DD, Equality, and F/Feminism

For more posts on this topic, click here.

This is my first time joining the Spanking Round Table discussions, and I’m glad Casey suggested this topic. I’d like to offer a brief overview of feminism followed by my thoughts on why F/F is an especially potent site to demonstrate feminism.

I tend to cringe when feminism is mentioned within the context of domestic discipline, largely because these types of discussions tend to rely on oversimplified or outdated ideas of feminism.

Examples of “feminists” depicted in popular culture:

  • a shrill, overbearing woman who browbeats her husband and male colleagues
  • a bra-burning radical who rejects shaving
  • an angry woman who hasn’t met the right man yet
  • a lonely, insecure, unstable woman who needs a man to calm her down (preferably with sex, marriage, and a baby)
  • a tired, overburdened career woman who longs for a man to sweep her off her feet and tell her that things are all right

A typical setup of feminism in a DD story goes something like this:

Accomplished, intelligent career woman is single, formidable, and hostile to male overtures. Knight in shining armor arrives, disarms our heroine, and bends her to his will. Our heroine struggles with her conscience before realizing that “true” feminism means making the choice to submit to her man. Everyone lives happily ever after.

Here is what is great about this setup:

  • Many women do feel burdened by the expectations placed on us by society. We may feel that we have to be breadwinner, sex kitten, and arm decoration all in one.

Here’s what is also great about this setup:

  • Feminism does not preclude relationships. One of the battle cries of middle feminism (also called second wave feminism, which focused on proving that women were equal to men and therefore entitled to work, go to school, and otherwise participate in what had previously been considered a man’s world) was that women could love men and still fight for equality.

Here’s what is not so great about this setup:

  • Heterosexual romance is not a sine qua non of the condition of womanhood. A woman can be a fully developed and mature individual even if she remains single, does not or can not bear a child, and/or loves a woman.

Equality.

Yep. That’s the topic of today’s post, ladies and gentlemen. Feminism, in its various forms, argues that women should receive equal opportunities and treatment. One of my favorite sayings about feminism is this slogan:

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.

 

Can we say that women have achieved equality? Many would say yes. Girls can play soccer, hockey, go to college, and continue working after marriage and pregnancy.

First wave feminism argued for legal changes such as the right to vote and own property. The general response to this was ridicule and demeaning comments such as telling women to go back into the kitchen, have a baby, or find a man if they didn’t already have one. (I’m oversimplifying, of course, because I’m only allowed 2000 words for this post.)

Second wave feminism, what most people today consider to be feminism, argued for equality in schools, workplaces, health care, and so on. For example, a woman cannot (legally) be fired for becoming pregnant. Does it still happen covertly? Absolutely.

Third wave feminism, or what we experience today, argues that white, privileged US and European figures such as Helene Cixous, Julia Kristeva, and Gloria Steinem represent only one small segment of feminism. Instead, we also need to look at class, nationality, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and all kinds of factors. For women of color and women outside these areas, feminism can have different goals and appearances. Unfortunately, some white US feminists have wanted to “rescue” other women who live in these countries and cultures, particularly from the men who do not follow white feminist ideals. This places women of color between choosing “feminism” and their men. Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak, one of the most prominent of the third wave feminists, argued that feminism should be more than white women saving brown women from brown men.

Contrary to popular opinion, feminism is not outdated or no longer relevant. Domestic abuse, rape, harassment, and gender bias are still prevalent in many societies. Many heterosexual women who embrace DD resent the restrictions feminism has placed on their men’s willingness to spank, or as their husbands view it, “hit” or “hurt” them. These women say that they are free to choose, feminism means having a choice, and they want men who are no longer afraid to be men.

There will always be those who long for a nostalgic time when everything seemed to be better, but nostalgia is just that—a memory. We still live in a society in which legally elected officials claim that “legitimate” rape cannot result in a pregnancy. We still live in a society in which young women are warned not to go out alone after dark. We still live in a society in which little boys are told not to cry.

As for me, I am grateful to men who hesitate to raise a hand to a woman. I thank the acculturation that has taught men that violence is not the answer. By engaging in conversations about the nature of DD and how it differs from abuse, we re-affirm the gains feminism has given us.

A man should not strike a woman.

 

Unless she wants it. Unless she asks for it. I mean literally asks it, not “asks for it” by wearing a too-short skirt or flirting without giving sexual favors.

But how do I reconcile DD and feminism?

F/F.

Yes, you read that correctly. All of the best qualities of DD—loving, leading, nurturing, protecting, caring, and the wonderful spontaneous play—come to light when gender dynamics are removed.

Natalie asserts her right over Kat, not because a different set of genitals entitles her to such, but because something about her personality and background fit her for a protector role.

Carene asserts her right over Leila, not because biological characteristics define Carene as  natural in this role, but because she loves to spank and guide, and Leila needs it.

Within the sisterhood of female friendship, we find stories of love and leadership. In my personal life, it has been women who have taught me, nurtured me, and guided me.

Loving women has nothing to do with hating men, just as loving men has nothing to do with renouncing feminism. Instead of pitting one against the other, I propose a new solution.

Accept that love comes in many forms.

 

Equality.

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34 thoughts on “DD, Equality, and F/Feminism

  1. Natasha Knight says:

    You’re right on the equality Ana. That’s what this post is about. That and the right to choose and not be judged for it.

    Realistically, I understand that people on the outside do not understand and do judge DD (m/f, m/m, f/f- whatever combination). It’s the society we live in. For as modern as we think we are, so many are sexually repressed. There is so much shame and fear. And because of that shame and fear, there is judgment.

    The next theme that comes to mind is open-mindedness and the idea to live and let live. I’m not sure that’s possible in our lifetime. Pretty sure it’s not actually but I think all we can do is make small steps in our own thinking, our own lives and – most importantly – teach the kids. I do believe that each generation is more enlightened than the last – look how far we’ve come and we’ve got a ways to go but we’re moving even when it feels like we’re trying to climb the down escalator.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      You’re right, Natasha, that asking for people not to judge is probably not going to happen any time soon. We do need some judgment because abuse does still happen, and we need people who are willing to stand up and say, “This is wrong.”

      Can we be more open-minded? Maybe? I think you’re right about the small steps. I think a big first step is to become secure enough in our own viewpoint that we don’t feel threatened when someone else has a differing opinion. These roundtable discussions are a great way to begin that.

      Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. 🙂

      Like

  2. Leigh Smith (aka Sunny Girl) says:

    I think it’s best if I stay out of this discussion. I’m starting to get riled up and if I get on my soapbox, it will ruin my day.

    Good post Ana

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Sometimes that’s necessary, isn’t it? I think when and if you want to join the conversation, you’ll find a way to do it that’s productive and positive for you. Don’t worry what anyone else thinks.:)

      Like

  3. Sadey Quinn says:

    Really great post, Anastasia (and thank you for summarizing the waves of feminism, I think it’s important to point out that feminist is an evolving term, means different things to different people, etc).

    Love it!

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Thank you, Sadey! I do dislike when people say “feminism blah blah” without clarifying what they mean by feminism. We are still learning what it means, and we are still finding ways that it applies to our culture. Thanks for your thoughts!

      Like

  4. Tara Finnegan says:

    Ana, a wonderful post. It’s an interesting thought, if you take gender our of the equation, does DD become less likely to carry the abuse label? I think it probably does to some extent. But it shouldn’t, all couples, of any gender should be free to carry out their relationship as best suits their happiness as a couple.
    Hopefully we’re heading towards a more equal world but sometimes we seem to take one step forward, three back.
    Thanks for putting my brain to work.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Abuse happens between same-sex couples, just to be clear. F/F and M/M relationships are not immune to abuse, any more than M/F relationships.

      Whenever we take something familiar and put it into a new context, we recognize dynamics we hadn’t seen before. Because many people in this conversation come from a M/F perspective, I think it’s helpful to look at same-gender pairings. 🙂

      Thanks for being willing to go there with me!

      Like

  5. Thianna D says:

    Interesting post, but we will have to agree to disagree on the following line.

    “All of the best qualities of DD—loving, leading, nurturing, protecting, caring, and the wonderful spontaneous play—come to light when gender dynamics are removed.”

    Taking the gender dynamics out does not change the way something is written…though it can change the way it is perceived.

    Oh, that would be an interesting experiment. Take a story, maybe one that bugs you, and change one of the characters to a different gender and re-read. That would be a very unique social study. Oooh, I really love this idea.

    Like

  6. Joelle Casteel says:

    thanks for your post. You know, my post ended up being about male/female, interesting since the joke goes that I’m a lesbian except for my Master and I actually identify as queer because I find bisexual too limiting. I love that you mentioned Kat and Nat- you know, reading their first book, I saw another picture of “the female dominant I’d like”- so often I can’t stand the Dommes in BDSM, in fiction or real life. But Natalie’s nurturing side, loved it 🙂

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the reference. I didn’t want it to seem like promotion, just an example since not as many people are familiar with the F/F DD dynamic. So glad to hear it was helpful for you. Thank you for joining the discussion. 🙂

      Like

      • Joelle Casteel says:

        well considering how small the f/f selection is, I didn’t really find it self-promotion. but I do think the very different ways you’ve built f/f relationships in your books is so important to the point of how spanking fiction can be used in the way you suggest- when we’re not using well worn tropes. Like I refuse to watch f/f porn if I consider the site it’s on to be targeted at heterosexual men.

        Like

        • Anastasia Vitsky says:

          Which is often the target of much F/F film and stories. Even in some of the F/F stories we have written by women, the women in the story answer to one supreme man who controls all of the women. It’s a valid fantasy, but it’s not the only valid fantasy involving two women. It’s time to see women’s stories told in their own right and not merely as an accompaniment to men.

          Like

  7. Corinne Alexander says:

    I love discussions like these. They are incredibly important. Each post I read brings five new layers to the issue. It would be impossible to limit this to just one discussion and I really think this is a topic we should bring out at least a couple times a year because there is so much to talk about and angles to look at.

    While it is natural to begin the conversation where I live as a mostly heterosexual married woman in a DD relationship. It is by no means the end of my perspective or even experience.

    Unfortunately I don’t think the bias stopped just because it is a F/F or M/M relationship that is choosing spanking. I think that for some it softens the blow so to speak, but for most it is still just not acceptable from where we have been so recently. However, we are making great strides every day in embracing diversity which is at the root of this issue. We have a long way to go.

    Unfortunately again our rape culture does not start and end in a M/F dynamic. F/F abuse as well as M/M abuse is widespread. As a world we have a lot of growing to do. I agree there still needs to be awareness because even in spanking/DD/BDSM/D/S relationships abuse can still happen despite consent. I think abusers will abuse no matter the circumstances. No matter what choice led to the abuse no one deserves to be abused…as is covered in your book Desire in Any Language. We all deserve to be helped, respected, and cared for. Ugh, so much to say and not enough space to articulate. Thank you for your thought provoking contribution to the discussion.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Absolutely, Corinne. Abuse happens under all kinds of guises and in all kinds of situations. Sad but true. What’s different in the F/F and M/M dynamic is that fewer things can be taken for granted. For many in the heterosexual world, F/F and M/M do not exist. It may be a punchline to a joke about rape in prison, but it’s not a legitimate and equal form of relationship. So yes, abuse can happen but it’s not supported by a cultural image of one gender earning the right to treat another gender a certain way.

      I agree that this topic is multifaceted, and we can bring layers to the discussion each time we bring it out. We could even focus topics in a certain way, perhaps.

      No, you articulate it very well. It’s about respect, period. We should respect each other, and we deserve to be treated with respect as people. It’s good to remind ourselves of that…often.

      Thanks for such a great discussion forum, Corinne!

      Like

  8. Patricia Green says:

    It takes more than one person to make a partnership and each partnership is unique, some relying on traditional M/F roles, even when the parties are not M/F. Any strong relationship is based in partnership, no matter the genders involved. We can certainly agree on this.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Absolutely, Patricia. That’s where we get terms such as “butch” and “femme,” along with the reactions against these terms (personally, I am not a fan). F/F is also a way to carve out new relationship roles, even if that does not always happen.

      Like

  9. Tara Finnegan says:

    I can’t add to my earlier comment or your reply so I’m posting as a new one, I hope that’s ok. I’m not for one minute suggesting abuse doesn’t happen in F/f or M/m or indeed, the very secretive one because of the associated shame of the man being hen pecked, F/m, what I’m saying that if the gender is taken out the “assumption” or “judgement” of abuse might also be reduced.

    Like

  10. Renee Rose says:

    Thank you, sister. I knew that you would give a very cogent over-view of why feminism is still relevant and important. “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” Love it.
    And you’re right, F/f takes the inequality thing right out the window. Wait, that’s not right. It takes the gender inequality thing right out the window. 🙂

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Relevant, timely, and necessary. We have made some progress, but complacency will lead to reversals.

      Yes, I liked Ruth’s point that disability was not and should have been included in the discussion. We need to hear more voices like hers.

      Like

  11. Casey McKay says:

    A very thoughtful post, Ana. I think it’s interesting that you mention F/F is demonstrating the best qualities of DD without the gender dynamics. To me though, it is still a woman submitting to someone holding authority over her. Whether that other person is a man or a woman doesn’t really matter- she is still giving control over to someone else.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      The reason F/F doesn’t show gender dynamics? One woman submits to another, not because women inherently are weaker and therefore must submit to men who are inherently stronger, but because both women choose to do so. This highlights the choice of submission, rather than following social conventions.

      Too often in DD circles, there is the assumption that all women should be spanked and all men should do the spanking. That trips up a lot of people who might otherwise consider DD, especially when we think of feminism. Eliminating gender from the equation makes it easier to see why we appreciate and need DD. 🙂

      Like

  12. SassyTwatter says:

    This was a poignant power and beautiful post, your words were eloquent and hit to the heart of the matter. I wish I was able to share this with more people because your words are powerful and spoke to not only my head but my heart. Love comes in many forms something that I have only begun to understand in the last year or so. My favorite quote is “feminism means having a choice, and they want men who are no longer afraid to be men.” I found this so dead on because to often both women and men fall into predetermined acceptable gender roles that society tries to force on us in the name of equality. Equality is having the freedom to choose and not be hindered or stumbled by road blocks. While we have come along way there is still more that is needed. But that being said on the flip side those who decide to take traditional roles should not be ridiculed or made to feel bad for their choices. I also found it very profound how the dd characteristics you stated something I always felt but could not accurately express are the same regardless of the gender and why I had a need for it. (Sorry this may not make any sense brain still fuzzy from Demerol but read the post twice & it hit my hard with its candor).

    Like

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