I had written up a long post, but it got eaten.
I've been thinking a lot lately about binaries. The binaries in SM sex. Top and bottom. Giver and receiver. Dominant and submissive. The way that these roles complement one another. The way that they're designed to fit together perfectly and create an intense experience precisely because of the contrast between them.
A lot of feminism is suspicious of binaries. Gender is a binary that we love to discuss smashing or subverting, even if we often find ourselves creeping back to essentialism when we try to justify destroying it. We love to talk about the societal roles imposed on men and women. The way that, if you haven't been paying attention, they seem to be complementary and maybe even sweet, but really they raise the men at the expense of women.
But a beginning to wonder about binaries. I'm beginning to wonder but the people who fit into them. People like me who like being tops or bottoms. People like the more traditional transsexuals, who I occasionally see getting shit from people who think that they should be helping to smash or subvert the gender binary. Who get told to be less traditional, or less stealth, or more genderfucked in general for political reasons. Or even people who get told they're not really straight, or not really gay or lesbian, because everyone must be a little bisexual.
I'm beginning to think that many of us fit in -- and even like -- some binaries. I'm beginning to wonder if we don't all have some secret hidden polarity that we find exciting, or interesting, or the just plain fits. And I'm starting to think that we need to talk less about smashing binaries and who should be doing it, and more about enabling people to really and truly fit anywhere on continuums, even the ends. Because we're not really trying to destroy the ends. We're just trying to make sure that being on one end of the other is not compulsory.
And yeah, in one sense that "smashes" the idea that everyone is 0 or 1. But people tend to confuse that with "getting rid of 0 and 1." "There will be no bottoms (and by extension, no tops, the tyrants!) in utopia." "'Man' and 'woman' will lose their meaning." "No one will be 'straight' or 'gay', because no one will 'feel locked in' to a certain kind of partner -- oh, those weird people who don't behave omnisexually? They're just unevolved."
And that... uh. No, not really the world I want, thanks.