So, allow me to vent for a moment.
First of all, I’m “new” to feminism. I hate saying that, because I feel like being a feminist isn’t something you adopt, it’s something ingrained in who you are, what you believe, and how you think from the moment you start cultivating your own personal opinions. However, I think we can all remember that occasion, or situation where we realized “Holy shit, I’m a feminist.” What I mean by being “new” to feminism is that I’ve only in the last year or so began to really own it proudly, and actively do my part AS a feminist in fighting patriarchy. So there is my little introduction. Hello, hi, how are you. Also, please go a wittle easy on me, because I’m a baby. I’m still learning, and as someone who literally has no active feminist friends, I’m looking for some guidance here.
A few months back I kinda stumbled upon my best friend’s “secret” blog about her sub/dom relationship. I kind of just assumed that sub/dom relationships were really just a fancy shmancy way of saying a committed couple was into some really serious BDSM, which I have absolutely no problems with.
A few months prior to me finding the blog on accident, my best friend had moved states away to be with a significantly older dude she met online. I knew that she had been talking to the dude for quite awhile before visiting him a few times, and then ultimately moving in with him. I had my reservations, because I think I’d be a shitty friend if I hadn’t. She was, after all, uprooting her entire life for a man. BUT WHATEVER, I wasn’t going to judge her or make her own relationship choices my business past what I sensed she was comfortable with.
When I found her blog, it was mostly consisting of dirty pictures, sexual preferences, and really cheesy stories about their sexual interactions. It was apparent that she was really into the typical things that come with being a “sub,” like being ordered around in bed, “man handled,” spanking, cuffs, whatever. I doubt I need to go into detail with you ladies.
My curiosity lead me to find HIS blog, where he was a little more descriptive about the kind of relationship they shared IN the bedroom and outside of it.
The whole “Pet” and “sir” relationship follows them out of their bedroom into their daily lives. She doesn’t eat without his permission, she doesn’t sleep without his permission. He has to approve what clothes she buys. He gets to dress her before they go out to dinner, and if he feels like she should masturbate under the table while waiting for their appetizer, she has to, even if she doesn’t really WANT to.
When I expressed concern to my friend about this, as a FEMINIST who wants to respect ANY sexual decisions a woman makes, no matter how NOT into it I personally am, I was horrified when she explained to me that it’s only about sex when their in the bedroom, like a “vanilla” couple. She said it was a special kind of relationship that I wouldn’t understand, where she trusts and loves this man so much, she’s SWORN to him and signed a contract promising to do everything he tells her to do, because she belongs to him, and entrusts this man to “look after her,” and make her decisions for her.
I was disgusted, confused, and angry after hearing all of this, but mostly really, really frustrated that I had such an instinctual issue with it, because as feminist, I’ve worked really hard on freeing myself from the social standard way of viewing anything “taboo,” especially when it comes to a woman’s sexuality being liberated.
A few days ago, I happened to catch a segment about the sub/dom lifestyle on an episode of “So I Married A…” on VH1, where pretty much everything my friend told me occured in their relationship was illustrated through the story of a “sir” and his three pets. These females didn’t seem like unintelligent women, so it just felt weird to me that they were able to look directly in a camera and repeat over and over “The relationship is about trusting my sir to take care of me. We have a deep, profound love, and everything he does, he does to protect me, and make my life as secure as possible. He makes my decisions for me, because he knows what’s best for me.”
I don’t want to drag this out, but basically, I’m writing this partially to vent about how ridiculously angry this makes me. I’m also reaching out, because as a young feminist whose still trying to find my footing, am I wrong to think this kind of relationship is totally fucked up? I think a lot of people, like I initially did, just assume it’s about sex. To me, being required to wait to eat until your sir tells you it’s okay, or having to ask permission if you’re allowed to eat a certain food at all… isn’t that the worst case scenario of what feminism is trying to dispel?
If a woman was being beaten by her husband outside of the bedroom, and swore up and down, truly BELIEVED it was okay, he loved her, would we just say “Well, she’s a woman whose allowed to make her own decisions, it’s okay I guess.” ?
How is this any different? I can’t emphasize enough how little I care if a woman is into the nastiest, most degrading shit possible in bed, because I understand that sexuality, and the things that get us going is a very deep, difficult to pin point hole of weirdness. But if this kind of relationship follows couples out of the bedroom and into their every day lives, is that OKAY to not be okay with as a feminist?
I understand that there is a certain degree to trusting your instincts, and there are all types of feminists out there, some of which might have different opinions on matters then other feminists, and I also get that it doesn’t make either woman (or man) less of a feminist. However, I think if someone put this in perspective, I might be able to see it differently. As of right now, I can’t imagine being okay with that. It’s got actual emotional abuse written all over it, even if the female involved doesn’t think so.
I want to know what other people think. I’ve brought it up to other feminists I follow on various websites, and have been shocked that most of them have taken the “well, if she says it’s okay, I guess it’s okay,” stand point.