Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Sex, Lies, Transmisogyny, and the Heteronormativity of BDSM, pt. 2

Sex, Lies, Transmisogyny, and the Heteronormativity of BDSM, pt. 2

Part 2 of Lisa being amazing. On BDSM:

Her implication is that being a sub, being a slave, being a bottom, whatever you want to call it, is completely passive. That basically, all you do is lay there while your top whips you, drips hot candle wax on you, ties you up in restraints, and so on. The top gives and the bottom receives. That the dynamic goes exactly one way. That the top has power and the bottom does not. That the dynamic is identical to the stereotypical heterosexual missionary sex act where the man plunges in and the woman just lays there and takes it. Healthy BDSM relationships just don’t work that way. They have to be highly interactive, with communication and power going both ways. The top has the power to do whatever she wants within the bottom’s boundaries, and the bottom has the power to stop it at any time. Trust is the primary facet of a strong relationship between a top and a bottom, and Ms. Croson does not even acknowledge this. She can’t afford to, since she wants her readers to view BDSM as abusive heterosexual practices taken to an extreme. The top as an angry, controlling wifebeater, the bottom as a submissive victim who can’t even bring herself to leave her abuser.

This is echoed in the beliefs, when inclusion of BDSM practitioners at MWMF was being debated, and some women believed that allowing them on the land would give the subs a chance to escape these obviously abusive relationships. Some suggested setting up workshops to help them get away - of course, none wanted to get away because they love their kinks and have too strong a sense of themselves to allow others to talk them out of it.

On transgender:

She repeats the same arguments about transgender as she does about BDSM - which is expected, because she wants both equated as the same kinds of “wrong things” in feminist eyes. She again asserts that “where identity springs from is never examined.” What she really means is “Whenever trans people explain their identities, their sense of self, and why they transition, we ignore them and impose our narratives upon their lives. Those invented narratives never examine where identity springs from.” As I mention before, if you differ from the expected norm, you’re almost forced to examine it. I spent years when most kids think about G.I. Joe or Barbies trying to deconstruct what the hell “being a girl” meant vs. “being a boy.” I tried to see myself as a person with both a male and female spirit before I was eight years old. I tried to examine the possibilities that I was just a transvestite, or gay. I questioned constantly how I could know I was a girl when my body said I was a boy. I examined my identity, my sense of self, every way I could think of. I tried to suppress the idea entirely. I never really got to the bottom of it all, but I searched every nook, cranny, and crevice I could find that might give me some hint. I just don’t see how you can grow up with the sense of being one gender, your body being the other sex, and dealing with the messages society sends boys and girls while trying to sort them all out without some serious examinations of what’s going on.

Her argument seems to imply that trans people decide one day that we want to transition, that we’d be more comfortable as the other sex, or life would be easier because we can’t handle being gay - this isn’t much of a stretch, because other articles on Questioning Transgender explicitly lay this out. In her lack of understanding - and her lack of willingness to understand - transgender lives, Ms. Croson imposes patriarchy upon who and what we are.


Lisa Harney said...

I did mean to go into more detail about what bottoms do in a relationship, rather than just make it sound like bottoms get to safeword.

Like what you were talking about somewhere else, Trin, about how some bottoms just like to help, to be of service, to do nice things. And other stuff like that.

The article ended up being about twice as long as part 1, and I ended up skipping a lot of stuff I wanted to say, though. Thank you again for the link. :)

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