Monday, 30 July 2007

Letters from Gehenna: The World on a Slant: Delusions of Inadequacy

Letters from Gehenna: The World on a Slant: Delusions of Inadequacy

dw3t-hthr, weighing in on the whole femsupremacy thing and rocking my sox as usual:
And I'm not going to get into the weirdness of parsing sex- or gender-based supremacy stuff to me, as I'm sure folks can figure out how baffling that is to someone genderqueer. I mean, it needs to be noted as one of those, "Wow, your universe has no space for certain types of deviants to exist, let alone have anything to do" things, but ....

The weird thing about this stuff for me is how oddly restrictive it gets. Not just in the gender-assumption bits, or in the obvious 'men are like this, women are like that' stuff (whether it's male-superior or female-superior, it still has something of that sort), but in the whole rest of it.

Like one of the comments E got was from someone who claimed to agree with the female gender supremacy thing (I think; it's not entirely clear in context) and was full of supercilious contempt and dismissal of a woman. Which probably indicates that a woman who doesn't fit someone's model of Correct Womanhood doesn't count as a woman, and is thus beneath contempt according to The System.

And not only does one have to fit into a gender and do it the right way, one has to fit into a model of what it means to be dominant or submissive or whatever else. Which reminds me of all the posts I've seen recently about female doms/tops being expected to fulfil certain fantasies -- look a certain way, behave a certain way, be into certain things. Not be in to certain other things. (And I'm sitting here watching this one guy who comes across as obsessed with not-being-into-pain, and my thought process goes something like, "I'm not into pain, and I'm doing research about floggers on the side ...." Though that's sort of a complicated side tangent into different ways I'm a freak.)

....The whole men coming up to dominant women and casting their 'female superiority' stuff there is just ... why should those women give up their power of self-assertion about the nature of their desire for some random dude?
Yes, that last, exactly! Particularly since... well, as another blogger pointed out, these terms do get used rather differently by different people

and "submissive" in particular is often quite ambiguous between "she enjoys going into subspace and does so at every opportunity" and "she is service-oriented" and various other things

but well

at least to me, "the woman is dominant" means that on some level (perhaps a very mild one indeed, depending, but) she's the one who ultimately dictates what's happening and, depending on the dynamic, why.

41 comments:

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Now I'm pondering doing an exploration of what I mean when I say I'm a sub. I'll chew on that and see if I can get anything out of it when it's not half past three.

verte said...

dw3t-hthr:

If you'd like to, you should blatantly be a contributor here.

Trinity said...

HELL YES.

belledame222 said...

woo!

I'd also love if Cassandra wanted to post, if she's up for it, p.s...

Dw3t-Hthr said...

If you folks would like, I'm willing to give it a go; I would note, though, that I don't use the word 'feminist' on myself, and thus I'm not entirely certain of the appropriateness and protocols of being invited to post on a feminist-identified blog.

(I suspect y'all are likely to say that I sound feminist enough even if I don't use the label. ;) )

verte said...

Woo!

I usually describe the blog to people as a place for BDSMers interested in feminism and feminists interested in BDSM. There's a couple of other people asking to contribute, and my partner T would like to post some bits if boyz are okay? Probably just for the 'here's some amusing BDSM-feminist related lulz I found on the internet' factor. And probably some more 'I'm in yr D/s!' nonsense graphics...

Leave me your email in a comment (and delete it straight afterwards if you like) and I'll add you!

Trinity said...

Boys are fine with me. As long as we're not promoting the trolls.

And as far as feminism goes I'm not so sure I identify with it in the "this is an Important Label Of Self" sense any more either. In the "these are Important Issues" sense... yes, but not so much in the THIS IS ME, any more.

belledame222 said...

I think posts that explore BDSM and gender from an at least feminist-friendly perspective (or for that matter BDSM friendly perspective) are fine, even if the poster doesn't completely ID with one or the other. What I'm not interested in is, y'know, "why feminism sucks," any more than "why BDSM is teh ev0l," or posts that seem ignorant of the rudiments of either one, you know...

Cassandra Says said...

There really is something downright odd about men going up to dominant women and telling them they're not doing it right. Methinks someone doesn't quite grasp the meaning of the word "dominant".

That's something I'd love to see more exploration of, actually, the extent to which there's a lot of stuff around that LOOKS like women are dominant, but maybe isn't, what with all those pushy male bottoms apparently trying to order their tops around.

I think that if I encountered one I'd feel compelled to gag him, but maybe that's just me.

About the invitation to post her...thanks, and I'd love to, but I haven't written anything BSDM-related for ages. It's just sort of low on the priority list right now.

Dw3t-Hthr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dw3t-Hthr said...

Okay, comment left and deleted with email.

I figured that was where you folks would come down on the subject, but I did want to raise it as a potential thing to be mentioned, as words do matter at some level.

I appreciate the conversations around here because a lot of it is exploring issues that I have some interest in regardless of how they're labelled. And also, I've found active, serious BDSM discussion a bit hard to come by.

But I met another sub at a dinner gathering a week and a half ago and we're now chatting in email, whee! :)

Kramnik said...

The whole men coming up to dominant women and casting their 'female superiority' stuff there is just ... why should those women give up their power of self-assertion about the nature of their desire for some random dude?

Just to play Devil's Advocate, isn't this just the radfem point that you all were bashing a few weeks ago?

SnowdropExplodes said...

Kramnik: it's different because the radfems say "teh menz are just telling you how to do it, so you should stop doing it altogether"; what's being said here is, "some malesubs try to tell us how to do it, and we don't like that: we're in charge, so we say how it should be done".

The male "femsupremacists" are, in effect, living up (or rather down) to the radfem perception of femdom BDSM; the message I've been reading here is, "We won't take that kinda crap from nobody - not you, Ms Radfem, not you, Mister Imthesubforyou - not ANYBODY!"

When I choose to submit, it's understood that the woman to whom I submit is the one who sets the style and script for the session; I just draw the lines of soft and hard limits so things don't get squick-y. That's the deal with me being male sub to a female Dom. It's a deal that neither the radfems nor the "femsupreme" subs seem to understand.

belledame222 said...

yah, the radfems make it sound as though there is -no such thing- as a real female dominant, it -must- be about catering to the man's needs; this is a very different proposition from female doms saying, "not into pushy bottoms, thanks."

Trinity said...

"what's being said here is, "some malesubs try to tell us how to do it, and we don't like that: we're in charge, so we say how it should be done"."

Right on.

It's fine with me if some dude says "I only go for women who share my perspective." That's anyone's and everyone's right, top bottom dom sub master slave switch sideways curlique I dun care.

It's utterly perplexing to me when dude says "All women are dominant and my life is dedicated to serving them. Well, by dominant and by serving I mean this totally exhaustively restrictive list. Oh, but I'm not being domineering at all."

I call bullshit on that. If you're going to claim your life is dedicated to service, lesson one is DON'T TOP FROM THE BOTTOM YOU GODDESSDAMNED MORON.

Clear now?

Nec said...

"yah, the radfems make it sound as though there is -no such thing- as a real female dominant, it -must- be about catering to the man's needs; this is a very different proposition from female doms saying, "not into pushy bottoms, thanks.""

You almost can't blame them though. The overwhelming majority of femdom in the media and on the internet panders to males with sub kinks, and that means it's going to be the leggy sneering domina with boots up to her belly button and a single tail whip about 20 feet long. I've been reading as much as I could about femdom on the internet for about as long as there has been an internet, and I can still count the number of sites that pandered to female dominants on my fingers.

Is this a result of men being more prone to create and consume porn, or is it a result of there being about 100 male subs to every dominant woman, which drives the 90 subs that aren't occupied to find placeholder material online? I don't know. The point is that the femdom community has a terrible PR department, and the radfems aren't going to be doing any undercover investigative reporting of their own any time soon.

Cassandra Says said...

Trin said...
"I call bullshit on that. If you're going to claim your life is dedicated to service, lesson one is DON'T TOP FROM THE BOTTOM YOU GODDESSDAMNED MORON."

That about sums it up, really. I'm a dom. I don't appreciate being bossed around, and I certainly don't find it sexy. Everyone has a right to their specific kinks, but you can go play in someone else's sandbox, thanks.

Also...I actually LIKE the visual image that most of the pushy bottoms we're discussing drool over, and have been known to embody it from time to time. I have the boots and everything ! (Seriously, I have 4 pairs). HOWEVER, if I'm going to do so it's on my terms. Don't like it? The door's over there.

Also, since that does tend to be the look I wear to clubs, parties etc., I've never encountered any male subs actually trying to tell me how to dress specifically. Do they actually do that? And they expect you to listen and care?

Trinity said...

nec:

So far as I know, there are fewer tops than bottoms in general. I've seen some studies suggesting that hetero (not sure about bi/queer) female tops are rarer still.

So I think part of the pandering is demand. The rest of it has probably got to do with pros and money -- non-pro tops are not going to be buying services with anything like the same kind of regularity.

Trinity said...

"I've never encountered any male subs actually trying to tell me how to dress specifically. Do they actually do that? And they expect you to listen and care?"

The people I've known who were frequent clients of pros did, yes.

Myca said...

I think the other thing, honestly, is that there are times when domming can just be damned draining and exhausting . . . and my reward at those times is the satisfaction of planning and execution, the satisfaction of being 'in charge', etc.

If a sub is going to deny me my satisfaction at times like that, she can bloody well spank herself from now on. Grrrrrrrr.

Myca said...

Maybe a good analogy is that of a personal trainer.

There's nothing wrong (and everything right) with telling your PT ahead of time, "I want to work on my overall stamina and fitness, and I'd rather not do much upper body work."

And then, if your PT shows up insisting that you bench-press some huge stack of weights over and over, there's nothing wrong with explaining that that's not what you'd discussed, and it falls outside your desires.

What is wrong is throwing a big fit about how your PT is training you, insisting, "No, yell at me this way! Make me do these exercises!" and so forth.

Trinity said...

"And then, if your PT shows up insisting that you bench-press some huge stack of weights over and over, there's nothing wrong with explaining that that's not what you'd discussed, and it falls outside your desires.

What is wrong is throwing a big fit about how your PT is training you, insisting, "No, yell at me this way! Make me do these exercises!" and so forth."

exACTly.

Myca said...

Right. If you're the only one who knows how to top you correctly, looks like you're going to be topping yourself.

Have fun.

belledame222 said...

well yeah; and also, nec, if you're talking about pro sites...well, yeah, it's gonna be catering to the clients (i.e. the male subs).

sites by amateur and/or i-don't-give-a-fuck pro (there are a few) dommes tend to have a different feel, i find.

actually Midori's pretty cool about that, in general, if you look behind the marketing at what she actually says.

Kramnik said...

It's fine with me if some dude says "I only go for women who share my perspective."

Yeah, problem is, the guys like this are always lumped in with the guys who are analogous to dudes who yell at their PT. Not everyone is as discerning as the ladies who post here. Let's just be honest about that.

SnowdropExplodes said...

Kramnik:

There's a world of difference between, "Sorry, you're not my type, I'll find someone else" and, "You're doing it WRONG! Change the way you do it so it suits ME!"

And I think most Dommes recognise that difference.

For the record, I have watched these episodes unfold, and nearly always it starts off with Mr. Malesub saying to Ms. Domme, "I'll be your perfect slave, I'll do anything you desire of me, humiliate me, torment me, abuse me - I'm yours" (and, if he's a female supremacist, "You are superior to me in every way!") but then quickly his attitude ends up as, "no, you're doing it WRONG! That's not what I meant at ALL!"

If Mr. Malesub were honest about his desires and boundaries to start with, then the two could have amicably made friends and gone on looking for partners more suited to their desires.

If you're going to argue (as you have done) that the female supremacist view is more detailed and nuanced than we've given them credit for, then it is highly suspect (even potentially insulting) if you then turn around and suggest that most Dommes can't tell the difference (between two different positions).

Trinity said...

"Not everyone is as discerning as the ladies who post here."

True... but it's also the case that there is a vast sea of hetero submissive men who have a chronic problem finding partners. Their lack of discernment is, IMO, a major part of why.

I have little sympathy for people who protest that dominating me covertly is their kink. If that's what they want, that's fine -- there are plenty of service tops in the world.

But they are not likely to find them if they are not open and honest about only wanting one very specific type of dynamic that many dominant women find insulting, and if they are not willing to at least understand why that would be.

Trinity said...

hell, I pretty much WAS a service top in the beginning. Just didn't like people trying to make me feminine.

Kramnik said...

True... but it's also the case that there is a vast sea of hetero submissive men who have a chronic problem finding partners. Their lack of discernment is, IMO, a major part of why.

I agree that's true for some* of them. I'm just sick of being lumped in with these idiots on the basis of ridiculous "predictive" criteria by women who make snap judgments. No, it doesn't happen a majority of the time, but it happens enough to bother me and keep me at home, kind of like a woman who won't take the train because she hates being groped.

*There's also simply the relative scarcity of dominant women.

If you're going to argue (as you have done) that the female supremacist view is more detailed and nuanced than we've given them credit for, then it is highly suspect (even potentially insulting) if you then turn around and suggest that most Dommes can't tell the difference (between two different positions).

Many self-identified female supremacists do hold a more nuanced position than you give "female supremacists" credit for. It's a fact. There's no insult in that.

Nor did I say most dommes lack discernment (but, as I am not a female supremacist, I have no reason to believe dommes are any more discerning on average than the general population). But a sizeable enough number of dommes are not discerning, and they give the rest of you a bad name to men who otherwise wouldn't be wary.

The reason both men and women have horror stories is there's adverse selection going on. I certainly wouldn't consider this site a haven, otherwise, now would I?

Kramnik said...

If Mr. Malesub were honest about his desires and boundaries to start with, then the two could have amicably made friends and gone on looking for partners more suited to their desires.

Very true. But there's also Ms. Snap Judgment who assumes all men are selfish liars seeking only instant orgasm and who browbeats Mr. Malesub for having desires or boundaries.

EthylBenzene said...

"But there's also Ms. Snap Judgment who assumes all men are selfish liars seeking only instant orgasm and who browbeats Mr. Malesub for having desires or boundaries. "

Jesus, it's like you have no reading comprehension skills. Nobody is making snap judgements, here. These lovely dominant ladies are speaking from experience. They are not making "snap" judgements about sub guys based on their desires or boundaries, they are making judgements of these fuckwits based on the difference between what they say they want and how they act in scene. You want people to stop making snap judgements, maybe you should practice what you preach.

Kramnik said...

Nobody is making snap judgements, here.

I wasn't talking about the ladies here, as should be clear from my previous posts.

Kramnik said...

Jesus, it's like you have no reading comprehension skills.

No comment.

Trinity said...

"The reason both men and women have horror stories is there's adverse selection going on. I certainly wouldn't consider this site a haven, otherwise, now would I?"

That's a good point, though I wouldn't have guessed you consider this site a haven. :) Or are you always this interested in arguing for its own sake, usually? (That's not meant snidely. Some people see the Internet as an Argument Clinic rather than a place to talk.)

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EthylBenzene said...

"I wasn't talking about the ladies here, as should be clear from my previous posts. "

Obviously it wasn't clear. Maybe you should try discussing instead of, as Trinity said, arguing for its own sake.

Cassandra Says said...

"Jesus, it's like you have no reading comprehension skills. Nobody is making snap judgements, here. These lovely dominant ladies are speaking from experience. They are not making "snap" judgements about sub guys based on their desires or boundaries, they are making judgements of these fuckwits based on the difference between what they say they want and how they act in scene. You want people to stop making snap judgements, maybe you should practice what you preach."

Exactly. It feels like Kramnik is having a conversation with someone who's not actually in the room. It is possible that she lives in his head. She certainly doesn't live in the comments section of this blog.

Trinity said...

"Exactly. It feels like Kramnik is having a conversation with someone who's not actually in the room. It is possible that she lives in his head. She certainly doesn't live in the comments section of this blog."

Word.

Kramnik said...

Obviously it wasn't clear.

This is demonstrably false. The woman I was responding to is not imaginary; it was Trinity.

I said: "Not everyone is as discerning as the ladies who post here. Let's just be honest about that."

Trinity replied: "True... but it's also the case that there is a vast sea of hetero submissive men who have a chronic problem finding partners. Their lack of discernment is, IMO, a major part of why. ... If Mr. Malesub were honest about his desires and boundaries to start with, then the two could have amicably made friends and gone on looking for partners more suited to their desires."

To which I responded: "Very true. But there's also Ms. Snap Judgment who assumes all men are selfish liars seeking only instant orgasm and who browbeats Mr. Malesub for having desires or boundaries. ... The reason both men and women have horror stories is there's adverse selection going on. I certainly wouldn't consider this site a haven, otherwise, now would I?"


To which Trinity responded: "That's a good point,..."

That doesn't look like an argument to me. What "wasn't clear" was obviously understood by the person I was talking to, who agreed with me, and the person who suggested I lacked reading comprehension skills obviously wasn't following the conversation.

Hence, my "No comment" comment, which was intended to point out the irony: Clearly I was wrong about how discerning (and non-misandrist) some of the ladies who post here are.

belledame222 said...

The world is full of disappointments, isn't it kramnik.

Kramnik said...

The world is full of disappointments, isn't it kramnik.

Perhaps for you.