Why I Revile the Memory of Arthur Pendragon
Today, when thousands of children in this City will go out to collect candy from neighbors, is initiation day for two major gangs. At least two people have already been stabbed. I watched eight police, two of them undercover, jump a young man while I was inside a store getting food. I don’t know if he had a knife. This is why I hate civilization.
But on to the more inspiring subject of submissive men, because this City is so fucked everyone has to go on with their lives while people are marked for death so some teenage boys can prove their loyalty to their toxic mimic of community.
This should probably be two separate posts (or three, or four), but I’m going to mix all up and sacrifice a little coherency.
Several posts by various sex bloggers, as well as past ponderings got me all tied in a knot and trying to articulate what is wrong with how “femdom” culture and mainstream society socialize submissive men to believe that they have to be weak, and creepy, and passive, and spineless in order to be submissive. Which means both fewer whole, hale submissive men for me, but more importantly fewer whole, hale submissive men for themselves.
When I was first doing internet research on “femdom,” I couldn’t seem to find anything but Elise Sutton and the kind of woman who had “taken the reigns of her marriage and put her man in his place and now everyone’s just peachy.” I wondered if I was really dominant after all, since I had no desire to be called “Goddess,” “Mistress,” be worshiped, wear very tall shoes, or have those shoes worshipped by a soft, greasy man. Surfing, searching, I read a blog by one such woman who equated male submission with Arthurian chivalry, which profoundly offended me.
The reason “knight in shining armor” is such a romantic archetype is because the concept of romance is so deeply rooted in Arthurian mythos. Add corporate marketing to the equation, and you have Valentine’s Day, chick-flicks, Harlequin Romance, and generations of men who think that the only way to treat a woman well is to write her a song, give her flowers, hire someone poor to play music or push a boat, or create a goddamn fire hazard around her food.
Now there’s nothing wrong with writing songs to people you love, or giving them flowers, or enjoying some candlelight with or without food. But it is not the only, be-all-end-all way to court a woman.
I have no problem with courtship. Courtship is the way you prove to a prospective mate that you’re worthy. I plan to court my mates. I will court them with my skills, my wit, and my body to prove I can provide for them. But if someone wants to court me, then they better lay a deer at my feet, knit me a sweater, or be a certified wilderness medic. Anyone holding a bunch of pesticide-soaked roses imported from Ecuador will be left standing in the rain he frantically ran through to get to me. (Do you sense bitterness? This is what happen when boys decide you are the answer to their romantic yearnings and panacea to all their problems).
Chivalry, and I will go so far as to say romance, though many people will doubtless disagree with me, not only hurts men, submissive or otherwise, it hurts women, dominant or otherwise. Chivalry (and romance, which always seems to be monogamous) puts Woman, The Object of Desire, shiny, “pure,” “virginal,” and “good,” on a pedestal, only to be taken out by a man to sing odes to, to lay flowers at the feet of, to make promises to, until he no longer needs her and locks her back in her bower. I say this as someone who loves Tolkien, a man who loved to put shiny-pure-virginal-good women on pedestals and leave them there forever and ever into eternity. Literally.
But supposedly the woman is in command of the man’s love and knightly skills, but she doesn’t seem to get to do anything except give him things he wants… masochistic quests, handkerchiefs for him to idolize, an object to project his unrequited lust on, a pretty flower-wreathed-head to worship… Wait! Where have we heard this before?
So we have generations of men, at least the ones who aren’t trying to rape us and beat us and murder us in gang initiations, trying to “submit” to us, to “love” us, by making us fulfill their own needs. To make us their cause, the focal point for their energy, to remake us in the image of something to be unworthy of because they can’t believe they’re worthy by themselves. There is a degree of backlash, I believe, and you get dominant women who only want to dominate dominant men, like Axe describes here.
It get why they want it, or think they do. The idea is hot. It provides lots of fantasy fodder for me. I wrote a long, inadequate comment on Axe’s post, which I will now quote from extensively.
I understand why some women might resort to the arrogant demand Axe describes because when I dominate someone, I want there to be something to dominate. I don’t want fragile, indecisive, passive, weak-willed men. That’s not being submissive, that’s being fragile, indecisive, passive and spineless. Not sexy.
I like strong, assertive, scathingly sarcastic men with willpower. A lot of people would say I’m describing a dominant man.
To be strong (physically or emotionally) is not an inherently dominant trait, just like being assertive isn’t inherently dominant, and being strong-willed isn’t inherently dominant. Those things are just good. Those things complement submission, they make submission delicious.
Being passive is being passive, not submissive.
The prevailing archetype for submissive men, however, is what Jones describes here.
Oh hell no.
Knowing what you want and being brave enough tell someone is sexy. Being able to take care of yourself is sexy. Being able to make decisions is sexy. Being perfectly able to make good decisions and then letting me make them for you is even sexier.
Maymay emphasized on a thread I started on Fetlife that being an assertive submissive is not just a plus, it’s essential. I maintain that it is both very possible and very sexy to be assertively submissive.
“Would you cane me on the ass this time because there’s still a lot of bruising on my thighs, please.”
I wait for the day when I hear a man say, “Any dominant who thinks they can just have have me drooling for gracing me with a look in my direction can kiss my beatable ass.”
Oh, sorry, was I drooling on you? I didn’t mean to scoot closer quite so fast. Or latch onto your arm. No, I can’t let go.
Similarly, it is possible, and extremely desirable, to be a strong-willed submissive.
“No, it is not okay that you did that. When we negotiated I explicitly said I wouldn’t do that, and you cannot intimidate me into letting you off the hook.”
Yes. You’re right. I’m sorry.
“Uh, no, I won’t lick your goddamn boots. Do I even know you?”
Now that she’s stormed off in an offended huff, can we get to know each other a little better?
I will even go so far as to say that it is possible to be aggressively submissive.
“No, I will not let you up, you have not eaten all day and that gives you headaches and I will continue to sit on you until you have eaten this soup I made you.”
“I know you didn’t ask for a foot bath, but you have been neglecting me lately, and I know you’ve been very busy, but you’ve also been very grouchy, and by God I will give you a foot massage.”
I may even beat you afterward, since you put it that way.