Feminism in BDSM

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Feminism in the BDSM community is a confusing issue. Of course, feminism means being able to do whatever you want regardless of your gender. So, being a stay-at-home-mom is fine if you chose it, and being a career woman is fine if you chose it. Because the point is the freedom to have your own opinion and make your own decisions, regardless of gender stereotypes.

That being said, the majority of the couples in the BDSM community here in Portland (and other places I have been) seem to be male Doms and female submissives. And I KNOW those women are choosing to be submissive so it shouldn’t bother me (as long as it’s a choice it’s okay, right?). Yet somehow, it really does bother me sometimes.

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I mean, I’m not the only one having these issues. The internet is full of women debating this. So I tried to narrow down what exactly it is that bothers me about all the men and women playing out “traditional gender roles” in the bedroom. (Traditional gender roles as per society throughout history; i.e. women being submissive to men.)

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Now, as you know, I worked for several years as a Dominatrix. I spent a lot of time dominating men. So, unlike most women who have written about this issue, I don’t fall on the submissive side of things.

Some have suggested that being mostly a Domme means I’ll just never “get it.” But, I have switched before, and I do sometimes take a more submissive role. I’d like to think I have a well-rounded perspective on the subject. Or at least, enough all-around experience to have a decent idea of the various opinion involved.

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So here’s the deal:

Men in lots of countries in the world still buy and sell women. Women are still exploited in many ways. My friend in Pakistan posts awful stories about girls being forced to marry men older than their fathers. The sex trade in places like the Philippines is disturbing. In Iran, women are stoned to death for the crime of being raped.

And even in countries that think they are progressive like the USA, studies show that women still make less money than men, and are still pushed into secretary and teaching positions, while being pushed away from engineering and science.

We have a lot of work to do all over the world to reach equality.

And when you realize that, you have to accept that women were submissive socially to men until very recently; and for most of recorded history in most countries around the world. Men have nearly always been in charge of the government and the courts in societies, and as such, they have almost always controlled the destinies of women.

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I know this is why it bothers me to see so many women acting as submissives. I want women to be equal to men socially, in every society on Earth. And because they are not, I sometimes get frustrated that so many women choose to be submissive.

So I’d like to apologize to any female subs I have offended over the years. I am trying very hard to be accepting of your choice. Just remember to make sure it IS always your choice, and let’s keep it safe, sane, and consensual.

2 thoughts on “Feminism in BDSM

  1. I know exactly what you mean, it is sometimes really hard to see such a vast discrepancy in role choices. And it doesn’t help that there are a LOT of people out there who use very poor word choice in describing their relationship. It’s hard to tell whether the person is just ignorant or in a potentially abusive situation. For example I ran into this particular quote on a submissive woman’s webpage about her master that seriously made me roll my eyes: “He will love you unconditionally, if you prove your loyalty to him.” It sounds deep, personal, meaningful, and submissive until you realize just how absurd the statement is. It can’t be unconditional if there are conditions. And that’s one of the tamest examples I have come across but it still shows that pang in my gut that crops up when I read through people’s stories. The number of times I find myself cringing is quite large and worries me quite a bit. And the worst part, for me anyway, is the inability to talk to people about it, to determine whether the relationship is equal in its inequality if that makes sense. Bringing it up is usually just inviting disaster because there will be denial and anger no matter what their relationship is like.

    So to sum up, and this is only my opinion, being a submissive woman is not somehow anti-feminist, but the nature of the relationship type makes it almost impossible to distinguish it from something very troubling.

  2. Forgive me for being rude and telling you what I believe you think, but I would guess the issue that you are frustrated by is not that some women choose to be submissive. Your examples are all about women being dominated and treated terribly. It follows that what frustrates you isn’t that some women choose to be submissive, but that women in general cannot choose otherwise. Those poor women who are dominated in other countries can’t just suddenly overthrow their oppressors. I think that’s what frustrates you, and it frustrates me as well.

    (Gender: Man)

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