Porn and BDSM are patriarchy manuals.


Strangling women until they turn purple is totally fun y’all! Just looking at this image makes me queasy. What a bunch of evil sick fucks.

I am aware that there has been a lot of controversy around BDSM in anarchist circles. Some argue that BDSM merely reproduces already existing hierarchies in the sexual realm, and others argue that people should be free to do whatever brings them orgasms. The latter is a voluntaryist argument, and as readers of this blog should know, I think voluntaryism is a flawed ideology at best.

If voluntaryism cannot prove in any way that BDSM is an ethical practice because it is too flawed to prove anything, then what about the opposing argument? It is a fact that BDSM reproduces existing hierarchies, from simple violent acts all the way down to slavery. People in BDSM do it all the time. So it seems the anarchist argument is right.

The answer given by BDSM advocates seems to be basically the same as the argument given in defending pornography: it’s not “really real.” When two people engage in acts of sexual violence in BDSM, it’s not really real sexual violence, it’s “rape play.”

This argument is just as unconvincing as when it’s applied to pornography. BDSM involves real people performing real acts on each other; there is nothing not “really real” about it. “Rape play” is the performance of a “really real” rape.

The analogy with pornography is again justifiable. The only difference between pornography and prostitution is that pornography is an organized, codified and normalized form of prostitution. The only difference between BDSM and rape/assault is that BDSM is an organized, codified and normalized form of rape/assault.

Discussion between radical feminists and BDSM advocates on this point is not possible. BDSM advocates have no arguments apart from voluntaryism, and radical feminism, by its systemic nature, must reject voluntaryism. The vacuous nature of BDSM advocacy makes any deeper discussion impossible.

This is a necessary starting point. My point here, however, is not just about BDSM and pornography being organizational forms of oppression. Rather, I think a more important point is how BDSM and pornography reproduce and propagate already existing hierarchies.

As I’ve pointed out before, in BDSM people do this unashamedly and being fully conscious of what they are doing. They are completely aware that they are reproducing abuse, violence, rape or slavery, and rationalize it by saying it’s not “really real,” a point I’ve already answered. But people don’t usually see this in the case of pornography.

This is why porn is, in essence, a patriarchy manual. It teaches men to view sex as a power struggle, with them always coming out on top and always being dominant. It teaches them that simply having a penis gives them immense power, especially sexually. It’s not “hard to explain” why he feels “a huge sense of power from” intercourse. To explain it would basically be to explain why patriarchy exists. In other words, that “huge sense of power” is drinking the patriarchal kool-aid. It’s the high he feels from benefitting from a patriarchal system.

But gender is not the only hierarchy that is reproduced in pornography. Race is another important one:

Repeatedly referred to as ebony whores, sluts from the ghetto, and bad black “sistas”, black women are depicted as less attractive than white women, and therefore desperate for sex with anything or anyone. One site, for example, focuses on the supposed inability of black women to dress in a way that attracts men. Called Pimp my Black Teen, we see “before and after” pictures of young black women who need the “help” of pimps to look sexually inviting. Accompanying one such picture is the text “We scooped Nene straight out of the projects looking totally ghetto. We sexed the bitch up in a hot pink outfit …” The text goes on to explain how the makeover worked as she now can find “black cock” anywhere she goes.

In contrast to black women, Asian women in pornography are constructed as the feminine ideal. Referred to as sweet, cute, shy, and vulnerable, these images trade on the long-standing stereotype of Asian women as submissive. A magazine called Asian Beauties tells the readers that these “exotic beauties” are “born and bred with the skills to please a man.”

Asian women
Frequently portrayed in pairing with white men, as sexually willing or submissive. Western film and literature has promoted stereotypes of Asian women, often depicting Asian women as cunning and seductive “Dragon Ladies”,[4] as servile “Lotus Blossom Babies”, “Innocent School Girls” in private school uniforms, “China dolls”, “Geisha girls”, war brides, or prostitutes.[5] Japanese media have also at times sensationalistically promoted the stereotype of Japanese women overseas as “yellow cabs”.[6]

Black performers
Large penis size in Black men is consistently emphasized in pornography, often by exclusively casting actors with larger than average penises such as Lexington Steele, Kid Bengala, Jack Napier and Mandingo. Similarly, black women are often portrayed with large buttocks, or ‘booty’.

Latinos and Hispanics
Pornography tends to stereotype Hispanic women as feisty, “hot and spicy Latinas”, sexy Señoritas, with a high sex drive and low impulse control. Many are portrayed as maids, illegal immigrants to the United States, or unfaithful wives.

Pornography supporters reply that there is nothing wrong with showing people of color as sexualized, and that the racism is in the head of the critics. But this reply completely misses the point. The problem is not that people of color are sexualized, the problem is that people of color are portrayed, and are objectified, as living stereotypes, and that by doing so pornography reproduces the race hierarchy.

All of this is done under the cloak of domination. Pornography and BDSM are predicated on the belief that women love to be dominated and abused. And that’s proven to be mentally damaging, and ultimately damaging for women and society as a whole.

Men deriving emotional and physical satisfaction from domination is the root of rape, battering, abuse, war, slavery, colonialism, industrial civilization, and ecological destruction. Men deriving emotional and physical satisfaction from domination is the worst problem in the world. Any behavior that contributes to Men deriving emotional and physical satisfaction from domination is indefensible.

53 thoughts on “Porn and BDSM are patriarchy manuals.

  1. Independent Radical May 17, 2014 at 08:32 Reply

    I love how BDSMers are all like “BDSM is gender neutral, men can be submissives too” and then they use a woman as their choking victim (whoops I mean “breath-play participant”) image.

    Since our media/culture is male-centred, images that are supposed to represent generic humans are typically images of men (e.g. the person at the end of an “evolution of humans” diagram is typically a naked male.) Whenever a woman appears on screen in a film, there’s usually a reason she’s a woman rather than a man (e.g. she may be a love interest or a villainous seductress.) The fact that whoever made this decided to use an image of a female is very revealing. If BDSM was really gender neutral they’d be using an image of a male (in order to show how to “correctly” choke a human being.)

    Not only is this diagram totally inapplicable to dark skinned people, it’s barely inapplicable to white skinned people. The colours look much too similar to each other. Ask 100 BDSMers to state which “zone” the women in the image is in and half will say she’s in the safe zone, while the other half says she isn’t. Also, where’s the scientific proof for this? It seemed BDSMers will believe anything their “community” tells them if it looks official enough. Oh and let’s not forget the most important point CHOKING PEOPLE IS NEVER SAFE !!!

    • Francois Tremblay May 17, 2014 at 13:43 Reply

      ” Oh and let’s not forget the most important point CHOKING PEOPLE IS NEVER SAFE !!!”

      Just don’t ever choke people jesus christ

      This is a good rule for life

  2. Hassan May 20, 2014 at 18:38 Reply

    Great article. I find it strange that this is a controversial topic among anarchists. To me anarchism and BDSM are incompatible. Just out of curiosity, have you read any criticism of BDSM from a purely anarchist perspective (as opposed to radical feminist)?

    • Francois Tremblay May 20, 2014 at 18:40 Reply

      Yes, I have… I was an anarchist far before I was a radical feminist. When I was in the forums (like RevLeft), it was a very controversial topic.

      • Victor E. August 14, 2015 at 19:21 Reply

        Can you please link it. It would honestly be an interesting read.

        • Francois Tremblay August 14, 2015 at 23:31 Reply

          No, I am not going to allow you to rationalize violence and rape on this blog. Go away, you pervert.

        • Francois Tremblay August 15, 2015 at 11:48 Reply

          You know what, actually? I will talk about your link in an entry. I will expose it for the cult mentality that it is.

  3. betty May 22, 2014 at 07:00 Reply

    I love having my sexuality mansplained. Thanks, dudebro.

    I can no more not be submissive than I can not be gay. There’s a distinction between kinky sexuality and the media representations of it. Just because something is painted with hetero-normative rape culture brushes, that doesn’t mean its everyone’s reality.

    • Francois Tremblay May 22, 2014 at 11:42 Reply

      “I love having my sexuality mansplained. Thanks, dudebro.”

      Cute, but what part of my entry is a mansplanation?

      “I can no more not be submissive than I can not be gay.”

      Okay…? I agree, but what does that have to do with the subject?

      “There’s a distinction between kinky sexuality and the media representations of it. Just because something is painted with hetero-normative rape culture brushes, that doesn’t mean its everyone’s reality.”

      Unless you’re trying to make a more subtle point, that’s just trivially wrong. The rape culture IS part of everyone’s social reality, if you live in a Western country.

      • betty May 22, 2014 at 14:32 Reply

        What part is mansplation? Maybe the part that basically ignores the female population that aren’t part of your assumed relationship norm. Yes, there are people that hide abuse under kink. Yes, there are troubling aspects of much of hetero-kink (especially M/f, but also the role-reversal aspects of F/m). But that’s not all there is. Just because you saw a woman in a leather catsuit in a movie once, or a guy holding a leash, doesn’t mean you know what BDSM is.

        Rape culture is part of all of our realities, yes, but that wasn’t the point.

        My girlfriend and I are kinky. She’s a dominant, and I’m a submissive. Because we are, just as the fact that we’re gay. We can’t ignore or bury that aspect of our sexuality. But what we do together isn’t inherently a recreation of patriarchy in our bedroom, or an example of abuse (boy, is that a old over-whipped horse). It’s expressing who we are, with each other, because we’re in love. She has needs and I have needs, and with trust, we meet each others needs.

        And it’s not voluntaryist. I’m not saying all kink is okay. Rape play, breath play, etc are all edge play, and viewed as dangerous (physically and mentally) within the community for a reason.

        In fact, I find it funny that you chose the image you did to top your post. It’s pure outsider BS. That image is highly offensive to a lot of kinky people, but hey, since you, great arbiter of what’s ethical and what ain’t, say it’s what kinky people believe in, it must be true. And then people in the comments accept that it must be the kink reality, because you say it is.

        No. Just no.

        There’s more to my sexuality than what you, dudebro, get to decide is right or wrong.

        • Francois Tremblay May 22, 2014 at 22:39 Reply

          “What part is mansplation? Maybe the part that basically ignores the female population that aren’t part of your assumed relationship norm.”

          What “assumed relationship norm”? That I am against sexual assault and rape? Yea, well you should be too.

          “Yes, there are people that hide abuse under kink. Yes, there are troubling aspects of much of hetero-kink (especially M/f, but also the role-reversal aspects of F/m). But that’s not all there is. Just because you saw a woman in a leather catsuit in a movie once, or a guy holding a leash, doesn’t mean you know what BDSM is.”

          What in the hell are you going on about? I never claimed I know BDSM on the basis of a fucking movie. But thanks for the weird insult, I guess.

          “Rape culture is part of all of our realities, yes, but that wasn’t the point.”

          Then do tell me the point, because you failed to make it.

          “My girlfriend and I are kinky. She’s a dominant, and I’m a submissive.”

          The hell I care about your sex life. I never asked, so don’t fucking kink-creep me. Keep it to yourself.

      • betty May 22, 2014 at 14:40 Reply

        There are enough cranky old straight men out there telling me, and us, that our sexuality is wrong.

        That you jump on that bandwagon, while paying lip service to radfem? Fuck you.

        And as I’m sure you’ll probably ban me for swearing at you, I don’t care. Civility never bought anyone anything. You’re just another sweaty faced guy shouting from the sidewalk, because our existence offends you.

        • Francois Tremblay May 22, 2014 at 22:45 Reply

          “There are enough cranky old straight men out there telling me, and us, that our sexuality is wrong.”

          Apparently not, since you’re still doing it. Ho hum.

          Also, for me to be “old,” you must be a tween. I seriously hope not.

          “That you jump on that bandwagon, while paying lip service to radfem? Fuck you.”

          The fuck you know about radfem? Nothing, if you think reproducing hierarchies and sexual assault has anything to do with radical feminism.

          “And as I’m sure you’ll probably ban me for swearing at you, I don’t care.”

          I don’t care about swearing. I care that you are defending BDSM. Well, you’re not DEFENDING BDSM as much as whining about my entry, with no actual, you know, criticism.

          “You’re just another sweaty faced guy shouting from the sidewalk, because our existence offends you.”

          Do not flatter yourself, asshole. Your existence does not offend me. I couldn’t care less whether you exist or not. Nothing you’ve said so far has offended me, because nothing you’ve said so far had any actual content beyond “I am angry at you.” You’re angry at me, so the fuck what? What do you want me to do about it? Give you a cookie?

          I usually ban people for wasting my time. You still got a ways to go before that happens, but start talking about something substantive instead of whining. If you’ve got nothing to argue, then just leave and save us both our times.

        • Independent Radical May 23, 2014 at 06:26 Reply

          You gotta love how she goes after him for being a ” cranky old straight men” and “another sweaty faced guy”. It reminds of a paragraph from a pro-porn article in my university magazine where the author goes on about how hansome some pornographer is.

          I guess in Liberal Land, pretty people are good and “ugly” people are bad and if a person they’ve never seen before is bad by their standards then he must be “ugly”.

          Liberals can say that pornography, BDSM, etc. have no effect on their thinking/behaviour all they want but how they act disproves that. Even the ones who aren’t threatening violence against women for being anti-porn and calling them “ugly cunts” are none-the-less horribly superficial.

          If you want to convince that “sexual liberation” (as you call it) is beneficial or at least, harmless, you can start by not obsessing over the appearances of people you can’t even see. Or you can respond by telling me how physically unattractive I must be in order to be saying such things and thus prove my point.

          • Francois Tremblay May 23, 2014 at 12:56 Reply

            To be fair, I am a man and I do have sweat glands like everyone else… so she got at least that right. :)

          • betty May 24, 2014 at 08:00 Reply

            I never said he was ugly. “Old” and “sweaty” don’t mean ugly. They refer to the men who scream at protests, sweaty from the exertion of yelling. That’s what happens. I get sweaty when I’m there too, yelling back at them.

            Though, like your blind acceptance of the initial graphic as common to BDSM, you seem to have made a few assumptions here.

            For one, I’m not liberal, and they wouldn’t generally accept me as one. Not that I want them to accept me. Sorry if my radicalism conflicts with one premise of yours.

            I had a hard enough time accepting my own sexuality, that I tend to defend it. I can be a submissive lesbian and still be a real feminist (not a funfem, as Francois likes to dub them).

            Fuck, even as someone who was sexually assaulted, I can still be kinky and not “re-victimizing myself by recreating sexual assault” or some crap like that. You don’t get to define my sexuality. I do.

        • Francois Tremblay May 24, 2014 at 16:03 Reply

          You’re still asserting stuff, and not trying to engage any of our positions. Care to back up anything you’ve said?

          ” You don’t get to define my sexuality. I do.”
          So let’s start with that. Grapple with this entry first:
          https://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-right-to-self-identify/
          And then you’ll know why I think what you said is wrong. What gives YOU the right to define a sexuality you happen to be a part of (along with millions of other people)? Try to address that and this conversation might get somewhere.

          • betty May 24, 2014 at 22:00 Reply

            Okay, so I can’t reliably define my own sexuality, because, as you say in that post, some people are liars. I’ll accept that, because I’ve encountered plenty of guys who think they can call themselves feminists, when they clearly aren’t. I know what I am through extensive examination, but you can’t really know that, so fine.

            But then, can you define my sexuality? I’d argue that has the same problem. As much as I have bias and possible reason to mis-define who I am, so do you. Much like people who define feminists as “femi-nazis,” external definition can’t be reliable.

            But words must have meaning, for viable communication.

            So, maybe, like the Christian definition you cite Hitchens using, we use a broader gestalt definition, based on common definition in-group. There’s still issues with that, however, when a group is so large that “in-group” barely has meaning. For example, could we criticize Christians for pseudo-cannabalism, when only certain sects believe in communion?

            Where does that leave us?

            You look at BDSM and see only patriarchy and sex abuse. But I would argue you’re the blind man holding the elephant’s trunk and calling it a snake. As an outsider, rather obviously ignorant of the breadth of kink and its community, I think your definition is faulty simply for narrowness. There are patriarchal subsets within kink, and abuse happens within kink, as within any relationship framework. But all of kink, simply for being kink, and not vanilla?

            But if my definition is faulty, what then is BDSM, for this discussion? Should we stick to the BD, the DS or the SM (as you largely have)? Should we focus on M/f, as you have, or include F/m, M/m or F/f, as I’ve referred to? Should we look at the kink primarily at the hardest edges, assuming it’s norm, as you have, or try some broad survey of all practice, which would arguably be impossible, given both its breadth and the blending with vanilla sexuality along the softer edges?

            Maybe then, the issue isn’t so much my own self-definiton, but your fuzzy definition for this entire post? Especially when you damn a whole group for the actions of a subset (and a subset often criticized from within the group, at that).

          • betty May 24, 2014 at 22:13 Reply

            Also, when I was listing off various gender/sex relationship patterns, I should include that there’s a not insignificant subset of polyamorous and genderqueer kinksters, so FM/f, FM/m, FF/f, MM/m, FF/m, MM/f, N/f, N/m, F/n, M/n, etc are also found.

            Honestly, besides the underlying aspects of BDSM*, the sexual panopoly of kink is probably one of the most encompassing out there. There are kinky people of all sexualities.

            And, like I alluded to above, BDSM itself is hardly unifying. Where one group might focus on the power-exchange DS aspects, another might say BDSM is about the SM aspects. Or maybe the more material trappings of BD are the point. From 24/7 extremists to female-led relationships to soft Doms to “loving discipline” (which commonly isn’t, but that’s one area where your post maybe should have focused) to service domination to brats to… The list goes on.

            Truly, the only defining characteristic of BDSM is that it’s “not vanilla.” We’re not “mainstream” (though I hesitate to make my sexuality sound like “hipsters with handcuffs”).

        • Francois Tremblay May 24, 2014 at 22:09 Reply

          “Okay, so I can’t reliably define my own sexuality, because, as you say in that post, some people are liars.”

          That was only one of the points in the entry, that there can be no right to self-identify because there cannot be a right to lie. But lying is not the main reason why people self-identify. There are a lot of people who are deluded or just wrong.

          “You look at BDSM and see only patriarchy and sex abuse. But I would argue you’re the blind man holding the elephant’s trunk and calling it a snake. As an outsider, rather obviously ignorant of the breadth of kink and its community, I think your definition is faulty simply for narrowness. There are patriarchal subsets within kink, and abuse happens within kink, as within any relationship framework. But all of kink, simply for being kink, and not vanilla?”

          First, please don’t use the term “vanilla,” because it’s a slur against people who do not participate in BDSM sex to paint it as boring and flavorless.

          Second, what part of BDSM is NOT patriarchal and sexually abusive? Can you tell us where it is?

          “But if my definition is faulty, what then is BDSM, for this discussion? Should we stick to the BD, the DS or the SM (as you largely have)? Should we focus on M/f, as you have, or include F/m, M/m or F/f, as I’ve referred to? Should we look at the kink primarily at the hardest edges, assuming it’s norm, as you have, or try some broad survey of all practice, which would arguably be impossible, given both its breadth and the blending with vanilla sexuality along the softer edges?”

          You tell me. It’s your argument, not mine.

          I really hope you’re not lying and this “non-abusive non-patriarchal BDSM” doesn’t turn out like the “feminist porn” debate, which actually doesn’t exist but is used by assholes as a hypothetical reason to not hate porn. If you’re trying to shield your sexuality from criticism by positing pure hypotheticals, I will not spare you from ridicule.

          • betty May 24, 2014 at 22:26 Reply

            First off, “vanilla” isn’t a slur. It’s a term for “Other.” Non-kinky people are vanilla. Vanilla is a flavor, and a very popular one (if you check the ice cream aisle). But it’s also a flavor lacking “extras,” like chocolate chips or nuts. Not “bland,” just “default.” Rather than continually refer to non-kinky, we say “vanilla.” If you take offense at that, I apologize and I’ll alter my language. I didn’t realize you were so oppressed by the kinky community.

            What examples of kink are you asking for? Pictures and video? Links to pictures and video?

            Or are you defining kink for the top-selling aspects of it, such as the most common dirty pictures Google might return when searching for BDSM? Given the broader patriarchy, are we really so shocked that patriarchal kink is common? Patriarchy permeates all, as you pointed out above.

            I could invite you to a munch, but I think you’d be particularly uncomfortable, and there’s a general rule about forcing non-kinky people to be involved in your kink. That’s why people who wear leashes in public, while often supported on a broader “you shouldn’t have to hide who you are,” are privately strongly criticized for forcing observers to be part of their scene. But maybe you’d consider it “kink-creeping” to bring that up.

            Really, if what I’ve already said is “kink creeping,” I don’t think you’re honestly open to examples.

        • Francois Tremblay May 24, 2014 at 22:31 Reply

          “First off, “vanilla” isn’t a slur. It’s a term for “Other.””

          Let’s just say you’re being disingenuous here. I really don’t care that much, but I did want to point it out.

          “I didn’t realize you were so oppressed by the kinky community.”

          I never said I was oppressed, I said it was a slur. I don’t take it personally because it’s laughable. But thanks for the continued personal attacks, I really love it, asshole.

          “What examples of kink are you asking for? Pictures and video? Links to pictures and video?”

          Just tell us what part of BDSM is not patriarchal or abusive. It should be easy, if it exists, no? No need for elaborate sexual descriptions, I’d think.

          “Really, if what I’ve already said is “kink creeping,” I don’t think you’re honestly open to examples.”

          I am not open to you discussing your sexuality to me without my consent, no. If you can’t make an argument without doing that, then we’re done here.

          • betty May 24, 2014 at 22:48 Reply

            “But thanks for the continued personal attacks, I really love it, asshole.”

            You started by attacking my sexuality with this entire post, from a position of privilege. My apologies if I’m not civil, but I thought I already covered that aspect of my tone.

            “Just tell us what part of BDSM is not patriarchal or abusive. It should be easy, if it exists, no? No need for elaborate sexual descriptions, I’d think.”

            Fine. Look at the relationships of thousands of kinky radfems, not to mention millions of others who aren’t radfem, but still take conscious consideration of patriarchy into account when being kinky.

            Oh wait, you’ve already defined them all away. Guess they’re either not kinky or mis-identifying themselves, according to your standard.

            Kink is, by definition, a very conscious sexuality. As much as many gay people are acutely aware of hetero-normative reality, many kinky people are very aware of the realities of power in our society. Maybe they’re turned on by them, or turned off. But simply because we’ve had to acknowledge and accept our sexual deviance, we’ve had to be aware of these things.

            And yes, there are still huge numbers of people who carry on perpetuating patriarchy within kink, like I’ve said. It’s just that, by its nature, unlike vanilla sexuality, which isn’t explicitly concerned with power, kink is and therefore kinky people are generally very conscious of it.

        • Francois Tremblay May 24, 2014 at 23:18 Reply

          “You started by attacking my sexuality with this entire post, from a position of privilege.”

          I don’t have privilege over people who practice BDSM, so wrong again.

          “My apologies if I’m not civil, but I thought I already covered that aspect of my tone.”

          I don’t care if you’re not civil, but I care if you lie and straw man. That’s why I call you an asshole.

          “Fine. Look at the relationships of thousands of kinky radfems, not to mention millions of others who aren’t radfem, but still take conscious consideration of patriarchy into account when being kinky.”

          How is that an answer? You’re pointing to people, not practices. I asked you what part of BDSM was not patriarchal or abusive, and you’re telling me about people?

          So what you’re saying really here is that you have no answer and are… wait for it… wasting our time?

          “vanilla sexuality, which isn’t explicitly concerned with power, kink is and therefore kinky people are generally very conscious of it.”

          You are absolutely fucking insane. But I’m giving you one more chance to answer the question.

          • viviennemarks January 7, 2015 at 09:12 Reply

            I know this is an old post, but I just HAD to speak here.

            Dude, you’re a (straight?) man addressing a lesbian. OF COURSE you’re coming from a position of privilege.

            As to what aspects of kink aren’t patriarchal or abusive, I’ll try to be as vague here as possible lest I “kink-creep”, but here goes: if a person says to their partner “please kiss me in x place”, that is non-kinky, and, most people would agree, neither patriarchal nor abusive. They are communicating with their partner and asking them for pleasure! This is good! The moment you change “kiss” to “bite” or “spank”, voila, you’re in kinky territory! But is it patriarchal or abusive to respectfully ask your partner to please you? To ask for a physical sensation you enjoy? I don’t think so, and if you do, well then, you’re further gone than I thought.

            For another practice, if I were to say to a friend “could you please tie ropes around my torso in such a way that my movement is in no way restricted, but it looks like I’m wearing a corset made of nautical knots? It makes me feel strong and beautiful like a pirate queen,” And they say, “But of course! This is an artistic skill I’ve spent time studying that brings me delight as a craftsperson,” I see no patriarchy or abuse there. Heck, it’s not even explicitly sexual. And that’s something I’ve seen and experienced at many kinky events.

            Is touching a machine that runs static electricity through your body, and then asking friends to skim their fingers up your arms because you enjoy the tickling feeling, patriarchal or abusive? How about being given writing prompts from a long distance partner to write out erotic scenes of your fantasies about them, and doing the same in return? Or dressing up like Star Trek officers before sex with a loving partner? Because guess what: that’s all practice that falls under the kink umbrella.

            • Francois Tremblay January 7, 2015 at 14:50 Reply

              Wow, kink is just so… cute and friendly. And kinksters fart rainbows and ride unicorns to work. There’s no such thing as sub drop, there’s no epidemic of rape and abuse in the kink community, there’s no reproduction of rape and abuse in kink sex, there’s no perversion and negation of consent in the kink community. All it’s about is wearing ropes and kissing places.

              Oh wait! I just realized you’re full of shit.

          • viviennemarks January 7, 2015 at 15:03 Reply

            You set it so your previous comment to me wouldn’t be able to be replied to, which shows me who’s full of shit. Betty already pointed out the huge amount of problems within kink including abusers who use kink as an excuse, but pointed out that, given what a wide variety of things count as “kink”, it would be ridiculous to make blanket statements saying that all forms of kink everywhere are patriarchal and abusive. I assumed, perhaps foolishly, that I didn’t need to restate someone else’s argument. You asked for practices specifically, and stated that her descriptions of individual experiences didn’t count. You said no graphic sexual descriptions. And now you’re upset that someone listed specific practices that are considered kink that are neither patriarchal nor abusive. I did not say that any of the practices listed negated the abuse, merely listed them, as you specifically, explicitly requested. They exist, when you insinuated that they didn’t.

            In conclusion, no man throws a temper tantrum quite like a man who claims to be a radical feminist.

            • Francois Tremblay January 7, 2015 at 15:16 Reply

              “You set it so your previous comment to me wouldn’t be able to be replied to, which shows me who’s full of shit.”
              You clearly do not understand how comment nesting works on WordPress and you are blaming me for it. Ho-hum.

              “Betty already pointed out the huge amount of problems within kink including abusers who use kink as an excuse, but pointed out that, given what a wide variety of things count as “kink”, it would be ridiculous to make blanket statements saying that all forms of kink everywhere are patriarchal and abusive. I assumed, perhaps foolishly, that I didn’t need to restate someone else’s argument.”
              You really do not need to state any argument. I really wish you disgusting kinksters would leave me alone with your kink creep and your attempts at justifying the reproduction of abuse and rape.
              I mean come on, your “argument” is as ridiculous as saying “well, I know war is terrible, but think of all the scientific inventions that came out of it, and have you even SEEN the movie Joyeux Noel? Therefore please stop advocating against war I mean it’s ridiculous of you anti-war folks to make such blanket statements and take such a principled position.”

              “In conclusion, no man throws a temper tantrum quite like a man who claims to be a radical feminist.”
              First of all, I never claimed to be a feminist of any kind, so again your lack of comprehension is turned into upset against me. Not my problem.
              Secondly, what temper tantrum did I throw? All I said was that you’re full of shit. If you think that’s a temper tantrum, well, I’m sorry for you having been so sheltered, but again it’s not my problem.
              Again: you are full of shit.

  4. betty May 24, 2014 at 22:29 Reply

    “But lying is not the main reason why people self-identify. There are a lot of people who are deluded or just wrong. ”

    But if I, from within the community, am deluded or wrong, how are you sure, from outside the community, that you aren’t? Why do you know more than I, simply for being the dude with a blog?

    • Francois Tremblay May 24, 2014 at 22:35 Reply

      What makes you think that people who are personally engaged with something are always the best judges of it? I am not comparing BDSM to a cult, but as a matter of example, which do you think are the best judges of a cult: the people inside of it or the people outside of it?

      (hint: the answer is “the people outside of it”)

      • betty May 24, 2014 at 22:40 Reply

        Actually, I would ask “what are you calling a cult?” For example, some people call bronies a cult, but are outsiders really the best judges? And we’re back to definitions.

  5. betty May 24, 2014 at 22:38 Reply

    (Sorry, I keep thinking of things after I click “post,” and I can’t retroactively edit.)

    And, if we can’t even agree on definition, how can we agree on examples? Just as I think your example image at the top of this post isn’t “regular kink,” why would you not take my examples as too obscure to matter?

    Reverting to the porn example you brought up, I might cite female made porn for a female audience, where it’s just women filming themselves where their girlfriends and sharing it with other lesbians. But, you have the viable counter-argument that, in a broader patriarchy, that isn’t what you mean by “porn,” therefore my example is null and void.

    However, while the commercial aspect of porn gives that argument validity, I think the non-commercial aspect of BDSM (as something done in the bedroom, not for public consumption) negates that.

    But what I might cite as non-patriarchial kink, you might still invalidate because it doesn’t fit your pornified perception of kink, informed as it is by the rightfully oppressive nature of porn and our culture. But does that mean the lens of porn is all reality is? I’d refer you back to my earlier comments about learning about kink from seeing a women in a catsuit in a movie.

    • Francois Tremblay May 24, 2014 at 22:42 Reply

      An insult you made up, because I didn’t “learn about kiink” from a movie. So you’re just being tedious.

      Apart from the stupid personal attacks, your point is well-taken, but so what? Of course we might disagree. How does that prevent you from presenting your damn example which I’ve been waiting for in three replies now?

      • betty May 24, 2014 at 22:53 Reply

        I still don’t know how I can give you examples. It’s like asking me to give you examples of loving gay couples. Sure, you can point to abusive gay relationships that might pop up in the news, but what do I point at to show the many millions of gay people who have loving relationships?

        What can I point at to show you non-patriarchal kink? An isolated picture? A hundred such pictures? “But that’s nothing compared to all these results from Google.”

        Can I point to a relationship? “But that’s just people mis-identifying as kinky.”

        What example could I give?

        • Francois Tremblay May 24, 2014 at 23:19 Reply

          Are you seriously this daft? I know there are non-abusive gay couples just as there are non-abusive heterosexual couples. That’s common knowledge, because GAYNESS IN ITSELF IS NOT ABUSIVE. It is not part of the definition of two men having sex that they must be hierarchical or abusive (although some will be, like any other sort of relationship).

      • betty May 24, 2014 at 22:56 Reply

        “An insult you made up, because I didn’t “learn about kiink” from a movie. So you’re just being tedious. ”

        I’d counter that your insistence on taking that literally is pretty tedious. It’s a metaphor for the outsider view of kink through pornified culture. Unless you can show me your insider lens that shows you the kink community, I’m going to fall back on what I see in this post, which is explicitly informed by outsider perception. Hence, “kinky imagery in a movie.”

    • Independent Radical May 25, 2014 at 05:50 Reply

      “Just as I think your example image at the top of this post isn’t “regular kink,” ”

      So what if it’s not “regular kink”, slavery and genocide are not “regular racism”. They’re examples of extreme racism, but they still show the screwed up nature of racism.

      “I might cite female made porn for a female audience, where it’s just women filming themselves where their girlfriends and sharing it with other lesbians. But, you have the viable counter-argument that, in a broader patriarchy, that isn’t what you mean by “porn,” therefore my example is null and void.”

      First off, defending pornography automatically makes you a liberal by my definition. And in case you think I made up that definition on the spot so I could claim you were a liberal, check out my comment on this post (http://feministcurrent.com/8879/the-divide-isnt-between-sex-negative-and-sex-positive-feminists-its-between-liberals-and-radicals/) where I describe exactly what I mean by “liberal feminism” as opposed to “radical” and “moderate” feminism. As a pornography defender you probably think that feminism is all about “choice” and that women are empowered so long as they’re making a “choice” and thereby have “agency”. You don’t care what the nature of the choice is, nor do you care about its consequences, you think all choices women make are good because they’re choices and that nothing a woman chooses to do should ever be criticised (no matter how much it harms her or women in general.) And yes I’m making assumptions, based on the hundreds of comments and articles that I’ve read which are written by people who think just like you do. Spotting patterns and responding to them is not a crime.

      Secondly, whether a video is pornographic or not depends on it’s content, not who made it or who it is aimed at. A video made by females for females that features lesbians could easily include depictions of a woman choking another woman (which is imply that such behaviour is totally acceptable and even “sexually empowering”.) Your description does not rule that out. Somehow you liberals just never seem to get around to describing the content of the pornography you defend (i.e. what goes on in the film that makes it so “feminist”) beyond the totally meaningless claim that it’s “authentic”. I don’t want to see “authentic” sex being promoted. I want to see egalitarian sex being promoted, you know sex acts where there’s no dominant and no submissive? Or did it not occur to you that sort of sex exists?

      “I think the non-commercial aspect of BDSM (as something done in the bedroom, not for public consumption) negates that.”

      How exactly is BDSM non-commercial? Even before there was “Fifty Shades of Grey” there was Rihanna’s “S&M” music video and a whole bunch of other popular songs that clearly contained BDSM promoting lyrics like “you see these shakles baby, I’m your slave”. Then there’s all the expensive specialised equipment you have to buy, not to mention the costumes and the props, all of which are sold at BDSM-related stores, which then advertise themselves (in my university’s magazine, none-the-less.) BDSM is the most commercialised sexual activity ever. If I were a member of the capitalist class, I’d definitely try to promote BDSM to as many people as possible. It creates way more opportunities to makes money then vanilla sex ever did. Your sex acts may only occur in your bedroom, but I’m describing the BDSM phenomenon as a whole and that phenomenon definitely isn’t confined to the bedroom.

      “But what I might cite as non-patriarchial kink.”

      There may be kinks that are technically non-patriarchal (because they involve a women being on top or whatever) but a patriarchy is just an example of a broader phenomenon I oppose, the existance of unequal power dynamics between human beings and there is no such thing as a BDSM sex act that does not involve an unequal power dynamic any more than there is such a thing as a circular triangle. Radical feminists sometimes say that female dominated BDSM is still patriarchal because it involves patriarchal values like aggression, violence, power, dominance, submission, etc. The same structure and roles are in place even if different peope occupy those roles. I think this phrasing tend to confuse people, so I just say BDSM is anti-egalitarian, by definition.

      • betty May 25, 2014 at 19:37 Reply

        “First off, defending pornography automatically makes you a liberal by my definition. ”

        I wasn’t defending porn. You’ll notice I very explicitly pointed out that the “safest” form of pornography is still defeated by the broader argument against porn. I was pointing out that porn *isn’t* defensible, by its very nature. But, y’know, if that gets in the way of you getting to define me, so be it.

        “I want to see egalitarian sex being promoted, you know sex acts where there’s no dominant and no submissive? Or did it not occur to you that sort of sex exists?”

        Oh, so now, by being submissive myself, I’m unable to conceptualize of other people not being submissive? Fuck you. I am not solely defined by my sexuality. Or are you so defined by your sexuality that it did not occur to you that others exist?

        “How exactly is BDSM non-commercial?”

        BDSM can be *commercialized*, but it is not inherently commercial. Porn, in comparison, by its nature, is commercial. But BDSM isn’t. It can be marketed, just like anything else, but that’s different. Unless you claim all things are inherently commercial, because someone, somewhere, might use it for commercial purposes?

        “Then there’s all the expensive specialised equipment you have to buy, not to mention the costumes and the props, all of which are sold at BDSM-related stores”

        “Have to buy?” Wow, further ignorance. It’s amazing how you two are such experts on my sexuality, when you repeatedly demonstrate a complete ignorance of it.

        (For the record, and more “kink creeping,” my girlfriend and I have never bought “costumes and props,” besides the same kind of sex toys that vanilla women buy too. Yes, I own a vibrator. Tell me what a whore I am.)

        “BDSM is the most commercialised sexual activity ever.”

        Wow, just no. This is what I meant when I said Francois has privilege. Vanilla, monogamous, patriarchal, heterosexual sexuality is the most commercialized sex *ever*, hands down and categorical. That a certain type of fetishized BDSM is trendy right now doesn’t change that basic fact. The sex plastered across magazines, movies, television, marketing, and every other public commercial space in our society, is predominately *not* BDSM.

        I’m reminded of MRAs trying to convince others that women actually have power. No, sorry, fail.

        “There may be kinks that are technically non-patriarchal (because they involve a women being on top or whatever)”

        For the record, simply having a woman on top doesn’t negate the patriarchal aspects of much of F/m kink. The constant reinforcement of gender roles and male gaze is still *very* patriarchal.

        Seems like an extremely flimsy concept of “patriarchy” to base your objection on.

        “Radical feminists sometimes say that female dominated BDSM is still patriarchal because it involves patriarchal values like aggression, violence, power, dominance, submission, etc.”

        Sounds like you’ve overheard some of my conversations with others in the kink community. But, whatever, I must be a liberal, as you’ve defined me, so that must be my own delusion.

        “I just say BDSM is anti-egalitarian”

        Within a narrow context, yes. But patriarchy, while the dominant power imbalance in our society, isn’t the only power imbalance that could ever exist.

        And, for some in the kink community, it’s not even that. A couple I know are both submissives. But, because they don’t want to involve anyone else in their bedroom, but still want to make sure the other is satisfied, they’re both service tops. Meaning, from time to time, each will take on the role of dominant, so the other’s submissive itch can be scratched. They’re otherwise a particularly egalitarian couple. But, they’re not whole without acknowledging that part of their sexuality.

        And that’s just one example.

        By the way, Francois, the reason I keep bringing up relationships, is because that’s what BDSM *is*. It’s not shiny leather harnesses or the act of spanking. It’s a relationship between two or more people, often but not always sexual, and involving some form of power imbalance, of indeterminate term and distinction. The trappings around that differ, from person to person.

        • Francois Tremblay May 25, 2014 at 19:41 Reply

          You are so fucking condescending, I’m surprised you actually managed to get a girlfriend. I’m sure you hold back when you talk to her.

          • betty May 25, 2014 at 20:47 Reply

            *I’m* condescending? Shit, the basis of your entire blog is your own condescension.

            And no, I don’t hold back around my girlfriend. We met during political activities, so this kind of outspokenness is what brought us together.

            But if “I can’t believe you get laid” is the best you have now, I think that’s pretty weak.

        • Francois Tremblay May 25, 2014 at 21:02 Reply

          The best I have now? The best WHAT? You have given us no evidence or argument to discuss, so what exactly am I supposed to react to? I’m still waiting for you to decide to discuss, and in the meantime mocking the nonsense you’re spouting as a substitute for rational discussion. Not sure what else you expect me to do.

          The basis of this blog is not “my own condescension,” but my profound ethical belief that we should not initiate harm, a belief which informs my stance against BDSM. Although I have insulted your stupid BDSM beliefs, you have been attacking me personally at every turn. Not that I would give a shit if you were, you know, ARGUING, which you still aren’t.

          So are you gonna get to that at some point, or should I just ban you right now and save us the wait? Honest question here. Are you just here to keep waffling about like you’ve been doing for a while now? Because this is total bullshit and I’m starting to think that you really are full of shit.

          • betty May 25, 2014 at 21:38 Reply

            You didn’t insult my beliefs. You tried to deny my being, all in the name of it being for my own fucking good. Kink isn’t a belief. Some thing I might change my mind about. It’s a sexuality, a baser element of who a person is.

            It’s like saying all straight women are inherently tools of the patriarchy because they prefer dick. That’s exactly what you did: erase the political ideals, sexualities and identity of numerous women, because you, Francois Tremblay, know what’s best for us and know our sexuality better than we do.

            Step your inflated self aside and don’t try to save women, like some oh-so-ethical knight in shining armor. It’s insulting, on so many levels.

            You know what? Just fucking ban me, because I’ve been posting plenty of material for discussion. The sectionalization of kink with regard to patriarchy. The confounding existence of service tops within the external perspective of straight male domination. The problems of argument from ignorance. Lots of meat for the grinder, and you just keep going on and on that you see no argument. Just like the initial post, you ignore and pretend the reality of some women doesn’t exist, in order to maintain the superiority of your argument. It’s bullshit. Self-assured, condescending bullshit of your own inherent correctness, regardless of a woman jumping up and down, waving her fucking arms to show she won’t be wallpapered over to keep your fantasy intact.

            I’m so sorry I’ve hurt your wittle bitty feelings, dudebro.

            So ban me, so you can go back to feeling confident in your position as radical savior, here to protect the womens. Bet you were the Nice Guy, always wondering why girls wouldn’t date your perfectness, a copy of Ayn Rand tucked under your arm.

            Oh, and maybe you should delete this comment too, just to keep that armor untarnished. I’ll enjoy knowing you’re too cowardly to actually deal with the people you insult with these blog posts. See ya.

        • Francois Tremblay May 25, 2014 at 22:03 Reply

          Your wish has been fulfilled, you incredibly self-righteous cunt. Have fun reproducing hierarchies in your own bedroom and thinking you’ve shown up some stupid white male. Boy are you fucked up in the head. I wish you that one day you’ll wake up from your voluntaryist delusions and become a radfem.

          BTW, Objectivists are not feminists, you dumbass. Your stupidity is pretty incredible, but not nearly as much as your insufferable condescension.

          • Independent Radical May 26, 2014 at 05:09 Reply

            I had more to say to her, but it would be unfair to say things she cannot respond to.

            “I wish you that one day you’ll wake up from your voluntaryist delusions and become a radfem.”

            I hope so too, as unlikely as that sounds it has happened before, often as a result of one particularly horrific act. Although I think this statement would have been lost on somebody who thinks she’s already a radical feminist because she had super “transgressive” sex.

            As much as I appreciate your takedown of her pro-BDSM nonsense, I am somewhat disappointed by your use of the word “cunt”. Feel free to call her a whole bunch of other things like “porn-lover”, “violence-defender”, “sex-crazed”, etc. I think your claim that she was “self-righteous” is dead on. I called her a “liberal”, which really got her riled up, so did “I want to see egalitarian sex being promoted, you know sex acts where there’s no dominant and no submissive? Or did it not occur to you that sort of sex exists?” So I’m definately not against saying things that could offend people. You can even use swear words if you want to (she used plenty against me.)

            But the word “cunt” implies that she is bad because she has a vagina and that is definitely not the case. Vaginas are perfectly fine, as are penises. You wouldn’t call her a “nigger” even if she was black, because her blackness would not be the problem. Her vagina-ed-ness is not the problem. Her support for violent sex is. Besides, her dominant probably calls her “cunt” all the time (because misogyny is just so sexy, isn’t it?) You probably just gave her an orgasm.

            • Francois Tremblay May 26, 2014 at 15:47 Reply

              I definitely didn’t mean to imply that. She is not bad BECAUSE she has a vagina. She is bad AND has a vagina. Likewise for asshole, bitch, dick, etc.

  6. […] I first commented on BDSM, I pointed out that, like with the pro-pornography advocates, the main argument used to address […]

  7. orphan October 24, 2014 at 16:00 Reply

    “I want to see egalitarian sex being promoted, you know sex acts where there’s no dominant and no submissive? Or did it not occur to you that sort of sex exists?”

    but i dont want equal sex….its still enjoyable but i prefer bdsm, not because i have daddy issues or was beaten as a child but because our sense of touch is all different. a swat on the ass for you could be terribly painful but for me doesnt hurt at all. i even enjoy pain, like the burn of sore muscles after a workout. i like the idea of mentally challenging myself to endure more (in the gym and in the bedroom lol). im sure you must think ballet should be banned because the shoes and insane regime (involving a lot of self inflicted pain, even voluntary abuse – im sure every ballerina has been dropped from a lift by their partner at least once) is antiquated and its barbaric to allow such things to be continued to be called art?

    are you going to police sex and arrest someone for being ‘too rough’ or not within some limit YOU think is acceptable?

    what about the normal sex that women hold out from men to get their way? what about the normal sex where one is just using the other? what about those much more normal more rampant problems bringing down the emotional connections in our relationships? focus on that instead of the consensual sex im having in a healthy emotionally and mutually beneficial relationship. those ‘little’ or ‘insignificant’ problems are only so because they are so normal and so accepted by society. everyone knows rape is bad. but society still says using sex to get our way is okay. boyfriend didnt do the laundry? no sex for him. deny the most intimate, emotional, and genetically required act because youre in a relationship with no proper communication or that you may need not to be in in the first place. or turn the tables when sex is being used a reward? you could say this is just another example of voluntary abuse since most men accept this as okay behavior from us. only issue with this widespread unhealthy use of sex is the marriages and children involved and the never ending cycle of unhappiness it produces because this is just whatever everyone does…so its ‘normal’.

    my consensual abuse however seems to hurt no one (except me :p )

    • Francois Tremblay October 24, 2014 at 16:08 Reply

      Unless you’re Betty, no one was addressing you in the first place… so I’m not sure why you’re taking it personal. I frankly am not interested in what turns you on, or what turns anyone on, so please keep your kink creep for your fellow kinks.

      Also, you do know what tu quoque fallacy is, right? Look it up if you must.

      “genetically required act”

      Yea right. Tell me another good one. Sex is not “required” for anything.

  8. Emily January 17, 2015 at 02:52 Reply

    So i read the blog and all the comments and i still dont understand why you think all bdsm is patriarchal. I wouldn’t claim to be some kind of kink expert but from what ive seen 99% of it is definitely hierarchical but hierarchy doesn’t always stem from patriarchy, you know like the classic school kid fancying his teacher scenario or just generally having a thing for either someone in a position of power or being in a position of power.
    The portrayal of bdsm in porn is almost always patriarchal, but all porn is so no surprises there.
    I also think there are way too many problems surrounding bdsm practices, but imo a lot of this could be related to a lack of understanding by the people who have desires which are out of the norm, so they try to find out more information and all they find is patriarchal porn. I think that maybe blogs like yours, trying to define things too clearly in to black and white, only encourage the stigma surrounding bdsm and this only worsens the problem.

    • Francois Tremblay January 17, 2015 at 03:22 Reply

      LOL! You’re kidding, right? A sexual practice that includes “rapeplay,” slavery, humiliation, and all the other stuff women have been victim of for millenia… and where the vast majority of women are either subs or switch… but it’s not patriarchal! Honest!

      Get a grip…

  9. […] my time while trying to defend their abusive sexuality (see for example the comments section on this entry), I don’t really engage with the more serious BDSM arguments out there. That, I think, would […]

  10. […] no feminist analysis of it, because of a key word used in the movement: ‘consent’. Consent is not the be all end all when it comes to determining whether sexual things are liberating women from patriarchy, for […]

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