Personally, the more I submitted sexually, the more I was able to be autonomous in my external life, the more I was able to achieve equality in my sexual and romantic partnerships, and the more genuine I felt as a human being. Regardless, I always felt that by claiming submissive status I was being highlighted as part of a social dynamic that sought to violate all women. Sadly, claims of sexual emancipation do not translate into acceptance for submissives -- the best a submissive can hope for is to be labeled and condescended to as a damaged victim choosing submission as a way of healing from or processing past trauma and abuse.
However, after several paragraphs of thinking "tell it, sister!", I was disappointed when Fowles then turn turned the frequent feminist mantra of "BDSM porn is bad". She argues that while members of the BDSM counterculture who understand the sacred BDSM rules are capable of understanding the artifice of porn,
the average young, male, heterosexual porn audience member begins to believe that forcing women into sex acts is the norm -- the imagery's constant, instant availability makes rape and sex one and the same for the mainstream viewer. Couple that private home viewing to get off with the proliferation of graphic crime shows on prime-time television and torture porn masquerading as "psychological thrillers" in theaters, and our cultural imagery screams that "women as sexual victims" is an acceptable reality.
Sigh. How many times do we have to have this discussion? Porn -- mainstream or fetish -- is NOT REAL. The majority of teenage boys know this just as well as seasoned BDSM vetrans. I mean, most teenage boys manage to watch all sorts of movies and television programs and know they are fiction. Why assume they are not capable of doing that with porn?
Now, she is right that BDSM is not a community exclusively made up of enlightened feminists. And there are plenty of those among our population who do tend to mix up reality and fiction a bit too much. But this is because the practice of BDSM gets messy. Damn messy. And that is not the fault of porn but the fault of people being fallible human beings.
It's almost as if the author, in letting go of the feminist dogma regarding mindnumbingly dull democratic sex, felt she had to latch on ever more tightly to the other part of feminist dogma that insists porn is bad. As one commenter stated, "There's the problem...You're tied up, butt in the air awaiting the crack of leather, and your mind wanders to feminist ideology. How about just having some good, consensual, kinky fun and saving the ideological crapola for the coffee house?"
Speaking of commenters, I highly recommend a read through the comments section. My particular favorite was one from someone named AMerrickanGirl:
The whole point of BDSM is not to "lose power". It is to allow someone else to borrow your power, with your enthusiastic permission.
Wanting to pleasure someone through pain is not the same as wanting to hurt them.