I’ve danced around the topic of feminism a few times, never wanting to intentionally alienate a potential reader with politics. In my day-to-day life, I’m extremely opinionated in politics. I do a lot of reading and research to attempt to understand opposing viewpoints. There are some issues about which I remain hopelessly confused as to what I think. There are others on which I firmly stand. Unmovable. One of those is feminism. So in honor of International Women’s Day, I wish to discuss openly my views on feminism and how it relates to my submission.
Firstly, Master is an ardent feminist. To those who look in from the outside, with no perspective on our relationship or our dynamic, it may seem contradictory. I assure you, it is nothing of the sort. His hesitation in stepping into his role as a Dominant was out of respect of me and my personhood. There was a huge disconnection between bending me over his knee to spank me and respecting me as an equal. Hell, it’s a power exchange. I give up my wants, needs, and ideas to kneel before him and allow myself to be used for his pleasure. And YesAllWomen really got to him because he’d never realized how widespread sexual harassment is. He knew what I had gone through, but came to the realization that ALL women suffer from some level of harassment due to rape culture.
The pervasive patriarchal and societal sexism negatively affects men, too. Any male submissive who has ever been told he is less of a man, or “girly” in any way is well aware of how it affects men. In a world where no traits are inherently “male” or “female”, in a world of equality between the sexes, men would not be judged for their sexual preferences any more than women would. If being female was not a bad thing, or being female-like was not an insult (and not based on stereotypes), then everyone would benefit from equal treatment.
That being said, I certainly was not thinking about women’s rights last night as I tried to remain motionless and silent while Master teased me into an orgasm. I wasn’t thinking about equality between the sexes while bent over his knees and receiving a spanking. And I most definitely was not an acting feminist advocate by surrendering control and giving ownership to Master. Or was I?
Anti-feminists have come out in droves over Emma Watson doing a braless photoshoot. Let me just say that those of us who appreciate beauty has no objections to that shoot. (Speaking of which, I still need to write her a thank you note for that.) The alt-right never ceases to amaze me. They’ll say wearing a hijab or burqa is oppressive and anti-feminist because it forces women to cover up. Then they’ll say doing a photoshoot without a bra is anti-feminist because it’s sexy and feminists are against being sexy. And the hypocrisy doesn’t even occur to them, they seriously can’t see it.
Basically, feminism is when a woman can walk around completely naked and still have the right to say “you are not entitled to my body” and that statement respected. Feminism is when a woman can say “I’m deeply religious, believe in God, and I cover my body because I want to” and that be respected. Feminism is when a woman can be a prostitute as long as it is her choice and she is not exploited and abused by a man (or really anyone else, for that matter.) Feminism is when a woman can be sexy and not be a target for harassment or violence. Feminism is when a woman can choose to cover herself and not be told she is being oppressed by her own choice. Feminism is when a woman’s “no” means the same as a man’s “no”. An end to words like “slut” and “prude”.
So how can someone who firmly believes in equality in power submit to power exchange? Being treated like a sex slave? Having all choices made for them and the ability to say “no” taken away? By being feminist. Based on just a couple integral feminist ideals: autonomy, equality, and choice. (But wait, didn’t you just say you give those things up?)
Yep. Yep I did. I assert my autonomy in my body by submitting it to Master, because it’s my body and I can if I want to. I have equality in submission because a submissive is not less than a Dominant. A submissive is a person with their own limits, or lack thereof, and has the same opportunity to say “no” before a scene begins as the Dominant has. My limits are respected the same amount as Master’s. I offer my submission and, as my equal, my Dominant accepts it. And I choose to submit. I have the choice to submit. It is MY choice. It is my sexuality and there is nothing wrong with my sexuality. There is nothing wrong with the sexuality of any “vanilla”, any fetishist**, any Dominant, submissive, or switch. There is nothing wrong with the sexuality of a heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. There is nothing wrong with being a woman, being a man, being trans, or being non-binary.
Perhaps there are other, more feminist-looking, ways to express sexuality. I’m hard-pressed to think of a single one, given that apparently you’re not feminist if you cover up too much or if you don’t cover enough. But this is mine. This is my body and it is inherently respected by my Dominant by his accepting my submission on terms to which we have agreed. It is inherently respected in a community that knows that “no means no” (while there are some bad eggs in every group.)
Submission, as long as it is the woman’s choice, and her limits respected, is just as feminist as Dominance. And on International Women’s Day, I want to send love out to all my sisters: Cisgender, transgender, non-binary, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, women of color, women with disabilities, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, agnostic, American, Non-American, rich, middle-class, and poor. Love you all, and Happy International Women’s Day!
** I maintain that some fetishes are just plain wrong due to my own moral reasons. There are laws against such practices, so I don’t feel it necessary to name them.