Today’s reader question comes from Tumblin’ Taylor of Tahoka, TX.
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Do you think there is a double standard for female/male submissives?
Male Doms (rightfully) explain in media (like tumblr) that the submission of a woman is a gift and a privilege (it is) but I don’t see that sentiment from Dommes towards male submissives. Or am I just being blinded by stereotypes or crappy representations of Domme/male sub relationship?
One question; three different topics: 1) double standards, 2) Tumblrs, and 3) submission a “gift.”
I’m not sure “double standard” is the best language here, but I’ll go with it. Are there double standards? Fuck yes. There are gender-based AND role-based double standards all over the place…
But seeing ‘submission as a gift and a privilege’ isn’t one of them. In my experience (which is limited, but well-informed), male doms don’t value submission more than female dommes value submission, nor do maledoms value femsubs more than femdoms value malesubs. I suspect it’s an issue of representation more than of reality.
(See note on lifestyle D/s vs. professional D/s, and note on gender and role binaries… jesus… I’m longwinded as FUCK.)
Have you seen Tumblr? It’s not exactly a resource for thoughtful, nuanced discussions of D/s relationships, and it’s certainly not a repository for thought-provoking or complex visual representations of D/s roles.
I mean, that stuff exists on Tumblr, but honestly, the majority of D/s Tumblrs are porn, porn, more porn, a couple of attention whores, and a few porn collectors who know how to work the “reblog” and “favorite” buttons (without ever generating original content of their own, and without providing any thoughtful comment about others content).
There are some brilliant exceptions, of course, like Submissive Guy Comics. SGC posts original (mostly single panel), beautiful comics of dominants and submissives that span a broad spectrum of D/s emotions, activities, and styles (for lack of a better word).
But on the whole, learning about D/s relationships from Tumblr is only slightly better than learning about D/s relationships from porn. I have a hunch about the phenomenon you’re witnessing… but I won’t go into it here.
Anyway, don’t use Tumblr as any indication of what’s out there… unless you’re looking for porn.
Submission As a “Gift”
When it’s superimposed on an artistic black and white photo of a nekkid woman wearing a collar and kneeling, as a platitude, “submission is a gift” is about as useful as those inspirational posters of kittens hanging onto tree branches reminding us to “hang in there!”
But, whatever… submission as a gift. Let’s go with it.
Sure, ideally, submission is a gift you give to someone who is worthy of receiving it. But so is dominance. I wouldn’t be in a relationship with a submissive if I didn’t think he was worthy of what I have to offer — what I have to offer is dominance, along with the myriad other (and more important) things that make me who I am. Submission is a gift, and so is dominance, and so is love, and friendship… and a bunch of other stuff, too.
They’re gifts in the sense that they’re given and they’re valuable, but that’s where the similarities end. Submission and all that other stuff are unlike gifts in that they should be earned, they require constant, reciprocal effort, and they can be taken back
Tumblr sucks. Platitudes aren’t worth much. Complexity, depth, and reality are rarely communicated in reblogs.
On lifestyle D/s vs. professional D/s:
For the record, my thoughts above refer to “lifestyle D/s” people — those who engage in D/s in their primary romantic/sexual relationships and those who engage in non-romantic play for sexual/physical/personal fulfillment (without the exchange of money or material gifts). I don’t include pro dommes, their clients, “fin dommes” (financial dominatrixes), or financial “slaves” in that statement. In my mind, those are more of a business arrangement than anything else (while business arrangements can bring other, non-material, forms of fulfillment, if it weren’t for the exchange of payment, they wouldn’t exist). I also exclude professionals because it would be impossible to compare gender-based differences here — male pro doms are rare and nearly invisible, and I’ve never actually heard of a male “fin dom.” [back to text]
On gender and role binaries:
It’s important to acknowledge the question (and therefore, my response) is grounded in gender and role binaries that ignore the incredible diversity of people, genders, and roles. There are roles besides ‘dominant’ and ‘submissive,’, and more importantly, here are genders between, beyond, and outside of ‘male’ and ‘female.’ [back to text]