Posts filed under ‘BDSM




A submissive and a feminist walked into a bar…

So recently there was a piece written on the F word on the subject of pornography and abuse. Subjects such as pornography, BDSM and sex work are massively polarised among feminist groups. I do watch pornography, and I think pornography would benefit from a greater spectrum of direction than the heterosexual man’s perspective. That’s for another debate though.  

So a few comments down, the subject matter comes onto BDSM. I respect the right for any individual to have their opinion (unless you don’t put your weights back) but the following snippets left me with an overwhelming feeling of Le Sigh.

“Choice” and “consent” are besides the point: the point is that BDSM is based on the idea that one person is gratified by “punishing” and spitting down upon another person so explicitly, and that the recipient of this abuse should enjoy the degradation. When you see this dynamic, how is it any different than rape?

[…]

Has it ever occurred to you that women are brainwashed into enjoying pain or hurt? I am not judging individual women for getting into BDSM. I am criticizing the whole mentality and power system that created it and perpetuates it.

Holy missing the point and a few generalisations in there Batman! There is more, but I’ll leave it to you.

I like to think that my readers have the intellectual capacity to deduce the fact that issues of choice and consent are not besides the point – they are the whole point. And my choices are no less valid because I choose to occasionally engage in something seen less desirable in terms of feminist critique – if it is, then kudos to you for alienating me. As for being brainwashed, I started having fantasies of being in situations where I want to submit long before I had any internet access or was even aware of what S&M stood for. This is the stage where I’d imagine, a lot of the (for want of a better word) the deconstruction starts. Is there an underlying event, pathology or reason why I should turn to something like this?

Therein partly lies the problem, especially among some feminists. It can be useful to look to the past in explaining present behaviours, but I don’t know how useful it is to pick away at the carcass of something that maybe doesn’t require that much explanation? For me, it’s merely a tautology. I like being submissive because it turns me on. It turns me on because I like being submissive. I am a feminist in my day to day life; I am a feminist when I am submissive. I haven’t been brainwashed by the patriarchal forces, if I wanted to enter a different position of power, such as a dominant in the bedroom, that wouldn’t be a huge problem. I have the capacity to consent; I have the choice and power to make it stop with one word.

That aside, I don’t think we should pathologise and extrapolate different power dynamics in the bedroom to everyday life; it can be healthy and fun. I don’t think unequal power dynamics in the bedroom are necessarily a bad thing when both parties are into it, it doesn’t make it unhealthy or abusive. Does it change the way we [boy and I] interact and treat each other outside of this context? If it has, I haven’t noticed.

If anything, exploring my submissive side has benefitted me in my everyday life, including my identity as a feminist. I found a quote on the pro-sm feminist blog and it echoes how I feel on the subject:

Bizarrely, perhaps, the more I delve into submission, the more I make sense of my taste for psychological masochism and degradation, the less shit I take in situations where I would usually be subordinate.

This rings true for me, especially in medicine. Submissive does not = passive. I’ve had registrars give me lip and expect me to merely stay nice and quiet – I don’t put up with it, and give as good as I get. When we are taught not to question certain things because ‘that’s how they are’ and we’re only medical students so we should sit there and take it, I don’t stand for it. When you’re trying to push my arms off the seat rests on the Tube because you want to read the Telegraph, you’ll find out how strong my arms are. You may want me to submit, but I’m aware of my own parameters to know when it’s time to break through the fence. So no banana for you!

If anything, with a little mutual respect and understanding, I think a lot of feminists could learn a lot from the people who engage in BDSM (probably those who engage in it more often than I do!) As the final comment on the F word said, this is something that challenges the heteronormative view on sex and sexuality – and anything that does that can’t be a bad thing in my book.

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6 comments April 19, 2008

BDSM, feminism and deadlifting

I have a lot to write on the subject of feminism and BDSM, but it will have to wait till later or tomorrow as I have a long afternoon of teaching (medical statistics, joy) then a class on examination technique.

This morning I discovered this: Let them eat – pro-sm feminist safe spaces and I fell in love.

I’m also getting ready to go to the gym where my lower half is going to get a punishing.

 

1 comment April 17, 2008

Sadistic Sunday: the aftermath

Well it appears the lightbulb enjoyed the lower body work. In his own words, “I love deadlifting!” Music to my ears. He and the boy weren’t so great with the squat, it’s something I think comes with a lot of practice, and lightbulb wanted to run before he could walk; to use the bar immediately. My own preference is to get used to the movement by sitting down on one of the benches (holding a 10kg plate is optional). Anyway, the lightbulb is no more, however we seem to be verging on overcompensation when he told me he wants to go to the gym again tonight. Sigh. Sit your arse down!

My deadlifting form looks ok, to the observer. However, the first rep of each set, I seem to be bringing my hips up too early, making it an almost stiff legged deadlift. I’m not sure if this is psychosomatic in that I’m anticipating the heavy load, or if I just need to engage my glutes a bit more and concentrate on pushing through my heels. I’m not prepared to take my chances even if it’s the former, so I’m going to take some weight off and continue with great sets rather than a good set with a few oopies at the beginning. I’m sure my back will appreciate it. In a sense it’s taking a step back but it’s also taking a step forward if it ensures something is being done properly.

I didn’t like the gym (Fitness First, Streatham Hill). It was too ‘busy’ for me. Not only in terms of human traffic, but the visual overload of noise, machines, benches, mirrors etc was a bit too much for me. My gym is small, but there’s enough ‘space’ in the sense that it’s airy and light.

Add comment April 13, 2008

Sadistic Sunday: changing the lightbulb

Our flatmate is a gym veteran, but an utter lightbulb (strong, defined upper body, but nothing to show in the lower body). His exact words are, “Just thinking about squatting and deadlifting makes me bored,” unfortunately for him, that’s about to change. We’ve been giving him a bit of a tough time about it (what are flatmates for?) and the other day, he did the leg press for the first time; the day after, he had such a bad case of the DOMS, he found it painful to sit down. Excellent [said in Mr Burn’s voice]

Today we’re going to the gym in our building (he’s a member, boy and I are on guest passes) and we’re going to introduce him to squatting and deadlifting. Nothing too strenuous, probably body weight squats and deadlifting the bar, to get used to both movements but hopefully it’ll be enough to convince him that lower body workouts are so worth it, if only to improve gains in the upper body. If he has to crawl on his hands and knees to move tomorrow, that’ll be a bonus.

After workout meal for me will be GN’s banana cream pie oatmeal.

Add comment April 13, 2008

Language

Contrary to my blog name, I rarely use the word ‘domme’ when using it to describe something or someone who is a dom, or dominant. The reason for this is that it’s a gendered word, alterting the invididual that the aforementioned person is a woman, just so they don’t fall off a chair or something. In some circles it’s talked about with the same level of rage that I apply to ‘toning/toned/tone,’ a way of fluffying up something for the sake of not being too controversial or offensive.

So why did I use it? Well, I thought about something like pinkdumbbell, but I thought that too closely resembled the pink dumbbells forum. Then I thought about my darker side and thought aha, you clever person you, lets go along the lines of dom dominant dommebell, and dommebell was born. Much as I like the crispness of the other words, they weren’t going to have the same way of flowing as something that seems to fit so well with dumbbell. Maybe it was a subliminal way of spilling my oestrogen over the sweaty, grunting 40kg dumbbell that no one picks up at the gym. And fuck it, it’s my blog, I like the way it looks and sounds.

In all honesty though, the blog name has little bearing on how I approach BDSM. I am submissive. It has taken me a while to grow comfortable with this, and in a sense I’m still growing into it but in this part of my life, I don’t lean towards being dominant. I do have little ’bouts’ of where I sit comfortably with being dominant (as a percentage, probably about 10% of the time), but it doesn’t happen very often. My boyfriend understands and is pretty flexible so it works well for us.

2 comments April 9, 2008

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