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The Cost of Devaluing Male Submission: One Token

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 by

The BDSM blogosphere has been all aflutter lately about the devaluation of male submission. And it’s about fucking time. Because the kink scene treats male subs as if they are unwanted, uninvited guests, not recognizing the fact that they are real people with feelings of their own, that their dominant partners cherish them. Every time I see a Fetlife profile that reads “I’m not attracted to submissive men” (frequently, in my experience, on the profiles of female switches and occasionally other female dominants), my stomach clenches. They don’t seem to realize that such an attitude is linked to another problem in the scene: the tokenization of female dominants.

The public BDSM scene has a predilection towards the maledom femalesub dynamic. If you are female, you are presumed to be submissive unless stated otherwise, and if you are male, you are presumed to be dominant unless stated otherwise. (And if you are non-gender-normative, if you don’t fit in a nice little ticky-box, then the scene may accept you but not really know what to do with you.) As much as we would like to believe that the scene is a problem-free sexual utopia, it still suffers from many of the problems that mainstream society does. Straight male sexuality is prioritized, and thus straight male doms are the prevailing players in the scene. Straight male doms have no use for male subs, yet they still like female doms—they like us because we bring a certain energy to the scene and are fun to talk to and be around and because they hope that maybe we’ll co-top their girls with them and that they might be able to get into our pants.

So my sexuality is something that people in the scene can appreciate and sort of see the value in from afar. But the object of that sexuality is not accepted in the scene. While male subs are not seen as potential objects of desire, female doms are seen only as objects of desire. That’s how I feel sometimes as a femme dom in the public scene: they see me, but not my desires.

I feel like Geordi.

[Image: African-American man in a yellow Starfleet uniform, his eyes obscured by a “VISOR”, a piece of technology that allows him to see. Image source: Memory Alpha]

In Star Trek: the Next Generation, the character Geordi LaForge never got laid (this is where I out myself as a nerd, if the pseudonym and the lab coat and the giant boner for science weren’t already a dead giveaway). They had to have a character who was black and disabled, to show how progressive and inclusive they were. But they weren’t progressive enough to give him a sex life. Hollywood had this ridiculous idea about the primal, savage nature of black men, especially in relation to their sexuality. And so the closest poor Geordi ever gets to having a sexual relationship is with a holographic character, and even that is unconsummated–he gets blue-balled by his own fantasies, because oh no, if we show a black man in a sexual situation then the viewers will have to be reminded of the fact that he has a penis. We all know that there’s nothing scarier to mainstream 90’s American culture than a black man’s penis–the popularity of racist porn stemming from the eroticization of this fear belies it. (Not to mention the fact that Geordi falls right into the trope of “disabled characters don’t have a sexuality.”)  Geordi and I are both welcomed in our respective communities, as long as we keep our sexual desires silent—closeted—and to ourselves.

When I meet het male doms, I always try to make it abundantly clear to them from the beginning of our association that I am not a switch, I am not interested in playing, I am not interested in co-topping girls with them, I am not interested in anything beyond friendship with them.

And often, they continue to be friendly. And I like that because I am also friendly and I like to have friends, of all orientations. And I think to myself, “you know, we’re different, we get off on different things, but maybe he can appreciate me for who I am even though I’m not submissive and he knows we can’t have that type of interaction.”

“Maybe he can still respect me and the dynamic that I enjoy.” But then I hear language that refers to male submission as if it is something disgusting or shameful.

And that’s what bothers me.

A few months ago, maymay was referred to as “such a fucking weak-ass male submissive that he makes male submission look bad” by a dominant man who is well-known in the local community.

This writing has since been deleted. But the harmful words still ring in my ears. Maymay is not making male submissives look bad. The author is the one who is making male submissives look bad, because he is using the words “male submissive” as an insult. Would he have said “a fucking weak-ass gay”? I think not, at least, not in the San Francisco scene—such words have a clear underlying implication of homophobia. But somehow, using someone’s D/s status as a slur is acceptable.

While I don’t enjoy the maledom-femsub dynamic myself, I think it is a completely valid sexuality. I would never presume to tell someone otherwise. These het-male-doms who make up the mainstream of the subculture that we inhabit? I think they like me and respect me and think I’m hot, but I don’t know if they think my sexuality is valid.

And so I feel tokenized. It’s not fair to me, because where would I, a femme dom, be without my masculine sub? We are two sides of a coin. Today I am not beating my queer drum; today I am borrowing maymay’s drum: You cannot truly respect me without respecting my submissive as well. If you value me, you must value him.

There is a lot of male submissive-shaming in the public scene.  You’ll hear it all the time.  “Male subs are creepy,” “male subs spoil the atmosphere, so we don’t want to encourage them.” And while I have indeed encountered many male submissives who have acted in inappropriate ways, I have one question to ask: why do you suppose that male subs like maymay who do respect boundaries don’t feel welcome in the scene? It’s not because they are making male submission look bad, it’s because you are equating male submission with badness.

And by doing this, you are hurting me.

This is the reason I go to sleep alone every night. It’s not because there’s something wrong with me as a potential romantic/sexual partner. It’s because there’s no one for me to date. Because everyone’s been telling all the male submissives that they’re unwanted for so long that they won’t come out to play. So I’m sitting here in my kinky sandbox with my toys all by myself.

And it hurts.

If you respect me, if you respect my identity as a female dominant, then recognize that when you devalue male submission, you are devaluing the objects of my desire, and by doing so, you. are. hurting. me. too.

91 Responses to “The Cost of Devaluing Male Submission: One Token”

  1. MissA says:

    Wonderfully put!
    I think the reason that the prevalent ideals in our community are that way, because no one will push them! Male subs get a bad name because all of the boys I like to call ‘gimme or fuck me’ subs, ones who want nothing more then to bend over to your strap on, but not willing to give any thing in return even something as simple as friendship. I have had more then my fair share of messages and encounters with these kind of sub missives.

    Secondly, I know you and maymay both preach the value of a strong male submissive. A lot of people see submission as a weakness. IT IS NOT!!!! It takes strength, composure, and a LOT of trust to submit to someone. As a dominant or even a top, a lot of time we have it easy, yes we are physically exerting ourselves, but are we receiving the pain? Going so deep inside our own brain that some times it frightens our tops? Allowing ourselves to be beaten down physically and mentally for a euphoric high? As a top, not really. I take pride in the fact though as a top, I have first received every thing I do to a bottom. In that way I know how they feel.

    Lastly, I blame porn. As much as I LOVE porn, it sets unrealistic standards not only for male subs, but for female tops. We are not holders for strap ons, latex barbies, or automatic whipping machines. And our boys dont have to be sissies or cross dressers, in to ‘forced’* bi, or wimpering worms at our feet. We are human as are
    our boys. We are allowed to have off days as are they. What makes us human is what makes us special.

    * I put forced in quotations because there is nothing forced about it. There may be a little consensual non consent in there but those who do it are never truly forced. I personally dislike this terminology for it.

    • Fizz says:

      Male subs get a bad name because all of the boys I like to call ‘gimme or fuck me’ subs, ones who want nothing more then to bend over to your strap on, but not willing to give any thing in return even something as simple as friendship

      This raises some other interesting questions. Are there similarly demanding and uncommunicative dominants? Surely there must be–but those traits fit so well into the (itself damaging) stereotype of dominance that we either accept that, or else call it a different problem: the blending of the fantasy scene (in which the dominant has all the power) into the reality (hopefully egalitarian). Nobody calls it a “do-you top”; that would be silly. ;)

      And what about non-male submissives? Here’s a thought experiment: imagine, in separate frames, one man and one woman each lying on a bed. Each is on their back, naked, and saying “Fuck me.” Knowing nothing else about them, but given their socially assigned gender roles–and MY social conditioning, as an observer–from him it could readily sound “pushy,” whereas from her it’s sexy. I think it’s something about the fact that he, by virtue of being male, is presumed to have power. She isn’t; her desire for the observer can more readily become part of the observer’s fantasy, because she has no authority with which to demand.

      Plus, you know, male gaze. Sexy women are sexy, sexy men are nonexistent or scary or gay.

      None of this is meant to argue with you personally, by the way. You just got me thinking. :)

      A lot of people see submission as a weakness. IT IS NOT!!!!

      At the intro class to one of my local dungeons, one of the (very toppy) presenters explains that we aren’t permitted to use real locks on cages etc., not because the dungeon doesn’t have bolt cutters, but because we live in earthquake country. When the quake hits, he doesn’t want to be the one running back inside for the bolt cutters to rescue the caged bottom while the wussy top is escaping with everyone else. Pause. “Yes, tops are wusses. I’m a wuss and I’m a top. If I weren’t a wuss, I’d be a bottom.” Made me smile.

      As much as I LOVE porn, it sets unrealistic standards not only for male subs, but for female tops

      I couldn’t agree more. And I don’t even WATCH BDSM porn.

      • Here’s a thought experiment: imagine, in separate frames, one man and one woman each lying on a bed. Each is on their back, naked, and saying “Fuck me.” Knowing nothing else about them, but given their socially assigned gender roles–and MY social conditioning, as an observer–from him it could readily sound “pushy,” whereas from her it’s sexy. I think it’s something about the fact that he, by virtue of being male, is presumed to have power. She isn’t; her desire for the observer can more readily become part of the observer’s fantasy, because she has no authority with which to demand.

        Thanks for articulating this – it’s something I’ve been trying to put my finger on for awhile.

  2. Oddlilpup says:

    Thank you for writing this. It’s really encouraging to know that there are dominant people who feel affected by the way communication happens in the scene.

    I have this hope that if I keep seeing posts that are positive about male submission from people who know what they’re talking about, I might someday find the courage to return to the scene. I might stop thinking that I’m only attractive when I’m not being submissive. I might believe that I could have a fetish partner without accepting that I will be a consolation prize.

    Here’s hoping. Thank you for writing.

  3. Tom Allen says:

    Would he have said “a fucking weak-ass gay”? I think not, at least, not in the San Francisco scene—such words have a clear underlying implication of homophobia. But somehow, using someone’s D/s status as a slur is acceptable.

    A while back, I wrote that “male sub” was replacing “faggot” as the in-group sexual slur. The media portrayal of male subbiness implies simpering weakness, along with “forced femme” humiliation. Want to feel like a domly macho? Then it’s okay to diss that sub because you know he secretly wears panties and wants to take a strapon — activities that are associated with being a woman, or gay, which as all domly men know, is almost the same thing. Well, except in San Francisco.

    However, there’s a chicken-or-egg factor here. Googling for related topics, one immediately runs across femdom in relation to forced femme, strapons, and worthless worms. And while it’s fine to have and enjoy those kinks, we maybe need to ask ourselves if those who do so are under or over represented.

    Personally, I’ve gotten so tired of the current paradigm of “weak male subs” that I’ve pretty much disassociated myself from the entire scene, and I no longer refer to my desires as “submissive.” I haven’t come up with another word yet, but I’m working on it.

    • Fizz says:

      Personally, I’ve gotten so tired of the current paradigm of “weak male subs” that … I no longer refer to my desires as “submissive.”

      And *that* makes me sad, because I really deeply want to see more strong, intelligent, communicative, powerful, etc. people loudly taking on the submissive label! I would hate to see the people abusing the term win and get to keep it as a pejorative.

    • Professor Chaos says:

      While I can completely understand why you don’t identify as submissive anymore (see Fizz’s post “One of the Nineteen”), and I certainly don’t want to police your identity, I think it makes it *more* important for people like you to identify as submissive, to increase visibility of intelligent, capable submissive men.

      Thank you so much for commenting!

      • Tom Allen says:

        While I understand what you and Fizz are saying, the point that I *didn’t* make was that maybe our paradigm is so screwed up that we need something new, instead of trying to fix what’s already (IMO) badly broken. Maybe the terms “domination” and “submission” are already far too loaded with the baggage of cultural connotations, and we need to find a new way to describe WIITWD — a way that breaks free of the Gorean paradigm and the “Old Guard” 1960s gay scene which seems to be the basis of how BDSM is seen from within the culture.

        • maymay says:

          Maybe the terms “domination” and “submission” are already far too loaded with the baggage of cultural connotations, and we need to find a new way to describe WIITWD — a way that breaks free of the Gorean paradigm and the “Old Guard” 1960s gay scene which seems to be the basis of how BDSM is seen from within the culture.

          Tom, do you think it is possible to break free of the toxic paradigm without jettisoning the current terminology?

          • Tom Allen says:

            :Throws hands up in the air:

            Sometimes it just seems like it’s easier to start from scratch than to try to fix something that’s broken and patched together with duct tape.

            Or, flip that around: Do you think that it’s possible to retain the current syntax *without* reminding people about the current baggage already attached?

            • Ranai says:

              Well, in my language we call ‘submissive’ ‘devot’. From the Latin root ‘devovere’. You’re welcome to play around with this option if you like it. The English ‘submissive’ sounds fine to me personally, and I even like it better than ‘devot’, because it doesn’t have a connotation of piety. ‘Devot’ has an advantage of being associated with loyalty, fealty and allegiance, which I like.

              At present I can’t imagine how exchanging the words ‘submissive’ and ‘dominant’ (which I find useful and non-problematic) for other words would influence anyone’s inner attitudes. Would it? But language creativity in general can be a fine thing.

              I’m probably more detached in this respect as English isn’t the language I use in my personal life anyway. On the other hand, perhaps not, as there are various other English words associated with kink which I never use because the very words turn me off sexually.

              Today there’s loads of ideological, institutionalised and commercialised baggage that people often unnecessarily need to filter through to get access to some practical info relevant to their own inner desires. I don’t perceive the word ‘submissive’ as part of that baggage. But I don’t think anyone needs to use words that turn them off personally when their language has other words available.

            • Stabbity says:

              Do you think that it’s possible to retain the current syntax *without* reminding people about the current baggage already attached?

              That’s an interesting question. It would be great if there was a handy word submissive guys could use to differentiate themselves from the guys who I think are really bottoms with a fetish for the trappings of submission. But I have to wonder how long even a new word would work before it got taken over by the same old crap.

              I’m thinking of the way ‘submission’ is overrun by bottoms who are worried they won’t find a partner or anyone to play with unless they overstate their interest in d/s.

              So maybe we need a word that makes us all sound like total dorks so people won’t be so tempted to misuse it :)

              • Tom Allen says:

                Or maybe we need a D/s version of a SlutWalk? :-)

                But again, I’m not hopeful that the terms will be reclaimed easily.

                • Fizz says:

                  Or maybe we need a D/s version of a SlutWalk? :-)

                  I am down with any event where I get to wander around in public with someone sexy on a leash.

                  But again, I’m not hopeful that the terms will be reclaimed easily.

                  Here’s a little hope: When I entered the BDSM community, I had to be taught about the stereotype of the overeager groveling-to-strange-women submissive. Before I did, my association with the word was powerful and attractive people who choose to submit … because that’s what *I* want. Maybe I’m atypical, but I doubt I’m alone in this, and I absolutely believe that can be made the common experience.

                  • maymay says:

                    I am wary of too much public visibility emphasizing this issue, not because I fear the mainstream would sabotage it, but because I believe the BDSM mainstream would.

                    Or maybe we need a D/s version of a SlutWalk? :-)

                    After seeing how incredibly divisive something so simple and straightforward like SlutWalk was among feminists and their various feminisms, something far more nuanced and stigmatized like a D/s version of it would likely not only divide but also actively confuse the BDSM “community.” For more on how visibility efforts like this can often be counter-productive, see Margot Weiss’s paper “Mainstreaming Kink”.

                    Instead of a visibility or word-reclaiming campaign per se, I think focusing on what Fizz wrote is more likely to succeed in the long term:

                    When I entered the BDSM community, I had to be taught about the stereotype of the overeager groveling-to-strange-women submissive. Before I did, my association with the word was powerful and attractive people who choose to submit … because that’s what *I* want. Maybe I’m atypical, but I doubt I’m alone in this, and I absolutely believe that can be made the common experience.

                    This simple sentiment is at once a profound ray of hope and a harsh spotlight on what is “wrong” (read: damaging) to BDSM. It’s not actually the mainstream. It’s the poison in “our own community.”

                    That’s why I’m beginning to document exits from The Scene. The formal Scene does a better job than I could ever hope to do of attracting individuals for a brief time because they are the only game in town, and they are far visible than I could ever be by myself. So I don’t want a D/s SlutWalk. I want to give the BDSM Scene itself some competition, so it will be forced to stop behaving like the fucking corrupt monopoly that it currently is.

                    With blog posts like this one and One of the Nineteen, we’re doing that right now on the Internet. How do we do the same thing in the physical world, given our extremely strained resources, relatively minuscule numbers, and highly decentralized structure?

                    I gave it a shot with KinkForAll. What would KinkForAll 2.0 look like, to you?

                    • In the small town scene I came from, everyone who tried to enter was subjected to a personal interview first with one of the (female) community leaders, who themselves admitted that they think this scared off a lot of males. As well as young people. So, um, yeah… don’t do _that_.

                      There’s this whole notion of fear and secrecy and it being a “private club” that makes screening the priority instead of education. This cloak and dagger sentiment is so infectious and oft ingrained that it can be difficult to even speak matter of factly about WIITWD without polluting it with those undertones of danger, anxiety, and drama.

                      Kink communities close themselves off to the outside out of (oft justified) fear, which inevitably narrows the flow of who can make it to the inside, because everyone takes on the mask of “outsider”.

                      We must protect our own at all costs – but who makes the list? Bias, disinterest, discomfort, or outright discrimination on the part of the gatekeeper or members can keep a community homogenous without ever explicitly stating it as a goal.

                      I think KinkForAll has always tried to avoid this fear poisoning, and I think it’s a key component going forward.

                    • Not A Jerk says:

                      This simple sentiment is at once a profound ray of hope and a harsh spotlight on what is “wrong” (read: damaging) to BDSM. It’s not actually the mainstream. It’s the poison in “our own community.”

                      I’m going to chime in here with what I hope is another ray of hope. I’m not offering solutions, but perspectives. As a bit of background, it took me along time to find my way into “the scene”, although my scene is not in the USA. I’ve had lots of friends who were active, and I shared lots of skills with them (I delight in knowledge exchange), but actually reaching out into the community itself? That took time. I still very much consider myself to be the newbie.

                      When I first discovered “the scene”, I was genuinely surprised by the male-dom, female-sub stereotypes. Surprised. I’d always assumed that there was a balance. With my fabulously extended group of friends, there always was a balance, or even a reversal of the stereotypes. Being male and submissive wasn’t bad. Being female and dominant didn’t tokenise you. Being non-gender-normative was awesome. None of this was unusual, or noteworthy, or even something I thought about. It just was.

                      When I’ve met creepy people, both inside and outside of the scene, they’ve almost universally been creepy because they’ve been poor with boundaries, or have questionable ideas of consent. Their gender, role, or orientation have never been the cause.

                      I still get annoyed that due to my gender, I’m assumed dominant. I don’t identify with being dominant or submissive, and while I’ll use those terms if other people self-identify with them, I feel there’s way too much stereotyping with what’s expected from someone who’s a dom or sub. That seems limiting, and that’s not for me.

                    • Fizz says:

                      Huh, thanks for sharing this. I wonder how many more stories are like ours–and what that means. I think I’m lagging a step behind maymay here, arriving at the question he just asked (or, well, has been asking for years): How do we make spaces that don’t filter out all that diversity?

                      I don’t think I know enough about creating spaces at all, yet, to answer that. But I understand the question better, and will be thinking about it.

                    • > I am wary of too much public visibility emphasizing this issue, not because I fear the mainstream would sabotage it, but because I believe the BDSM mainstream would.

                      I could not agree more, Maymay.

                      I like the idea of documenting the exits – and there are indeed many. I know it’s been a real revelation to me since I started blogging about abuse and BDSM to see how many people are out here in the rest of the world who really are just as thoughtful and safety-minded as the public scene is *supposed* to be. Indeed, many of us *are* the refugees. I’ve seen multiple waves of newbies come and go over the years. Virtually no one I met early on is particularly active in public any more, albeit for a wide range of reasons. The craptization of the whole thing is a big one, though.

                      And just as the blogosphere has transformed many other cultural norms and ways of being with others, we are seeing it in the kink world today, in many different variants. The “scene” is both more and less easily accessible to any given individual precisely because of these outlets and their particular natures.

              • >> It would be great if there was a handy word submissive guys could use to differentiate themselves from the guys who I think are really bottoms with a fetish for the trappings of submission

                Stabbity, I think you’ve got a great idea there, because that problem exists in the male dom/femsub world also.

                In the “old” days, however, they really only used the words “top” and “bottom”.

                *If* there was any differentiation, they only distinguished between people who were into SM or not. And then the discussed what they wanted and meant. From what I’ve heard, the issues around these labels just were not the same when this linguistic device was used instead of the far more convoluted set of terms we grapple with today.

                Then again, they also didn’t do a lot of the sh^M^Mstuff that people do today trying to force absolute submission, “It’s all about the dominant”, etc. in the way we see ruin so much these days.

                If you think we’ve got trouble differentiating meanings now, with two sets of terms, just think how it would be if we were to add yet another word to the soup for people to have to try to work with.

                The problem really is not with the words, though; it’s the attitudes – and the community culture that has built up around them, the rigid needs and desires to fit in, oddly enough, into particular molds. Without changing all of that, the words themselves won’t matter. People will find other ways to marginalize the “whatevers”.

                And some people will *always* be categorically excluding any group of people they don’t like, no matter what you do.

            • What if we just focused more on jettisoning the labels-as-nouns altogether, and spent more energy encouraging people to actually discuss and describe to each other whatever the specifics of what they each want are? Kinda like a good old-fashioned “getting to know you” chat?

              We ultimately have to have those discussions anyways at some point – although gawd knows how so many people manage to skip them altogether and find themselves in relationships with people whose own definitions of the applicable “roles” may vary to the point that each is utterly unrecognizable to the other.

              Or perhaps it’s really more viable to keep the terms, because they do have their uses as shorthand, but to still encourage people en masse more than we have to largely bypass them.

              The problem with keeping them at this point, though, is, IMO, that they enable precisely the kind of judgment of an entire group of people far more than would be easily achievable if people had to focus more on other, more detailed descriptors.

              • maymay says:

                What if we just focused more on jettisoning the labels-as-nouns altogether,

                I like this idea, kinkylittlegirl, and think it can work.

                and spent more energy encouraging people to actually discuss and describe to each other whatever the specifics of what they each want are? Kinda like a good old-fashioned “getting to know you” chat?

                I like this idea too, but I don’t think it is feasible.

                I’m currently doing a lot of thinking about this topic. See also and especially: “On language of BDSM: ‘Femdom’ is to ‘transman” as ‘femme dom’ is to ‘trans man.’ Former set feels pejorative, latter descriptive. Discuss.” Elaborating briefly, “femdom” is linguistically monolithic (it’s conceptualized as a single noun), whereas “femme dom” splits the term into an an adjective-plus-noun construction.

                What are some, if any, reactions to this idea from people watching this comment thread?

                • Stabbity says:

                  “and spent more energy encouraging people to actually discuss and describe to each other whatever the specifics of what they each want are? Kinda like a good old-fashioned “getting to know you” chat?”

                  As much as I’d like to identify solely as ‘kinky’ and insist people actually talk with me, I think labels are too convenient to do away with entirely.

                  You know, “femme dom” actually doesn’t piss me off as much as “domme” or “femdom”. I think there’s something to the use of ‘femme’ as an adjective added to ‘dom’ instead of ‘femdom’ as an entirely separate thing from ‘dom’.

                  • CrankyFool says:

                    I’m doing a pretty terrible job trying to catch up on the universe of maymay’s writing, but had to stop that particular quest for a moment to make a quick comment on this thread (though I acknowledge this is about six months late).

                    Delving back into the scene lately, and attending munches, I do agree there’s something of a push to define oneself in traditional dom/sub terms. For me, however, that dichotomy is … I was going to say offensive, but it’s not just that. More importantly, for me it just doesn’t work. I can’t tell you if I’m a dom or a sub. I can’t even think that way. I can tell you about my experiences, if you’d like, but you know what? I’m really unlikely to tell you about all of my experiences on our first casual conversation.

                    For me, what I want in my life are relationships with people about whom I care, and who care about me. And you know, the way to get there — for me at least — is by getting to know people, rather than getting to know the particular way they want their sex, or sexual relationships.

                    So I have to tell you — “let’s start getting to know each other as human beings” has been working pretty well for me so far.

                    cf

                • Galiana Chance says:

                  “Femme” to me means “glamming up with displays of stereotypically feminine makeup and dress” (regardless of the cisgender or lived-in gender of the person). “Fem” to me means “living as female” (regardless of cisgender).

                  So I vote “Fem Dom” as a separation of two concepts. However, on Twitter? I’ll probably still drop the space due to media constraints.

  4. Asanisimasa says:

    This was a really insightful and well written post. I’m glad you wrote it because it helped clarify a lot of things for me.

  5. Stabbity says:

    when you devalue male submission, you are devaluing the objects of my desire, and by doing so, you. are. hurting. me. too.

    Yes! If male submission is somehow sick and wrong, then I must be sick and wrong myself to desire it. Easier just to ignore the possibility that I have desires.

    It’s because there’s no one for me to date.

    Supposedly there are dozens, if not hundreds of male submissives for every dominant woman. If so, where the hell are they? There are hardly any of them in my local scene. Even online, I’ve only talked with a few people who I would describe as submissive as opposed to a bottom with a fetish for the trappings of submission. It’s like the scene’s devaluation of male submissives chases them away or something.

    • I’m starting to understand my potential value in this conversation: to answer the question of “where do male submissives go if they don’t feel comfortable at ‘BDSM scene’ events?” I believe that large numbers of them go to anonymous online female dominants for pay, at least now and then. (I’m a phone sex operator, so this isn’t simply a theoretical idea I’m espousing – I make part of my living talking to them, bless their broken hearts)

      And there, online, the extremes of the fantasy are even more heavily emphasized, because it’s simpler to market an extreme, and most people do not have the ability to market nuance. In fact, I’m not sure it’s possible to market nuance at all.

      So a male submissive who feels rejected by an in-person group for free may try his hand online for pay, and be met with a WALL of “Dominas” calling him a loser, a wanker, a pathetic bitch, etc, and then… well, then, he either accepts those labels and sees himself as “less than”, or …

      Or he remains unspeakably strong in the face of all this stupidity and keeps holding his head high until he finds a partner who is worth him lowering his eyes to. May it be so, over and over.

  6. Submissive men are beautiful, complicated, vulnerable people with a beautiful, complicated, vulnerable sexuality and I’m glad they exist. I’m just going to keep saying it everywhere I go until everyone gets it.

  7. Ranai says:

    and because they hope that maybe we’ll co-top their girls with them and that they might be able to get into our pants

    That’s a good point. I have perhaps underestimated this factor in the past.

    I take people acting nastily towards and talking nastily about submissive men as meaning ‘You there, het dominant woman, you can just fuck off too! We don’t want your kind here!’ because that’s what it means to me. And no way would I deliberately expose my beloved to this nastiness.

    I’m crystal clear about enjoying conversations with submissive women and dominant men as friends and acquaintances only, without any erotic interest or attraction. But hey, I just a woman stating her own interests, so who cares. I suppose wishful thinking springs eternal, and there’s the tired old prejudice ‘All dominant women are into topping women – I’ve seen it in porn so it must be true.’

    But how can this change?

    People actively driving sub men (and, intended or not, dom women) away from supposedly open and mixed environments have silent backing from those who don’t speak up against it. As I mentioned in commenting on Thomas’ Domism post, some people want their social groups and events to be as non-diverse as they can achieve, repelling as many as possible of any humans who aren’t M/f and possibly F/f(M voyeur) interested. There are plenty of people who don’t want the self-selection and repelling to change. And then there are those who don’t care either way, and thus don’t speak up either.

  8. Ranai says:

    It’s also a dilemma.

    On the one hand, as public representations of kink are influenced by groups, of course I want groups everywhere to be more diverse and less sexist. If only to spare more kinky people growing up the possible effect of ‘I took one look and nothing whatsoever appealed to me; ergo I guess I’m not kinky…’ Devaluation of male submission in groups can harm people who don’t even go to groups.

    On the other hand, I have no desire to spend time anyway with people who show that they despise my and my partner’s sexuality. Nor with people who, when faced with devaluation of male submission, stand by idly and shrug.

  9. Chris O'Sullivan says:

    I’m So glad you brought this up, it seems to me that just like most forms of discrimination bias and prejudice introductory education is key. This functions both ways, however learning to be unbiased is harder than negative or positive bias.

    I think also challenging people to own their discomfort as their personal responsibility is important. I can do things with you that I know make you uncomfortable and that might be on me, but if I’m doing those things across the room or across the table with someone who’s loving every moment, your discomfort is really and truly your discomfort and you best grow the heck up.

    For instance if I get a feeling of discomfort when speaking to someone with a huge patch of burn scarring across their arm I’m not an ass for feeling the discomfort, I’m an ass for treating them as if my discomfort was their responsibility, their choice or a good reason for excluding them from a semi public event.

    I usually get to know from a doing other stuff perspective, so for me I want to include people that are more useful, helpful, talented and articulate and exclude people that are obstructionist, negatively dramatic, have strongly held opinions about things they know very little about and are irresponsible.

    On the other hand I haven’t organized a non fundraiser event in over five years.

    What we see in mainstream porn is almost invariably targeting men and their wallets so it’s being tailored to male gaze on most levels including the devaluation of male submissives affirming the self view of the hetero normative male stereotypes.

    Change in group attitudes can be hard to elicit, individual change is easier but more difficult the more an individual is entrenched with a group of like-minded folk. The thing to remember is that small change is still change and small change is easier to come by than large shifts in group attitudes. Really the target is actions not feelings, if the actions change the feeling will likely follow.

    I’d like to change hearts and minds but what I really care about is changing actions. That’s why rules and policies promoting inclusion are less than useful when ignored justified by lame excuses like “it made everyone uncomfortable that he was there,” or “Male subs are creepy.” Too often “creating a safe space for everyone,” means excluding people or ideas that make the ORGANIZER uncomfortable, creating imbalances like no submissive men but dominant males and females and the only submissives present are females.

    Starting your own parties or events is not the point; there are femdom events that further isolate the issue and act as a funnel away from interaction with the main community and private play presupposes an existing relationship or playing with an unfamilar partner. Less than useful for femdoms who either want to play the field or are single and looking for a good fit from a larger pool of candidates.

    re @sunshine Love >>There’s this whole notion of fear and secrecy and it being a “private club” that makes screening the priority instead of education. This cloak and dagger sentiment is so infectious and oft ingrained that it can be difficult to even speak matter of factly about WIITWD without polluting it with those undertones of danger, anxiety, and drama.

    Reasonable fear is a is a good thing for keeping you safe. But a culture of fear is a tool for control and manipulation by self proclaimed leaders and breeds unreasonable actions and group think like distrusting male submissives that are proven trustworthy yet remaining silent about male doms that have a documented history of abuse.

    Chris

  10. Tomio Black says:

    Let’s also include the fact that many – both malesub and FemDom – are not actually interested in “the Scene.” I’m not. And I never will be. This is one reason why I have taken so much shit for saying, “Going to a munch is not for everyone – it doesn’t mean they are less serious, just that they aren’t going to make their lives public, even a little bit.”

    I have a feeling a lot of malesubs are at home every night, taking care of kids or trying their best to make a vanilla woman happy. I would also say a lot of FemDoms are at home every night, taking care of their kids or trying to be happy with a vanilla guy.

    What I would love to see – and what I see as Fetlife’s colossal failure – a website that helps “the lifestyle” available as a normal, quiet life.

    • Fizz says:

      Interesting–where do you think Fetlife goes wrong in that? What could be different on the site that would make it more accessible to people with non-public BDSM lives?

      • Tomio Black says:

        I don’t think the problem is with the software of the site, it’s with the embedded culture of the people using it. That’s much harder to change. But probably much more important.

    • Chris Hall says:

      I kind of thought that the point of a site like Fetlife was that you could engage in the online community without necessarily venturing out into the RL community of munches, etc. At the same time, you do have that option. I’m not quite clear on how it’s failing in that sense. Also, if it is failing in that sense, how much of it is a failure of Fetlife and how much of it is the failure of US as a community?

      • Tomio Black says:

        It is SUPPOSED to be a function of Fetlife (I think). But I’ve lost count of how many times “just go to a munch” comes out as the FIRST bit of advice for a submissive seeking lifestyle information. I’ve been castigated at length for daring to say that munches are not for everyone, and that doesn’t make them bad in any way or less BDSM-y.

        It’s totally a failure of US as a community.

        • maymay says:

          It is SUPPOSED to be a function of Fetlife (I think). But I’ve lost count of how many times “just go to a munch” comes out as the FIRST bit of advice for a submissive seeking lifestyle information. I’ve been castigated at length for daring to say that munches are not for everyone, and that doesn’t make them bad in any way or less BDSM-y.

          It’s totally a failure of US as a community.

          Strongly seconded, Tomio. I no longer have any patience for debating whether or not such things is or is not a failure of “our” community. In other words, fuck that derailing bullshit. See also this very post and why that derailing bullshit is so fucking prevalent.

          Now, I think the more interesting and important questions than “is this a failure of the community?” look like this:

          What would a culture of non-topical inclusivity actually entail? I.e., where does an “affinity group” fall short in adjusting itself (non-violently) to newcomers and new ideas?
          How can the failure scenarios of the BDSM community (abuse in The Scene, inherent misogyny/domism, etc.) be related to non-power-orientation relationships and what would a failure analysis teach us about other groupings/communities/societal structures?

          An obvious disclaimer is that I have no idea how to approach these questions, and they are big, with implications ranging across the sociopolitical spectrum, and I am very, very worn out just getting to the point where not everyone dismisses me like a freak for just asking these questions or thinking this way.

          • Tomio Black says:

            What would a culture of non-topical inclusivity actually entail? I.e., where does an “affinity group” fall short in adjusting itself (non-violently) to newcomers and new ideas?

            These are GREAT questions. Too great to give an answer off the cuff. I’ll have to put some thought into things.

            I’ll make sure to let you know when I have an answer.

          • Tomio Black says:

            What would a culture of non-topical inclusivity actually entail? I.e., where does an “affinity group” fall short in adjusting itself (non-violently) to newcomers and new ideas?

            To some extent, the purpose of groups is NOT to adjust to newcomers. Groups set norms and exert pressure for newcomers to conform. The problem, I think, is not that the BDSM (effectively, the MaleDom) group is not open enough or big enough, but that the creation and growth of FemDom groups have been stunted by a number of factors – such as the prevalence of FemDom porn, the (in my opinion) destructive one-way-ism of Female Supremacy advocates (it’s great for them, but they tend to not recognize any variety as being equally valid), and a few other factors.

            Perhaps that question we should ask is how do we (we happy few) create a culture that honors variety in male submission and Female Domination? How do we build a wide swath of acceptance but still create enough of a framework to function as a coherent group?

            For me, the question is also: How do we do this OUTSIDE of the club and play party scene? Can we build it as a social group? Can we build it as a subculture rather than a counter-culture?

            I was discussing things with Mistress Delila, and what I would like is a peer group – several couples who can get together and just enjoy not having to hide Our power-based relationships. I mean, I have kids…they are an important part of my life…and I want to hang out with other FemDom/malesub families without it being all about what happens in the bedroom. I don’t want to have to totally segregate my life – THESE are my FemDom/malesub friends and THESE are the people who know my family.

            • maymay says:

              For me, the question is also: How do we do this OUTSIDE of the club and play party scene? Can we build it as a social group? Can we build it as a subculture rather than a counter-culture?

              If I understand correctly, Tomio, you seem to be arguing the opposite side of the coin from Tom, which I find interesting because you have both talked about excluding yourselves from the “club and play party scene.”

              I was discussing things with Mistress Delila, and what I would like is a peer group – several couples who can get together and just enjoy not having to hide Our power-based relationships. I mean, I have kids…they are an important part of my life…and I want to hang out with other FemDom/malesub families without it being all about what happens in the bedroom. I don’t want to have to totally segregate my life – THESE are my FemDom/malesub friends and THESE are the people who know my family.

              This sounds like what folks like Orlando describe as their experience of having a smaller social group. Some comments on Thomas’s Domism article also articulated similar experiences.

              One of the things that I hear repeated in private emails to me is how my ranting and raving about this issue publicly has encouraged people who have found themselves in such “unicorn herds” to begin to look beyond their own small, private social circle and try to welcome others. Some intentional communities do this mindfully but many more are only awakened to the global/cultural positive impact of doing this when they read how upset and angry I am.

              The irony for me personally is that I’ve found myself welcomed in a lot more spaces than I once was. I believe this is the case because I am also hyper-vigilant about not being “that submissive guy.” It is a sad fact that most submissive men I have encountered are misogynistic shitwads. They are not exactly helping you or I find cultural acceptance, Tomio, and yet I have an enormous compassion for them because I can so clearly see the pain, desperation, and ignorance at the root of their aggressively obsequious behavior.

              Not sure where this leaves me except to try and find a both/and solution that accomplishes both Tom’s notion of change “from within” and yours of doing so from “outside.”

              • Tomio Black says:

                It is a sad fact that most submissive men I have encountered are misogynistic shitwads. They are not exactly helping you or I find cultural acceptance, Tomio, and yet I have an enormous compassion for them because I can so clearly see the pain, desperation, and ignorance at the root of their aggressively obsequious behavior.

                This is absolutely true, and one of the reasons I keep my Fetlife group going. Some of the attitudes there actively hurt me, but when I started it a few years ago, there was nothing I could find like it. And I needed it. So I’m willing to keep it open, even when it falls short of my hopes and expectations.

                Not sure where this leaves me except to try and find a both/and solution that accomplishes both Tom’s notion of change “from within” and yours of doing so from “outside.”

                To some extent, there is no single answer because we are looking for very different things. The biggest impediments towards what I want lie mostly in logistics. Within a year or two, I hope to make steps towards making them a reality.

                I think the common ground lies in de-pathologizing Femdom/malesub for the general public. Confronting the kink community as you do, maymay, is a big step towards that. I think Gloria Brame and a few others are making headway in the academic fields. The big issue, I think, is going to be making enough noise, and the right kind of noise, to be taken seriously in the “sex-positive” world.

                The reality is that I’m never going to come out to my family of birth, nor is Mistress Delila. Whatever else can be said, my family is simply more important to me than is making a public example of myself. To be put straightforward, I will not risk having several children taken out of my life because of the personal aspects of my relationship with my lover.

                Some of my dearest friends know, and a few others may suspect. My goal is to gently grow that circle of society that simply shrugs its shoulders at the idea of a man humbling and submitting fully to a woman because it is an expression of how they love each other.

                I think the progression will be similar to what we have seen in the gay rights movement. When people see that this is a loving and affirming lifestyle, it becomes harder for them to cling to their stereotypes and biases. Eventually those crumble. But I’m in my mid-40s and don’t expect to see mainstream malesub celebrities before I die. I hope to be surprised, though, and I will work towards that ends.

          • >> I am very, very worn out just getting to the point where not everyone dismisses me like a freak for just asking these questions or thinking this way.

            I’m right there with you, Maymay. I’m burned out by my own efforts to educate and elucidate.

            We are not the first to burn out and go away – nor will we be the last.

            The lesson I’m having to learn is that a) it takes extraordinary tenacity to continue to fight these fights in the face of overwhelming opposition, and b) that I cannot control anyone else, only myself.

            These problems persist precisely *because* so many people who perceived them were unable or unwilling to outlast the perpetrators, and usually disappear quietly into the night. The only way to really effect change is for as many of us as possible to keep on pushing through that discomfort, at least until someone else takes up the battle standard and runs with it.

            Uncomfortable? Hell, yes. But also essential for creating the changes we want to see.

        • Chris Hall says:

          Well, that’s a start, at least. I think that for all their flaws, it’s far too easy to point the finger at Fetlife, as if all our problems stemmed from a single office in Toronto. Although I’d like to see some technical and philosophical improvements in FL, they’re far from being our worst problem.

        • Stabbity says:

          “But I’ve lost count of how many times “just go to a munch” comes out as the FIRST bit of advice for a submissive seeking lifestyle information. ”

          I have to admit I’m very much guilty of that – my standard advice is to go to a munch because I get a lot out of face-to-face contact with other people who are like me. Aside from the satisfaction I get from viscerally knowing that there are really other people like me, I just find it easier to communicate in person. If we were in the pub right now chatting over drinks, I would be able to tell by your facial expression and body language if I was making sense, or if I’d completely lost you.

          I recognize that not everyone’s local munch is a good fit for them, though. Munches can easily be cliquey, or the wrong age group for a particular person, or focused in a different direction (kinky play vs d/s), or you might just not have much in common with the other people who show up.

          • Tomio Black says:

            I don’t think it’s automatically a BAD thing to suggest. If someone says, “I want to go out and meet like-minded people” then it’s the best way to do it. But if someone says, “I just want to learn more about this” then maybe it isn’t.

            It isn’t just about the fitting-in quality, either. I have what amounts to a political appointment at a community college. Part of my contract says I will not “do anything to bring disrepute upon the school.” In the past couple of years, teachers in this area have been disciplined (including losing their jobs) for posting “mean things” about students on Facebook, posting photos that were sexually suggestive (but not explicit), and having it become public knowledge that they were swingers. That’s why I use a pseudonym online.

            Even after explaining this, however, I have been told, “That’s all bullshit. There are teachers at my local munch.” Great, let’s see one of the lose their job and see how many show up next month, huh?

            Even if this were not the case, what’s wrong with someone saying, “I’m a bit awkward in a crowd. Is there a smaller, more private setting…one that isn’t going to turn into a play party?” Fetlife could be a wonderful clearinghouse for such information – but it seems to be wasted. (This is not Fetlife’s fault, obviously. And I recently saw that someone started an unemployment support group in one of the local groups…so it isn’t hopeless.)

            I think it’s great that munches exist. But they are not all things to all people, and they simply cannot be.

            • Stabbity says:

              Part of my contract says I will not “do anything to bring disrepute upon the school.”

              And the lightbulb goes on for me. That’s an excellent point, it’s just not safe for some people to have any public involvement in the scene. And even if it were safe, maybe they’re still happier being involved online only. I have some great friends I can talk about kink with, but there are just a greater number of people I can have interesting conversations with online.

              Maybe part of the problem is that people who are part of the face-to-face scene tend to use willingness to show up at events as a measure of sincerity of interest. Judging by the number of grumpy threads on fetlife, there’s not exactly a shortage of people who can talk a good game but have no interest in ever meeting in real life (and aren’t honest about that).

              Even after explaining this, however, I have been told, “That’s all bullshit. There are teachers at my local munch.” Great, let’s see one of the lose their job and see how many show up next month, huh?

              *sigh* I really wish I could believe that you were exaggerating and people aren’t actually that stupid.

            • Stabbity says:

              So, it turns out you really weren’t kidding about how insistent people can be about the whole ‘thou shalt go to a munch in person’ doctrine:

              https://fetlife.com/groups/653/group_posts/1710040?utm_campaign=notifications&utm_medium=email&utm_source=new_group_discussion

              I must not have been paying enough attention before, I had no idea people would be quite so obnoxious about insisting some poor guy go to a munch when he’s not comfortable doing so.

              Even for people who are comfortable going to public kink events, sometimes it’s nice to go to smaller, more intimate gatherings. All of my favourite in person discussions lately have taken place at the pub with just a couple of close friends.

    • > What I would love to see – and what I see as Fetlife’s colossal failure – a website that helps “the lifestyle” available as a normal, quiet life.

      That’s actually what ends up happening, Tomio, as people pair up and go off on their own. When you see many of the people who are most boastful about how the dominant is always in control and the submissive just lives for pleasing her/him, what really goes on behind the scenes in the successful relationships is little different at the end of the day from any other good relationship.

      I’ve worked for years to try to normalize what we do by educating newbies about such issues as not getting their heads too far up into the clouds, learning how to assess safe people and not so safe ones, etc. (http://tribes.tribe.net/newtobdsm-uncensored – sorry, I don’t know how to make a link in a reply), but at the end of the day, there is a culture that lives in “the scene” that even the most boring kinky couples enjoy dressing up for.

      Fetlife may not promote this very much by themselves – but they don’t promote much else, either. There are, however, a number of groups that are devoted to poking fun at the uber serious (and delusional), and slaughtering the sacred cows.

      If you really want to see a group that is really seriously contributing to the de-normalization of things, look at what the Society of Janus is doing. And how they treat people who they do not agree with. (I’ll be posting something on that subject in the hopefully not too distant future, but it’s got to wait for the moment for various reasonsl Suffice it to say that there’s a reason their board is considered highly insular and exclusionary – and that they will stop at nothing to accomplish their ends.

      • maymay says:

        If you really want to see a group that is really seriously contributing to the de-normalization of things, look at what the Society of Janus is doing. And how they treat people who they do not agree with. (I’ll be posting something on that subject in the hopefully not too distant future, but it’s got to wait for the moment for various reasonsl Suffice it to say that there’s a reason their board is considered highly insular and exclusionary – and that they will stop at nothing to accomplish their ends.

        That sounds fascinating, kinkylittlegirl. I am waiting with bated breath for you to post about this. When you do, please come back here and share the link with all of us who are listening to this conversation. Thank you.

  11. Tomio Black says:

    Okay – Geordi has always bothered me. You know why? Because in one of the Star Trek films, Bones gave a random woman a pill that made her grow new kidneys…but Geordi still had to wear a Puralator air filter. They can grow kidneys in the future but not eyes?

    And what happened to EVERY OTHER FORM OF DISABILITY? No one else even limps. No one needs hearing aids.

    Okay – turning off the geek switch.

    • Fizz says:

      And what happened to EVERY OTHER FORM OF DISABILITY? No one else even limps. No one needs hearing aids.

      Christopher Pike uses a wheelchair!

      • Chris Hall says:

        Fizz, now you’re mixing TOS with TNG. That’s comparing apples and oranges.

        But I have to point out that one of the awesome things about watching “The Menagerie” is that Pike’s 23rd-Century wheelchair is extremely low-tech compared to what Stephen Hawking uses now. Or for that matter, what Stephen Hawking was using 25 years ago.

        • Fizz says:

          Tomio started it! And yes, it’s true, albeit even more indicative of the discrepancy Tomio was talking about.

          • Chris Hall says:

            Actually, the really stupid thing about Geordi’s Purolator air filter is the fact that it’s punk/new wave fashion—about 15 years after that look was cool.

            • maymay says:

              Not to be a buzzkill, but can we please stop cracking insensitive jokes about Geordi’s looks and get back to the topic of the BDSM Scene’s flaws and potential solutions for people who do not actually live in Gene Roddenberry’s 24th century world?

              Chaos’s analogy to Geordi as tokenized and sexually ostracized is rational, accurate, and illustrative. His visor is a visible manifestation of otherness in a way that is immediately evident to sighted people but that gendered sexual power-orientations are not. How can we improve our shared reality?

              Long ago, at KinkForAll New York City, Ranat led a session (that was, sadly, not recorded) on “Markers and Presentation for Dominant Women”, the tl;dr version of which is, “Doesn’t it fucking suck so fucking much that, as women, every materialistic way to flag being dominant is also a way that submissive women use to flag being submissive? For instance, collars, high hells, corsets, and all that shit?” Ranat wrote two blog posts on the issue after the unconference: “Gender, and Markers, and…” and “More on how Femme discussions are making me think about my sexuality,” which are both worth reading.

              The sentiments expressed there are the inverse of my own frustrations in trying to seek “a symbology for signaling desires and boundaries to others.” I’ve said as much in numerous ways:

              The injustices are small, but omnipresent; sexual death by a thousand cuts. It manifests in the way people look at me, talk to me, talk about me. It manifests in women’s eyes when they look away if I smile at them; they’re “supposed” to be coy and I’m not—so I can’t. It manifests in the clothes I feel comfortable wearing and the clothes I don’t—and where I feel safe wearing them, and where I don’t. It manifests in the counter-culture they say I belong to, and the ones they say I don’t. It manifests in fantasies I’ve learned to like because they are sexist. It manifests in what porn exists, and in what porn doesn’t—and in their explanations of why.

              Such cultural nullification is an expression of overcultural epistemic abuse and really, really hurts me, as well as many others more similar to Chaos than I, as this post makes clear. That’s why I asked Tom, above, if the toxic paradigm can be demolished without jettisoning the current terminology: BDSM Culture as a culture is patently unjust, and to fix it we may be able to take a cue from other rights-based movements by first changing our language, which changes other people’s thinking, which then changes their actions.

              In other words, I intend to rid the world of any use of “male submissive” as an insult, or “dominant woman” as a reference to a token, and I am asking for help from you to help me figure out how to do this in the most effective, efficient, and impactful way.

              So, with that said, pretty please go joke about Geordi’s visor elsewhere. For one, I don’t know if he would actually appreciate being joked about. For two, I’m getting pissed off at all of you for derailing what could have been an otherwise valuable discussion that is not happening elsewhere and really fucking needs to be happening everywhere.

              Okay, end cranky comment.

              • Chris Hall says:

                Really, Maymay? You’re going to chastise Fizz for derailing the conversation on their own blog? I believe that you may have just constructed a newly definitive example of chutzpah.

              • Tomio Black says:

                maymay, I appreciate the points you are raising. They are vitally important to us individually, and as a group.

                You are out to change the world, as am I (and I think most, if not all, of the people commenting here are in the same boat, to some extent). It’s a big world, though, and we have to work together. It is easier to do that if we are a group of friends fighting a common battle. It is easier to be friends if we share interests other than our mission (so to speak). So it’s okay to share stuff, and even to be playful at times. In fact, we are more likely to work together if we do.

                It’s also a separate comment thread from where the main conversation was taking place. So it shouldn’t be too much of a sideline.

                • Tom Allen says:

                  Well, I’m not really out to change the world, but I’m always working on a small corner of it, if only because I want it to be more comfortable for me. But I do agree that sometimes it’s fine to be playful in the midst of serious issues. I’ve discovered that one can burn out in an environment that is completely serious all the time.

                  I’m in the middle of some kind of windstorm, and I’m trying to get my internet in before the power goes out, so I’ll be brief:

                  BDSM Culture as a culture is patently unjust, and to fix it we may be able to take a cue from other rights-based movements by first changing our language, which changes other people’s thinking, which then changes their actions.

                  The problem as I see it is that you’ve got to change quite a few things from within. There is an entire generation of BDSMers who have never seen any other paradigm for the treatment of malesubs, and since the older members of a scene tend to set the tone for the newer members, guess what? The new, younger members unconsciously adopt those attitudes.

                  I think that you have a good idea with giving the existing scene some competition. Normally I deplore age discrimination/segregation, but the unfortunate fact is that the “community” might need some of the older dinosaurs to die off before new attitudes will be propagated. So, given the non-centralized nature of the scene, the competition might be something like a neo-Fetlife, one in which the attitudes – a mission statement, if you will – are posted at the front door, and new entrants heavily monitored, at least, until the group becomes self-sustaining.

                  The idea that many self-identified subs are really just bottoms with fetishes is interesting. Personally, stereotypical “femdom” attire is a turn-on, but I am also self-aware enough to understand that attire is window dressing. Similarly, Ranai’s observation that in her language “submissive” has a different connotation is interesting. Could we co-opt such a word, or invent one similar? Perhaps we should look at the converse, too.

                  • maymay says:

                    Woo! Well, this is going to be even harsher because I can’t for the life of me believe these things need to be said to this crowd but, apparently, they do. And, hell, maybe they’ll stick if I’m perceived as over-the-top about it even though I thought hearing this ought to have been beneath you.

                    sometimes it’s fine to be playful in the midst of serious issues

                    One can only be playful when one has the privilege to avoid the pain of what one is joking about. See also rape jokes. Some may say I’d be a Better Person if I wasn’t so pained or resentful. I say fuck them and their antipathy, too.

                    Bluntly, I am NOT sorry that I am not in the mood to joke about these issues and I am NOT sorry that I will continue to have the “chutzpa,” Chris, to rub all your faces in the fact that this is serious for me no matter where the fuck I am on the Internet. Fizz and Chaos can approve my comments or not, it is their blog. Call me a humorless ass, but for fuck’s sake, Chris, I would have expected you of all people to grok why I have little to no patience for an attitude of frivolity here, no matter how well intentioned. Or maybe I expected too much. You tell me.

                    we have to work together. It is easier to do that if we are a group of friends fighting a common battle.

                    Respectfully, Tomio, you are not my friend and I currently have no active interest in becoming your friend, though I obviously wouldn’t oppose that development. You are an acquaintance and hopefully an ally. Do not mistake my collaboration with and respect for you as some kind of friendship with you.

                    I have no interest in socializing in this space and I do not appreciate the presumption that I would do better if I would just go along with social norms that tell me I should put up with frivolous jokes in an arena that I find patently offensive. Because really, fuck that shit and I expect to not need to explain why I reject that bullshit peer pressure out of hand to you.

                    In other words, I really don’t need any of you to like me, although it obviously wouldn’t hurt. I just need you to help me “change the world” (to borrow your words), or to get out of my way while I do it. The noise you added to this thread is unhelpful, offensive to me, and therefore deserving of being called out as such. And that’s what I’m doing.

                    OKAY. With that out of the way. On to the meat of the matter, if also rant-y and half-baked (sorry about that):

                    Normally I deplore age discrimination/segregation, but the unfortunate fact is that the “community” might need some of the older dinosaurs to die off before new attitudes will be propagated.

                    Yeah, I don’t disagree. I’ve been publicly declaring the obvious for a while: the days of these dinosaurs are already numbered and I simply can’t wait for them to lose their influence through whatever ethical means necessary. That said, as an activist, waiting around for their metaphorical death is equivalent to giving up, and that’s not an acceptable solution. I am just not that patient, nor should anyone need to be. Patience, in this case, is not a virtue, it is a deadfall.

                    The problem as I see it is that you’ve got to change quite a few things from within. There is an entire generation of BDSMers who have never seen any other paradigm for the treatment of malesubs, and since the older members of a scene tend to set the tone for the newer members, guess what? The new, younger members unconsciously adopt those attitudes.

                    I think I partially agree and partially disagree. There is ALREADY a gigantic disconnect between BDSM’ers who are part of the public Scene and those who are not. This has, in fact, always been the case but it remains hidden—including from me—by the stigma associated with SM. This is where the public/formal community is useful, with groups like the NCSF supported by the community.

                    However, the problem as I see it is that “the public community” largely presents itself as a social space, where in actuality they have a fucking piss poor track record of being successful social groupings beyond small clique-based power grabs in the form of venue owners and hosts. This may contribute to the apolitical nature of most Scene members. I have heard countless recitations of difficulties in getting even the most active public community members to events like NCSF discussions and panels, even while these same people claim to actively support such organizations. The disconnect is frustrating for me, for other local community organizers, and for the NCSF staff (or so they tell me).

                    The unacknowledged elephant in the room, however, seems always to be the fact that The Scene is apolitical by structure: it is a place to play, not a place to organize. This split mirrors the split between members of what I call The Scene (and about whom ethnographies such as the ones published by Newmahr and Weiss describe well) and the people like Tomio, Orlando C., Tom, and others who have publicly expressed zero interest in becoming part of their local Scene “community.”

                    Why the fuck does that split not receive public and respectful acknowledgement from The Scene? Because The Scene is a self-selecting and privileged place, be it by class (money, i.e., Serious Leisure, see Newmahr), by age, or—and most relevant to this discussion—by the intersection of gender and power-orientation. In other words, those who are in The Scene refuse to take responsibility for the fact that the place they have created expresses, in the aggregate of their culture, their own biases. And this mirrors the disability issues when we discuss things like accessibility of dungeon spaces, as Shanna Katz (for example) is so articulate about.

                    So, on the one hand, I agree that it would be helpful to change the culture of The Scene “from within,” as it would provide different behavioral patterns for newer entrants to model themselves after. On the other hand, my far-too-slow-in-coming realization (that Chaos even linked to in her post, above) is that there are already pockets of healthier patterns that have absolutely zero connection to The Scene and do not need it. The problem with these are that they are invisible, not only to The Scene (with its obstinate refusal to so much as look for and welcome them), but to people like me and many others who have had by happenstance or circumstance no social tie to such groups.

                    There is, in other words, no connective social infrastructure for non-Scene groupings of individuals who pattern healthier behaviors to find one another and expand. I believe there is a better method other than “luck” to make this happen, and that’s the “competition” I think The Scene needs. I just don’t know how to make that happen…yet.

                    The idea that many self-identified subs are really just bottoms with fetishes is interesting. Personally, stereotypical “femdom” attire is a turn-on, but I am also self-aware enough to understand that attire is window dressing.

                    So, this sounds to me like what I discussed when I talked about “kinking on stereotypes, too.” On one hand, this can be an expression of internalized oppression. In other words, if you are into forced feminization and kink on its humiliation aspect (and we all know what a frustratingly common trope that is), then what you are getting off on is sexism. I won’t condemn you for finding sexism sexy (fuck, I’m into some things that could be construed that way), but I will condemn you for passing it off as something else to make you feel emotionally better about yourself while you’re jacking off.

                    On the other hand, this is also potentially the intersection of legitimate kinks. Only the people involved can accurately describe their experience of and motivation for their arousal, so any cultural solution to the domism that tokenizes female dominance and devalues male submission needs also to provide enough space to allow “sissy” men and the dominants who genuinely reciprocate that desire their space, too. And I don’t know how to reconcile that in one space.

                    I don’t even know if it’s possible or helpful to have one space. This is why I keep calling play parties awful for community-building, while simultaneously supporting their continuation. To balance it, I advocate for the increase of non-sexualized environments (like KinkForAll) that prioritize diversity (and accessibility). Of these three, it is the non-sexualized environments that I feel are most lacking and would have the largest potential positive impact.

                    And don’t tell me munches are non-sexualized environments. Any place where “so, are you a dom or a sub?” as one of if not THE first question out of people’s mouths is a meat market. That’s what happens at your typical BDSM munch. ARGH!

                    Similarly, Ranai’s observation that in her language “submissive” has a different connotation is interesting. Could we co-opt such a word, or invent one similar? Perhaps we should look at the converse, too.

                    I’m still not sold on the terminological rejection of “submissive” or “dominant” as being useful. I’ll have to muse on that more. I do think that a more careful and precise approach to language would be helpful. But I’ve already beaten that horse to death.

                    • Tomio Black says:

                      One can only be playful when one has the privilege to avoid the pain of what one is joking about.

                      That just isn’t true. I joke about a whole lot of things that hurt me. It keeps me sane. It’s a coping mechanism, sort of like your anger.

                      And in the real world, we’re talking about a cheesy prop in a sci-fi program that is held up as evidence of advanced inclusivity, which is contradicted by that show’s own claim to advanced medical and technical know-how. I think it is worthy of derision and sarcasm and, like the Emperor wearing no clothes, it deserves to be laughed at. And I say this as a person who is visually impaired myself.

                      Respectfully, Tomio, you are not my friend and I currently have no active interest in becoming your friend, though I obviously wouldn’t oppose that development. You are an acquaintance and hopefully an ally. Do not mistake my collaboration with and respect for you as some kind of friendship with you.

                      Nope. I didn’t. I said it is easier if we do things as friends. But if that isn’t to be; then I won’t lose any sleep over it. Nor will I lose any respect for what you’ve done. Nor will I overlook any opportunity to work with you on issues of mutual interest.

                      I have no interest in socializing in this space and I do not appreciate the presumption that I would do better if I would just go along with social norms that tell me I should put up with frivolous jokes in an arena that I find patently offensive. Because really, fuck that shit and I expect to not need to explain why I reject that bullshit peer pressure out of hand to you.

                      I’m not saying you should go along with anything. I’m saying it is an appropriate venue for the discussion at hand. Nor was I trying to pressure you into participating in something you find offensive. But neither am I going to be pressured into not enjoying myself. If you find it offensive; then all I can say is that I didn’t intend to do so. But I wouldn’t change my actions, either. As I’m sure you’d agree, life is too short to worry over a few hurt feelings here and there.

                      The noise you added to this thread is unhelpful, offensive to me, and therefore deserving of being called out as such.

                      I guess we have a different view of what is helpful and what isn’t. It is helpful for me to connect with people in a humorous fashion. You aren’t the first person I’ve offended because of this, and I’m sure you won’t be the last. We have different opinions on this, and I’m fine with that.

                      So, I’m going to cut this off and deal with the topical part of your reply in a separate comment, because that just helps my brain keep things sorted.

                    • Tomio Black says:

                      That said, as an activist, waiting around for their metaphorical death is equivalent to giving up, and that’s not an acceptable solution. I am just not that patient, nor should anyone need to be. Patience, in this case, is not a virtue, it is a deadfall.

                      I agree with you wholeheartedly. The issue, as I see it, is that the “BDSM community” is simply a microcosm of our larger dominant culture.

                      This may contribute to the apolitical nature of most Scene members.

                      Yeah…see above. Americans in general are apolitical, and when they become mobilized, it is usually around a personality and very poorly informed as to how political issues are generated and progress is made.

                      The problem with these are that they are invisible, not only to The Scene (with its obstinate refusal to so much as look for and welcome them), but to people like me and many others who have had by happenstance or circumstance no social tie to such groups.

                      This is probably the best elevator statement I’ve seen of the problem, as I experience it. For my part, part of the reason for remaining invisible is fear of real-world consequences. That’s an issue for the larger culture as much as anything, though.

                      On one hand, this can be an expression of internalized oppression.

                      This is straight out of third wave feminism, and there’s a lot to take from it. However, one of the things that comes out of it is its blind-spots and limitations. A corset can be a symbol of oppression. But that doesn’t mean that is all they are. If a person wears them because they find them beautiful (which some are) and they enjoy the feeling of the constraint (which some do); then it isn’t oppression…it’s an absolute expression of one’s real self.

                      Any place where “so, are you a dom or a sub?” as one of if not THE first question out of people’s mouths is a meat market

                      I’m glad you said this in this fashion. I agree with you. And I’ve had malesubs tell me that once they identify themselves as such, people physically move away from them.

                      I’m still not sold on the terminological rejection of “submissive” or “dominant” as being useful.

                      I don’t think we should reject the terminology, but it wouldn’t hurt to enlarge our vocabulary. “Submissive” is the only thing that adequately describes me, at least in my mind.

                    • TJ says:

                      > And don’t tell me munches are non-sexualized environments. Any place where “so, are you a dom or a sub?” as one of if not THE first question out of people’s mouths is a meat market. That’s what happens at your typical BDSM munch. ARGH!

                      > I’m glad you said this in this fashion. I agree with you. And I’ve had malesubs tell me that once they identify themselves as such, people physically move away from them.

                      I’m so glad the munches I’ve been to (in Oxford UK) haven’t been like that. There’s no way in hell I’d have been back and made some wonderful friends if this had been the case. I’m not sure if this is because the munches here are dominated mostly by a younger demographic, and are relatively small, or if it’s more of a cultural thing (US v UK? even smaller regional social differences)?

                    • > And I’ve had malesubs tell me that once they identify themselves as such, people physically move away from them.

                      That makes me want to barf.

                      However, I know it isn’t *always* that way *everywhere* – I know there are two groups in Austin, TX with submissive men in prominent positions of leadership within both communities, where several long-term femdom/malesub couples make efforts to welcome new malesubs with great care.

                      I am NOT AT ALL attempting to devalue the hurt suffered by many many malesubs. What I am trying to point out is hope that malesub-positive communities can, and do, exist within the greater “Scene”, to encourage those who wish to have in-person group community experiences that such a thing is possible.

                    • > There is, in other words, no connective social infrastructure for non-Scene groupings of individuals who pattern healthier behaviors to find one another and expand. I believe there is a better method other than “luck” to make this happen, and that’s the “competition” I think The Scene needs. I just don’t know how to make that happen…yet.

                      Maymay, nothing exists because no one has felt enough need to create something on a scale that others would be able to find.

                      Also, because what you are describing is inherently the *same thing* as “The Scene”.

                      The only way new social structures come into being is if the people who want them start them, and define them however they want to.

                      So, I invite you. Start your own group, with your own rules.

                      Decide what you want, how you want it to look, set up an organizational meeting, and invite people to come and share their thoughts, volunteer to help build it, etc.

                      Post about it on Fetlife, because the reality is, that’s where the people are. Make your own event to do so, and announce it in a couple of the relevant groups.

                      You have much good to say, Grasshopper, and I totally understand your frustration and impatience (ask me my story of what I helped build once, and how we channed those problems into our service instead of against us) – but at the end of the day, anger does not in and of itself change anything. No one is going to do it for you, no matter how much you rave about the need.

                      Take the bull by the horns and *create* the change you want to see.

                      As to the requirement of having “privilege” before you can joke about anything, etc., I call BS. Even when dying in the Nazi death camps, many people who were in far worse straits than you or I will hopefully ever live to see still had enough in them to create music and art, and indeed to celebrate life even in the face of the greatest inhumanity to man the world has ever witnessed. People who didn’t live a day after whatever they created.

                      Go read Viktor Frankel’s epic _Man’s Search for Meaning_ if you haven’t already – and if you have, read it again.

                      And go look at some of the art that was created in the ghettos and concentration camps.

                      If you allow your enemies to rob you of your sense of humor and ability to interject some levity into serious discussions, and to still see the humanity of those with whom you differ, and to still bring forth beauty no matter the circumstances, you will have handed all of your own power over to them.

                      Lost it, really.

                      And they will have won.

                      I don’t think this is the kind of handing over of power that you envision having in your life.

                  • > There is an entire generation of BDSMers who have never seen any other paradigm for the treatment of malesubs, and since the older members of a scene tend to set the tone for the newer members, guess what? The new, younger members unconsciously adopt those attitudes.

                    Very true.

                    There was a time when this was a productive thing, because people were generally better behaved, but that has changed big time, and now all the people who *should* be the role models have fled the noxious changes themselves, leaving a really badly-educated and trained generation to mind the store as even more newbies come in.

                    It’s scary as all fuck – particularly when you see people who you *know* are abusive and don’t know their asses from a teakettle on the boardgame of kink life acceed to positions of leadership.

                    And then the spiral just keeps going down, down, down…

              • Tom Allen says:

                can we please stop cracking insensitive jokes about Geordi’s looks

                May, I’m not sure if any of us know any sensitive jokes.

              • Fizz says:

                May, are you able and willing to clarify what about this thread offended you?

                I can tell we’re not reading it the same way, for example, because you refer to it as cracking jokes about someone’s looks. What I see is people talking about a stupid inconsistency in the technology on the show, not about any person (fictional or otherwise), or BDSM or submission or anything else.

                Your later comments suggest that the problem is the off-topicness in itself, but everyone in this thread had, days or weeks before your objection, posted something insightful and on-topic in another portion of the comments. No one is making jokes about Star Trek instead of discussing the issue seriously, only in addition to.

                In short, I don’t see what you’re seeing, and I want to understand what you were feeling that led to your response, and why.

  12. Tom Allen says:

    but Geordi still had to wear a Puralator air filter. They can grow kidneys in the future but not eyes?

    :laughs:

  13. Tom Allen says:

    Tomio, maybe Geordi didn’t want the normal eyes because the air filter gave him enhanced vision.

    Just a thought.

  14. […] how often members of the BDSM scene devalue male submissives, even while valuing female dominants: http://www.labcoatlingerie.com/2011/08/09/the-cost-of-devaluing-male-submission-one-token/ This particular conversation goes back further on the internet, but that’s where I joined […]

  15. Doc435 says:

    As participant in one and a neophyte explorer in the other I see a number of social / political parallels between the substance abuse recovery culture and the sex-positive / BDSM culture. Many of the risks and fears of ‘public’ exposure are the same (job loss, family and social isolation) Likewise there are prejudices and biases in AA, NA and other recovery / support groups that make it very difficult for some to gain acceptance in or to benefit from them. The ‘senior’ members hold huge sway in the meetings and clubhouses making it very difficult for cultural changes to occur, and if you don’t fit into their structure and do things the ‘right’ way you are not welcome. Having already been someone who needed something of what those organizations had to offer while rejecting many of the rituals and rules I am very disheartened to see that I am facing the same battle for sexuality as I did for sobriety.
    My partner is loosely associated with the local scene here but struggles with some of the same issues Professor Chaos does. I have gone to some of the ‘non-sexualized’ gatherings they have, not as a bottom or her sub but as a spouse, a fellow geek or just to help out with the grilling. The only people there who didn’t act strange toward me were the kids. This post and some of the comments after go a long way towards explaining the attitude they have towards me and make her hesitation to invite me to others make much more sense.

  16. […] Galiana Chance: It started with @maymaym (the guy behind the visual-celebration-of-male-submission site MaleSubmissionArt.com) posting a link to this incredibly well-written piece discussing how often members of the BDSM scene devalue male submi…. […]

  17. maymay says:

    Maymay, nothing exists because no one has felt enough need to create something on a scale that others would be able to find.

    […]

    The only way new social structures come into being is if the people who want them start them, and define them however they want to.

    So, I invite you. Start your own group, with your own rules.

    Decide what you want, how you want it to look, set up an organizational meeting, and invite people to come and share their thoughts, volunteer to help build it, etc.

    I realize you’re trying to be supportive, kinkylittlegirl, and I thank you for that intent, but oh my freakin’ god. Srsly? I know I’m not perfect, and I’ve not had the kind of success I would have hoped for in everything I’ve done, but I can’t believe people still talk to me as though I haven’t been thinking on and trying to do exactly what they are suggesting I think about and try to do FOR YEARS ALREADY, as though I just haven’t, y’know, tried yet. It makes me want to scream.

    Also, because what you are describing is inherently the *same thing* as “The Scene”.

    That is a good point and precisely why I asked the questions I did; structure is not inherently bad. The question is (or at least it could be) what structures create conditions that are supportive to the construction of, as I put it earlier in this thread, a “connective social infrastructure” so that “luck” won’t forever be the tool du jour with which to try to solve the problems we’re all discussing in this thread.

  18. […] write because I want someone to find this message, or this, this, or this other one before they mistake this for the one true […]

  19. […] um zu zeigen, wie nicht-diskriminierend die Gruppe angeblich sei, und gleichzeitig ihre Sexualität herabwürdigen) zögern möglicherweise, ihre persönlichen Interessen mitzuteilen, teilen sie nur selektiv mit, […]

  20. […] heterosexual, bisexual and pansexual dominant women who have experienced people tokenising them and devaluing their sexuality) may be reluctant to communicate their personal interests, may only communicate […]

  21. […] backwards for me; I got the boy then had the overwhelming craving, then the realization that the lack of submissive men in the social spaces I occupy is neither coincidental nor my fault, followed by deep and burning anger over what someone clearly so precious to me has been made to […]

  22. MissL says:

    ” It’s not because there’s something wrong with me as a potential romantic/sexual partner. It’s because there’s no one for me to date. Because everyone’s been telling all the male submissives that they’re unwanted for so long that they won’t come out to play. So I’m sitting here in my kinky sandbox with my toys all by myself.”

    Sadly, I know how you feel. Well said.

  23. Alice says:

    I really wish there were more submissive men active in the community. They are probably the most numerous part online, but in kinky clubs and muches they are basically non-existent.

  24. Property says:

    Just chiming in with a dash of perspective. I’m a openly queer male submissive to an openly queer female dom, and I think a lot of the debate over terminology definitely turns off a large amount of potentialnewcomers. Mistress and I have as little possible contact with the local bay area clubs, becausee we can’t stand the sort of drama that comes with it. I had a dom once try to tell me off for spelling D/S instead of D/s. Its that kind of anal retentive, megalomaniac behavior that drives people off. My commitment to mistress is deeper and more complex than some trite capitalization error could express. Plus we get tired of people pestering us to engage in group sex. My mistress has no interest in another sub and I have no interest in another dom. And instead of socializing and contributing, we avoid the scene and the conflict and disrespect.

  25. Belladonte says:

    I read these lines and my heart opens with gratitude. The hunger and feelings I have harbored for so man years. The searching and clarity I have some how do not bear fruit. I began to think is there no value in desiring a kind smart strong submissive man that holds his value and sees it reflected in my eyes? thank you And yes many lonely nights alone.
    Miss B

  26. coffee_queen says:

    Great article! The one on dommes was excellent too.

    I find I also do not fit stereotypes of dommes. The hitting/verbally abusing aspect, while of course valid and great, makes me personally cringe.

    This devaluation of the male sub is spot on. I’m not in the kink scene because of fears of being assumed submissive, of not being validated for being domme even though I won’t hit or demean, and because I’m afraid I won’t find a male sub to play with.

    I’m bi, and my girlfriend, though I love her to death, does not understand this at all. She tries to spank me because women in her mind are submissive and like spankings. I do not like and tell her so but she keeps trying to convert me. :\ Plus she disparages my passionate desire for a male sub boyfriend. Why would I want someone who can’t make me feel “small” and “feminine,” she asks? Not to get derailed on the myriad problems with associating smallness with femaleness, I just get so bummed out being unable to share my fantasy of topping a guy without getting an eyebrow-arch in return. :\

    It doesn’t help that I live in a cesspool of sex-negativity, and socially conservative mores to boot. Le sigh.

    ” It’s not because there’s something wrong with me as a potential romantic/sexual partner. It’s because there’s no one for me to date. Because everyone’s been telling all the male submissives that they’re unwanted for so long that they won’t come out to play. So I’m sitting here in my kinky sandbox with my toys all by myself.” ~ hear you so loudly here!

  27. […] scene can be pretty toxic to male submissives (well a lot of people really, but the point I’m making is about male submissives.) Understand for a moment that for a man to identify as sexually submissive means disengaging from […]

  28. […] scene can be pretty toxic to male submissives (well a lot of people really, but the point I’m making is about male submissives.) Understand for a moment that for a man to identify as sexually submissive means disengaging from […]

  29. kwswblog says:

    “While male subs are not seen as potential objects of desire, female doms are seen only as objects of desire. That’s how I feel sometimes as a femme dom in the public scene: they see me, but not my desires.”
    Fantastic. Thanks for the great read.

  30. […] Every time I see “you’re not queer enough” or “you’re not kinky enough” all I want to is put up another sign on my proverbial front lawn that says “have the sex you want, with the people you love, and if you have the energy create the space for others to do the same.” […]

  31. About the above comments from The Female Dominant:”While male subs are not seen as potential objects of desire”:THAT depends on the male sub. Also “Female Doms are seen only as objects of desire: THAT DEPENDS ON THE FEMALE DOM.I see too many male subs who wont take care of their looks and OBJECTIFY themselves. Also I see many Female Doms who take care of their looks BUT THEY FLAUNT THEIR BODIES TOO MUCH.A PERSON WHO FLAUNTS THEIR BODY WILL INEVITABLY BE OBJECTIFIED.BEING OBJECTIFIED IS CONSIDERED SUBMISSIVE.THAT’S WHY JUSTIN BIEBER IS SO POPULAR.WHAT MADE HIM SO POPULAR IS BECAUSE WHEN HE FIRST GOT FAMOUS HE WAS A NICE (SUBMISSIVE) VERY GOOD LOOKING YOUNG BOY.WHAT HIS FANS DONT REALIZE IS THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO HIM BECAUSE HE INITIALLY CAME ACCROSS AS SUBMISSIVE.JUSTIN BIEBER’S MORE RECENT DOMINANT BEHAVIOR IS TURNING OFF HIS FANS.

    • Chris O'Sullivan says:

      @AdrienneGellmen I think you’re gone amiss on several points of context. As I read the OP it seems clear to me that the author is speaking within the context of the public BDSM scene.

      When you say:

      “Also I see many Female Doms who take care of their looks but they flaunt their bodies too much. A person who flaunts their body will be inevitably objectified. Being objectified is considered submissive.” (de-emphasis mine)

      While your first observation might be consistent with your perceptions you fly into motivational observational and attitudinal conflation. Your judgement is that they flaunt their bodies and that they do that too much to be consistently viewed as other than objects which is very consistent with general shame culture or further into rape culture and narcissism in general within the context of observer as judge and arbiter. That you consider being objectified as being synonymous with being considered submissive is inconsistent with objectification applied to every other aspect of the scene and life in general objectification takes many forms and goes both up and down the ladders of power and across cultures. It tends to be less harmful to the objectified person when applied up the ladder of power for obvious reasons but still has a deleterious effect both on the observer and the observed.

      The OP parses out simple objectification from ostracizing, marginalization and tokenism. The author is rightfully pointing out the downside of marginalizing one sub-group (no pun intended but I do wish I had intended it) can and does degrade the diversity and richness of the rest of the group. Specifically to ostracize male subs marginalizes Femdoms and can make the predominant public scene not worth participating in for either of them.

  32. Mistress Dolli says:

    Thank you for your words of wisdom.. I have been in the Ls for 10yrs and still don’t feel like I am like the other sons. Now I know I’m not alone…

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