My Thoughts on Katie Roiphe, Sadomasochism, and Feminism

are over at The Nation:

Katie Roiphe has written a link bait-y Newsweek cover story making an interesting claim: that the pop culture appearance of submissive female sexual fantasies, in shows like Lena Dunham's "Girls" and pulp fiction like Fifty Shades of Grey, is somehow a backlash against women's increasing economic power.

I think this is generally wrong. …

Taboo-breaking sex is culturally prevalent right now not because of macroeconomic trends like the decimation of the male manufacturing sector, but because we live in an age in which all sorts of sexual practices are incredibly visible and talked about. In particular, easy access to online pornography allows people, at a younger age than ever before and with more privacy, to explore non-vanilla sex, whether low-key spanking and restraints or much kinkier stuff. Female-authored erotica and sexualized fan-fiction are burgeoning genres online, as well, and e-readers have made it possible for consumers to purchase and read this material with perfect privacy. This is the world from which Fifty Shades of Grey emerged.

But these desires are as old as the human race; in every century and decade, sadomasochistic erotica has broken into the mainstream, from from de Sade to Swinburne to Anais Nin to Anne Desclos to Anne Rice. Why assume, as Roiphe seems to, that some authoritative brand of feminism was ever supposed to lead to human beings losing their curiosity about power-play during sex, which is, after all, a physical act? 

Read the whole post.

One thought on “My Thoughts on Katie Roiphe, Sadomasochism, and Feminism

  1. AlexisLassT

    I’ve been a Pro Dominatrix in NYC for years and I’ll tell you that Katie Rophie is spot on in her article. Many of my Pro male Dom friends report that 90% of their clients are career women- late 20′s to 50′s. Hence, Katie’s Demo G. is correct. Most submissives are indeed upper middle class to upper class working men and women who want a break from being in control in the workplace and thus feel liberated when they hand the control over to someone else for awhile- get it?. It’s a Yin Yang. Believe me- I’m privy to the huge thriving underground S&M in NYC and globally – as everyone in “the scene” trades information. People outside the S&M scene have NO idea how many husbands, bosses, high power career women secretly see Doms and or attend S&M play parties. Again, Katie is spot on in her analysis. I think people would rather attack Katie than admit they are part of something new happening in our current cultural climate. S&M hitting the mainstream. S&M is a huge umbrella that covers someone’s BF slapping them on their arse during sex to calling them a “bad girl”. Everyone does it in various form from light to heavy play. Thus, I do think it makes people uncomfortable because it is close to their lives, not remote from them…it makes people think about their own relationships, their own boredoms, their own desires, etc., in a way they would prefer not to.
    If you are so offended, Victoria, by the growing trend of so many women(mostly career women) wanting male dominance, BDSM role play..that’s your problem.Katie obviously did her underground research and trust me as a expect on the demo g. for S&M with years of experience in the global S&M scene – Katie is right whether people “like it” or not. Just don’t shoot the messenger. Kids ;)

    Reply

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