Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recap: MBS Sunday Brunch for Apr 15

Our topic this week was whether it is necessary to reconcile feminism with this thing we do, and if so, how that might be achieved. As you can see, it generated lots of excellent conversation.

Morningstar: Wow, I don't think I ever thought about that. My desire to be spanked is only a small part of who I am. The rest of me - the mother, the boss, and the teacher - is quite dominant and in control and preaches feminism at every turn. I believe what I do behind closed doors, or to whom I give control, is only a small part of the whole.

After all, wasn't the main goal of feminism to make sure women had the right to choose what they did with their lives?

So no, I don't believe I have to reconcile anything. I am who I am, including all the bits and pieces, kinks and non kinks, quirks and normal day-to-day things. It's just me and my freedom of choice!

Poppy: I love this topic and, if I may, I addressed it in detail in this post.

I think it matters that women consider this question and think about their relationship with feminism. Feminism is in no way over, but it is growing up. Part of that is accepting that just because we are women, it does not mean that we need to have one collective approach to life, politics, money, or sexuality.

I read about women who don't have the vote, are not allowed to drive (Saudi Arabia), have no protection from rape (and are either killed for being raped or forced to marry their rapist) and even, more recently, watch what has happened to women's rights in America. I know that feminism has a long way to go. But, like any civil rights movement, it will take time and many diverse paths for progress to be made.

I love this aspect to who I am. I also like owning my own bank account, car, house and so on. I see no clash between the two because I do not have to toe the "feminist party line" because there is not one. Anyone who tells me how to be a woman doesn't understand the first thing about feminism.

I love this question and thank you for asking it,

Sarah Thorne: No, not necessarily. While I absolutely believe in equality between the sexes, I also personally have a strong leaning towards traditional gender roles, especially in the home. I have always felt very strongly that I am entitled to my preference without having someone interfere.

I am irritated by discussions where people state that unless you tow a certain 'feminist' line, then you're not really for equality between the sexes. I say poppycock to that! True equality is the ability to CHOOSE whether you want to live in a traditional gender role, rather than having it forced upon you by economic oppression and dependence on a man for livelihood as in times past. If someone, even a 'feminist,' tells me that I must act or think in a particular way, then we still have someone telling us what we MUST do instead of letting us decide.

Dragon's Rose: Feminism is about choice and having the freedom to make that choice. I do just that, even if it isn't very politically correct. I am a submissive wife who is obedient and gets punished by her husband. That's my choice! I asked for this lifestyle. Am I leaving feminism behind because of it? Many might think so because I am not working or bossing my husband around. I don't care what they think. I enjoy the freedom of the feminist movement in my own way.

Rosie: Nope. It's simple. This is all my choice. It's not his God-given right, his right as a man, or anything like that. I want this, he wants it, and we do it. It doesn't make me lesser or inferior. We both get what we want and our relationship is better for it.

And feminism is not about being in charge. Feminism is the RIGHT to choose. When the woman doesn't have the right to choose this lifestyle, it's abuse and anti-feminist. When a woman chooses this for herself, it is simply the lifestyle she wants to lead. That is feminism.

K: Is it necessary to reconcile feminism with TTWD? I can't help thinking about it, so necessary might be one way to describe it. In my darker moments, I see myself as an old woman being pissed that I "submitted" to a male hierarchical view. Then I remember, that I chose it, so that isn't really fair.

I have decided that it actually is not possible to reconcile the two views. But is it possible to live with both. I have a partner who strengthens me through submission, so in the end, I am living my views.

I don't think everyone is as fortunate in their partners. Sigh.

Abby: I see this question as being all about choices. Each of us is able to make our own right choices.

My choices today are vastly different than when I started my life's journey. I have grown. I have learned. I have accepted. I am a strong, independent, intelligent woman who chooses to submit to the man who showed me that I could have both.

Anon #1: To me, it's simple. I am a pilot, strong, smart, an awesome chef and a believer in equality. A man is born a man, but that does not make him superior to a woman. That I choose to submit in the home and especially in the bedroom does not write me off as being less a partner in a relationship.

In short, I am a woman who will submit to both another woman or a man in the bedroom, but outside that environment, we are all equal. Being submissive and choosing to obey is my preference. It does not mean that I am less worthy or intelligent.

Bottom line, I am a woman first, and a subbie second.

Kitty: This may be politically incorrect, but I don't identify myself as a feminist. I believe that the feminism movement has been hijacked by left-leaning political groups, in order to advance an agenda that isn't ultimately in anybody's best interest.

I agree with the big ideas of feminism, such as equal pay for equal work, the right to vote, and that women shouldn't be second class citizens, but the solution to these problems is not found in government provided childcare, mandated birth control, and other nanny state programs.

I'm a strong woman and I choose to stay home and raise my children, which I believe is the most important job.

It really angered me when feminist Hilary Rosen had the audacity to insult stay at home mothers by saying that Ann Romney hadn't worked a day in her life (she stayed home to raise five sons). As a stay at home mom, raising and homeschooling eight children, I know first hand what a ridiculous assertion that was.

As a strong, independent woman I don't see a conflict with my private act of submission (getting spanked) to "Daddy," the man I love.

Anon #2: Feminism is the freedom to choose what we want. I'm educated, established in my career and can support myself. What I choose to do in my bedroom doesn't diminish these accomplishments. In fact, it's probably the difference that makes it exciting!

Belle L: Feminism brings out a wide variety of ideas, kind of like "this thing we do." People have their own ideas about what it is. I am glad that we, as women, have the choices that we do now.

I do not, however, feel we are equal in all things. In fact, I think we are superior in a lot of things. I think men are superior in other things. I'm glad God arranged it so that we need one another. If all people lived as God wanted, we would all be "happy," even if DD was not a choice.

Unfortunately, we are a bunch of fouled-up, baggage-carrying humans in search of something. I'm so glad that I GOT TO CHOOSE who I would love, marry, trust, etc. Just think of the most screwed-up guy that you know, and think what it would have been like to be forced to marry him, forced to give him all the control in your life, or even just forced to work for someone like him.

In a perfect world, wives would be submissive to their husbands, they would be submissive to one another, and he would love her as Christ loved the church. The church being all believers or those who will believe and accept. There was no greater love. In a perfect world, there would not have to be feminism. But, as we all know, THIS IS NOT A PERFECT WORLD. Thank God there are choices. We have choices, and we are able to use our wisdom in making them.

Daisy: IMHO, Feminism is grossly overrated!

I feel that women are as strong and capable as men, but in different ways. I think we should be equal in every aspect, and our contribution to life on earth should be just as valued and appreciated.
That, however, does NOT mean I want to go be the hunter.
The man's role is important. He brings home the bacon.
The woman's role is just as important. She cooks it.
We were designed to work together as a team, each with different roles, but equal.

I believe if the woman WANTS to go hunt the food, she should be able to, and if the man wants to cook it, fine. In other words, people should be valued and accepted and appreciated for their role in society and in a defined relationship, whatever that may be, as long as both are happy with it.

There is a vast difference between being considered unworthy of the same wage as men for doing the same job, and CHOOSING to submit to a partner.

In the days when women were seen as the "weaker sex," they were undervalued, mistreated, pushed around, refused education, refused the right to vote and did not have any choice in how they were treated. In choosing to submit, you are showing your strength, and showing that you have that choice.

No reconciliation is needed!

Make Mine Red: I've not thought much about this topic before. I do know that I am in control in pretty much every aspect of my life. I am college educated, have a full-time job, manage the household finances and more. In the bedroom, I prefer that he take charge and let me give up that role. We don't do the whole punishment thing, so that's a non-issue for us. I appreciate the fact that I have the freedom to choose and that I have a partner who agrees!

S.N.M.: I'll reinterpret the topic as "Do you find it necessary to reconcile feminism with your interest in spanking women? Why or why not? If so, how do you accommodate both?"

Feminism (or, to use a more complete term, sexual egalitarianism) is the belief that men and women are of equal personhood, and should not be judged as people by which pair of chromosomes they have. My desire to spank women has nothing to do with my perceptions of them as people. I don't respect a woman less or feel superior to her just because we play consensual dominance games where I'm on top.

Another reinterpretation: "Do you find it necessary to reconcile humanism with your interest in spanking anyone? Why or why not? If so, how do you accommodate both?"

Put simply, I think that accepting our sexual eccentricities and indulging them in a safe manner with those who share them is pretty empowering for all parties. As someone else said, "If a masochist says 'hit me,' a TRUE sadist would say 'no.'"

Rule number one of self-consciousness: If you hold irreconcilable beliefs, it means you're doing something wrong. I do hope that not too many of us would answer "Yes" to this week's question.

Indy: Thanks for raising this interesting and potentially controversial topic. My response to this question isn’t terribly concise, so I’ve posted my thoughts on my own blog.

Anon #2: My wife was part of the late 1970s and 80s feminist movement. I certainly supported these politics. Consequently, my wish to spank her, and her willingness to submit, seemed to be a contradiction, about which I felt guilty and confused.

Fortunately, she was clearer headed than I, explaining she wanted politics kept out of her bedroom! If she, as a mature educated professional woman, recognised and indulged her sexually submissive nature, that was her decision. In the rest of her life, she was confident and assertive (as are many male submissives). In this instance, only she chose to submit (Pandora Blake makes this same point on her blog).

There was, my wife explained, no conflict with our mutual believe in equality and I should feel pleased to be the one who she chose to trust.

She was right, and 25+ years on, she still is...

Hermione: I agree with the others who said that feminism is all about choice. As a woman, I have the freedom to vote, to hold down a good job, to play sports, and to enjoy my sexuality. Spanking is a large part of my sexual makeup, and I choose to indulge in it in a way that is satisfying to my partner and me.

It might be interesting to rephrase the question and ask the men how spanking relates to their masculinity at a future brunch.

Consider it added to the list!

Florida Dom: I probably should blog on this topic, but I will give a short version. I think strong independent feminist professional women make the best submissives. I've written a series of stories called Training Lisa about a young woman who is a tiger in the boardroom and a submissive in the bedroom. I think a woman can be a feminist with a career and still yearn to be submissive in the bedroom. They are two different things.

Unfortunately in our society, women still have a long way to go. They make less money for doing the same job and rarely become CEOs of big companies and are often called the B-word if they are assertive in their jobs.

And in many relationships, they come home from work and cook and clean and tend to the kids while the husband watches Sportscenter. I think a good Dom does his fair share of the work around the house so the sub is refreshed and ready to serve him when the kids are in bed.

And a desire to be spanked and submit isn't necessarily a female thing. If you read femdom blogs, there are men who want to submit and be spanked by their wives.

Cara Bristol: I'd like to propose a theory where as feminism increases, MORE women will find that a part of them desires to be spanked, to submit, to step down, simply because being in control all the time is tiring. It is relaxing to hand over to control to someone else FOR A WHILE. It's like a vacation. And afterward, you feel refreshed and more capable of taking on the world.

Mary: I've been absent a while, but woke up wanting to check in. Congrats, Bonnie. I was at brunch #1 now you are on 326!

Cara said it well for me. There is an element of feeling refreshed and relieved for me when I relinquish control. The term sexual egalitarianism would not have us asking if there is a a conflict. I think the confusion is that feminism is sometimes associated with militant ideas (perhaps for the same reasons that assertive women in the board room get label with the B-word). Anyway, as many said well, at the heart, it isn't about working in the home or elsewhere, or about being spanked or not. We are truly equal when we recognize that the choice is ours to make.

Wow, Mary, I remember that. I think it may have been your first comment on MBS. It's great to hear from you. You're always welcome.

Bonnie: I identify with the feminist cause because I remember my mother and other women in her generation being denied opportunities to pursue careers and lives they desired. I feel a debt of gratitude to those women who fought to create a better world for the rest of us. It's important to me to honor and respect their legacy.

With that said, I long ago made peace with my feminist side. I am female by birth, but submissive by choice. When I submit to my husband, I do so as an exercise of my freedom to choose, not as an acceptance of any alleged inferiority. I have the ability and the right to select my own path, and that makes all the difference.

My choice may not be popular with some activists, but I no more live my life for them than I do for the chauvinists who would even now hold us back. Does it happen to align with traditional gender roles? Yes, to some degree, but this is my informed preference. I see no conflict.

Riley: I think the two topics are slightly different, but related. I am happy that feminism exists and that women in the 20s fought for our right to vote, hold a job, own property, etc. If not for that, we probably wouldn't value this lifestyle, but rather, resent it. I like that it's a choice. Personally, I think submission in love is great. There can't be two leaders. They'd butt heads. So, one has to follow. In my everyday life, I'm perfectly happy doing my own work, even taking on some leadership roles. But in my relationship, I innately want to lean on him.

I am not insulted when he asks me to hang his coat or to make him a meal. It's how he rolls. I get benefits as well. He takes care of me, dotes on me, and very much values my opinion. It's old-school, but it works for us. That said, I wouldn't want it to be universal. I think that's half of what makes it so special! Also, if it were universal, too many would use the power in the wrong way. It needs to be consensual, in my opinion.

Celeste Jones: I agree with Cara's comment about the desire to give up control to someone else, if only occasionally, because it's a relief compared to all of the other decisions a woman has to make.

Submission is a choice and it is a gift that the submissive (woman, in this conversation) gives to another. As such, it should not be given lightly and the woman should make sure that the man she chooses is worthy of this role. It's a question of character. A woman who willingly places herself in a spanking position must trust the person giving the spanking not to go too far. If she entrusts this man with the authority to determine punishments for her, then she must be able to trust his judgment to be fair and not vindictive.

Being submissive doesn't mean that a woman is submissive to every man she encounters. Thank goodness, since there are so many who are unworthy. But she chooses someone especially for that role.

Kaelah: I certainly identify with the feminist cause since I am one of those women who don't want to live a life with traditional gender roles. So, I am very thankful to those who fought for my freedom to choose and to live the life that fulfills me.

I always looked for a man who wanted an equal mate and a relationship that doesn't have one leader and one follower, but works with shared decisions and responsibilities. I am lucky enough to have found that man in my mate, Ludwig, and having in him a fellow kinky spirit as well.

Our spanking play isn't in any way a contradiction to feminism or our life as equal partners. Spanking for us is sexual role-play and the roles that we take in this role-play don't affect the roles that we have outside the bedroom. With the knowledge that Ludwig sees me as an equal mate, I can indulge even in very rough or submissive play without having to be afraid that my mate wants me to be submissive or obedient in our relationship as well. I know that this is extremely important for Ludwig too. He wouldn't feel comfortable dominating a woman whom he wouldn't see as a strong equal mate in real life.

What's more, Ludwig even switches for me from time to time which is a wonderful gift of trust and makes him all the more attractive and strong in my eyes. I am predominantly a bottom and Ludwig is predominantly a top, so most of the time our play is M/F. I'm perfectly happy with this arrangement because this is the combination I fantasise about the most when it comes to sexual spanking play. But I also have a toppy side that comes out from time to time, and it is wonderful to have a mate who is open-minded and flexible enough to let me live out that part of me as well.

I agree with many others who said that they don't like the kind of feminism that is just as rude and patronizing as many chauvinists. I don't see any reason why engaging in BDSM play (as a bottom or a submissive) should be anti-feminist, as long as it is a free choice. The same goes for me for taking sexy pictures or making (spanking) porn.

That said, I have come across people in the kinky community who believe that there is only one spanking gender constellation (usually M/F) that is right and reflects the natural or God-given gender roles. In my opinion, that is a very patronizing and narrow-minded view, and one that scares me.

This is especially true because I know that many countries still deprive women of equal rights, that even in the Western countries men and women still aren't treated equally in some respects. There are also movements in our Western societies, usually religious ones, that try to bring back the traditional gender roles and abolish the freedom of choice that we have. Indy already mentioned the situation in the US in her post. Here in Germany, we also have groups, often Muslim ones, that are against equal choices for genders.

The idea that my children could grow up in a world that doesn't grant them the same freedom of choice that I have today scares me. So do movements that try to (re)establish rigid gender roles, no matter whether within the spanking community or in our society in general.

Blondie: I was raised by a paid feminist speaker who rallied hard for equal rights back in the 70s. She wanted everyone to have equal rights. We were taught to not judge others, but to be accepting of all. I chose to be a stay at home mom, and my mother supported my choice 100% as she also supported my sisters who chose to work outside of the house.

Now don't get me wrong, my mother would never approve of my lifestyle with DD and spankings. She would not understand it at all. We were brought up helping support shelters for abused women and being taught to not let any man tell us what to do. My choices are mine and I don't have to reconcile them because to those who don't have any tolerance, there is no explaining. Even to some who think they are open minded, the lifestyle wouldn't make sense. How would I explain to someone that I have made a very strong decision to allow my husband to have the final say and to spank in discipline and in erotic sexual play. It's my choice - what my mother fought for, even though I am not sure she knew that part. The difference is that with feminism, we have a choice. It is not decided by a man for us.

Sunny Girl: I am a fully liberated women who has lived long enough to see the strides that have been made by and for women. I do not live a DD lifestyle and I may not understand it, but different strokes for different folks. I am, however, a spanko and enjoy being spanked for fun and pleasure. I have no trouble reconciling my feminism.

Sublime Wifey: I really appreciate all of the comments here because it took me a while to reconcile my submissive desires with my feminism. I spent years feeling like a traitor to my own cause because of my fantasies and desires. I wouldn't confess them to anyone, barely even to myself. When I finally came around about a year ago and found web sites and blogs like this one, I found the courage to tell my husband. It turns out he'd been struggling with his desire for dominance. He thought I'd balk and it would bring an end to our marriage. Since our confessions about spanking and other forms of power exchange we find we are much happier both in and out of the bedroom. I still sometimes have trouble reconciling my desires with my feminism, but it's more about being a mother and role model than about my roles as wife and professional (not that my kid knows what's going on... It's really all in my head). But at least I no longer feel wrong... just a tiny bit conflicted.

What an incredible discussion! Thank you all for sharing your unique perspectives. We don't always agree, but in our differences lies a wonderful opportunity for learning and understanding.


Florida Dom said...

Bonnie, you know I am a big fan of yours but while you make a choice, I think you make it because you are wired to like it. If you weren't, you wouldn't make that choice. You can be a feminist and still be wired to like it and decide to chose to enjoy it. Feminism is all about being able to make choices.


Bonnie said...

No argument here, FD. I agree. Were I wired differently, my choice would probably be different (though equally valid).


Hobbes said...

So we are back to Erasmus, Luther, Calvin and the freedom/bondage of the will. Not a bad place to be for a discussion like that above; Bonnie just raised the bar once again in this blog.

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