Why the Anti-Porn Folks are Wrong About 50 Shade

There are several avidly anti-porn groups that are doing huge social media pushes asking people to boycott 50 Shades of Grey. The general argument is that the movie portrays bdsm and that all bdsm is inherently abusive to women. While I will boycott 50 Shades for other reasons, the anti-porn folks are wrong on many accounts.

First, bdsm is not abusive to women. The assertion that bdsm is anti-woman and abusive relies on misunderstandings and bad representations of bdsm. Most non-practitioners only imagine bdsm to be impact play between a male Dom and a female sub. This is so reductionist and limited of view of bdsm that it is insulting.

Anybody can be a Dom or a sub. Doms and subs are all genders. I know male Doms, femDommes, transDoms, and panDoms. Likewise I know female subs, male subs, trans-subs, pan-subs. Gender has nothing to do with the role you take in D/s. People engaging in D/s do it for many reasons. Some like to receive power, some like to give it away. There is no correlation between gender and submission. Yes, I am a cis-gendered female sub. Yes, I know a lot of cis-gendered female subs. But there are plenty of other gendered subs that are out there.

Second, submission isn’t something a Dom can “take.” Submission is a gift and a choice. This is well recognized in the kink community. No one can force someone into submission. For the D/s dynamic to work, the submission MUST BE VOLUNTARY. Submission is negotiated and granted by the sub. This makes it inherently empowering to the submissive.

I play with Doms and Masters. I negotiate the parameters of our relationship and our play prior to engaging in anything. At any point during play or the relationship, I can revoke my submission and they lose their position of power and are no longer my Dom. My engagement in bdsm is a conscious choice and I talk a lot with my partners before engaging in submission.

Non-kinky folks get confused about this. Most vanilla relationships rely on a lot of unsaid information. It is not a common practice for many people to sit down and talk openly about their needs and desires (sexually and non-sexual) in a relationship. Very few vanilla relationships give the female partner the right and the ability to walk away or change the relationship at any time. D/s relationships always value the submissive. This empowers the sub to have say in the relationship.

Third, kink goes well beyond impact play. Yes, there are a lot of subs who enjoy some level of impact. However, there are a lot of subs who do not enjoy pain at all. They enjoy allowing someone to control their movement through bondage or rules, or they enjoy being told what to do, or they enjoy kissing someone’s feet, or they enjoy being humiliated, or whatever. Submissives negotiate this with their Dom or Master. I know subs who absolutely hate any type of impact or pain. They enjoy being tied up. That is all they want. I know others who enjoy very dirty talk, but that is it.

What non-kinky folks do not understand is that kinky people talk about and negotiate play prior to starting anything. Unlike a vanilla date where a couple starts making out on the couch and all of the sudden they are having sex and never talked about what was going to happen, kinky folks are explicit. Before I ever play with anyone I ask about hard and soft limits (what they will and won’t do). We talk about safe words. If they say yellow, I know I am on the border of going too far. If they say red, I stop immediately. We talk about what we enjoy. We make sure there are safety measures in place (condoms, lube, safety scissors, etc.).

People who practice bdsm and kink are most concerned about people enjoying themselves and getting what they need out of the encounter. This is as far from abuse as anything I can think of. Abusers don’t talk to their partners about their needs and desires. The abused partner does not have an out at any time. If a sub is hit during play, it is because it was negotiated and consented too prior to the event. Many of us have written contracts with our long term partners laying out the parameters of the relationship.

I object to 50 Shades for other reasons. The film and book never mention that there is a community of kinksters. Why? Because Grey would be drummed out of that community. We help people vet play partners. People do not engage in relationships in isolation. People in the kink community know who is safe and who is potentially abusive. We warn each other away from abusers and encourage everybody to get training and education.

Second, 50 Shades makes people who engage in bdsm seem like they are psychologically broken people. BDSM and kink are not therapy. Just like a vanilla person does not use their partner as their psychologist or counselor, neither to kinky folks. People who engage in kink long-term and as a life do so because it is empowering and requires thought about relationships.

So while I agree the story is crap, it is for vastly different reasons. 50 Shades started as fanfiction based on the Twilight novels. As a writer, I find the actual prose rather mundane and horrifically dull. It has about as much relationship to actual bdsm and kink as the Real Housewives has to the reality of being a housewife.

Actual kink and bdsm is empowering to all parties. It is as far from abuse as any relationship can be. Do not consider this fanfiction crap anything more than a jerk off novel for bored teens.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s