I was talking with a friend about representation of BDSMers and F/m in particular, and how important it is to see normal healthy F/m relationships, to see versions of ourselves, ‘people like us’, and how rare it really is.
In the F/m world, the only people who actively court publicity, who do marketing, who are quoted in the media, who show their faces openly, who make noise, are pro-Dommes and findoms. And marketing is inevitably the glam and the glitter and the roleplaying.
Everyone else pretty much keeps their heads below the vanilla-flavoured parapet and does their thing quietly and anonymously even if they have a social media presence (like me, and every dominant woman and submissive man on the internet). Of course we see them at parties, at munches, at events but compared to what we see ‘out there’, that’s a tiny tiny sliver of the reality.
The reasons for this are obvious, and the impacts are also obvious.
‘Ordinary people as BDSMers’ (you and me, us, our friends) are invisible. It’s a reason that the stereotypes are still writ large on every wall and around every corner.
This photoset, therefore, is rare in its wonderful openness and affirmation. It’s not F/m-focussed, but it’s still genuine and revealing and utterly delightful.
“The idea is simple: Two black and white photographs, side by side. One of a person or couple as they presented themselves at the Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco’s legendary celebration of sexual pleasure, and one as they present themselves in their daily lives.”
Good points! Pro-domme and Findomme do take up all the space( and oxygen) because they have an incentive–money. “Ordinary” people rarely appear except in publications or magazines. Even then it is a very tiny minority. It is not that there are not excellent Femdom blogs –like yours–and submissive male blogs, but you really have to go out of your way to find them.
I think there’s a twofold hit:
1. Those for whom it’s a business/career do prolific, glossy, and often stereotypical marketing
2. Those for whom it’s personal hide 99% of the time
Both of those things are completely reasonable, I’m not laying blame at anyone’s feet.
And both of those things lead to us ‘ordinary kinksters’ being invisible.
Thank you for the compliment :).
I’ve long opined that very many in the F/m world have absolutely no public presence. They’re at home, doing their thing, living their lives.
Especially once your partnered there’s not much incentives ve to be out and about, even on-line.
Yep, I think that’s true.
And probably a bunch of them don’t even have a name for how they live their lives because it doesn’t matter one bit.
Somewhat egocentrically I felt like the headline spoke about me and my wife, although it obviously applies to millions of people worldwide. Back in the day (decades ago before she met me) my wife was not quite as secretive about her orientation as I was, but nowadays we both seem perfectly vanilla to the outside world. As pointed out, the reason for this is obvious. Still, things may be about to change. Although I’m not a fan of the Fifty shades series (actually I could write at length pointing out things I don’t like) one must admit that the books have helped giving BDSM some sort of weak acceptance. Not at a high level, and E. L. James has also promoted misconceptions, so as I said I’m not a fan. Nevertheless, she may have opened a few doors. A couple of years ago my wife told me
“You must come and watch this TV-series. I can promise you’ll like it.”
The show she was talking about was “Billions”. For those who haven’t seen it, I can tell that it’s the first mainstream TV-show (to my knowledge) that describe a Femdom-relation in a positive light. Importantly the BDSM-scenes are meant to be serious and not a joke as in some comedy shows. Also the relation is fully healthy and free from all signs of abuse. When the two characters eventually get some problems later in the show, it’s not the femdom part that is the issue. The bottom line is that both parties are perfectly happy with what they’re doing. If I had written the show myself (though that’s not my job), I guess I might have changed a few of the sex-scenes, but still “Billions” is the best I’ve seen by far in mainstream TV. When I praised the show and thanked my wife for introducing it she said.
“You know what, if the general attitude changes at this rate, you may be ready to come out as my sub-husband just in time for our 50 year wedding anniversary”
It was a joke of course, and the anniversary is still some 25 years away, but I think she may have a point.
You know, it’s even considered ‘brave’ when vanilla men admit that their wives ‘wear the pants’ because our western culture considers that some kind of affront to masculine sensibilities.
If it’s going to start anywhere it should start there and it’s SO easy.
‘Hurr hurr, you can’t come out drinking? Pussy whipped, amirite?!’
‘My partner is amazing and I love to make her happy: It’s sad to me that you think that’s somehow a chore or an obligation. It’s not. I love her and I’d rather spend time with her than you knuckle-dragging chuckleheads. So see ya!’
There is a good metaphor for “everyday kinksters”-people who march to the beat of a different drummer.
Unfortunately, society prefers conformity.
Yes to conformity, but also kinksters are NEVER shown as ‘every day people’, and that makes us ‘othered’ in a way that impacts perceptions.
Great read, as usual!
Thanks Mark :).
People probably keep their heads down because they don’t conform with the strictures of a (basically) patriarchal society. I have come across online comments that submissive men, in particular, are despised as “broken”. And Dominant Women aren’t expected to be truly dominant in temperament, but are actually viewed as sex workers.
I think the visibility of minority groups in general (and BDSM-people in particular) are very much related to a general acceptance of said group by society. For the most part, I don’t feel stigmatized due to the lack of visibility of my own sexual minority group (submissive man). The main reason is that people are not discussing their sexuality very much in the social contexts I’m part of. It is pretty much okay to be gay among the people I know, and quite a few persons are openly homosexual. Of course it’s great that society has evolved to a stage where this is okay. Still, neither the gay people nor the majority group of heterosexuals mention things about their sex life to others during a coffee break at work, or at a party among friends. I feel I’m as open as the next guy if something sex-related is discussed, but it does not mean I come close to ever revealing my own preferences. Suggesting that someone looks hot, or maybe admitting that one could be interested in some given person (if single), is about as far as anyone ever gets in terms of openness. In my youth I felt much more stigmatized, since my friends back in the days very well could refer to my preferred femdom partners as “sick psychopaths” and to my own group of submissive males as “weird pervos” or “pathetic losers”. This may not have happened very often, due to the limited number of times people with that orientation could be seen anywhere, but whenever it happened I sure as hell remembered it. It’s not as if this sad attitude has disappeared completely, it hasn’t, but I think things have gotten better. When decades ago I suggested some rather light games to partners I dated, I wasn’t surprised when I sometimes became subject to some name calling (“pervo” and the like). Nowadays (if I had been single and dated), I would expect reactions from the same persons to be something like:
“I guess it’s nothing wrong with bondage games, but it’s really not my cup of tea, I’m so sorry. I know I’m a bit of a bore.”
I’m not suggesting that society has become fully acceptant, far from it. If anyone serious about BDSM put forward all their desires at once to anyone with a vanilla orientation, the likely reaction would still be something like:
“Are you for real, you’re a deeply sick pervo, do you know that?”
Perhaps a personal reaction like that isn’t something one can complain too much about. I guess anyone with a vanilla orientation has the right to feel shocked about certain things. What one can hope for is that society as a whole gradually becomes aware of two rather basic facts:
1) That adult people engaging in safe, sane and consensual sex do absolutely no harm, and they should be able to do so in whatever manner they prefer.
2) That the total number of people belonging to some sort of sexual minority group is rather large, and that these minority groups deserve to be treated with a fair amount of respect.
Personally I don’t do very much to help society evolve in a positive direction (just promoting views of tolerance in a broad and general context whenever the topic comes up for discussion), but there are of course individuals who do more. For one thing, if I had been able to read a femdom blog like this one when I was a youngster, it would have meant the world to me.
To elaborate on my last post, I recall something that a Dominant Woman said online. She said that she described her interests to a vanilla woman, and then the vanilla woman urged her to become a pro-somme.
Perhaps some people have trouble grasping that a woman indeed has a Dominant temperament, and is inclined to dominant the men in her personal life.
I recently thought about creating a profile on collarspace, seeing as how as I’m a determined switch monogamist …. and god knows OKC can’t handle that.
However, upon examining the site I learned that ambition and effort are everything and therefore shameless pro-domes and dubious fin-domes are the Kings of the world.
Fuck ’em. If you have to go on a relationship site to advertise your professional manipulation based psycho-earnings then … fuck off.
…. anyway, nice to pop back on and say hi!
… glad to stop by and catch up with your blog. Stay happy!
Well, if you missed it, your thought probably can’t be actioned anyway: here you go.
BUT I have to say that going ‘wah, there’s findoms and pro-dommes on there’ and not joining a BDSM site because of that is like women going ‘wah, there’s wankers gonna spam my inbox with gross fetish talk and unsolicited dick pics’ and not joining.
That’s just ‘the internet’. Unfortunate but true.
Moot point pretty much when it comes to CS, though.
I’ve been away a year or … too! Sorry for missing previous recent posts.
Damn, you’re delightfully thorough, you hardcore detailist.
“BUT I have to say that going ‘wah, there’s findoms and pro-dommes on there’ and not joining a BDSM site because of that is like women going ‘wah, there’s wankers gonna spam my inbox with gross fetish talk and unsolicited dick pics’ and not joining.”
… okay. Have to say I feel some sympathy for the women in that comparison.
You’re lack of sympathy is inspiring. :)
Oh shit I meant your.
I believe that we are at a very early stage in change.
The Wikipedia article for counter cultures discusses the development of a gay counterculture. During the early 20th century this began to appear as gay people began to connect/interact with each other.
The gay marriage thing became an issue a lifetime later.
I believe that that we are at a very early stage when people start to become aware of each other and acknowledge each other. This blog is an example.
If you wanted to depict a Femdom couple as every day people, one might take a hint from the film “Sedona”. Two of the characters-who seem like everyday people-are men traveling together with children. Eventually one realizes that the two men are a gay couple-a gay couple who are every day people.
I think this worked because sex was down played in the film. No explicit or graphic sex scenes, and the characters generally talked about topics other than sex.
If I were to write something similar with a Femdom couple, I would down play sex and depict the characters as everyday people. What would be different from vanilla would be the dominant woman asserting her authority.