I was at a party with a lot of people who could be called queer. There were gays, and lesbians, some transgender people, there were people from the local sex workers’ union (because it was a party; they weren’t working), people wearing nothing but ropes and duct tape, there were perverts like me, there were lots of academic sex researchers, and so on.
I was talking to a woman who worked for the sex workers’ union, and she asked me what my kink was. I figured that because she’d asked me a question like that, and because of the sort of party it was, and because of how hard it is to negotiate the politics of sex work, she’d be aware of all the debates about the sexual politics of bdsm.
In particular, that when women choose to be submissive, they are no less assertive, and no less feminist than dommes, or than women who don’t have any involvement with bdsm. Similarly, male doms can be no less feminist, or feminist-supporting, than submissive men or men who don’t engage with bdsm at all.
I said “no less feminist”: I mean, that’s if they choose to identify with feminism. Most but not all submissives I’ve known do identify themselves as feminists, but I’ve also known submissives who despise feminism, and submissives who see it as politics and Just Don’t Have Any Fucks to Give. But being a feminist and being a submissive are both choices that people can make, and plenty of women and men choose both.
So anyway, I was talking to a woman engaged in the politics of sex work, and she asked me my kink. Well, one of the things that bigots say about bdsm is that “it’s just men hitting women”. But I was certain that this woman would know that bdsm practices are much more varied than, er, impact play, and that it’s not about men doing things to women; it can be women doing things to men, or men doing things to other men, or women dominating women, or any multi-partner combination you can think of.
So I said, in my best Cary Grant voice, “Well, personally, I get off on telling women what to do, and hitting them if they disobey.”
Of course, that’s true, in a way, though it doesn’t represent all the things I like, or the warm and loving context I prefer to have the dark deeds embedded in. But it was a parody answer, with a bit of transgression thrown in, and I thought it was mildly funny.
Anyway, she said, “Eew-ya”, as if I’d said something about putting fluffy kittens into microwaves, and she found someone else to talk to. Now, it could be because she thought my joke wasn’t funny, or it could be because she hates male doms. I think it was a bit of both, but especially the bit about hating male doms.