In this piece, @lizthegrey writes about the lack of nuance in the New York Times' expose of Google executives who were paid huge sums to leave the company after they ran into sexual harassment issues at the tech giant. https://t.co/WQIt0Xe2YM
I agree that the issue isn't BDSM itself, though I would argue that it’s highly suspect for doms who hold so much social and workplace power to continually select submissives from a group with so much less power across so many axes.
To select people with less power, regardless of what kind of relationship or sexual expression one is interested in, shows a pattern of intentionality that can only be described as predatory and purposefully meant to undermine others’ ability to say no.
I’m not suggesting one may only play with people with the same amount of power, but I am troubled by the number of people in positions of power who engage in relationships and sexual interactions of a certain sort only with people who hold much less power.
And especially those who do so without carefully analyzing how that power differential may impact consent.
I'm tired of conversations that pretend that a safeword is enough. Power exchange is psychologically complex. Research suggests that just feeling like we have less power makes us less likely to self-advocate. Anyone who plays with power as a top or dom needs to account for that.
But many don't. And regardless what those of us in kink say about consent, BDSM culture largely allows that. Unfortunately, many BDSM communities -- especially those primarily consisting of cis/het persons -- do nothing to ensure that meaningful consent is possible.
Yes, we need survivors to feel safe enough to come forward, which means that as a society, we must be careful not to stigmatize relationship configurations and sexual expression when we discuss harms that involve them. But --
For those of us who are participants in BDSM, I think it's time we started to ask ourselves why, if we're so into consent as a community, we keep finding abusers among us and survivors who are too afraid to speak up.