Reconciling feminism and submission
March 28, 2012 9:53 AM Subscribe
How have you (or have you not) reconciled your feminism with an unexpected and expanding sense of submission, which is not limited to the merely or nearly sexual?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (25 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
How have you (or have you not) reconciled your feminism and your submission?
I've read scattered articles on the Internet, some proposing that submission and feminism cannot be satisfactorily reconciled in our Western society and others arguing that they can. Everything I've read comes from someone with very entrenched interests in one
side of the debate. I've yet to see something from anyone in my situation. (cis-gendered female entering into a consensual D/s-even-outside-the-bedroom relationship with a cis-gendered male)
I'm turning to you good people for links, anecdotes or private emails which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a proud feminist, have been active on some important issues and am kicking butt in a male-dominated field. I've always looked for and found equitable relationships, while gravitating toward men who were dominant in the bedroom. I have no issues with that.
Until now. This one lets his dominance creep out of the bedroom in surprising ways. Even more surprisingly, and alarmingly, I find I like them. Being sent on the occasional errand, being instructed to wear my hair a certain way or call him by a certain startling endearment... Those things took me by surprise but also felt good. He is willing to scale these things back if necessary and definitely observes my hard limits but he does gently press my soft ones in a smiley playful way an cheerfully encourages me to give up more control.
More worrying, I think there may be a tendency for him to also be wearing his dominant mantle when we argue. I don't mean that he shoves me down and beats me, of course, but I think I detect some condescension in the way he addresses me when we talk out our problems. He also likes to dictate the terms under which we get together to hammer things out, expecting a certain tone and approach from me.
On the other hand, I am prone to flying off the handle in my other relationships. He takes a much more adult, pragmatic tact so it may make sense for him to set some of those terms and he is very willing to listen to me and consider my arguments. In the end, I tend to end up agreeing with him on most things, but he also has considerable powers of persuasion.
An important note is that he does identify as a feminist himself and feels strongly about women's issues outside of the context of our relationship.
It's not that I'm unhappy in the structure of our relationship. I'm not. But I do believe that the personal is political. The way we choose to live our individual lives helps to build a community and world structure that we believe in.
I'm not looking for straight up DTMFA because I would give that to myself the moment I felt this tipped into a negative relationship instead of a loving one. I'm also not particularly looking for perspectives from people who don't have at least some strongly positive feelings about feminism. I'm just looking for feedback / thoughts or tactics on if and how the two things can be reconciled OR information about how & why you believe they cannot.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts & help. Anonymous for professional reasons but more than happy to answer any questions via email.
Possibly relevant: I'm in my late 20s, he's in his 30s. No kids involved. We live in a liberal west coast city. Neither of us is involved in or feels drawn to "the scene".