This began as a comment I posted at Nine Deuce's. I've noticed that several kinky people there are agreeing with the idea that "examination" of the sort proposed over there is wise.
I don't want to tell people not to do something if they find it useful, but I also have to say that I have a problem with that.
McStar said "It’s quite fair, and potentially very interesting, to question why people desire certain acts, and in what way their desire is influenced by patriarchy."
I don’t think so, McStar: I think patriarchy also affects what we ask “why” about.
We’ve already been through the social period where homosexual desire needed a “why.” Because the question was asked, and seen as relevant, answers arose. Bad answers, answers that suggested that something had gone twisted and faulty in the development of GLBT people: domineering mothers, absent fathers, women being allowed to do rough and tumble things, or even to read and study.
The assumption that queerness must be socially constructed, could not be innate, led to these “answers” being found.
I don’t ask why people desire BDSM because I see the same pattern of assumptions here. We start from “normal human desire doesn’t look like that, or at least wouldn’t if the world weren’t so fucked up” and then from there the explanations we look for inherently make reference to the desire we’re asserting as “natural” (or at least as “evident when women are Free.”)
The question itself, as it gets asked in these sorts of discussion, has its answer — and its condemnation — inherent in it.
I do not ask, because it would be like asking “What happened to make some people left-handed?”
I do think it's worthwhile to think before you do something you're uneasy about, whether because it makes you uncomfortable or because you feel it goes against your principles. And I don't think it's a good idea for kinky women who really do feel that their kink and their feminism conflict to try it. I agree that people often do, and often should, think about things they're unsure about before doing them.
However, I staunchly maintain that "How did the patriarchy make you kinky?" is a loaded question. If you take it seriously as a question, you can't answer it with anything but "This desire of mine is linked to patriarchy because _____."
And I don't think such leading questions are likely to lead to anything useful. I'm sure they often lead to unproductive guilt, but how they lead to good feminism or thoughtful BDSM I don't see.
The question we should be asking, "Why are people kinky?", doesn't have enough patriarchy in it for those who've already decided "patriarchy" has to be somewhere in the answer.
But of course, if patriarchy really is in the answer somewhere, surely we'd find it anyway.
So why does it have to go in the question? What do people fear so much that they hang with deathgrips on to leading questions?
(Actually, "Why are people kinky?" is bad too, for the same reason "Why are people gay?" is bad. It presumes that because most people are not kinky/not gay, this makes them a strange deviation that needs explaining away. Really being fair would mean asking "Why is it that some people are kinky and others are not? Why do the numbers break down as they do?")