The other day I was looking at a spanking website, written by a man, and it gave me the minor flesh creepies. The topic was the enjoyment the writer got from “improving” young ladies by bringing discipline to their lives. Which is fine and all in a role-playing sense, but this guy seemed to be completely serious. His tone was avuncular (in that bad-uncle-who-never-gets-invited-to-watch-the-kids sense) and his writing was full of diminutives whenever his “girls” were mentioned. They were described as scatterbrained moppets who couldn’t hope to function without his firm hand, paddle, cane, riding-crop, and so forth. He, of course, derived sexual pleasure from their discipline only as a minor secondary benefit; his true joy (he said) lay in giving them the direction and loving attention they needed to get and keep their lives in order. A bleedin’ humanitarian, that’s wot ‘e is.
Me, I call bullshit.
I remember when I was young and trying to figure out sex and kink and all this. And one thing I remember is the rather considerable tension between (on one hand) wanting to do various not-nice things to the young women of my acquaintance, and (on the other hand) my self-image as a nice, decent guy. One way of resolving that tension was to build elaborate fantasy scenarios in which the young women “deserved” their spankings or whatever, or in which the spankings were really for their own good, or were necessary to save a bus full of orphans, or … you get the idea.
Of course, the trouble with such fantasies is that they tend to be wildly implausible, or intellectually dishonest, or both. At the end of the day, it’s really not OK to spank the bay-jeebus out of cute-but-incompetent female burglars, even if they are caught trying to steal insulin from a diabetic nun.
So how to resolve this tension between kinky desires and nice-guy self-image? Eventually, yet well before any delectable young ladies consented to my lustful grasp, I figured out that I couldn’t resolve the tension by finding better excuses to act in kinky ways for the good of all; no, I needed to modify my self-image. In my own mind, I became a nice, decent, kinky guy with a hint of controlled dangerousness (at least when I’m flattering myself). In other words, I decided that (so long as the ladies are willing) I don’t need no steenkin’ excuse to be kinky. Kinky is OK.
And that comfort with the morality and general “okay-ness” of kink is what I found missing on the “improving her life through spankings” website I was reading the other day. But there was more to my discomfort than that. I read a lot of kinky blogs, and I see folks struggling to be comfortable with their kinks all the time. I’m sympathetic or mildly derisive depending on my mood, but I don’t usually have the strong negative reaction I had to Mr. Savior Disciplinarian.
…web sites that portray women as being inherently inferior. Worse yet, we are shown as hopelessly flawed creatures who would be lost but for constant guidance and frequent punishments delivered by men. I find these characterizations offensive and insulting.
I read that and recognized Mr. Savior Disciplinarian. In bending over backwards to find a good-enough excuse to spank women, he apparently convinced himself that they are not really able to manage their own afffairs without his stern-but-loving guidance. In short, he wasn’t acknowledging them as fully-competant adult human beings.
Bonnie writes further:
There are feminists who, with good intentions, lump all women of kink in with the unfortunate oppressed. In their minds, we couldn’t possibly choose this lifestyle without having been coerced, presumably by a man. In its way, this generalization is nearly as objectionable and patronizing. In both cases, other people who claim to understand our interests better than we do ourselves seek to constrain our roles.
I was born female, but I am a spanko by choice. I am empowered to make my own decisions. I freely choose to loan my control to my husband because that kind of play brings us enjoyment and fulfillment. This act doesn’t render me forever inferior. It says nothing about the rightful role of any other woman or man.
Bonnie is, of course, correct. How can someone claim to be a feminist while simultaneously refusing to respect a kinky woman’s capacity to consent?