I’ve been thinking about how to answer this question for a few days— not because I feel any ambivalence about my position, but because I want to try my best to do justice to an idea that I think is really important.
My answer to this is going to differ from a lot of tumblr-y rhetoric because I don’t really buy into a lot of the popular interpretations of ~the personal being political. Obviously, people’s sexuality is informed by the culture they live in, but I don’t think sexual behaviors that occur in a private space (between consenting adults, obvs) really have any bearing on larger questions of ethics or social justice. It seems sort of egotistical and grandiose to me that anyone would regard the way they fuck as being politically meaningful. In any case, whether or not you think these acts exist in a vacuum, it’s inevitable that some people are going to engage in BDSM even if you feel that the origins of those sexual desires might be problematic.
The only aspect of this that does bother me is the cultural prioritization of some fetishes over others, in the sense that we only tend to see BDSM (and other fetishes) represented in advertising/popular media etc insofar as they appeal to men. We see “barely legal/Lolita/slutty babysitter” imagery used everywhere to sell shit, arguably, it’s completely culturally condoned for men to have these sexual interests to the extent that it’s barely recognized as a fetish anymore. Other fetishes— “weirder” ones, or ones that involve male subjugation/pain/subservience (even in a mild sense, like the whole “Cougar” thing), don’t get the same kind of cultural exposure except as jokes. So yeah, in that sense, representations of BDSM can be very problematic, but I would never say that BDSM itself is.
Being tied up, or hit, or punished, or enacting a rape fantasy, or whatever, can be totally affirming and positive experiences insofar as you’re exercising your sexual preferences in a culture that’s constantly telling you to shut up and be grateful that a man chose to fuck you at all. Lots of people (women and non-male ID’ing people especially) have to struggle a lot in order to feel safe and affirmed in sexual situations; the last thing I’m interested in is problematizing behaviors that are positive (and don’t harm/affect anyone else) for the people who choose to engage in them.
Also— bondage wear looks cool.
did the baby feminist who asked me this ever even see it smh
asked by bsuttoi20