It occurred to me today, so many people have such wide and varied misconceptions about the BDSM lifestyle, and I couldn’t help but wonder… why?
What is it that makes people think a Dominant beats the shit out of His/Her sub? Is it an ingrained belief that anything that differs from “normal” must be dangerous and harmful? Do people grow up believing a firm and leading partner is abusive? Or is it just the wide range of literature that shows the lifestyle in a bad light?
Maybe the terminology itself is the reason people fear a lifestyle they don’t understand. Someone asked me, “So do you like being strangled?” The answer of course is “fuck no!”, but then they aren’t really referring to being strangled. They don’t know or understand the difference between some nutter trying to kill you and controlled, safe breath-play.
Some people really do believe that those indulging in a kink lifestyle wander round wearing gimp masks and defecating on each other. Now while these are real kinks for some people, they also aren’t the basis of a relationship or to everyone’s taste.
If someone says marriage to me, I could make the assumption its due to pregnancy, money, or just because a couple feel they have to. For the most part those assumptions would be wrong, except for that tiny minority. Its the same if I told a vanilla person I have been collared. they’re going to assume I get beaten, used, abused and degraded (maybe I do, maybe I like it), the real question is: How do we dispel these myths? We can’t the power of media fuelled thinking is too strong.
They aren’t healthy assumptions and they certainly don’t make life easier for the collared sub. Many a friend has faced awkward questions about the piece of jewellery around their neck, the questioner never likes being quizzed about their wedding night and whether they screwed ’til sunrise though. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy to answer questions by someone who is genuinely interested, I’m happy to educate those willing to listen. What irritates the fuck (i won’t apologise for that word it has to be said) out of me, is people who immediately jump to conclusions, won’t listen or try to google numbers for domestic violence charities.
I’m going off on a little bit of a tangent, however, lets get back to my point, WHY? Or maybe it shouldn’t be why do people have misconceptions, but why are kinksters portrayed as they are? Lets be honest, BDSM in the media is never shown in a pretty light, leather full-face masks, news stories about young teens killing themselves practicing auto-asphyxiation or worse yet and I hate this headline, “Murderer/Rapist/Psycho Viewed Violent Porn.” I will never forget one TV detective show that was searching the laptop of its suspect. When they came to his bookmarks, at the top of the list was one of my own favourite pornography sites (second and third were familiar too), now, bang, that’s it he’s guilty and the show concluded with his confession etc. I’m pretty sure pornography is for the most part, make-believe, it is a staged scene not unlike any other TV performance, many of the niche sites even carry large banners stating all actors are over 21 and all acts consensual. The biggest producer i know of kink porn even interviews its actors before and after the scene, and those interviews are shown before and after the good stuff. Any one watching this stuff, knows full well its just good fun, its not women snatched from the streets, or being tied up and gang banged by forty strangers. Psycho’s don’t want a detailed report of why the actress is doing this video, so they sure as hell aren’t watching kink.com.
My theory on all of this? It’s actually quite simple, any safe, sane Dom/Domme knows the power is all in the hands of the sub. Therefore making the often, (stereotype coming up) “weaker” sex, the weaker person. A woman likes being whipped, but instead we must pretend it’s because she is weak, vulnerable, trapped, if we applaud BDSM we must give her the power.
Ridicule a man on his knees before a leather clad woman holding his leash, it’s easier that accepting this strong woman, is allowing her man to show his freedom, to step down from those macho shoes, despite the fact the control is in his hands. A man cannot — in view of the media — be strong if he bows to a woman, he is pitiful.
The media and literature that fuels these misconceptions, does so, so that it can keep the stereotypes alive. Women are weak and men are only real men if they beat their chests.