Thursday, December 06, 2007

BDSM and Women

Several groups I belong to have recently had discussions about BDSM. Many people will never understand the dynamics of a power exchange relationship. That's fine, but not understanding and willfully misunderstanding are two different things.

Those conversations usually center around submissive women. For some reason, the subject of submissive men is ignored, as if they are either figments of literary imagination or somehow beneath notice.

One of the most frustrating things to me is the tone of the discussion. Some men purport to love and worship women, and can't understand why women "let themselves be abused," because that man would "never hit a woman." The submissive (and some dominant) women on the discussion group then explain the vast difference between abuse and BDSM in well thought out replies - which are ignored. Why? The reason seems to be that the men feel that those submissive women are deluded and have bought into the idea that there's a difference, but there isn't, and the men are there to help them realize the error of their ways. So what those men are saying is that while they'd never "hit a woman," they are more than willing to tell a woman that she isn't smart enough or mentally stable enough to make a decision about her own body. Now that, to me, is abusive. The message is that women can't be trusted with their sexuality and that women can't possibly be turned on by that sort of thing because women are fragile and require kid glove handling.

Bullshit, guys. Stop the patronizing attitude. Loving and adoring women means treating them like rational adults, not coddling them.

The women I know who are submissive in BDSM relationships are not poor deluded mental cases. They are intelligent. Many hold advanced degrees. Many have careers that pay well. They are competent. And they are perfectly able to distinguish between sex that turns them on - which they seek - and abuse - which they would not tolerate. Submissive does not mean weak. Submissive does not mean stupid.

I wish I knew the magic words that would make the light bulb go off over those men's heads during those discussions. Unfortunately, their minds are so tightly closed that I doubt any of that light would get through to them.

4 comments:

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Oh yes, the complicated ways that misogyny works to "protect" women from themselves...

Love --
mattilda

Amanda said...

yet i have found a lot of women suggesting the same things about submissive women. i don't think it's just men who act this way toward bdsm. i've given up explaining my submissive orientation to close-minded people.

Kathleen Bradean said...

Amanda - Yes - We've both had experience with a certain writer who tried to pass off rape and abuse stories as erotica and then shouted that she was teaching us what BDSM really was by those stories. So woman can be just as judgmental and willfully ignorant.

Mattilda - Some people just don't get that some women like rough sex. Or that women like sex. Or that women are adults. There's nothing more irritating than being partonized, because no matter how you try to fight it, they chuck you under the chin and tell you you're cute.

Slave dave said...

i totally agree, submissive men are also totally misunderstood.