you, I have to be in charge of something that directly affects your life. I’m not.
- If I were truly denying anyone’s agency, I’d refuse to question their assumptions and behavior. I assume we are all responsible for the choices that we make, even though social forces tend to influence those choices. I know that there are people who are aware that M/f BDSM and/or porn are tinged (or saturated) with patriarchal oppression and choose to participate in them anyway, either because there is some benefit in doing so or because they think they can do them “the right way.” I doubt that’s possible, so I’m asking people who think it is to explain how that might be. Would it be better for me to treat other adult human beings like babies who can’t bear to be asked defend their beliefs?
- I can have a theoretical problem with something and speak my mind about it without specifically addressing an individual. If you don’t fit the definition of the kind of person I’m discussing, don’t take it personally. Everyone has the right to judge everyone, but we don’t have the right to enforce our judgements. Therein lies the difference between free speech and oppression.
Do I need to change my comment policy and require that people take a Logic 101 class before commenting?
I’ve got work to do that is more important than participating in arguments online. I’ll keep approving comments, but I’m out for today. As to these people challenging me to debates over at Ren’s, let’s hear who’s going to be “objective” or “neutral” about this. Until I hear that, I’ll go ahead and use the forum I already have, thanks.
In a comment on a recent post, bonobobabe asked a male commenter who had said he was in a M/f relationship why he would want to be someone’s master. I’ve read a lot about why women feel that they are interested in being submissive, a lot of which I can understand given the society that we live in, but I’ve yet to hear any of these dominant men explain why they are interested in dominating women (or men, for that matter). I also haven’t heard much from dominant women what interests them in the whole deal. So, let’s hear it, eh?
An excerpt from a BDSM website describing the “nine levels of submission” (emphasis mine):
FULL-TIME LIVE IN CONSENSUAL SLAVE. Within no more than a few broad limits/requirements, the slave regards herself/himself as existing solely for the Dom(me)’s pleasure/well being. Slave in turn expects to be regarded as a prized possession. Not much different from the situation of the traditional housewife, except that within the S/M world the slave’s position is more likely to be fully consensual, especially of the slave is male. Within the S/M world, a full time “slave” arrangement is entered into with an explicit awareness of the magnitude carefully, with more awareness of the magnitude of power that is being given up, and hence is usually entered into much more carefully, with more awareness of the possible dangers, and with much clearer and more specific agreements than usually precede the traditional marriage.
CONSENSUAL TOTAL SLAVE WITH NO LIMITS. A common fantasy ideal which probably doesn’t exist in real life (except in authoritarian religious cults and other situations where the “consent” is induced by brainwashing and/or social or economic pressures, and hence isn’t fully consensual). A few S/M purists will insist that you aren’t really a slave unless you’re willing to do absolutely anything for your Dom(me), with no limits at all.