I’ve heard this phrase get passed around a couple of times since I entered the scene, and it started to get to me the third or fourth time it came up.
“I don’t have a submissive bone in my body.”
Spoken not by a D-type, but by female s-types who were trying their best to distance themselves from the worst thing a woman can be in today’s modern society. It makes zero sense that we should be so terrified of being associated with a word that many of us s-types find empowering. When I claimed my identity as a submissive, it made me feel ultimately in control of my life and of my body. I literally felt taller, like I was rocking invisible heels 24/7.
Even writing this now, I had to strangle the impulse to explain how strong-willed I am as a woman, and how not submissive my personality is. I guess I just found a way to do it. However, none of us s-types should have to feel the pressure to apologize for our orientation.
There’s a big difference between the definition of a “submissive,” and a person who uses the word as an identifier. In the same way that queer now serves as a broad stroke label for anybody not straight, submissive is so much more than a word. I know the modern woman is supposed to be determined, self-sufficient, and impossible to tame. And you know what? We are. As s-types, we are the definition of those things; Our submission isn’t taken, it’s given.
Unfortunately, the Vanilla World doesn’t see it that way. Most vanilla people condemn those in the Kink Community as extreme and/or perverted. To further align yourself as a submissive adds another level of judgment from vanilla individuals, one that’s a lot harder to come back from. Especially if you’re a female s-type, you suddenly have to deal with justifying who you are to everyone plus yourself.
Women are hardwired to constantly pick at our reflections, both literally and metaphorically. We evaluate ourselves, berate ourselves, and starve ourselves. We are told to be stronger, smarter, kinder, prettier…all of the things. And more. But the one thing we can’t be is submissive, because historically that was something forced on us as a gender. So there’s a world of things we’re supposed to be, and then there’s a list of things we are forbidden to be. If you cross the lines or ignore the rules, you’re weak. That’s what we’re told. That’s why we justify, justify, justify. Some women who identify as s-types are terrified, not of who they are, but by the letter s. Whether you’re a submissive, slave, pet, babygirl, or something else on the s side of the slash, you’re the boogeyman of modern feminism…at first glance. But what if we pull back the covers and look under the bed for a second?
Feminism is about choice, not what you choose. So, if we are self-aware enough and brave enough to choose something that goes against the status quo, we’re creating a new definition for what it means to be an empowered woman. Instead of distancing ourselves from words that the Vanilla World cringes at out of ignorance, we should actually be reclaiming them. Submission is sexy. It’s one half of a delectable D/s power dynamic that most people in the scene are in some way or another searching for. We have no reason to play offense or defense as s-types. We definitely don’t need to prove ourselves to our vanilla friends. Furthermore, instead of saying things like “I don’t have a submissive bone in my body,” we should be embracing the fact that we bring our submissive tendencies to the table. It’s unfair of us to evaluate who we are by vanilla standards.
My hope is that we can move towards inclusion and acceptance as a community, especially those of us on the s side of the slash. It’s all too common to find s-types who have low self-esteem, or s-types who appear superficially confident because they need to assert how dominant they are in the rest of their life. We are valuable human beings. We don’t need to tear each other down to feign strength. Being an s-type takes strength! Instead, let’s walk taller and demand more from the world around us. Let’s say who we are and cut out the explanations. They aren’t necessary, and really, if we’re being honest, who doesn’t love an enthusiastic submissive?
About the Author:
If you look up the definition of “green,” you will find the name Eden alongside a picture of a girl tripping over her own feet. Eden has been writing for years and is also an actor and a karaoke enthusiast. She has been active in the BDSM community for nearly three months and can often be found assisting at kink events in the LA area. She hopes her writing will reach other new people in the scene so they can know they are not alone.
“Feminism is about choice, not what you choose”
A powerful concept that is sometimes overlooked or forgotten entirely by modern feminism. Thank you for your contribution.
Of course! I’m working on two new articles and have just submitted another, so keep an eye out!
Thank you so much for your feedback, Eden! I would love to read more of you writing. Anything in the works?
I’m glad you enjoyed the read! I believe the best way s-types can empower each other is to come from a stance of curiosity and kindness, not judgment. There are some people who want to establish their own status as somehow higher than other s-types because of how they identify or because of their experience level. Instead, we should approach our s-type peers as potential friends, not competition. We can learn from each other better this way.
Love this! It’s great to read something so positive and for the s type.
It’s great how you dissect modern society as well.
What do you feel is the best way s types can empower each other?
Way to go Eden! Thanks for standing up for us s types! You rock!
Absolutely! One of the most important things that we can do as a community is talk to each other. If we all reach out and speak about our experience as s-types, we will create a safe space to share so that people who are on the s side of the slash know they have a support network in place.
The dictionary definition of submissive: “ready to conform to the authority or will of others; meekly obedient or passive”. I almost feel like the kink world embraced the former half while trying to simultaneously distance themselves from the latter. I think the attempt to tear the definition in half is where these struggles lay. So many think that the word submissive automatically means meek and passive (aka weak) that they push away the entire definition – including the part about conforming to authority. When, in reality, conforming to authority is one of the cornerstones of power exchange! Wonderful article! I am so proud of you for tackling an issue that so many s-types struggle with! <3
Thank you Miss Jenn. <3 I think you're absolutely right. People seem to have thrown out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to the word submissive. It shouldn't be a stigma in our community, especially considering the fact that most D/s relationships are formed around a core power exchange between an D-type and an s-type.