I’m going to be talking about violent misogyny in this post, if you’re having a bad day you probably want to skip this one. Continue Reading
One of my (many) pet peeves is people who think there is some sort of female dominant hive mind. Now, I’m sure they don’t literally believe we are the Borg, but I’ve seen far too many people asking what dominant women like as if we’re a monolith.
Asking “do dominant women like x?” makes no more sense than asking “do brunettes like x?” or “do 31 year olds like x?” If you wouldn’t expect brunettes or 31 year olds to like the same things, why would you expect dominant women to? Sure, being dominant means I have a little more in common with another dominant woman than I do with any other random brunette, but it’s still quite a small part of my life. Like everyone else I have a job, a social life (well, when work isn’t trying to eat my entire life), and hobbies that have nothing to do with how I like to get off. I have more in common with fellow gamers, programmers, or introverts than I do with any given female dom.
If you think ‘do dominant women like x?” is a meaningful question, either you think I am nothing more than my interest in kink, or you think dominant women are interchangeable drones in a Borg-like collective. Shockingly enough, I don’t like being reduced to my kinks or stripped of my individuality. As little as dominant women have in common, there is one thing we tend to agree on: we hate not being treated like people.
What I really don’t understand is why it matters what random dominant women you’re not in a relationship with want. If there’s a particular woman you get along with and would like to know better, treat her like a goddamn person and ask her what she wants. If there’s not, what good is knowing what a bunch of other women like when you do meet the right dom for you? ‘But 8 out 10 doms like it!’ is going to sway absolutely no one if she isn’t interested in whichever kink you’re trying to convince her to try. Even if 8 out of 10 doms really do like x, being able to do that isn’t going to convince someone you’re right for her.
My guess is that the men who ask if dominant women like x just want to be reassured that one day they’ll find a partner who shares their kinks. That’s a totally reasonable thing to want, but come on guys, you can ask for that without treating me like a faceless drone. And honestly, phrasing that request as “does any else like x?” is just irritating. It’s the internet, there is literally always someone else who likes x. Asking that question on a forum just makes you look like you’re too stupid or lazy to google it.
It’s also possible these guys want to know what dominant women like so they can be good subs. Unfortunately, treating us like we’re interchangeable is a terrible way to be a good sub, as well as being incredibly disrespectful. If you can’t treat us like people, no amount of back massages or pedicures are going to convince us to give you the time of day.
If you insist on treating us like a hive mind, don’t be surprised if that hive is mysteriously united in their total lack of interest in you.
It’s annoying enough when non-kinky people try to pretend power dynamics don’t exist (sticking your fingers in your ears and hollering ‘I don’t see colour’ does not stop Black people from getting arrested/beaten up/murdered, and acting like it will just makes you look like an idiot), but it’s so much more aggravating when kinky people, who are supposedly all about power dynamics try to pretend there is no difference between an older, male, famous photographer and a very young, female, unknown model.
For those who don’t do Fetlife, the gist of that link is that a 19 female model arranged a photo shoot with a very well known fetish photographer (who of course she can’t name publicly thanks to Fetlife’s terms of service and (I’m assuming) a rational interest in avoiding being accused of trying to stir up drama), who then flipped his shit when she tried to bring a friend to keep an eye on her.
The really irritating part for me is that Mr Big Shot photographer and a number of the commentors on that writing all acted like the photographer was at just as much risk as the model and therefore it was completely unreasonable for her to have a spotter but not him (she decided to bring a spotter at the last minute and he didn’t have time to arrange one of his own). Honestly, it’s like they’ve spent their entire lives in a cave on Mars.
First of all, we live in a misogynistic society. This should not be any sort of news if you have ever read a book, watched a tv show, browsed the internet, or gone outside. Thanks to the misogyny we’re all steeped in it would be terrifyingly easy for even an unknown male photographer to dismiss a female model’s claims of inappropriate behaviour by saying it was a misunderstanding, she’s just overreacting/too sensitive/not cut out to be a model/unprofessional/has some mysterious grudge. On the other hand, if he were to accuse her or her spotter of stealing his equipment, he would most likely be believed without question.
We also live in a rape culture. If a male photographer sexually assaulted a female model, many people would fall all over themselves to blame her for her own assault. She certainly wouldn’t be able to go to the police if she were the kind of dirty slut who would would let a stranger tie her up and take pictures of her. If she doesn’t bring three bodyguards, perform an in-depth background check, and interview every model who has ever worked with that photographer, it must be her own fault if he decides to assault her. But if she wants to bring a friend she’s overreacting and as good as taking out full page ads accusing the photographer of being a rapist.
We’re also bad at dealing with the idea that people are not simply all good, or all bad. A brilliant photographer who creates beautiful art can also be an asshole who ignores his model’s boundaries any time he thinks he can get away with it. An activist trying to hold governments accountable for their actions can commit sexual assault. Once someone has done something good, we don’t want to believe they’ve also done anything awful. We don’t want to believe we were such bad judges of character, we don’t want to stop enjoying their art, we don’t want our view of the world to be upended, so we just quietly sweep it under the rug when someone we think is good does something terrible.
Finally, let’s not pretend age doesn’t matter. We all spend our whole childhoods being told to listen to people who are older than we are, but we’re supposed to magically throw all that conditioning off when we hit 19/21/whatever the age of majority is in your country? No, that’s not how people work. It’s hard to tell an authority figure to back the fuck up. That’s exactly why so many predators go after people who are much younger than they are – people their own age won’t take their shit.
So with all those power dynamics in play, where the fuck do you get off saying that both photographer and model are at equal risk? We of all people should understand that power dynamics do exist, that they do put some people at much greater risk than others, and that we need to pay attention to them if we’re going to treat people fairly. Come on everyone, this isn’t fucking rocket science.
Every time I see a submissive man describe himself as an “alpha male” I think “ugh, not another one.” Judging by the comments I see on Fetlife, I’m far from the only one who thinks that. For the benefit of the many men who innocently use that term without understanding why it irritates some people so much, here’s why it bugs me.
1. It’s extremely vague. If you mean your job involves managing people, say that. If you mean that you’re headstrong and independent, say that. If you mean that you’re a “tough guy” who hates asking for help, say that! Making people try to guess what the hell you’re talking about is just irritating.
2. It’s insulting. Going out of your way to to point out how very “alpha” you are says that you think most submissive men are losers/doormats/weak and you want to distance yourself from that. Shockingly enough, people who actually like submissive men or who are submissive men themselves get cranky when someone implies that they’re not “real men.” Guys, I swear it’s possible to talk about how great you are without insulting anyone else.
3. It’s often a sign of insecurity. Seriously, you might as well just carry a sign that says “I’m not comfortable being a submissive man”. Secure people say “I’m submissive and I’m awesome.” Insecure people say “I’m submissive but I’m not a loser, I swear. I have my own home and a job and everything! Wait, where are you going?” Now there’s nothing wrong with feeling insecure, and thanks to our fucked up culture it’s extremely common for submissive guys to have a hard time reconciling submission and masculinity, but if you’re trying to impress people by going on and on about what an “alpha male” you are, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
4. It’s ignorant. If you think being “alpha” and submissive makes you a special snowflake, you’re not only not special, but you’re also not terribly bright. It is simply not that hard to find resources for submissive men who aren’t particularly feminine. Use google, read the goddamn stickies, lurk in Fetlife or other groups for a little while before you post. If you pay any attention at all, you will notice that there are plenty of submissive men out there who are “tough guys”/have high powered jobs/don’t immediately fall to the floor when a dominant woman looks their way.
So now that you know better, do better, okay?