The Mind/Body Split [BDSM Part II]

by cherryblossomlife

**This is Part II of a three part post. Part I is here.

 Trauma Bonding/the Mind-Body Split

We cannot know for certain how many women in the BDSM scene have experienced rape or childhood abuse, but in the context of asking ourselves why women should fuse pleasure and pain perhaps it hardly matters when we consider that women are conditioned to masochism by the wider society.

It could be one incident, one boundary violation, one man taking more than he should, one rape. Or it could be the drip-drip of marketing messages depicting women tied in chains and ropes, found in the most innocuous places such as between the glossy pages of teenage-girls’ magazines, and reproduced in popular culture as far as the eye can see. Images beamed out to the masses from highway billboards, high-street clothing stores, and the silver screen, all parrotting the Big Brother message that an immobilized and bound woman is a beautiful one.

That these distorted depictions of female sexuality are today regarded as normal, reasonable and good is reminiscent of another collective societal psychosis that once took place elsewhere, one that Chinese women bore the brunt of for a thousand years: culturally condoned foot-binding.

What happens when our boundaries are violated is a deep sense of shame and humiliation. But some sadism is so extreme that, I believe, it is impossible for a woman’s psyche to process the level of hatred aimed at her. Either way she internalizes it, but the shock that she is hated so much by men, or one man, is almost impossible to take. It may lead to psychosis, or at the very least serious dysfunction in work and social settings, where she is obliged to mix with men. That’s where cognitive dissonance comes into play. It’s easier to believe you wanted it by eroticizing your helplessness.

Add trauma bonding to the mix and a vicious cycle begins, which keeps a woman going back for more. Trauma bonding, otherwise known as Stockholm syndrome, is when a human being feels bound to her torturer by invisible psychic chains. It is a well-documented phenomenon. Add a sexual element to the sadism, and you get what is known in BDSM (and Rad-fem) circles as a mind-fuck. The mind-fuck is especially potent because we live in a world where women have been taught to ingratiate themselves with men in order to keep their jobs, their homes and their children, and to stay safe, off the streets and out of the mental institutions that men have so graciously built for them.

From my own experience, I believe that the trauma bond leaves a woman with two choices:

1) she denies anything bad took place and goes back to him, believing she has a crush

2) she somehow admits something bad happened and feels a deep sense of shame that, despite everything, she wants to go back to him

Number 1 is more dangerous but number 2 is more devastating in the short term because you have to re-define your identity as a strong, capable woman.

Interestingly, victims who experienced humiliation score higher numbers of Stockholm syndrome factors than those who experienced stand-alone violence. It could be that humiliation is always the male perpetrator’s goal when it comes to sexual aggression against women. Violence is the means by which he achieves that goal. Violence for violence’s sake seems to have a different effect on the psyche because the victims’ sense of self remains somewhat intact and they have some dignity left to hang onto.

All of this is even before we address the natural compulsion to re-live and re-enact trauma, in an attempt to regain some control by imagining the situation playing out differently. Or women telling themselves that if they wanted it then no violation took place .

Or the fact that pain gives you an incredible endorphin high. Endorphin releases oxytocin into the body in a trauma-induced situation. This is the very same bonding hormone that curses through the bloodstream of a labouring woman in order to ensure that she physiologically and psychologically falls in love with her baby. In a BDSM situation, this probably creates a “Pavlov’s dog” effect, where women who begin dabbling in submission find that their initial association between pain and sexual arousal creates a vicious circle. Pain is linked to pleasure and elicits intense sensations they may never experienced before and are unlikely to find elsewhere, impelling them to go back for more.

Here is an extract from a website advertising “The London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage 23-26 September 2011″ describing the scene that took place onstage between a “rigger” and his rope model:

“When the last strand of rope was about to taken off her chest, she leaned into his arms, and as they cuddled she started crying. It was not long before the last rope had been removed, and at that point, Ranki himself was crying as well. I had never seen anything like it, nor expected to do so. It was a moment where the audience, including yours truly, was so affected by the feeling of unison and devotion between the two on stage, that they themselves broke out in tears. It was so amazing seeing a rigger and his model being so close to each other through their experience as well as letting us, the audience in on such an amazing show of vulnerability. One might forget from time to time, that even though riggers are the ones who are in control, they are too often so very vulnerable. In order to connect with someone, you really have to open up to not only see them as for they are but also letting those who are tied into one’s own heart. When that happen, magic such as the magic we got to witness in the case of Ranki and his model is indeed created. It was so touching and truly an honour to be allowed to witness this at Toubaku 2011. http://esinem.com/LFAJRB/?page_id=206

Contrary to what you would expect, sadists are extraordinarily empathetic and in tune with their victim’s thoughts processes, because the essence of sadism is about getting kicks out of controlling another’s emotional and physical experiences. It is therefore very easy for a victim to conflate their trauma-bond reaction with that common phenomenon known as “love”.

In Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men’s Violence, and Women’s Lives, psychologist Dee Graham has theorized that Stockholm Syndrome occurs on a societal level. She rejects the patriarchal explanation for women’s capacity for suffering, which is that they are innately masochistic, and replaces it with the more convincing explanation that self-destruct buttons are programmed into them by the social conditions they endure, and that their compliance is a survival strategy.

It is also possible that the trauma not only binds women to one man, but to men as a group. In patriarchal cultures, Graham believes, all women suffer from it. Therefore it benefits all men, because women become focused on men at all times, whereas under normal circumstances they would probably just ignore them. She concludes that the most reliable way for women to deal with Societal Stockholm Syndrome is to develop strong friendships and political alliances with feminist women.

She is right, but as with any addiction, the woman has to want to get over it.

Fashion house advertisments, including Suit Supply’s infamous pornographic “Shameless” campaign, whose series of 14 promotional images were displayed in store windows at family shopping centres throughout the UK in 2010, until women protested.The posters in the window displays were 8 foot tall, for children to see. But the suits still looked shit.

Suit Supply

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28 Comments to “The Mind/Body Split [BDSM Part II]”

  1. It could be that humiliation is always the male perpetrator’s goal when it comes to sexual aggression against women.

    I think so. There are many OTHER ways to harm an individual that do not involve SEX/genitalia. Carrots up the nose, head-butting, the list is endless. But NO, physical assault/battery without sex-ual aggression is not enough for male perps. The most common form of violence against women is SEX-based. There is a REASON for that. It is not a coincidence or an interesting but insignificant pattern. It is because men seek to “put us in our place” in a way that ONLY SEX-based violence can achieve. Humiliation is CRITICAL to sex-based social control and female oppression.

  2. Men have to convince us that they are all the same, and all superior to us! So that we can be compelled to accept sperm from any of them. They are attempting to deconstruct our judgemental mechanisms so that we do not try to exercise choice between them. Clearly men are not all the same, though arguably, their masculinity/sexuality is. Masculinity however, is one chromosome, no more no less. But when women exercise mating choice, it is all the other highly variable chromosomes we are interested in. Which is why we have marriage; to force the majority of us to accept males we would not look at were we free, as the genetic fathers of our offspring. How many women would choose to have children from their particular husband, if they could choose from any men they wanted? Very, very few, the rest of us try to make ourselves believe that the bog standard one we are spending all this time on, is special. BDSM helps to convince females that all men are special as compared to them; one of the things women in porn are made to say is: that they are grateful for sex from these pea brained, pebble hearted, old curmudgeons, grateful !!! It is turning nature upside down, it has inverted our evolutionary course and turned it back upon itself.

    Child abuse is the arena in which girls are taught not to exercise judgement between males, (much of which gets lost to memory, but remains in the subconscious) BDSM is just a reinforcer. That is why, in some cultures, a woman can be killed for an adulterous affair, even while her husband lends her out regularly to his friends and family for sex. In the first instance she attempts to exercise choice between men (a dangerous act which might destabilise the patriarchal system causing young men to break free from their ruling fathers, forcing them to keep their clammy old hands off young females). In the second instance she is complying with the male edict; that she can be beaten, raped, used and abused by any men, so long as they have prior agreement among themselves.

  3. Thank you very much, Cherry, for this second part. Yes,trauma bonding is very much present throughout society. In our times, it is precisely the sexuality of prostitution which is being normalised; and, thus, womyn and girls are now suffering increasingly similar PTSD symptoms to prostituted womyn.

    The whole institution of prostitution is built upon BDSM and rape-related/BDSM-related trauma. Pornography is a very powerful means for the male gatekeepers and pimps of the ‘sex’ industry to ensure that the sexuality of prostitution will permeate every aspect of heteropatriarchy.

    Every time I hear a womyn say that she “loves BDSM with her partner” or a funfem say that it is “empowering”, or when I see a “porn star” or “sex worker” saying how much she “likes her job,” I keep reminding myself of this quote:

    “As has been well documented in psychological investigations of other forms of torture, overwhelming human cruelty results in fragmentation of the mind into different parts of the self that observe, react, as well as those that do not know about the harm. […] In prostitution, she is depersonalized; her name and identity disappear. She shuts down her feelings to protect her self. […] Whether she is coerced at gunpoint, or whether she “acts the part” in order to survive for so long as the mask takes over — either way, she doesn’t stay a whole person. She constructs a self that conforms to the masturbatory fantasies of johns, a self that smilingly accomodates verbal abuse, sexual harassment, rape and torture. Over time, the prostituted self takes over more and more of the rest of her. She is disappeared. The harm she experiences in prostitution is made invisible… […] Dissociative disorders are common among those in escort, street, massage, strip club and brothel prostitution, and frequently accompanied by posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance abuse. […] One would make the same prediction for other types of prostitution… […] Dissociation permits psychological survival, whether the repeated trauma is slavery, military combat, incest, or prostitution. Dissociation is an elaborate escape and avoidance strategy… […] Drugs, alcohol, and other addictive behaviors potentiate dissociation, and they obscure the reality to the dissociated person. The high rates of depression among prostituted women tell us however, that none of these strategies fully shield the traumatized person from despair, demoralization, and hopelessness. […] Many women with dissociative disorders who have been prostituted appear to be re-enacting and mastering some aspects of childhood trauma. Sometimes women feel that in prostitution they are in control of when sex acts […] take place, with whom, and where, and furthermore they are paid for it. […] In order to survive the brutal commodification of their sexuality in prostitution, women dissociate, and appear to accept the view of themselves as sexual commodities.”

    ~ Melissa Farley, clinical psychologist and researcher (whose research on prostitution has been used by state governments, as well as by advocates and organizations providing services to prostituted and trafficked women), in her book Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress (2003).

    When I first read this quote, it completely changed the way I viewed other womyn who were still being trapped by pornographic or BDSM ideology under patriarchy.

    Within a pornified society in which the sexuality of prostitution is strongly controlling womyn, prostituted womyn are hurt the most. However, the trauma bonding does not stop here. It extends to all (or most) other womyn. No wonder nowadays it does not matter as much whether girlhood abuse was the onset of BDSM, because the whole pornstitution society of males also acts as an abuser itself, and a big one. The male-centred culture of pornstitution mindfucks so many womyn, it’s scary.

    I think I fell into the category #2 you mentioned re trama bonding, Cherry, when my first PIV-rape happened when I was 18; which is why the next day, I desperately had to view myself as a “strong, capable woman.” I had no idea there was such a thing as radical feminism at the time…

    I’m glad womyn in the UK have protested against those sexist pornified ads. re Dolce Gabanna, the poster has always looked like the image of a big gang-rape to me.

    As for lesbians into BDSM, well, let’s not forget that there is a great plausibility that their own trauma bonding started with men. According to most popular surveys on lesbianism, most lesbians have been in at least one relationship with a man before coming out. What’s sad is that there is not even a proper feminist movement for us either. I don’t get trapped into malestream culture when I’m with other lesbians because, obviously, I know all about what’s happening. But many other lesbians do not, and they also get the whole gay male pro-BDSM propaganda and agenda brainwashing them and our communities.

  4. I meant there is not even a proper feminist movement for womyn out there, in real life. Radical feminism needs to expand…

  5. Thanks for this post – it’s all so disturbing. I can’t shake the feeling that there are so many women out there who really just need to be given a big hug and looked after for a while by feminist women – if that’s not too emotional a response.

    Maggie – I agree – I’m disturbed by the influence of all this on lesbian communities. Lesbian magazines seem quite happy with all sorts of S/M allusions, scary looking “sex toys” etc and young women seem to be being encouraged to see gay men as sexual role models – it’s only a matter of time before we’re told that the most fulfilling sex we can have is at beats. More broadly, some girls in their 20s (not all) seem to me to be adopting very masculine approaches to sex and sexuality, with defined roles based on top/bottom etc – I have even heard one of them use the term “bros before hos”!!

    Radical feminism does need to expand (for gay and straight women) – even liberal feminism would at least be a start… How do we do this though? Everyone on here seems to be from different parts of the world – I have to admit I don’t really know how to start?

  6. Such interesting replies, thank you

    Zeph, I always love your analysis, and it connects to the humiliation issue that UP addressed: there was no doubt about the fact that that guy wanted to “reduce” me to my sex.

    Maggie, sorry to hear about your rape.
    #2 is what happened to me too, though I suspect #1 is far more common. Luckily(I suppose!) I had worked through some childhood abuse issues, and I knew that admitting something bad has taken place is the toughest part.
    So because I was already aware of the crazy stuff the mind is capable of on an intellectual level, I was able to analyze my way out of the predicament.
    Couldn’T have done it without the online radfem community. And I am still psychologically bonded to that arsehole. And as I mentioned on my blog, if I know the Japanese there was a prescribed set of steps taken to get this effect. *Nothing* here is random, or a fluke. BDSM is a huge part of the culture ( I find out now!) I’d go so far as to say I feel protective of him. Which is exactly what happened at Stockholm, wasn’t it, when 10 years later the hostages collected the money together to bail out their captors. So all I can do now is wait it out.

  7. developping- Exactly. That is correct what you said regarding what is happening within our communities. It’s so scary…

    Radical feminism does need to expand (for gay and straight women) – even liberal feminism would at least be a start… How do we do this though? Everyone on here seems to be from different parts of the world – I have to admit I don’t really know how to start?

    I think a good place to start would probably be each of us radfems online could attend some of the libfem (or lesbian) meetings or events (there are some on Uni campuses everywhere in the Western world, for instance) and hand out the address of this blog (the Radical Hub) to female-born attendees whom we think might be interested. Maybe we could create little Website Cards or flyers for this blog (using our own printers at home). I thought about doing this at my Uni. Many young womyn get interested in feminism but all they can see is liberal ‘feminism’ out there; they don’t know there is a feminism which is actually better than that. So I was thinking that, in real life, we could find strategies when we are offline to point the existence of this Hub to other feminists, lesbians or simply to other womyn so that this place could get even more readership, for instance, and educate many other open-minded womyn.

    It’s only an idea, but what do you think?

    Cherry-

    Maggie, sorry to hear about your rape.
    #2 is what happened to me too, though I suspect #1 is far more common

    Thank you. Sorry to hear about yours too. I’m alright nowadays (it happened more than 12 years ago). I’ve become a proud lesbian separatist since. 🙂 Although, if had I never come across radical feminism online in 2006, I’d probably still be ‘lost’ within this brainwashing culture now… Yes, I also suspect that Case #1 is far more common, which is why so many womyn out there deny having been raped while they clearly have. Rape is what’s considered “normal” male-female relations under patriarchy. It has for long been taken for granted that a man “should” get everything he wants from his girlfriend/wife/prostitute under patriarchy. Even “women’s” magazines teach young girls how to “give him what her wants in the bedroom,” sick…

    I am still psychologically bonded to that arsehole.

    *hugs* Cherry. I understand your pain.

  8. I was able to analyze my way out of the predicament.

    Rationality is a bit of a cold comfort isn’t it? But it does do a good job of keeping the *crazy* at bay.

    I’ve been downright tortured by the dental profession starting at age 6 but it was an episode with a “teaching” doktor suggesting I should cap all of my teeth so that I could “get married someday” that was the last damn straw, the BIG name-the-oppressor moment for me. At that time Chonky and I had been *married for some 13 years and had our 7 year old daughter; I even had some rings on my “ring finger”!

    The rage I felt when he said that completely immobilized me. And that was lucky for him because I GOT IT in the way that cannot be erased or sublimated or laughed off.

  9. what he wants, I meant; not “what her wants.” My bad typos again. 😦

    Sargasso sea- ((((*hugs*))))

  10. “Thank you. Sorry to hear about yours too.”

    Hi, sorry just to clarify. I wasn’t raped, thank God. I was suspended from the ceiling by ropes, in a humiliating position, for about an hour plus other stuff , including pain, (about 4 weeks ago).

    Sar, don’t get me started on that other group of well-known sadists: dentists. Only female dentists for me from now on. In the UK there was a case of a dentist drugging and raping over 50 women. When I was 17 a dentist mutilated two of my back teeth, which hadn’t even been giving me pain. I’d only gone there for a check up!! HIs female assistant was so embarrased by his misogyny that she apologized on his behalf as she showed me out. He fucked those teeth up so badly, by drilling so much healthy tooth out, that by the age of 23 they’d were wrecked and I had to get a root treatment on each one. LUckily they are okay now thanks to the skill of the root dentist I saw. My teeth would have been in a much better state now if I’d never gone for that check up. Left to their natural devices there is no way they would have disintegrated so fast.
    And then women are mocked for their fear of the dentist 😯

  11. I was suspended from the ceiling by ropes for about an hour plus other stuff , including pain.

    (((((Cherry))))) 😦

  12. Cherry, thanks for the excellent post. When I started reading the book, “Loving to Survive” all kinds of light
    bulbs began to come on. One of the experiences for women hostages, as opposed to male hostages, is that women can never escape men, once the ordeal is over. It’s so damn horrible when you look at it squarely.

    The other thing is the cruel trick endorphins play on us. Sometimes when people are injured or shot during a time of intensity (sporting event, mugging, etc) they don’t know about the injury until later. That’s how powerful endorphins are. What we need is an anti-endorphin, or cult deprogramming, or something like that to get over this. Really, we need to figure this out and then help other women.

  13. “Really, we need to figure this out and then help other women.”

    I agree, KatieS.

    YOu know, some arseholes are linking to my blog right now with posts urls such as “false rape accusation in action” . Even though I’ve pointed out I wasn’t raped– so that’s a reading fail.
    It takes a while for a woman to admit she’s been attacked, which is diametrically opposed to the patriarchal view that women go around falsely reporting all and sundry for rape.
    I think what they’re getting at is the fact that maybe I didn’t say “NO” loud and clear. And we all know the patriarchy loves the “no means no” banner. Or perhaps it’s because I didn’t realize what was happening until afterwards. One reason women forget to say “no” , apart from the shock, is because it’s highly likely he’s going to do it anyway.

    What they’re failing to get is that if a man catches a woman unawares and does anything to her in a sexual way, it is an attack. It can’t be “unmade” into something else just because she goes into denial.

    At what point are men held accountable for *their* *own* actions?

    In porn, a common theme is a woman being raped and then getting into it, begging for more, and orgasming. Her (fantastical) reaction doesn’t detract from the fact that the man’s original intention *was* rape does it. He *is* a rapist.

    And this is the radfem analysis isn’t it: it’s very tricky indeed to tease apart intercourse and rape. Men certainly don’t know the difference. Women do, but they’re taught to distrust their instincts.

  14. That these distorted depictions of female sexuality are today regarded as normal, reasonable and good is reminiscent of another collective societal psychosis that once took place elsewhere, one that Chinese women bore the brunt of for a thousand years: culturally condoned foot-binding.

    ‘collective societal psychosis’ — great term. I’m so stealing that. The thing that I find really problematic about bdsm is that the assumption that bdsm exists as a discrete sexual category. When actually bdsm pervades the whole of society, as you point out. There is no vanilla. At all.

    Very interesting regarding humilation and increased rates of stockholm syndrome. Because almost all forms of patriarchal abuse against women incorporate some aspect of humiliation, even when there is no overt violence (I’m thinking here of things like sexual harassment at work etc). HUmiliation (or the threeat of it) has always been very much fundamental to the way men exert control over women, and with the stockholm syndrome aspect explains why.

  15. Because almost all forms of patriarchal abuse against women incorporate some aspect of humiliation, even when there is no overt violence (I’m thinking here of things like sexual harassment at work etc). Hell, you don’t even need “harrassment” at work. Working harder for less pay is humiliating. Having to do most or all of the housework and working full time at a job is humiliating. Having to find his stuff because he is too lazy to remember where he put it, but the woman has a built-in map of all items in the home at all times, is humiliating. At work and at home, it is built into the structure of women’s lives.

  16. And this is the radfem analysis isn’t it: it’s very tricky indeed to tease apart intercourse and rape. Men certainly don’t know the difference. Women do, but they’re taught to distrust their instincts.

    That’s why the “just say ‘no’ to PIV” is central to what women need to do. I told a married het woman at work about this idea some months back. She was a feminist back in the day. Yet she looked at me like I was from Mars. She is a very stressed out woman who has learned to distrust her instincts.

  17. This trauma-bonding explains so much. Fear creates a social response in organisms. It is natural to want to move towards others when we are afraid. For understanding, solace, protection, distraction. So lest women (individually or collectively) EVER get the idea that there can be anything else, anything better, and start to move away from this system they are to be frightened back into it. You can either go towards the man, the men, the sick system they dominate. Or away into ostracism, outcast, forever alone (or so society would have you believe). From birth we are taught that these are our only options. We are gaslit into an amorphous state of anxiety.

    For me personally what has saved me has been other women. There comes a point when you realize that no, it’s not just you, no you’re not crazy, and yes, men really are that predatory. For me that point only came when I surrounded myself with women as best I could. This is a system, after all, which rewards predatory behavior while telling us we are naturally “submissive” and born to be victims.

  18. KatieS- I know what you mean re speaking to other womyn on PIV. This seems like such a hard thing to do, because those who are being colonised by PIV and its ideology tend to react against radfem analysis, unless something we say starts ‘clicking’ in their minds…

    Danila- Thank you for joining us from my (currently inactive) blog. 🙂 It’s a good choice you’ve made, to surround yourself with womyn.

    men really are that predatory

    Men always see themselves as being the ‘default human’ through calling themselves ‘Mankind’ and calling us the ‘weaker sex,’ while in fact exactly the reversal is the truth. Men are infact the weaker sex. It is very ironic that they spend so much time on trying to convince us of the opposite. They don’t want us to know the truth…

  19. ” women have been conditioned to not explore their (possibly dominant) sexuality too much but just to shut up and accept PIV.”

    I find this to be half true. The true part is that women have been traumatized and have Stockholm Syndrome. This means that they have been conditioned when it comes to their sexuality. But I see this conditioning as being toward either of the two–either the dominant or submissive role. In other words, seeing sex in these terms. I do think that either role precludes women exploring their sexuality. Either role is an acting out the trauma-bonding. I think that the misogynist culture co-opts women’s sexuality to prevent women from exploring it for themselves. Once the trauma-bonding has occurred, this becomes doubly difficult. Some people tout BDSM sex as a path to healing, but in fact, it retraumatizes the participants.

    What is missing and what may even be a key to healing the trauma bonding is women exploring their healthy sexuality. Exploring it in a context of egalitarian intimacy. (The only real intimacy is egalitarian, or at least is a journey toward that). A context of caring, of loving intimacy is a road toward that. Someone suggested recently that perhaps sex is meant to be peaceful. And they meant peaceful overall, not the so-called “peace” that comes from dissociation in conjunction with the BDSM role-playing. Peaceful. sex. as. it. was. meant. to be. This touched a chord with me.

    For me as a lesbian, this means sex with another woman. I cannot see how an egalitarian relationship is possible with a man. But I’ll leave het women to sort that out, beginning with the cessation of PIV sex, which seems like a central step.

  20. I just happened to stumble upon this blog. (Sorry in advance for my simple English, I’m from continental Europe.) Very interesting.

    What I find odd is you perceive BDSM solely as figuring dominant men and submissive women.
    But there are many men who are submissive, or wish to be, to a dominant woman. And not necessarily to a young one with a model figure, lots of make-up, etc.

    Then, it is a well-known fact, that there are way not as much dominant women as submissive males. But in BDSM there are more submissives in general than dominants, so I don’t know if this ratio is much different from the ratio submissive females vs.dominant males. Also, the main reason that there are fewer women that want to be dominant, than men that want to be submissive, could very well be that women have been conditioned to not explore their (possibly dominant) sexuality too much but just to shut up and accept PIV.

    Of course it is really annoying and stupid, the media portrays BDSM-like-scenes as always figuring dom-males and sub-females.
    But that makes it somehow even more interesting many men wish to be submissive.
    So what is your explanation for this phenomenon. How does it fit in your theory.
    I have the impression you believe BDSM to be what the superficial pop-culture media says it is.

  21. Elin,
    Tune in to part 3, due to be posted next Sunday, for the radfem analysis on male “subs” .

    Male subs are pretty prominent in the superficial pop-culture media; for example, Rhianna’s SM video features quite a few and her music is as mainstream as you can get.

    I would also recommend you read Part 1

    Also, the main reason that there are fewer women that want to be dominant, than men that want to be submissive, could very well be that women have been conditioned to not explore their (possibly dominant) sexuality too much but just to shut up and accept PIV.”

    Yes, I agree. I address this point in the first paragraph of this post.

  22. Elin,

    How can we expect to create an egalitarian world if we don’t have egalitarianism in our relationships with one another? It’s the end to domination that we/I want, not females to start beating up males.

    I look forward to the rest of cherryblossomlife’s wisdom. She’s doing a fantastic job with this series!

  23. developing – I don’t know if you’re getting updates on this thread, but I think about the outreach piece quite often! I’d love to see a thread addressing that issue.

    Side-tracking a bit here-
    This is several months old, but did you all see this (trigger warning!): http://abcnews.go.com/Health/reporter-mac-mcclelland-stages-rape-cure-post-traumatic/story?id=13995013? All this talk of trauma made me think of it.

    The reporter came nose to nose with the victim of a representative of the patriarchy, for whom violence, brutality, sex and death are completely intertwined and women are considered not human. She saw herself reflected in the woman’s face, i.e., saw HERSELF as a nonhuman victim subject to violence and brutality at every turn.

    Naturally, her brain started dumping fear signals on her like it was going out of style. At this point, she could have done one of two things:
    1) Wake up to the fact that she is, in fact, living (no matter what part of the world she’s in) in a world where she is considered chattel to be abused at will. However, women avoid that path at all costs because it means having to wake up daily to a painful reality….and then potentially do something to change it! It means accepting that those dudes you’re hoping will love you and cherish you – deep down (or not so deep) in their lizard brains they really do think they are better than you/think of you as less than human. Women have all sorts of ways to circumvent that reality, because obviously that is painful, so on to her second option:
    2) Deep dive wayyyyyy into the patriarchal fantasy that all sex is violence (and all violence is sex) and come to terms with it once and for all. Like, force herself to believe it. Mash that notion that she’s worth more than that so deep into her subconscious that it will never see the light of day again (until next time). Via “simulated” rape. Once she completely believes it and accepts it, she’s home free (see: symptoms going away….mostly. Those remaining symptoms are her womanhood telling her she’s wrong.) and can live the rest of her life in fantasy land and watch all manner of unspeakable violence with the blank, disinterested (or worse yet, aroused) look of the patriarchy.

    Women choose Option 2 All. the. time. Every. Fucking. Day. BDSM practitioners or not. I see it as my job to choose option 1.

  24. amy, thats a dead link.

  25. Yes, that is key Amy.

    I’ve realized that this is exactly what the trauma-bond is all about. For example with what happened to me a few weeks ago, I was completely and utterly dehumanized and this was rather difficult for my brain to take. My ego couldn’t handle it. My sense of self, which has been quite strong recently because of my involvement in radical feminist blogging, was just smashed in one fell swoop. .

    I could have been `*any* woman. There was nothing about *me*, cherry, that made him do that. I was completely interchangeable; a generic “woman”. The concept is *horrifying* . Because suddenly you see yourself as they–teh menz– see you, and realize you could just as easily end up as one of the women who are killed in a snuff movie.

    That’s when you start imagining that maybe he picked you, because he liked you. Because if he *fancies* you, then he’d never seriously harm you, right?

    The female survival instinct kicks in: it’s possible that if a woman ingratiates herself with her abuser it might just save her life. Not always, but sometimes.

    In order to survive the day to day, women have to convince themselves that there is another group of women that it’s okay to do this to when they come across porn for example> They imagine an “us & them” type scenario. But actually when a man degrades one woman, he’s doing it to every woman.

    In a sense, though, this guy has done me a favour. It couldn’t me more clear to me now how men see women. I don’T even think they are psychopaths; necrophilia is just the normal manifestation of male sexuality under a patriarchy.

    See the lyrics to this song, Where The Wild Roses Grow.

    “They called me the wild rose
    But my name was Eliza Day
    Why they called me that I do not know
    For my name was Eliza Day…”

  26. Cherry- I really hope you have female friends to support you IRL. It’s so awful what happened to you. Men really are the scum of the earth…

    re between Option 1 and Option 2 that Amynomene suggested- I think it#s better knowing the truth about this world than live without knowing it. Yes, knowing is painful, but at least it gives you lots more chances to avoid men, or at least to avoid being manipulated by them. Myself, I practise (lesbian) separatism (as far as I can) in my day-to-day life, and it helps me concentrate on womyn more. It helps me feel more alive too, as well as being aware of what’s happening does. Though I have the strange feeling that separatism (whether lesbian or spinster) might be easier to achieve for some womyn more than others. 😦

  27. Developing, re the needing a hug from feminist women thing, totally agree. I’m working out stuff that happened to me at the moment, and that is what you need. But that is something that this blog, and stuff like it does. You can read stuff like this (thanks Cherry) and think, firstly I’m not alone, and secondly, there’s women speaking out for me. Which is kinda like a big feminist hug. (Although a real one would be great too).

  28. Sorry for the late reply – I tend to stay away from the internets on weekends. The article was pretty controversial, I’m not surprised they yanked it. I’d love to see the takes of everyone here on it, so I posted the text of the article here:
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1NhVEA5mPDLD-2sAgX_1Wl6cqvrGsLPYNqKcUOk3VyME

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