Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Parte Tres

Part 1 - Part 2

Latest bit in this blogthrash is someone over at Demonista's telling me that I must not understand what anti-SM feminists' position is.

I suppose if I properly understood it, I'd have no choice than to agree with its utter brilliance?

I truly love how people can't answer my actual point -- that the pressure is the same from both sides -- and instead have to ask me how exposed I've been to the theory.

Let's see now: Against Sadomasochism is on the shelf to my left (though I'll likely need to acquire a new copy, as this one was used when I got it and after what is it now, seven years? it's completely falling apart), as is the Bartky book containing her masochism essay (though some people might not think her essay is anti-SM enough). I don't own Dworkin's Intercourse, and haven't read it in long enough that I can't recall how much specifically is on BDSM, but I do have at least one snippet of it saved in some old research papers. Parts of it are also easily found online here, though, so I could look at least some of it up again. Her essay on Story of O is also there, and I re-read it just two days ago actually. As is the snippet of Ice and Fire where she specifically mentions training a man to abuse her by, in part, teaching him BDSM. (Which is not theory, but the message is clear.) I've also read the essay that Lisa of QTp fisks here, though the site it comes from is no longer up.

I'm sure there's something big I've not read, but one would think I'd understand the general gist of the theory by now. :)

17 comments:

Lisa Harney said...

Char's bullshit screed is right here.

Did you notice the "Trannies! Send backup!" request in her post? She ran into trouble on the transfeminist comm and called for help in fighting back...of course, the moderator took the post down entirely because he felt that "both sides were at fault." Because when an oppressor comes into the oppressed's space and starts being oppressive, the oppressed is totally at fault too.

Lisa Harney said...

OH NOES I'm speciesist.

Trinity said...

Wait, which post is this and what happened at transfeminist? I can only do so much drama in a day.

Trinity said...

And, y'know, looking back at Charbullshit (anthroshit? she IS human) "Top fucks bottom", done MacKinnon style... all i can think is

OKAY I'M THE EXACT WRONG PERSON TO SAY THIS BUT DUDE, NOT NECESSARILY

thene said...

I'm just reading that Story Of O essay - never finished the book, I thought it was awful, so I never did know how it ended til now - Dworkin, couldn't you bear to use a spoiler tag? Anyway, I really wish Dworkin was still alive, just because I am aching to know what she would have said about slashfic. I'm serious. I want Dworkin fandom meta.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I know Anony is annoying, but I hope its okay, anyway.

Anyway, I noted this comment:
"the common complaint by women have top that men don't actually give it up, when they and other women are out of control when they bottom"

If -that's- her experiences with S&M, then that's obviously the problem. If that was -my- experience with S&M, I would think it sucks too! That's two different kinds of bad tops, stemming from the same problem--neither one realizes that the bottom is supposed to control the situation (consent, blahblahblah, rehash of basic rules). If you don't fully understand what you're getting into then its bound to be bad. And if that's where you're coming from with this, no wonder you don't like it! But how can you ignore anecdotal evidence that says people really -really- like it, but accept wholeheartedly anecdotal evidence that says its bad and evil? How can you dismiss it, when the 'normal' (SSC and even RACK) S&M looks at, say, BB's situation, and says, yeah that totally sucked, and was a bad experience. I just... gah.

PS - in terms of female agency and bottoming -> my partner (male) and I (female) are both switches, but we fight over who gets to bottom. And I usually win (because I suck at being a top, well, more like, topping in a way thats enjoyable to him. but I try!) So, I'm confused, is he pressuring me into topping or bottoming? Because I obviously can't want either, right?

Trinity said...

Thene: What fascinates me is (well, maybe I shouldn't say it, I did get into trouble for it before) the way Dworkin so freely admits that O was her ideal. I would have thought, before I read that bit, that Dworkin would be the sort of person to find BDSM flabbergasting, an attack, etc. But she seems to have hated it precisely because it was (at least at one point) compelling to her.

She really does seem like an "ex-BDSMer" to me, in the same way some people are "ex-gay" and utterly vehement.

Trinity said...

Anony:

Actually, I do think Demonista is on to something with that. I do think that there are a lot of hetero male "submissives" in the scene that are really interested in getting their fantasy acted out their way, and who don't even realize they're pushing for something the top doesn't want.

And I do think that sexism is part of why this happens -- I think sometimes people slip into heteronormative social roles because they're not sure what to do.

But what I don't think is that this is inevitable, or that it's even frequent once you have some experience, know how to communicate your boundaries, and know how to tell the posers and greedy people from the interesting folks.

Anonymous said...

"But what I don't think is that this is inevitable, or that it's even frequent once you have some experience, know how to communicate your boundaries, and know how to tell the posers and greedy people from the interesting folks."

Yeah, that's my point. I'm not being articulate right now, sorry. It's this weird place for me, her response, between doing that learning process, and rejecting the insistence by other that that process exists. Because, you can have Bad Experiences, even if you're careful. Hell, my partner and I are in a deeply loving and absolutely accepting relationship, and things are not always peachy keen in terms of making the sexual play work, because we're both working it out together (thus the importance of the communication). But, you learn from those experiences--either, no, this isn't for me, or I like these certain aspects, but not the abuse. I just can't understand generalizing that experience to say it all must be abuse then, any more than I could understand someone who may say that all S&M should be good, and it cannot be abuse(d).

And, I wasn't trying to imply that the top is totally (or necessarily) at fault in, well in either of those situations. The top is, well the top and in charge, but there still needs to be a compromise in terms of both sides getting off (or what have you). I mean, if I like to do X, but the bottom says (either during in a safewordy way, or afterwards) no, I didn't like that, it wasn't enjoyable, then that has to be taken into account.

But, I'm not in a public scene at all, just me and mine in the bedroom. I know of the stuff that happens, but I haven't experienced it.

Lisa Harney said...

Trin, the "Trannies! Send backup!" bit is in Demonista's latest post - Fall_of_Sophia calls her out on it.

It was a discussion about meat being murder and homophobic, and got into a debate over Demonista's cissexism.

Plus a lot of disagreement over whether it's bad to eat meat.

SnowdropExplodes said...

Actually, I do think Demonista is on to something with that. I do think that there are a lot of hetero male "submissives" in the scene that are really interested in getting their fantasy acted out their way, and who don't even realize they're pushing for something the top doesn't want.

And I do think that sexism is part of why this happens -- I think sometimes people slip into heteronormative social roles because they're not sure what to do.


I definitely agree with this. But the bit that's missing from Demonista's understanding is that, from what I've seen over and over again, in BDSM women often have the confidence to say "no". Certainly, Top women complain about how hard it is to find a good male Bottom, but equally, as soon as it turns out that a male Bottom is only in it for his own fantasy, said Bottom is dumped.

(And, in classic positive-feedback system fashion, you often see the Bottom go away saying, "What went wrong? Did I not ask for depraved enough sex? I'll ask for more next time...!" which is, in its way, the BDSM version of "Nice Guy-ism")

Trinity said...

". It's this weird place for me, her response, between doing that learning process, and rejecting the insistence by other that that process exists. Because, you can have Bad Experiences, even if you're careful."

Well, the thing about her response is that... as I interpret it, and I could be wrong, it's static. She's not DOING BDSM. So she's seen (or heard about?) men who top from the bottom, that's annoying, oh wait I found radical feminism... see that's better than this. And that's the end of the story.

Where for me... Okay, I'm a top, I want this. Oh wow, this guy's acting like a greedy jerk but I like the attention and don't want to say no... oh that sucked! Oh, here's someone else acting that way, you know, thanks for asking but no. Oh here I am in a relationship and boy, he's not very service-oriented for someone who says he wants me to be his Master, what's up with that? *drama, dumping* Oh, hey, here's a nice person I get along with... oh, that was FUN, how about we get together more. Oh, cool. You know, hey, if I'm the top, I say we do this now! Wow, that went well... awesome.

If all you have is the first part of that because you read Dworkin and fled screaming, then yeah, I'm not at all surprised you're cynical.

Lisa Harney said...

I just can't get over how paternal some radical feminists are - they tell you what your sex is like, what your sexual orientation should be, how you're supposed to relate to gender, and what you're really doing when you're doing any of those things.

So much proscriptiveness aimed at other people. It seems to make for a marginally effective ideology.

Anonymous said...

This is horrible, but reading the beginning of Dworkin's essay on 'Story of O' I got very aroused.

Trinity said...

"This is horrible, but reading the beginning of Dworkin's essay on 'Story of O' I got very aroused."

I'm not sure that's horrible, anon -- it's just a summary. And the book is supposed to be arousing, so that just means it did its job. Also, Dworkin is an evocative writer who is very good at stirring up emotion (though I do think she's bad at constructing arguments.)

Lisa Harney said...

I liked Dworkin's summary better than what I read of The Story of 'O'.

Didn't make it far into the film version, though.

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