Pandora On Submission And Feminism

Pandora Blake was recently interviewed by Erika Lust on a wide variety of topics, not least of which includes the current status of the UK’s horrid Digital Economy Bill and its effect on Pandora’s Dreams Of Spanking website. (She expects to be put out of business by the adult verification costs and content restrictions, but she is “trying to find a way to survive” and “rise from the ashes like a phoenix.”)

The entire interview is worth your time, but I’m mentioning it here because Pandora gave a wonderfully simple answer that says something I’ve struggled in the past to express using many more words:

Q: Why do you think people have trouble associating feminism with submission?

A: I think it stems from the second-wave feminist ideology that has done an analysis of the oppression of women, and has developed all of these suspicions that some ways that women behave is the result of patriarchal indoctrination — particularly around sex. There’s this idea of “false consciousness”, that if a woman complies with patriarchal expectations and claims to enjoy it, she must be brainwashed and not know her own mind. It’s a really simplistic analysis that erases individual agency.

I’ve called that “really simplistic analysis” totalitarian, which tends to make second-wave feminists angry at me. If you tell a woman she doesn’t know her own mind, you’re telling her that you (or someone else, at least) knows it better than she does. From there, it’s a very short step to the place where you (or someone) is telling her what to do, because she doesn’t know her own mind. That’s more Stalinist than feminist, in any analysis that makes sense to me.

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