There is a lot of crap written about BDSM (and F/m relationships in particular.) We’ve all seen unrealistic, downright dangerous advice doled out to the eager and inexperienced, personal fantasies framed as sage instruction, and unlikely erotic narratives posted in the guise of autobiographical truth.
This sort of post soon becomes easy enough to recognise by it’s tendency to ignore important aspects of BDSM like consent and communication, and the way it characterizes the individuals contained within. it’s the sort of writing in which we find a lot of rhetoric concerning female supremacy, and about pathetic, weak-willed, wimpy, submissive men.
Once you’ve been around the block a few times, you recognise the the tropes, stereotypes, and language that is common to so many of these types of posters. You’ll see it in blog form, in porn, in advertisement for pro-dommes, and for cam sites, you’ll even see it in online forums as posters try and to get other users to facilitate a personalized wank session based on their kinks.
I don’t know if we can ever get rid of the drek, but today that’s not what’s bothering me. (By today, of course, I mean two weeks ago, when I first started writing this post.)
What’s bugging me is that even in the “Good Femdom Writing Category” there is a regrettable tendency to be a bit gender essentialist (or at least, I think that’s what’s going on.) I’ve mentioned it before in older posts like Comfortable. There is a narrative here, that reinforces the idea that submission is not normal for men. Even, if it is viewed as a positive thing, it’s still a bit of an aberration.
I came across this very good post on Tumblr, and it bothered me, because at the time I really didn’t feel strong. I’ve been feeling pretty weak and flawed lately, and as ever feeling weakness (not to mention displaying weakness) is a detriment to one’s perceived masculinity. Weakness, means that culturally, you are less of a man. What really bothers me here, is the implication it that it makes me less of a submissive.
I’m pretty candid about my mental health, my struggles with depression and anxiety here, the fact that I’m not great at getting certain things accomplished when I’m really struggling with either of those. It’s taken me years to get to a place where I can admit that I’m having a hard time just getting by. When I was in my teens I wouldn’t even admit it to myself, let alone anyone else. In fact, I’m pretty sure my father is dealing with some of the same symptoms, and will probably never be able to do anything about it. All because men aren’t allowed to be weak.
The tumblr post that triggered this thought, totally points out how desirable and attractive submissive men can be, but I’m left with the feeling everything that is sexy and romantically attractive about a submissive man is based on him being a man, a manly, man’s man, without weakness, or doubts, or insecurities.
That would suck, because that’s not me.