On Femdom In Popular Culture

princessI guess one of the hardest parts of conventional heterosexual femdom is how damn disempowering it feels. Maybe some women get joy out of it in the porn and movie version, but in my perception, it takes the idea of female power and turns it into a grotesque parody, one propped up by a very narrow definition of attractive, garbed in clothes worn to thrill the audience but also reassure them that the boundaries of the dom’s power are entirely the time it takes them to wank to completion. I hate how angry and unhappy it makes us be, like we are uncomfortable in our own skin, that we deplore sex and men specifically.

I tried it as a teenager- I liked (and still like) the idea of getting power from my sexuality, liked the idea of men fawning all over me and certainly fit nicely into my dark sorceress fantasies. But in practice it was such a bother to get someone to play along- teenage boys aren’t, as an audience, adept and ready for consensual domination. The ones that are tend to have got there via porn made just for them. And if I’m good at anything its forming myself into other people’s perfect fantasy. But oh lordy was it a series of tedious tick boxes- no tension, no zing, so service-y.

I rejected femdom then as a fool’s game entirely for professionals and with nothing to offer for me. Given how it is presented, its no wonder there’s so few dominant women when people go looking!

On that line, people have occasionally found it remarkable that I refuse pro work. Wouldn’t it be perfect to be paid to be me? It’s not out of a rejection of sex work (I’ve made it abundantly clear I’m an ally, if often a clumsy one), but a distaste for the profession in particular because it is NOT me. I write, not to condemn the hundreds of women who pay the rent acting out a very specific and much beloved service- but precisely because it is next door to my vulnerabilities. For me, professional domination is taking an intimate part of myself and putting it to work for the needs of others. That’s the part of femaleness that makes me feel least powerful, the emotional shepherd part of the glorious indoctrination of girlhood.

And inversely, I don’t like that being a commanding woman is itself considered to be a niche fetish, with a special wardrobe that fits into no context except for that of the dominatrix- rule and people start cracking jokes about whips in the same way they’ll call you an aggressive bitch. People moan about the lack of clothing choices for dom men to be “fetish” wear, but a codified dom uniform for women doesn’t exactly scream inherently powerful either- maybe sore feet, sweaty and short of breath at best. I’m not saying you personally should give up your “mistress’ heels or whatever, but from my perspective if you have to wear a special outfit to be taken seriously, that awards the outfit more power than you.

Granted a lot of the other stereotypical female power things don’t help either. Step away from Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS’s angry, black clad sisters and its all about The Goddess. Not any specific goddess, mind you, just middle class white folk’s idea of the primitive feminine- and that trip traps into sacred motherhood, where all I am goes from being the bedevilment of men, to the state of my womb. This is not an improvement.

Maiden, Mother, Crone… even with religions that are not some sort of cargo cult constructed to summon a hypothetical ancient tradition that’s more wishful thinking than a part of anyone’s heritage, religious history gives you shitty options. At the very best, you get a goddess who’s some sort of primal force, while the real women of the culture are getting their faces rubbed in the dirt, same as everywhere else and the religious women who get respect are paragons of self denial and chastity. Among the Christian saints, someone’s mother or someone who died a virgin are about your only options of your own personal halo. That puts the feminine-as-a-power-source as an awkward place for a barren woman to try to be. By choice, over about half my life, I’ve stopped up my womb with the best medical science can offer, with no plans to stop. The thing between my legs is strictly an organ of pleasure with an excretion mechanism piped through it. Making it so is my aberration and my actual expression of power over myself- being maiden/mother/crone by default is a profoundly anti-choice. Respecting women as the generative sex, and making that respect’s primary root, treats childbearing as the spontaneous reality for every woman.

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