This article in Salon, focusing on rape in the ‘BDSM community’ really got on my nerves. I am going to write a proper post on it but first I thought I’d put it here. If any of you have any observations or thoughts then leave a comment and I can incorporate your ideas into the piece.
On first glance my main issues with the article are:
a) It assumes ‘rape’ is by men of women which demonises men as potential rapists
b) it is heteronormative
c) There are no men’s voices, no quotes from men
d) It is white and middle class – the ‘BDSM community’ does not include everyone who does S and M sex
e) It is all about articulate women lecturing people (men) not having a dialogue.
I return as usual to Mark Simpson and his concept of the feminist as ‘Ms Whiplash’:
‘Masochism’ is one of the inventions of late nineteenth century sexology in the Gothic shape of Baron Dr Richard Von Kraft-Ebing. It was only ever intended to apply to men; women were ‘naturally’ masochistic, so pleasure in pain on their part was not ‘perverse’ and therefore not a problem to be explained or pathologised. This was part of a shift in gender roles in the West in the Nineteenth Century which was concerned with, we are told, institutionalising women’s subjugation. As Phillips points out, ‘Dante’s ordeal in the Inferno to be reunited with Beatrice, to John Donne’s love poetry, sacrificial masculine love has been a crucial theme, only in this century has what for many centuries seemed the natural, desirable form of male love been redefined as effeminate perversity, masochism.’
Phillips believes that this reformulation of male identity that excluded masochism made masculinity ‘blatantly misogynisitc, emotionally inept and homophobic’. She also believes that it was this new masculinity which led in part to the ‘corrective’ of feminism. Ironically, the exclusion of masochism from the male psyche has produced a public scenario of their punishment and chastisement by women which continues today. The feminist is Ms Whiplash.’
For a slightly critical but fascinating take on the feminist as ‘ms whiplash’ check out Jay Generally’s series (6 posts) on The Dominatrix: