Friday, 27 November 2009

Ooh, how did I miss this?

La Phalene muses on kink and gender:

There’s a lot in this kink business to make the feminist in me froth at the mouth. And no, I’m not talking about the images of pretty girls tied up, or the way that rape is dressed up as a perfect fantasy or that rad-fem line about how many sex acts are degrading to women. Rather it’s things like the two opposing camps, the female supremacists and the people who announce women are inherently submissive, and little things about how gender in constructed in the scene and in the archetypes. This is not a different world than vanilla, it’s all the baggage of the rest of my life seen through a somewhat tasteless spooky-goth lense that dresses people up in shiny black and involves a lot of smacking.

....Both sides of the gender superiority thing construct a very narrow definition of womanhood. For a subculture where having breasts is no proof of your genetic gender, people are pretty quick to either thrust me up onto a pedestal for qualities I might not possess or put me down as a sheep in need of a firm hand. This can be pretty awkward in either respect because it’s a narrow box to shove slightly more than half the human population into.

Classically the people who believe in gynarchy say it’s because women are warm, empathetic and emotionally intelligent, bringing wisdom that will end wars. Men who say women are submissive point to their classic social position and need for protection, talking about evolutionary biology or theology, or maybe gorean psychology. They generally phrase things in terms of a yin/yang, with female deference not as an explicit proof of male superiority but part of the natural order of things, like plug into socket.

I’m a young woman, who sort of conforms to the physical proportions desired of women in my era, fresh faced, vivacious and vicious in my interests. If you talk to vanilla people, the image ‘dominatrix’ is the closest to what I am, though not a label I embrace personally, and this symbol is what people perceive about kink. I’m bossy, aggressive and I like violence. According to the gynarchists, either I fail as a woman because I raid from the masculine side of things or my superiority is so unsupported as to be a point of religious faith. According to the man-as-patriarch, this is the flapping around of an unsatisfied woman who needs a Real Man ™ or I’m a unicorn who can be satisfied with a nice fluffy ‘female’ man. Both sides are very quick to write from the perspective of how females fit into this, either above or below. I really would like to see some f-sub writing on the perspective of gender-as-orientation, because while it seems like men write in generalizations (as do the female tops who believe their own hype enough to call their gender the best) the f-subs are all writing about personal service and the closest I’ve seen to them talking about belonging at the feet of men in general is waxing poetic about service making them feel fulfilled.

So where do I, the visual spokesperson for my kink, fit into all of this? I want a master like I want another hole in my head, but I don’t want to top someone because they believe in extreme sexual dimorphism, I want it to be submission gently coaxed (or brutally conquered) because of who I personally am, with mutual respect. And not the yin/yang separate but equal role bullshit, either. Subs aren’t subbing because this is mystical; it’s a fetish where, unlike the people who love inanimate objects, luckily the object of my desire can love me back. They might be the bolt to my nut, but to work we’ll both need to be made of the same material and my perfect opposite would probably find me dreadfully tedious and overbearing. They might get off on that, but being healthy we’d end up compromising.

Love it, but even the "bolt to my nut" phrasing is too stereotypically gendered for me. *wink*

And I also still scratch my head at the dissing of femme men, too. Not sure what that's about.

But in general: Yes. Just yes.


Anonymous said...

Gee, that's helluva generalizing for a post that claims to cap on generalizations:

"Subs aren’t subbing because this is mystical; it’s a fetish..."

and my favorite:

"men write in generalizations..."

But more, uh, generally, I don't relate at all this idea that kinky folks are caught in some big war between a gynarchist and patriarchal camp. I mean, google holds up a weird mirror to our own choice of search terms, and maybe my perception of kink is biased that way. But I just don't feel like either of those "teams" is that large.

Black Chicks Rule said...

Actually, the true dominant woman is simply insistent on controlling her OWN destiny. From a womanist and former black feminist perspective, I rejected and down right ridiculed the ideology of "Female Supremacy" due to the very irony of what I assumed it meant. If as a feminist I despise oppression and control over my choices, then it would be complete hypocrisy to take the roll of the controller.

However, after reading more about the female superiority movement, I discovered it is not the female version of Patriarchy or male supremacy status quon. The underlying themes are of love, preservation, community, birth, rebirth, peace, support, nurture and a host of other things that I had no idea could pertain to anything with the word "supremacy" in it. Hence, ultimately what it comes down to is choice of living life by ones own terms. It's called freedom. Not freedom at the expense of others, but the freedom to love, live, and be who you want to be and how you wish to be without the oppressive restriction or destruction of negative opposing forces. Which of course is out of the order of nature defined my man.

Have a lovely sunny day!
BCR, from the Smooth Femdom blog.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I kind of MEGOed on the post so I didn't spot the lines you're quoting, Orlando, but the first one makes me laugh, given that the mysticism in my d/s is a fuckton more hardcore than the s/m parts....

Meanwhile, re: "But more, uh, generally, I don't relate at all this idea that kinky folks are caught in some big war between a gynarchist and patriarchal camp", I ... hm. I get the impression that a lot of kinky folks are more interested in gendered kink than I am in ways I'm uncomfortable, because of the structure of the language they use (I mean, that post talks about F/m and M/m type things). But I don't know how much that's honest interest in gendered kink and how much of that is unconsciously absorbing the whole "The culture around me thinks this is important so I'm going to talk like it is!"

Anonymous said...

See, I don't take any of this too seriously. I'm just in it to have fun and get my brains fucked out.

I was at a kink/sex play party Saturday and my general observation on female topping was in the direction of CBT. Kind of hard to femme-inize when the C&B are the prominent objects of play. Nor did I see a ton of female "servicing", at least in this group - unless servicing includes fisting another girl or shoving large toys up a guys ass.

All in all, it just didn't seem like any role was much in play. Maybe she needs to go to more play parties

Zula said...

Though I'm currently in a submissive relationship with a man as my dom, I have switchy tendencies and I can say for a fact that my sub/dom desires don't fall along gendered lines. There are men I want to dominate, there are women I want to submit to, and vice versa.

However, how willing I am to act on those feelings is dictated by gender. As a cis woman, I've been provided with a societal script on how to be submissive, so it's easier for me to do that than to dominate. Similarly, I feel more confident domming other women than men, since it fits more into the overarching cultural paradigm. It's unfortunate and I'm trying to overcome it, but it takes time.

So yeah. Who/why I dominate or submit to is not based on my beliefs of what gender is inherently better than the other, but it is definitely based on cultural generalizations and expectations that I've assimilated. I imagine that it's the same for a lot of people.

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