It’s True: They Hate Our Happiness

So, almost nine years ago I blogged this fun spanking promo still from a 1975 movie that turned out to be called The Ups and Downs of A Handyman. Just recently it got noticed on a Tumblr called Happy BDSM, where it attracted some astonishingly negative commentary:

This is supposed to be a picture demonstrating how harmless and fun BDSM is, but it really just encapsulates (some of) the worst parts of it. Fucking gross old dude getting his jollies off spanking (done in the style that a parent does to a child) a much younger woman, who is pretending to be much, much younger. Vomit.

In case you needed a reminder of the way common spanking tropes can be used as hate-fuel outside our little pro-spanking joy-bubble, there it is.

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  1. Michelle commented on July 24th, 2012:

    While I don’t want to start an argument I’m kind of glad to see this come up because I do struggle with some of these issues. Being young and female and a feminist (in the equality-yay kind of way) while also having this kink is a real mental balancing act sometimes.

    Like: would it still be as cute a picture if he were spanking a woman his own age, or if she were spanking him, or, you know, so on.

    The line I kind of drew for myself is that if everybody’s happy and OK, it’s cool. But that feels pretty unspecific so maybe someone else can do better?

  2. David commented on July 24th, 2012:

    So Michelle, here’s another way to look at it.

    If by “feminist” you mean you stand up for women being empowered to do what they want, without being prevented by others from doing so, then it’s great. So a woman can be powerful when she wants to, respected by others, and comfortable playing whatever role she wants with another consenting adult — including playing a role which doesn’t appear “powerful.”

    But if “feminist” means “every woman has to live her life a certain way” (which you define for her), even if that way is “empowered” and “valued” by _your_ definition (only) — then you start to have a problem.

    Women I’ve spanked have been feminists and very self-sufficient and even sometimes quite dominant out in the world of social life and business.

    But in the bedroom, they found it a relief and a deep, shuddering pleasure to surrender and become naughty little girls (in their own mind) while over my knee, having a bare bottom thoroughly warmed.

    To me, that’s the difference. And it makes perfect sense.

  3. anonymouse commented on July 25th, 2012:

    Yes, but there are plenty of women who like spanking and dislike the naughty little girl thing – I very much don’t like associations with the idea of young girls being abused. And I don’t see why grown women should have to pretend to be children. But I love being spanked and dominated.

    Can’t there be more spanking pics/scenes which don’t use the old age gap routine? Why so many schoolgirl getups; why so many old guys? Why not hot men spanking hot women of a similar age? I guess one answer is that if you’re going to be feminist and kinky, you’re going to have to seek out and pay for what you like (if you can find it, that is).

  4. Happy BDSM commented on July 28th, 2012:

    Hey- mod of Happy BDSM here! Yes, I saw a couple of negative commentaries on reblogs of this picture (as well as another different M/f bondage picture)- the first and only negative comments on the Tumblr so far, in fact. Both seemed to latch onto age (age discrepancies in each and additional age play in this picture) and another mocked the idea of BDSM being feminist and accused it of objectifying women and denying them any sexual agency. While I have no problem with good criticism of BDSM (porn or the IRL scene) and welcome it in, fact, the attitudes in the comments seemed more flip and mocking than open to listening to players’ experiences and thoughts, so I declined to reblog in order to rebut their words.

    I’m glad you wrote about it here, though. I’m not interested in bringing down a host of radical feminist-identified anti-porn, anti-BDSM folks onto the Happy BDSM Tumblr by engaging the folks who left comments, but I do really, truly value honest and open discussion like what Michelle brought up- that we can love BDSM even as we can critically examine how outside and real life influences inform our desires, call out racism, sexism, ableism, etc. in the scene and in our porn, debate the effects of consensually playing with tropes that comprise alarming trends in the real world (ageplay vs. sexualization of youth a la Jon Benet, for example), and so on.

    So I guess the question is- good intentions with a tendency to stick their fingers in their ears screaming “Lalalala” to the testimonies of women who feel happy and empowered, or do they really hate our happiness? I like to hope it’s the former . . . but then again, I’m an optimist.

    Thanks again for writing about it (and your lovely blog in general!),

    Happy BDSM

  5. SpankBoss commented on July 29th, 2012:

    Happy, thanks for the kind words!

    Over the years I’ve become convinced there are few good intentions to be found in the vocal faction of the anti-porn, anti-BDSM crowd. It’s not about concern for women, not usually — note the expressions of extreme disgust in the comment I quoted? Nope, it’s about the “anti” person’s own issues with porn and BDSM, which they are trying to deny by claiming the issues are more general / intellectual / moral rather than being a question of their own personal distaste. People are often conflicted about sexuality; and it’s not uncommon for someone with a personal negative reaction to a sexual thing to craft a (typically bogus) moral or ethical argument against that sexual thing so they can more comprehensively condemn the thing. “That makes my skin crawl, but it’s fine for other people” is not a comfortable space for most people; they’d rather go to “That makes my skin crawl because it’s disgusting, and no decent person would have anything to do with it!” Justifying that means building vast psuedo-intellectual castles of philosophical and moral disapproval — so they do.

    I’ll stop myself ranting by dropping a link that seems relevant to the Happy BDSM theme: Two Smiles

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