More On Lifestyle Only Femdom Invisibility

the invisible lifestyle only femdom

You have definitely heard me talk about this before (CN: whorearchy talk), but one of the biggest issues with the contrasting experience and norms of professional femdom VS lifestyle only femdom is our invisibility. I add “only” deliberately, as it’s rare to find a professional who will cop to it being just a job.

And I don’t think they are lying. Honestly, any immersion into the larger femdom community will show more similarities than points of difference. But, be that as it may, the perception of the non-existence of people like me is so strong that while nobody assumes a male dominant is say, a pro rigger, I am presumed to do this as at least a part time career.

The norm is to assume that lifestyle only femdom isn’t a thing, or if does exist, it’s the amateur or mirror version of a professional experience.

The assumption that I must be a professional is so engrained that people use domme/femdom synonymously with pro. Despite having no price list, or any other evidence I sell, a steady trickle of men blunder into my inbox trying to hire me. Still others target spleen at me for being a sex worker- it’s one category of the abuse I get, bewildering screeds against my “back page” ass peddling ways, condescending criticism, etc… And, more insidiously, all the norms on how to be a dominant woman get defined by what professionals do in their sessions. Even the vocabulary slides that way by accident, with possible partners being more likely to talk of play in those terms rather than the “scene” of M/f.

In pop culture, Domme and pro-domme are synonymous. There are very few overt female dominant characters in fiction who are not pros. Workshops that cater to me as a category also assume I must be interested in pro style business guides. Criticisms of kink norms can have people scolding me for disparaging my “colleagues”. There is also a significant focus on the replication of what is in F/m porn.

This, in itself could be forgivable, if said porn was almost exclusively marketed for the male gaze. This is not so for M/f which includes a whole body of work for the female gaze. It’s hardly high, virtuous art, as far as representation, but at least you know you could find some pandering. Femdom romances, on the other hand, are a tiny niche, of which many are about dommes learning they prefer to submit, as a plot point to provide a reason for conflict.

This bias has an obvious broader impact on the expectation of what lifestyle only femdoms are supposed to do, and how our relationships go.

Only recently did we get past the “no fucking your subs” norm that originated from trying to dodge anti-sex work laws. People still advise men to use gifts and service as a pry bar to a relationship in a way that would never fly in vanilla. And most of the education, from books to classes, comes from professionals, with no separate distinction of who you are. Dommes do domme things, and yet there are deviations- coming from lifestyle only femdom you can spot in a sub who was someone’s former client.

People in the kink community describe the scarcity of dommes as an unarguable “femdom ratio“. This is rarely questioned, and occasionally propped up with terribad ecolutionary psychology guesses that insult everyone. Lifestlye femdoms are even placed in ludicrous competition with pros, even though, as Not Just Bitchy opined quite succinctly, it’s a stupid thing to try to hang a dispute on.

And yet, that concept of a ratio is a two part problem. Existing is defined as not only being a domme, but being sexually and/or romantically available. Most lifestyle only femdoms have closed relationships, while most pros can see multiple people on a more casual basis. Secondly, the question of us “existing” is used to mean as “easy to find”. In practice, I can say first hand that our ease in location is entirely based on doing the looking. Hang out a shingle as a dominant woman looking for peers for friends and presto, many, many more women pop their heads out. It’s just these women do not do so in the spaces sub guys usually try to look.

Granted, they often do not publically identify that way, hanging other fetlife provided labels. “Kinkster”, “Switch”, etc… some show up wearing the identity of a sub. Switch erasure is a whole other thing, so don’t take it as me invalidating their submissiveness as being fake, but holy cow are there a lot of allegedly non-existent women who enjoy dominating at least sometimes! So what’s going on?

Being a Lifestyle Only Femdom is Dangerous

The problem of the lifestyle femdom invisibility is that you have a system that is ultimately pressuring and selecting only one particular kind of expression of femdom. It isn’t that sex workers are taking from “us”, it’s that all femdoms are so stigmatized that sex work is one of the few options to us to do it relatively safely and openly, on anything approaching our terms.

Our options are to hide, either in the closet or via distractions from the stuff we are doing, or suffer significantly more social punishment than M/f. That latter. meanwhile, is a kink so normalized that a lot of people think it’s just how heterosexuality works. In the current situation of being a lifestyle only femdom, you better have a lot of privilege, if you are going to be at all out, several times more so if you are going to be vocal.

(And, further discouraging any woman putting herself out there sexually, there’s one other category of behaviour I don’t think we talk about as much: approach harassment/smothering. For whatever reason, any woman who is seen as violating norms of demure modesty will be treated as if norms of courtesy are also suspended. This can range from the dick picks, but also demanding hours and hours and hours of one sided emotional labour. It seems harmless, but any interaction with a social space comes with a huge expectation of non-reciprocal caretaking.)

Sure all sexually divergent (for lack of a better word) face stigma. Being open about your sexuality, as a woman, will cause people to try to abuse, harass and discriminate against you. But we know even in that, there’s a hierarchy of safety. And we will scare people, particularly men, who include a minority that are active hazards.

Being a known to be a femdom isn’t just going to get the usual slut shaming, you also get people attacking you for having implied power at all.

At this point there’s a wealth of data showing an interesting observation- the more threatened a man feels his social power is relative to other men, the more likely he is to lash out at women (or racialized groups). Measures of this are demonstrated by studying behaviours of people relative to their skill in video games. Performance here shows the men with the highest scores are most welcoming to women in gaming spaces.

The abuse I deal with, as a very out femdom, isn’t just the presumption that I should be sexually used at whim, that I am the collective mommy, or that I am contaminated by some sort of promiscuity taboo. The abuse also includes a component of trying to remind me that my power is impossible. This ranges from men actively trying to put me in my place by seeking conflict, to them almost self soothingly speculating in my presence on the impossibility of me having power/being real.

Everyone needs support to do what they love. To be a pro is to compromise and cut a deal- get paid to help us survive losing out on other social resources. You end up having to go all in, and professional work is a side effect of embracing this openness because the stigma for being a sex worker and, not to mince words, a slut, are in the same general family. Since you are ALSO bucking the social role attached to your gender, your safety is more at risk and your options are further curtailed.

Lifestyle only femdoms are not invisible because we don’t exist, we are being actively suppressed.

Not by the pros, who are doing what women have done for most of our history within Patriarchy when we simply can’t just stay shackled: make selective alliances that buy them personal freedom. Pro culture often has a strongly female gaze and, more often than not, frankly queer internal culture, but the external culture is an arms length self maintenance of boundaries, in the face of a constant incursion on them.

If I have a criticism, it’s that a lot of the resulting norms are a holding pattern. They don’t really advance collective power. But it’s the behaviour of a group very much under siege. And I am extremely aware that my own vocal status as having any voice at all is unusual. It’s one part a couple of generations of INCREDIABLY traumatized women who couldn’t conform, who then imparted their culture on me. And one part being able to carve out a niche where I have no children to protect, and a certain financial blessing that I did not earn. I might have been a welfare brat, but I enjoy an unusually supportive network.

I don’t know how to fix that, but I do know that ten years ago, the lifestyle only femdom bloggers who put themselves out there were essential to my ability to find myself, and for many people it seems like my angry little anchor point here is doing the same. I think it is getting better, but we really, really need to solve the invisibility problem for our own happiness.

by

I'm the admin, and writer behind this blog. No you cannot hire me to dominate you. :)

Go on, say what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.