Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jewels of the blogosphere?: The Anarchist Submissive

This weekend, at my suggestion, T and I watched Secretary. I'd been meaning to check out the film since its release a few years ago. After all, it's indie-actress Maggie Gyllenhaal's breakout role, and a rare critic-pleasing cinematic foray into BDSM (er, that's bondage, domination, and sado-masochism ... right?).

I was a little apprehensive about watching the film. Y'know. Because it features a submissive young woman with a self-mutilation problem who becomes meek secretary/sexual partner to her dominant, ass hole boss (James Spader).

The film raises giant, screaming red flags for feminists concerned about everything from workplace sexual harassment to pay equity, from violent pornography to domestic violence. Some of the scenes of eroticized verbal abuse could certainly be triggering for those who've lived in homes with a nonconsensual brand of abuse. Indeed, I suspect some of the more humorless (!) among us just won't enjoy the film. (Interestingly, Gyllenhaal said in an interview that she expected she would have to fight "old-school feminists" about the movie's content.)

Secretary was truly thought-provoking. It left me craving some feminist response to the film itself, and BDSM culture in general. So I googled "dominant-submissive feminism" and, of course, struck gold.

Meet Subversive Submissive
. Her tagline is "just another vegan, anarchist, feminism BDSM weblog." She seems like an intelligent, articulate voice, interested in creating alternative communities and creating understanding of what BDSM is. It's interesting, because her discussions of anarchism and BDSM (and how those identifications sometimes come into conflict) read a LOT like discussions of being both a socialist and a feminist, or a feminist and an anti-racist, or an anti-racist and an environmentalist. But the biggest head-spinner in the blog so far: "Currently, I’m stuck on the idea of my partner strapping a dildo to his boot and fucking me with it."

Just to be clear, I don't know what the hell to think about it all. But my interest is officially piqued, so I'll keep Pink Scare posted as I gingerly explore this world.

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