For the record, I think that BSDM is like most other things - it has the potential to be either good or bad, and how it plays out in practise depends greatly on the ethics and motivations of the people involved. I've met some people who've had horrible experiences with BSDM, and others who have stepped in, had a great time and stepped out again when they got bored with no harm done. I have also met a smaller but stastically significant number of people for whom BSDM is simply part and parcel of who they are - they don't enjoy vanilla sex, and seem to simply be wired in such as way that they will always feel the need to play out power issues in the bedroom. I just don't see what purpose is served by telling these people that they are failing the feminist cause and not living up to their ideals every time they pick up a flogger or put on a corset.
...Given the country's current rapid drift towards a Handmaiden's Tale-like nightmare with no legal abortion and a crappy economy and the dismantling of Social Security, can we really not find something more important to worry about than policing the way that other people fuck? When you stop to think about it it's actually kind of absurd - we're facing some of the greatest actual threats to the feminist project in years and we're busy arguing amongst ourselves about what is and is not an acceptable way for a feminist to get her rocks off...
There's more to it than that, but: yeah.
Here'd be my request: If you are of the opinion that freedom of sexual expression is largely irrelevant in the greater scheme of things: well, I disagree, but I'm happy to not discuss it with people who share a number of my other concerns. So: let's agree to disagree, and not discuss it, as the woman says. There are bigger fish to fry.
If you are of the opinion that sexuality is largely irrelevant, though, and yet somehow you keep bringing it up: well, can you ask yourself why? And, is it really a surprise when people then take offense upon being misrepresented, patronized, blamed, shamed, and even demonized in the inevitable thrash that follows?
...It's probably fair here to offer a link to I Blame The Patriarchy's apparent last word on the topic of BDSM before declaring a moratorium on the subject at her blog. So, okay.
I mean, am I a spinster aunt or aren’t I? The code demands that I not shirk my duty. It has not escaped my notice that it upsets some women when I say their beloved stiletto heels are tools of the patriarchy, or when I say the nuclear family is a tool of the patriarchy, or when I say that pole-dancing is a tool of the patriarchy, so I don’t expect they’ll like it when I out their spanky-spanky sex life as a tool of the patriarchy, either.
But, like it or lump it, BDSM is patriarchy, the whole patriarchy, and nothin’ but the patriarchy, in a black latex nutshell. It is, I unwaveringly assert according to the Honor Code of the Blaming Spinsters, the eroticization of a vastly horrific social order that has, over the millennia, generated the suffering of untold millions, and against which I am sworn to vituperate. BDSM’s got it all: sex, power, rape, pain, dominance, submission, the false pretext of freedom, delusions of superiority, sublimation of the orgasm at all costs, women who think it liberates them, a conservative orthodoxy, compulsory conformity, absurd, exaggerated gender roles, and a silly dress code. It is profoundly anti-feminist, anti-intellectual, anti-individual, and unattractive.
Do it, do it, do it till you’re satisfied, whatever it is. Just don’t kid yourself. You’re gettin’ off on patriarchy. Which is not to say that patriarchy-blamers can’t be all “yay, BDSM!” Because if pain and humiliation get you off, what better way to achieve it than by hanging a sign on your ass reading “I blamed the patriarchy but all I got was his stupid orgasm.”
Thus spaketh the Twisty.
Just a couple of small notes here:
a conservative orthodoxy, compulsory conformity
Uh. Yeah. 'Kay. This is not my experience of the world of kink (although lord knows you can find annoying reversions to high school in any scene, anywhere). I do keep wondering, though, what it is this non-patriarchal world is supposed to look and feel like, exactly. God knows that I've certainly never found any tendencies toward orthodoxy or compulsory conformism among self-styled radical feminists. Radical anything, really. Just let me know when "real" freedom comes along, okay? It does seem like an awfully elusive concept, the more I read there. Especially in the comments section.
"Jam tomorrow, jam yesterday, but never jam today."
It is profoundly anti-feminist, anti-intellectual, anti-individual, and unattractive.
Well, smell YOU, Nancy Drew.
BTW: allow me to introduce Midori.
Speaking of jam: you do know that meat is murder and inextricably connected with the oppression of women, right? Come to think of it, that squash is calling out to me in anguished tones as well.