I hope you have been enjoying Rika’s Lair, my monthly column dedicated to thoughts and experiences regarding power dynamics in Service-Oriented D/s relationships. Look up “Ms. Rika” in the search box for links to all of my articles in KinkWeekly!
A short time ago, I received the following question regarding the possible correlation between increased female empowerment and equality in society and an increase in Female Dominance in relationships.
In these days of increased female empowerment, sexual equality and opportunity for women, is there a correlation in terms of increased female domination and ladies that become dommes as a matter of progression? I was wondering, as ladies gain more control in everyday life, and most walks of life have an increasingly level playing field, if the mindset has changed?
I wanted to share my thoughts on this with you this week, because I assert that the OPPOSITE correlation will occur; that as a result of increased equality and opportunity, there will be a DECREASE in adoption of Femdom as a kink in relationships and a reduction in the demand for professional female domination.
Now this is a tricky assertion to prove or disprove at this point in time, because we happen to be in a period of growth in the acceptance of power dynamics (and kink that may accompany that) in our society. This growth seems to be driven by the media reflecting a trend towards the acceptance of dominance in our culture. I want to be careful to credit the liberal acceptance of diversity and individualism for this groundswell, rather than assume it is based solely on sexual equality. Media is beginning to include BDSM and, in particular Femdom, as a matter of accepted practice, rather than as a weird anomaly. We have Billions, Elementary, Bonding, and most recently Zelda Williams’ Shrimp breaking mainstream prime-time boundaries with threads of normalcy and acceptance of power dynamics. Then there’s the impact of 50 shades, which, although just an awful depiction, speaks volumes to the increasing acceptance within our culture (all of this coverage is still camp and riddled with stereotypes and old tropes, but it’s changing. In many ways, coverage of Femdom is analogous to the way LGBT movements were depicted 10-15 years ago. That gives me some hope).
Therefore, I see a rise in the acceptance of BDSM and Femdom in our culture, due to a drive towards diversity and acceptance and less about sexual equality. BDSM of all forms is becoming more accepted and being treated more than a “Gay Paradigm”.
Specifically, with regard to the correlation of female empowerment to female dominance, I start by pointing out the obvious: There is sexuality assumed in the notions of Femdom. The “Fem” portion of Femdom implies female sexuality and separates it from other forms of dominance. Any doubt that there is sexuality in Femdom, ask a man who submits to women if he’d like to submit to a man – and see how many say yes. There will be a number who will, but watch how fast the numbers dwindle. IT therefore follows that Femdom is a form of sexual manipulation. It’s not a bad thing…but it’s a fact to face: As a dominant, you are allowing service that is motivated, at least in part by your gender. Your power comes from leveraging a man’s commitment to serve a woman.
Before the 1970’s, the major sphere of influence women had was their sexuality. Until relatively recently, we have not been allowed to vote, to represent constituents in politics, to influence business, or
to express our opinions – in any place other than our homes and with our families – in our role as matriarch. The only “power” we had was that men desired us and needed us, and we could leverage that to our advantage to influence the men in our life to impact change. This is not a statement of desire, it’s a reflection of the avenues available to us to demonstrate our strength and to represent our point of view. Men became the proxies for the power we could have – in an unspoken and unacknowledged manner.
Given that definition of Femdom and the reality of women’s source of power in the past, I then look at this as a factor of opportunity. It’s my assertion that the more we (women) are able to achieve positions of power and control in society and business outside of our sexuality, the less we will CHOOSE to use sexuality as a lever of dominance. Not that we won’t continue to do so, but it will be just one of MANY options; and having options will dilute the number of women who opt for any single one. In extension, I therefore see true empowerment as having a potentially negative correlation on Femdom adoption.
The last point regards assumed gender roles. In pre-1970’s households, the woman’s role was assumed to be submissive and subservient. In the bedroom, it was assumed that women were pleasers and that the notion of pleasing women was reserved for special instances. When a man and a woman closed their doors, there was an assumed set of roles to be played. There was an assumed power dynamic in play. Anything contrary to that male-dominant dynamic was “Kinky”. Now, there are fewer and fewer assumed roles. Couples may or may not take on a power dynamic. Either may choose to be the pleaser or the pleased. Both have expectations of being pleased. and they may forgo the power element entirely.
So my conclusion is pretty straight forward: As women, times have changed and continue to change for us. There are new areas of communication for our thoughts and ideas. We have new rights and new channels and more are opening up all the time. We have OPTIONS that we have never had in the past. We are looked at for our brains and not our bodies – for the first time outside of our personal relationships. It’s natural that we will opt for those new avenues to exert our influence – and not be limited to sexuality as that means. We didn’t get stronger; we just have more ways to exert our strength! My point is just that, having more options dilutes the demand for any single one. So, I assert that empowerment in multiple venues will have a detrimental impact on the use of sexuality as a tool for influence.
Ms. Rika is a lifestyle dominant, educator, and author; living in the suburbs of NYC with her husband/slave. She has written several popular books on her approach to adding Dominant-Centric, Service-Oriented D/s to relationships. You can find her books (in both print and eBook formats) at Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/msrika), or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iStore, Books-A- Million, Kobo.com, or anywhere books are sold. Search for “Ms. Rika”. Write to me at Ms_Rika@hotmail.com