Kink.com Excludes Femdom From Mainstream BDSM

shitIdon'tneed This shit is what I’m talking about here, when I talk about the sexism that femdoms deal with, when it comes to being taken seriously as a part of BDSM.

This is the navigation menu for kink.com, which helps you find their sub-sites, sorted by 5 options. Gay gets its own category that excludes F/f, which is sort of scattered all throughout their content offerings. And Femdom… It’s not filed under general BDSM either. Because of course it isn’t.

I understand this is going to come across like I’m looking for something to be offended about that could be a happinstance accident. There’s obviously no malicious conspiracy and I suspect a huge part is an effort to seed common search terms for SEO/page rank purposes while still creating a functional site map. But this is definitely a symptom of kink as a wholes problem with excluding femdom from the idea of normal.

I do want to say I’m glad kink.com exists. They were a big part of pushing the Overton window, champions of BDSM AND sex in the same shoot, normalizing and mainstreaming kink. They’re a scrappy self made franchise that started in a guy’s dorm room. And they’re a living example of building what you love being a key component to making good art- as well as one of the strongest influences on modern BDSM as a subculture, and have done a great deal to popularize the role of consent- with their before/after videos providing a framing that is joyful and mindful of the well being of the bottom.

But here’s where I go tumblr about things, and I’m going to use this as a leaping off place as a wider problem.. There is a logic internally why kink.com did their menu like this- the artistic direction of their femdom work is sorted under slightly different leadership. But the way it is expressed sucks, and is the problem of femdom exclusion from the rest of kink in a nutshell, something they are perpetuating as educators.

As a female dominant, one of the biggest challenges with my kink is being taken seriously and not being overshadowed by the male sub fantasy version of yourself. Kink.com makes some effort to put femdoms in charge of making stuff they put out there, but they are still the product being sold with its own special fetishes attached, like female dominance can’t exist without a strapon.  And unlike their gay stuff where the male sub is the main attraction and the treatment of the happy victim is very similar to a female sub, the dominant herself is getting the majority of the camera love and branding emphasis and the guy is depersonalized as much as he’s the victim. But even that’s not enough, for kink.com, femdom must be placed away from everything else.

This makes sense from a financial perspective, much like their (to me) excessive focus on anal.  Men buy porn, so porn aims at a male lowest common denominator, so men buy porn. It’s a generally accepted truism that straight men don’t wanna look at guys except peripherally and if they do it’s going to fit into a very specific idea of what femdom is that is nothing like male dom. I don’t like it, but that’s a separate rant.

Where this sorting is irksome, and the point I’m making here, is where the website has also stepped into the role of kink educators- a worthy goal, but on that carries their porn based bias into what they are teaching. Note that Kink University is neatly sorted in amongst all the “BDSM” branded porn, where for a reasonable fee you can watch bad things happen to enthusiastically consenting women. And then when the victim is NOT a woman (or the dom is interesting subject at all really)- whoops it’s not normal, off to the Gay or Femdom box! We don’t want some wanking man to have his erection spoiled.

Think, for a moment, how this comes across if you’re into femdom and you’re trying to access this as an educational resource. Much of the advice, from safewords to bondage and hitting, is unsexed unless you are torturing or tying a sex specific body part. The psychology of it is fairly universal and they have female dominants teaching in their workshop. But there’s still this idea that both male homosexuality and female dominance must be sequestered.

And you deal with this in the BDSM community too, online and off.

It comes up in the endless whining about how the ratios of femdoms to male subs are fucked because, as these complaints boil down to, the person whining that they can’t find a person will tell you that being a femdom isn’t normal. You find it in the every day assumptions that when you mean a BDSM couple you mean M/f, whether on reddit or fetlife or out doing your thing. Even at my munches, people tell me how they don’t like femdom, because all they see is this ghetto-ized Femdom-as-a-Fetish for men or come to me and tell me they don’t think I am a femdom because I don’t fit this narrow version of what they think it looks like.

And I’m not asking for something unreasonable. Major kink toy retailer, “The Stockroom” went through this with their dual catalogs- one that featured a mixture of mostly female models and the other one that was focused on displaying their products on male bodies. And you know what? Someone pointed out to them that sorting Gay/Straight based on model was weird and they knocked it off. And it didn’t hurt anything to change up the lables.

So its not impossible to do the same thing for femdom. It doesn’t have to be a special extra thing that’s ancillary to the regular kink, like some sort of separate flavour. We can acknowledge that male and female dominants have more similarities. When i comes to porn aimed at men I can see why you would pander, but when it comes to education, we should expect better.

Get your shit together kink.com. As a kink educator, in this aspect, you suck at making femdom accessible as something other than a male fantasy and this is leaving  femdom identifying or exploring women in the cold.

Femdom Nouvelle and Beyond BDSM

Louis-Malteste-Miss

There are moments where kink gets frustrating because no label is ever a good enough fit to eliminate the “yes, but…” factor. I’m a femdom, but… I don’t dress or act like a porn cliché. Is that a “Real Femdom“? Well, making that claim is as bad as calling yourself a Real Woman, since you can hardly argue your version is the definitive one. I’m a femdom, but I don’t act like I hold my male partners in contempt, so Sensual Femdom often gets used here, but… I also don’t play soft. And so it goes.

So I could just call myself a “femdom” and let other people figure it out, but I feel like 99% of the aesthetic of my sexual fetishes remains the property of a mostly male audience. I might volunteer moderate /r/femdom, but I don’t masturbate to images of these women. As they are depicted I don’t even want to be these women, as much as I respect their right to exist, and yet they are treated as representative of me. So, Non-Professional Femdom? Nope, that axis has some data points I already covered, but other than talking about the expectations of objectification  it is likely to slide into good old sex worker shaming. Lifestyle Femdom? Lifestyle implies I live in a removed culture apart from all things vanilla, like some sort of separatist commune and I don’t have a 24/7 dynamic.

All kinky people deal with trope and stereotype expectations- plenty of male noobs ask if they can love their subs or worry about being psychopaths in their own eyes or the perception of others. On the other hand, the imagery of kink is more concerned with servicing their needs than defining their image- there are the Christian Greys of fictions improbable standards and masculinity’s own traps and snares but there just isn’t the same instant pull “yes, that’s what a mandom is!” the way that Princess Donna and Mistress Madeline and their fictional sisters completely abrogate my existence.

Long term readers know my clinging to “Dom” as a self description without the gender modifier and might have picked up on my persistence in talking about male dom with the same gender-ed bracketing, because of that feminism thing where I try to shove a snowball into a mitten before popping it into a fire in the hope that using “Domme” only on those personally identified as such will stop it being the default people use on me. Because apparently I’m the sort of person who engages in Amazon Linguistics.

Thing is, the reason why femdoms seem to be really scarce is because it doesn’t really include much room for female desire and this has been a persistent problem, not because women aren’t kinky but because how we construct out labels is entirely an effort to coral messy, often fluid sexuality into neat niches and these niches *suck*.

So Lets Talk About You, The Reader And How You Experience Kink & BDSM

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7 BDSM Problems Only Kinky People Will Understand

Because, dom, sub or switch, dignity is always optional:

housewife1) It was only after the order of silence that Malcolm realized he desperately needed to pee. Unfortunately his skill at charades was such that all his wiggling, whimpering and pointing made Mistress think he was looking to be edged. Again.

2) Clara tried very hard to be inclusive to other people’s comfort levels, not because she thought she deserved a cookie, but because it was only polite. To her horror as she was introducing a newbie to the people at the munch she realized that she had not only blanked on someone’s name, but which pronouns fit them best- despite having hung out joking with them at every single kinky event over the last six months.

3) It was only part way into the scene that he realized his missing dress belt had accidentally fallen into the toy bag, and was now being expertly wielded by his dom on their mutual sub. On the one hand he needed it for a job interview in an hour. On the other hand they were so much in the zone he didn’t want to intervene to retrieve it.

4) Waking up in bed, she stretched, yawned and there was a yowl and a thud as her feet nudged and pushed Kitty from their precarious but cozy position curled up at her feet and into the wadded up laundry pile at the foot of the bed. It took a lot of pocky before Kitty stopped sulking.

5) While discussing his panic attacks, the therapist asked him if he had every heard of CBT. He blushed.

6) Safeword during brutal spanking scene. Her top paused, alarmed. Had he pushed he too far this time? Nope, her eyebrow was itchy.

7) Having kinky parents was cool- they understood everything. Only she wanted to introduce her new boyfriend Kevin in some other way that fucking up the scheduling and both attending the same play party, with them arriving when she was in mid-scene. It would have been better if dad had *not* provided a friendly suggestion about her fisting technique.

What’s your worst case scenarios, awkward moments and other unique to BDSM problems?

The Secret of Being the Best Submissive

I will punch you if you suggest there’s something wrong with my sub because he’s not a domestic slave.

Okay, it will be a no contact punch, delivered with my mind through making my eyes very narrow and growling at you, probably miles away, over the internet. I never claimed to be effectual about my anger management problems.

Any yet, it’s not unusual to make a big deal about being the best at BDSM. Both dominants and submissives worry about what makes them good at being their orientation. No online kink community is complete without a couple ongoing discussion threads to that line. Of course, regardless of the kink being catered to, the usual conclusion is that people want a sane person who can look after themselves. Which, unsurprisingly, is what all the Vanillas generally say they want too. We are not so different!

However, once you leave the territory of minimum obligations for healthy human relationships, that’s when people start getting picky, and you start getting the anxiety and the whining. And the posturing. And the fantasies. The top two things that seem to come up, time and time again when it comes to sub hunting, is male doms wanking about not wanting a doormat because it reaffirms their masculinity/dominance or something, and female doms and subs talking about how they don’t want another sexually objectifying asshole. And of course the male subs would please like to stop being treated like they need to pay to breathe and the femsubs are getting tired of being asked to relocate to Utter Pradesh after doing a naked webcam show for a man old enough to be their grandfather or young enough to be their son. Both doms and subs get pressed to be “true” and role conform.

But, I feel like submissives deal with a lot more silly assumptions on what they must do as subs, and how things are supposed to work. And it’s also a self inflicted thing as well as an external thing.

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