The perceived conflict between feminism and submission (of BDSM) can be an exhausting one to wrestle with. Sometimes, it’s quite maddening.
Last night I had a wonderful reminder that, yes actually, we’re all a little bit mad. After attending a beautiful performance about relationships, kink and the strangeness and freedom of being a submissive woman, I left the theatre feeling as though my way of life had been affirmed. I didn’t leave with my chest pushed out and the almighty feeling of women’s power pumping through generations and into my veins. I felt acknowledged. I felt part of something very fundamental and primal in many of us. I also felt like it was OK to feel pretty messed up sometimes. Or at least, OK to feel the panic of working it all out. Particularly when the fear of how Others will view you can be so damaging and pervasive. I turned to a friend afterwards and said: “Oh, so we all feel like this then?” She smiled knowingly.
It’s hard to describe what it is like to be in any relationship. The unique feelings you have with anyone you have ever spent time with will, I believe, always be ultimately ineffable. It’s difficult enough to explain why an open relationship is important to me and why I feel it works well for my partner and I. To then describe the sheer clit-throbbing rush I get from kneeling before him naked with only a cup of tea in my hands and a collar around my neck…. well…You’re probably starting to understand why I think it’s difficult to sum it all up.
Relationships are beautifully complicated. Being queer and kinky certainly doesn’t change any of that. Yet, in its essence, there is a simplicity. After long conversations, mistakes and, yes, a few minor injuries, I can honestly say that in my personal life kink suits me very well. It encourages me to use my imagination, push my limits and lets worries just utterly wash away for a time. Am I mad? Of course I am. But I live my life. I contribute. I function. I celebrate and share myself and my knowledge with others. Am I still feminist, even though I kneel at the feet of a man? Of course I fucking am. I chose to be there and we have chosen to take care of each other, in whatever quirky and consensual ways we think we’ll both enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with reveling in a little madness.
Chesire Cat in Alice in Wonderland (Just in case that wasn’t clear).