Fri Jul 28 2006 06:49 PM
Re: The Pornography Division


This comment really doesn't sit well with me, BDSM context or no. I'm not terribly well read on the politics of BDSM (another topic that in itself is incredibly divisive in the feminist community), but from the little reading I have done, plus from talking to friends who engage in it, my understanding is that many BDSM practitioners believe that there is a difference between "submission" and "degradation" when consenting BDSM is practiced-- consent being operative here in forming that distinction.

Yes. Consent is important. But degradation can occur in conjuncture with consent. Whatever you have read, some people like taking it to an extreme, and submission often involves degradation. Some people like feeling used sexually, and they are not just women--if the porn was depicting men being degraded, would you find it as offensive?


Now, I know that some people would argue that there is no difference between the two, which forms the basis of a feminist critique of the practice, but as I said, I haven't read deeply into the topic, so I can't elaborate much more there. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than I could continue on that point.

Like me.

Submission and degradation are different, but the two can go together. People involved in BDSM often have a safeword. Protesting is part of the game. The safeword exists so the person knows if you really want it to stop.

Feminists have no right to object to what two (or me) consenting partners do in the privacy of their own bedroom.


However, I don't have any problem myself with equating "degradation" to "inherently bad." It is true that some people might find degrading things arousing, and I don't intend to go around telling people what they should or should not do in their private consenting bedrooms (or kitchens, laundries and lounge rooms ), but at the same time, I do think that it is responsible for any and all of us to interrogate our own practices, including our sexual practices, from a feminist perspective (or a variety of feminist perspectives as it more often is), to make us more aware of how things like degradation can be implicitly accepted within our own lives as "normal" when it's really quite harmful. (And this is only really something that I've just started doing myself).


Kinky things do not have to take place outside of the bedroom. It can be fun in bed without occuring outside of it. My boyfriend, for example, absolutely respects me. He absolutely values me. He treasures me more than anything in the world and would never do anything I was uncomfortable with. The idea repulses him.

That doesn't change the fact that we both enjoy consentual BDSM.

It isn't about feminism. Feminism has nothing to do with this, and I have no obligation to inject something that diminishes from my pleasure and enrichment because some people think it undermines feminism.

It is about me, personally, not about women. Why do I need to keep my gender in mind when I'm engaging in sexual gratification?

BDSM isn't about degrading women.

It's about submission and dominance, and women are not necessarily bottoms, and men are not necessarily tops.


Beyond that, I don't think BDSM is exactly what was being discussed here as per pornography. The type of degradation that is often seen in porn-- very much as a general rule-- is the sort that posits the object of desire (usually a woman) as, well, an object rather than a human being, who is there solely for the sexual gratification of a largely male audience.

I agree. I didn't say that I thought that that general attitude was a good thing--simply that it isn't necessarily wrong to enjoy that kind of sex, which is what I saw being said.

Beyond that... it isn't wrong to enjoy objectification and feeling objectified inside a consensual situation.


There are many different ways in which this could manifest itself, but, the suggestion that a woman's body exists only to let a man do whatever he wants to it is always at least implicit and often explicit, whether the context is a BDSM scenario or not.

And what about a man doing it to a man, or a woman doing it to a man, or a woman doing it to a woman?

Why is it wrong?


(Also, just editing to note that just because someone is into BDSM doesn't necessarily mean that they will be a fan of pornography-- it is possible to be critical of porn while still believing that private consenting BDSM is fine and dandy.)

I agree. I am very into BDSM and porn does nothing for me. However, there is no reason to object to BDSM-inspired porn if you do not object to porn in general.

There is a difference between BDSM and seeing women as objects outside of the bedroom and dehumanizing them in general. The two are only loosely related, if anything.


I'm feeling quite strongly about this at the moment on another level too, because I have just read a number of accounts of women who were forced into appearing in porn, including in BDSM scenarios (which of course, when not consensual, adds numerous other abuses to the rape itself). This very clearly goes beyond issues of whether or not one's private kink-- or indeed one's private desire to view vanilla porn-- is okay.

There's a difference between consensual pornography and forcing women into it. Forcing a woman into pornography is never okay, but BDSM is not about lack of consent.

Unconsensual sex is not okay.

BDSM is.

Don't equate the two.

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