Am I part of the patriarchy?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my private fantasies, which I rarely discuss even with people I know are cool with BDSM, and how they fit into notions of privilege and patriarchy and buzzwords like that which I’ve started, inexplicably, to throw around a lot more these days.

So here’s the problem: the most potent of my fantasies, as I’ve discussed, exist in an explicitly gendered context. I don’t know what you’d call it—a fetish? a kink?—but undeniably there’s some part of me that gets off explicitly on the notion of men dominating women. Of sexually reinforcing the patriarchy and traditional gender roles, in a dehumanizing context.

Of course, all this is couched in notions of consent and, most importantly, fantasy. I think that, for the most part, I do feel okay with the fact that I think about things like this, and that I don’t see it as inherently amoral or objectionable to fantasize. However, I’m hesitant to think that I’d ever let these fantasies see the light of day, and if I ever did, it would definitely be in private and I’d have to really fucking trust the person with whom I were to act them out. There’s something too dangerous about playing with patriarchy, to my mind.

I worry about my desires, though, because they’re still quite potent, no matter how I bury them. I’m worried that I subvert the kink community’s aims to not be seen as tools of the patriarchy, and to emphasize that BDSM activities are safe and healthy and do not, of course, strictly take place in an M/f context. As a proud feminist, I want to reconcile my feminism with my kinkiness. But I can’t help wondering if I am, in fact, a tool of the patriarchy. It wouldn’t surprise me if, on a subconscious level, I developed my desires in response to real-life M/f dynamics that I’ve worked so hard to overthrow. Maybe it’s a way of letting go and not trying so hard to work outside of that paradigm. Or something like that. Maybe there’s just something sexy about being subjugated that is easy to contextualize in power dynamics that already exist in real life. But whatever it is, am I playing neatly into a radical feminist assumption that I’m only into BDSM because the patriarchy wants me to be?

Subversive Submissive noted in an excellent post that certain groups which promote “gender essentialism” (good phrase) are not representative of or even always condoned by the kink community. I think that’s a great thing to emphasize, though I wonder still whether what I think is, well, PC. I know it’s difficult for kink to be politically correct at all, but I feel like I’m straying into forbidden zones.

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3 Responses to “Am I part of the patriarchy?”

  1. 〜( ̄∇ ̄〜) Says:

    Spending your days feeling guilty over how other people might hypothetically interpret some of your private thoughts when taken out of context is less than productive.
    There’s also something sad about the reflex to turn every little fetish into a commentary on human sociology. It’s possible to just enjoy it, you know.

  2. So I’ve heard.

  3. […] fantasy-land, too, I’m not sure what’s what anymore. I’ve discussed before the extent to which my D/s fantasies are highly gender-specific (dominant male/submissive female), […]

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