I would passionately state that I am a feminist. From day one, my mother raised me and my three sisters to believe that women could not only do anything, but that we could do it better than boys (the COMPLETE opposite of this mom). She was pro-choice and discussed abortion at the dinner table. She marched in protests for the union she worked for. She encouraged her closeted lesbian friend to “come out.”
And then in college, I sat in class after class with course names like: feminist theory & texts, queer theory, gender construction, gender and sociology, masculinity and society, women of color and feminism, and more. Judith Butler. Bell Hooks. Simone de Beauvoir. Audre Lorde. Anne Fausto-Sterling.
My liberal arts education is right there for your reading pleasure. I debated with my classmates passionately using heavy academic terms that took me a bit to memorize and sometimes, understand. I was radically changed both by the text I read and my professors. I was ready to question why everyone had to dress their boys in blue.
“You know,” I would say, “Pink used to be a color for boys, not for girls. What does a color really mean, anyway?” I was ready to call all of the guys I dated and tell them that my sexual activities were NOT to be policed by their notions or desires any longer!
Because I Am Woman! Hear Me Roar!
But despite my gung-ho “I am woman, hear me roar” attitude, I have always had a secret.
Well, not anymore. (Hello, Internet!)
I have a proclivity for the occasional spanking … even if I haven’t exactly found my willing partner just yet. I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey beyond the first 10 pages because, for me, it was such god-awful writing that I desperately wanted those two minutes of my life back. I’ve heard people say that S&M is degrading to women. That if a woman wants to get a severe spanking and lashing, she is “submitting” and bringing all of us back to the kitchen barefoot and pregnant again like it’s 1952.
Yet people seem to forget that sex is like an adult playground. We don’t get to go out for recess or hang out in our jammies and color all day anymore (unfortunately). Sex is the place the adults go to for fun, not just for procreation. And if a little spanking (or handcuffs) is one’s idea of fun, well why not?
It’s different, of course, if a man or woman is forcing someone to do something sexually that she doesn’t want to do. That’s rape. Abuse. Subjugation. Force.
But if I, a fully-functioning, tax-paying adult, wants a man to bend me over his knee, pull down my panties, and spank me — and I ask him to do it, that’s not force, abuse, or subjugation.
That, my friends, is what this woman calls “choice.” If I want to be in the submissive position sexually with a man for a moment or 12, I’m not setting back women’s lib. I’m having fun. In my “adult playground,” I’m setting myself free.
I should also mention that I’m a Type-A person. And it’s exhausting. I have an insane amount of energy and I’m a go-getter in the adult world. I am a list maker, goal-setter, and goal-achiever. I am the woman that makes the move on the guy she likes. I don’t wait for some dude to get the chutzpah to ask me out. I ask for what I want and don’t take no for an answer (very easily).
So when it comes down to relaxing and letting go, this “letting go” process would be great if I could have a man boss me around every now and again behind closed doors. If he were to do that in real life, I would hate him on sight and do my best to let him know that “Mama don’t take no mess!” But if he tries that move on me in the bedroom, my walls might just come down.
This isn’t to say that I am a true submissive in the textbook sexual dictionary definition of submissive.
I like to dominate and boss around just as much as the other Napoleon-Syndrome fueled babes, but from time to time what I truly need is to not be in charge. As a divorced, full-time (and then some) working mother, I would love for someone else to call the shots, even if it’s just when I am buck naked and intimate with someone. My life can be stressful as is and it would be nice if a guy could take the reins for a bit while I sit back and say, “Yes, sir, may I have another?”
I have had a lot of contradictory feelings about this desire, which has remained unexplored for now, mainly because of my “feminist” label and also because I have survived sexual abuse and rape. But for me, it is transformative to decide when I want to be submissive or dominant and with whom. In those abuse situations, I clearly was powerless and in some ways, being able to choose when or if a man will dominate me or not takes back who is really in charge and repositions me not as an “abuse victim” but a “woman in charge.”
I was the weaker party in those terrible situations but now, no one gets to hold power over or harm me. Only I decide what I do with my body. And of course, I believe in “equal power,” and non S&M sex as well. It would just be nice if the next guy I date would tell me, “I’ve been a bad girl and it’s time for punishment.”
The bottom line is (oh, I said bottom!), sex is a place to unwind and have fun and if that means I’d like to be a dominant man’s pupil for the evening — “I’ve been a bad girl and it’s time for punishment” — don’t you dare strip me of feminist label because of it.