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Good News, Everyone! I’m a Dominant Woman and I’m Irrelevant.

February 15, 2009

I’m pretty much bowing out of the discussions over at Nine Deuce’s, since I’ve gotten what I wanted, more or less. Namely, a straight answer from a radfem about why mandoms are evil but womdoms are just mean and non-threatening. I actually only got an answer from one person, who was, uh, decidedly ANGRY, and a certain air of avoidance from the commenters who were very uncomfortable about the idea of BDSM and against it on principal, but seemed to at least be trying to listen to the other side.

No one, for instance, came out and said, “You know, there’s no reason dominant women and dominant men should be considered different, but the idea of a dominant man squicks me much more than a dominant woman, so that’s who I end up talking about.”

I think the reason I didn’t get any answers like this is because it would reveal the misandry inherent in the argument that dominant men are somehow more ‘dangerous,’ ‘bad,’ ‘murderous,’ etc. than dominant women, based on their collective premise that s/m and d/s are inherently wrong and abusive. What’s the point of defending one gender by tearing down another? I’ll check over there now and then to see if any other of the anti-BDSM camp answer the question, but I’m not going to get my hopes up.

The closest I got to an answer which acknowledged this disparity was from one Lillie, who brought up professional BDSM:

One last quick question, re: differences and similarities between male and female doms. How often do you see male doms – M/f ones, specifically – selling their services?

I know a woman (well, know of a woman would be more accurate, but never mind) who decided to become a professional dominatrix, not because of a previous interest in BDSM (she claimed to find it “boring”), but because she said there was a “shitload of money” to be made in the job. I don’t know how good and successful she turned out to be at her new job (I somehow suspect she thought it was all about leather outfits, platform heels and rubber whips), but while her case may be highly atypical, it does say something about widely held attitudes – about how the role of the dominatrix is seen as commercial. (Disclaimer: I don’t see it that way myself.) How easy would it be to imagine a man making a “shitload of money” spanking women?

And if male and female subs are equally safe with female doms and male doms, why is it harder to imagine (for me, at least) a submissive woman trusting a hired stranger to dominate her?

I didn’t really understand how this was supposed to prove mandoms were more dangerous than womdoms, but her comment did seem to acknowledge the disparity a little.

Now, on to why I’m stupid and non-threatening, but not as evil as a man.

My ultimate question was:

Why is it, in these discussions, that women dominants and sadists get a free pass?

To which one Delphyne responded:

Who said you got a free pass? I certainly didn’t. But male sadists torturing women, reinforce and support male supremacy like nothing else and in turn their activities also are reinforced and supported by male supremacy. This is about politics and ending male oppression of women so whilst what you do is unpleasant and inhumane (and acts as a smokescreen for male sadists) the torture and destruction of women is the main show and what needs to be dealt with. If you haven’t noticed that you aren’t paying attention to the world around you.

[…]

[The following was in response to Trinity on a point about feminism in the same comment]

[…]

Feminism is based on reality and on women’s lived experiences, not on some kind of pseudo equality where if men do it then dammit WOMEN MUST DO IT TOO! If you [women dominants and sadists] want to sign up for the Wishing They Could Commit Murder and Most Certainly Toying With the Idea club , then feel free, but you will be an *anomaly*.

Delphyne elaborated in a second comment:

Why should I think of [dominant men and women] as equally dangerous? They’re not. It would be sheer bloody-minded, stupid illogicality to think that females tops must somehow be dangerous because male sadists definitely are. Maybe it makes you feel big and scary, woohoo, to be a sadist, but men are dangerous in a way that women just aren’t, even the sadistic kind. You only have to look at the levels of rape, violence and murder inflicted by men on women, you only have to read what those female subs are going through with their murderous “masters” to realise that it’s qualitatively a completely different, and exponentially more dangerous, dynamic. There is no comparable ongoing destruction of mankind of the sort that is inflicted on womankind by men. Once again you need to look at this in a political context – this is feminism after all.

This conversation is beginning to remind me a bit of those women who because they write or read some crappy slash fiction that they must be porn users and that makes their boyfriends Anal Teen Slut Gang Bang 53 OK. You really don’t need to take responsibility for male sadism and destructiveness. It belongs to their sex – let them own it.

Throughout the arguments the basis for my irrelevance as a dominant and sadistic woman seemed to be predicated by the fact that I am a female woman, not just that I identify as a woman. Apparently my anatomy contributes greatly to my irrelevance and non-threatening existence. Wait! This seems familiar…

Now, is patriarchal oppression a huge problem with consequences no one can fully fathom because of the duration, depth, and breadth of that oppression? Well duh. Does it need to be destroyed? Yes. Do men, as as the favored gender of the patriarchy, usually benefit from it? Yes. That doesn’t mean men can’t also be victims of patriarchal oppression. Men can be men, in a patriarchy, and not be evil. Men can even be mandoms in a patriarchy, and not be evil.

I don’t think anyone in the pro-BDSM camp was saying there aren’t creepy, nasty, misogynist mandoms out there. I met many of them when they tried to solicit me as a submissive woman based solely on the fact that my sex, size, and age fit their desires. There are creepy misogynists everywhere, and I don’t think there are necessarily more of them in kink. But what the anti-BDSM camp steadfastly refused to acknowledge is that dominant men responsibly expressing their sexuality with submissive women responsibly expressing their sexuality is fundamentally different from men actually abusing, raping, and enslaving women. The idea that consensual inequality was a contrivance agreed on for the enjoyment of everyone involved, and not a reality, seemed not to compute.

But what do I know? I’m irrelevant because I have tits and a cunt.

Deuce has said that she will be writing another post about her opinion on F/m dynamics, but she’s busy right now, so we’ll have to wait for that one. I’m feeling trepidation at the thought of any of my posts showing up in someone’s anti-BDSM rant to damn my kind. I can only hope that my irrelevance will protect me.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. isme permalink
    February 16, 2009 9:07 am

    Well, some of the avoidance to deal with the topic might be that people are hoping that ND will deal with it in a seperate article.

    But, yeah, mostly because you’re irrelevant.

    *hugs*

    Get relevant soon!

  2. ranat permalink*
    February 16, 2009 4:07 pm

    “Well, some of the avoidance to deal with the topic might be that people are hoping that ND will deal with it in a seperate article.”

    I find it rather suspicious that they would need Deuce to provide them with an opinion before they make their own.

    “Get relevant soon!”

    Oh yes. I shall consume many relevant foods, and therefore people will listen to me. Raspberries are feeling very relevant right now… But they’re not in season. :(

  3. subversive_sub permalink
    February 16, 2009 8:39 pm

    I might have missed it, but one thing I noticed was how your comment mentioning the existence of trans doms was completely ignored. If mandoms are scary and evil upholders of the patriarchy and femdoms are buying into the mold of patriarchal sex relations (because any sort of mingling of sex and power = patriarchal), what does that make a mandom who was born and socialized female, or a femdom who still has a penis, or a dom who identifies as neither male nor female?

    It’s funny how the introduction of any sort of non-normative gender identity completely throws off these sort of feminist arguments.

    Even the gender ID thing aside, it irks me to no end that these people assume that in a maledom-femsub relationship, the woman *must* be physically weaker than the man. No room in there for women who are physically larger/stronger than the man topping them, or for women who could kick the ass of the man topping them but choose not to. Seems that strong subs who are capable of defending themselves and/or who recognize the ways they themselves hold power in their relationships are irrelevant, too.

  4. February 16, 2009 10:22 pm

    @ Ranat, I don’t really get the concept of “Here are inaccurate sweeping generalisations about BDSM. Post comments on my blog saying ‘t isn’t so, if you dare,” when there’s so much written by various people who are into kink already out there. If someone’s interested in learning more, they just have to look.

    It should be pretty obvious that porn is produced for entertainment and not a useful source. Separating more useful sources from entertainment is a basic skill for anyone who wants to know more about anything.

    I can however understand that people can get very bad first impressions if the first thing they come across are porn images that turn them off and scare them. I would have been turned off and scared too, if my first impressions had been kink.com porn with women bottoming. Now these just turn me off – which is because of my individual orientation -, but I don’t find them scary. Thanks to submissive women describing their private experiences, and porn performers describing their own experiences, such as Calico.

    Errrrmmm, come to think of it – the idea of deriving any sort of insight from porn would be even more brought ad absurdum when it comes to men submitting to women, as you and I and many others know… ack. Irrelevant and invisible.

    @ Subversive Sub, yep trans people are bandits with ventilators in theoretical card houses built from nothing-but-gender-matters!!! cards.

    It was submissive people like you standing up for their own desires “This is what I like, what I enjoy, what I get off on” that encouraged me to ask my partner if he would consider trying out BDSM with me. :)

  5. ranat permalink*
    February 17, 2009 2:20 am

    @Subversive Sub –

    “I might have missed it, but one thing I noticed was how your comment mentioning the existence of trans doms was completely ignored.”

    I didn’t see anyone willing to touch that with a ten foot stick either. That would be too gray/complicated for the black-and-white arguments many of the anti-BDSM camp were making. Reading how people refused to deal with trans or other-gendered doms, combined with the general attitude toward the female/woman dominant and sadistic responders really demonstrated exactly how mired in the gender binary that discussion was.

    “[W]hat does that make a mandom who was born and socialized female, or a femdom who still has a penis, or a dom who identifies as neither male nor female?”

    I have a feeling forcing that issue in discussions over there would A) Make minds explode; B) Devolve into someone ranting that MtF trans people are still male and therefore evil, and FtM trans are betraying womankind. My eyes are about to get stuck in the back of my head just thinking about it.

    “No room in there for women who are physically larger/stronger than the man topping them, or for women who could kick the ass of the man topping them but choose not to. Seems that strong subs who are capable of defending themselves and/or who recognize the ways they themselves hold power in their relationships are irrelevant, too.”

    Totally. There was a very weird consistent reference to females/women as weaker (which as a generalization is not untrue, but is hardly universal), which was used to support the idea that the womsubs were obviously being abused, and that the womdoms were obviously not as ‘dangerous.’

    @Ranai –

    “I don’t really get the concept of “Here are inaccurate sweeping generalisations about BDSM. Post comments on my blog saying ‘t isn’t so, if you dare,””

    I know, right?!? In Deuce’s post daring people to defend Kink dot com, when I kept pressing the issue of what she expected us to do with our untidy and distasteful sexuality, Deuce finally just came out and told me:

    “I’m not telling you to do anything, you see. Do whatever you want. All I’m saying is that I’ve got issues with BDSM and that I think it’s at odds with feminism.”


    …….
    … Then why is she using inflammatory rhetoric if she doesn’t want anybody to do anything about it? She could have made her point that she thinks BDSM isn’t feminist without bringing out the warhammer.

    “Errrrmmm, come to think of it – the idea of deriving any sort of insight from porn would be even more brought ad absurdum when it comes to men submitting to women, as you and I and many others know… ack. Irrelevant and invisible.”

    I think one can definitely gain insight from porn, such as how our economic system works, and trends about perceived gender roles, but certainly not the ‘insights’ people thought they were getting. I can totally see being horrified by Kink dot com stuff if you see it completely out of context and have no knowledge of BDSM; what I still can’t see is people disregarding the insights and experiences of dozens of kinky people. It seems like they’re all stuck in a feedback loop of their own bad reaction.

  6. February 17, 2009 10:03 am

    one can definitely gain insight from porn, such as how our economic system works, and trends about perceived gender roles
    This yes, I agree.

    “Insight” as shorthand for,
    It should be obvious that porn performances aren’t any useful source for finding out anything about people who do BDSM as part of their relationships and personal sex lives.

    Even more so in the so-called femdom realm of mandatory fetish wear and The Strange Case of the Invisible Submissive Man.

    I think it’s possible to break free from fear triggered by scary images without context, but it needs spending time with a variety of non-porn sources, and a certain basic willingness to believe what kinky people say about their own personal lives.

  7. ranat permalink*
    February 17, 2009 3:18 pm

    “Even more so in the so-called femdom realm of mandatory fetish wear and The Strange Case of the Invisible Submissive Man.”

    Lol! Yes.

    “I think it’s possible to break free from fear triggered by scary images without context, but it needs spending time with a variety of non-porn sources, and a certain basic willingness to believe what kinky people say about their own personal lives.”

    Definitely. For understanding to go farther than the very limited degree it has in those discussions, a lot of the anti-BDSM folks are going to need to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with a kinkster over a beverage. And you know, acknowledge them has human beings.

  8. February 21, 2009 2:48 am

    Found you by chasing links back from Subversive Sub, wanted to leave a comment.

    The idea that consensual inequality was a contrivance agreed on for the enjoyment of everyone involved, and not a reality, seemed not to compute.

    I’m pretty sure my position that my d/s relationship is more egalitarian than my strictly vanillish relationship with my ex would make heads go splodey, if I weren’t so weird as to be totally invisible to that lot.

  9. ranat permalink*
    February 21, 2009 3:12 am

    @Dw3t-Hthr – Hey there!

    “I’m pretty sure my position that my d/s relationship is more egalitarian than my strictly vanillish relationship with my ex would make heads go splodey, if I weren’t so weird as to be totally invisible to that lot.”

    Don’t worry. I’m invisible too. Because we females and women bear no consideration. Only the evil mandoms shall be discussed in detail!

    I haven’t actually had a long-term kinky relationship yet, but even in my limited experience I feel much freer from oppressive expectations and assumptions, just because of the whole idea of negotiation (another concept that got completely ignored over a Deuce’s place).

  10. February 21, 2009 3:26 am

    My experience with my ex was that he was Deeply Uncomfortable With and kind of frightened of my submissiveness — because he’d been raised with sufficient egalitarianism that it upset his moral sense — and so I had to stifle chunks of my sexuality to not flip him out.

    Isn’t it amazing how people who don’t fit the strict paradigm pick up that Somebody Else’s Problem field and aren’t worth responding to? I about blew my stack when ND said (at Renegade Evolution’s place) that she was only “getting into it” with the men. No shit, hardly any of the women who responded to her there got even acknowledged….

    The “evil mandoms” was why I wrote my recent post about how my liege and I started our relationship….

  11. ranat permalink*
    February 21, 2009 3:39 am

    “My experience with my ex was that he was Deeply Uncomfortable With and kind of frightened of my submissiveness — because he’d been raised with sufficient egalitarianism that it upset his moral sense — and so I had to stifle chunks of my sexuality to not flip him out.”

    I had that experience with one of my exes, when I tried to talk about dominance in the small way I was letting myself express it. Only strict equality even in sex positions was truly Good.

    I think it’s interesting that your post on how you began a d/s relationship with your partner was the exact opposite of the anti-BDSM folks’ assertion that all the poor womsubs never ever thought of BDSM until their evil, evil man partners initiated it.

  12. February 21, 2009 3:50 am

    It was written largely in response to those narratives — because what they were assuming about people-like-me was so counter to where I actually am, and it was worth making a counterpoint visible, even if none of them would ever read the damn thing.

  13. ranat permalink*
    February 21, 2009 4:26 am

    @Dw3t-Hthr – Unfortunately, if your personal experience invalidates their holy theories, it is not to be taken into account.

    I totally agree that making the counterpoint visible is very important, even if none of the people who inspired it will read it. I think it’s worth it that some other more balanced and tolerant person with questions about BDSM can come across it, or someone who may be kinky but feeling ashamed about it could read it feel more comfortable about exploring their sexuality. Rather than just reading Deuce et al, and being completely scared off of themselves and their desires. Because sexual repression is SO healthy.

  14. subversive_sub permalink
    February 23, 2009 7:43 pm

    Dw3t-Hthr’s experience is one I’ve shared (and I’ve heard other sub women say the same thing). I never felt comfortable with my sexuality until I was with someone who understood what I felt and what I wanted, and definitely experienced a lot of frustrated “why can’t you just be happy with who I am” sentiments from my vanilla ex. (And also, a misinterpretation of a desire for dominance as a desire for *male* dominance, for machismo and a heteronormativity.) I vividly recall the first time I asked my current partner to tie my hands together, and being so terrified that he wouldn’t be interested or would think less of me for it, as previous partners had been and done.

    As for the whole idea of the dom partner always being the one to initiate things and to introduce the sub to BDSM practices…what a lot of rubbish. I remember my partner telling me, back when we first started to talk about our kinky desires, that he definitely wasn’t interested in anything like “whips and collars,” and that blood was a hard limit for him — all of which disappointed me at the time, but I was okay with working around it. Now we have two collars, four floggers, and several boxes of needles sitting in our toy drawer…

  15. ranat permalink*
    February 23, 2009 10:02 pm

    @subversive_sub –

    “I never felt comfortable with my sexuality until I was with someone who understood what I felt and what I wanted, and definitely experienced a lot of frustrated “why can’t you just be happy with who I am” sentiments from my vanilla ex.”

    With my vanilla exes, the sentiment was “Why can’t you be sexually attracted to me, is there something wrong with me?” And I was like, “I’m just not, can you stop being so insecure about it?” I thought I just wasn’t sexually attracted to them because I didn’t view them as long-term partners (and my sexual relationship paradigm at the time was based on permanency). And then, “OH. Can’t be sexually attracted, wrong sexuality– OH.” It turned out that a lot of what I attributed to personal self-control was really a dearth of suitable partners. :P

    “I remember my partner telling me, back when we first started to talk about our kinky desires, that he definitely wasn’t interested in anything like “whips and collars,” and that blood was a hard limit for him[.]”

    Heh. I don’t know if this was the case for your partner, but I’ve said lots of things like that to myself about activities I actually found very hot because I felt like that was the line of decency or something. Then as soon as I got over it, I was like, “Wait a minute… oooooo.”

  16. February 24, 2009 6:01 am

    Oy. Oy. I just love being irrelevant too!

  17. ranat permalink*
    February 24, 2009 4:08 pm

    Doesn’t it just give you the warm, cuddly fuzzies?

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