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Feminism and BDSM

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feminism bdsm

“How can you even imagine being tied up and beaten by someone? You’ve got to be so patriarchal in your mindset!” I smiled as my ‘vanilla’ friend almost accusingly hurled these words towards me in an angry, loud voice.

I am as feminist as they come. I advocate right to contraceptives, free contraceptives, The right to breastfeed, the right to bleed, the right to not bleed, the right to free sanitary napkins, the right to abortion, the right to sex before marriage, the right to kinky sex, the right to be educated, the right to conform to norms and the right to defy them! I mean the world that we live in, being a feminist isn’t even a choice.

But it is sad that as a feminist, I often have to justify and explain my choices around BDSM. I have to often explain to people that the choice to submit is not a socially imposed choice. I have been often asked how I am different from a beaten, abused, battered housewife that submits to her husband or her in-laws. Well, my battered, unfortunate sister isn’t beaten out of her desire. She submits not out of a choice. She submits because she is not strong. Her consent is not valued and her freedom disrespected.

On the other hand, I submit despite the fact that I am not expected to. I don’t submit to a random guy or his family that was chosen by my elders. I submit to a partner/s who understands why I choose to submit. I am strong, I am accomplished and I choose to submit to someone who respects me, my consent or lack of it, doesn’t assume my desires and consent as a bracket or umbrella agreement for any activity they desire.

When considered like this I feel BDSM is very much in sync with feminism. Feminism is about letting / enabling women to make their own choices. Feminism isn’t and shouldn’t be about creating a counter-norm. It shouldn’t be about trying to label women; just that instead of a slut, you end up calling her prude this time.

In fact, BDSM doesn’t just have female submissives and male Dominants. Often times we end up overlooking the large overlap of the LGBT community and the leather community with BDSM. We end up ignoring, very conveniently the male submissives and the Female Dominants (or Dommes as we commonly call them).

I guess everyone and everything that encourages a woman to make her choice after understanding both sides of the coin, is feministic, is pro-feminism and empowering. As long as the consent is well – informed, valid (taken with a sane mind and when of legal age) and non-manipulated or abused; BDSM is a very valid, individual choice that a man or a woman in this instance may make. With that in mind, I find absolutely no conflict between feminism and BDSM my friends.

To all the BDSM enthusiasts, to all the feminists and to all the sisters in the community,

More power to you!


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