Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

Liberating Ourselves in the Boudoir

I’ve been struggling with a few long pieces that I’ve been writing. One of them is a response to a new zine called “Liberating Ourselves in the Boudoir: An Anarchist-Feminist Perspective against BDSM.” The author of this zine is an anti-civ anarchist, and his zine is just…well, I suppose you can read it.

Almost all of this zine simply rehashes the same old radfem arguments against BDSM that we’ve been hearing since the 80s, and it props up the same old straw man of the kinky person who loudly and constantly proclaims how liberatingBDSM is, how radical and world-changing. Where the radfems use “patriarchy” in their arguments, insert “civilization” instead. It’s really nothing new, and yet I feel compelled to challenge it, more so than if it were simply something posted on an anarchist website or in a comment on someone’s blog. This is someone who put a lot of time and effort into creating a finished work, edited and designed. This is a zine that might be picked up and carried by zine distros. This is a zine that a friend might find and read and consider a legitimate viewpoint.

To me, Usul’s arguments are completely specious and delusional — the entire thing is based on the faulty notion that BDSM is the norm among anarchists and radicals, and that we currently “[accept] BDSM as an inseparable aspect of human sexuality, as a universal presence in social spaces, as a given interest we all must have.” He writes about BDSM as if everyone in the anarchist scene thinks it’s totally cool, and he’s one of the very few people speaking out against it. I read this, and I think, “Really? Where do you live? Sounds like that’s where I should be…”

But then I start to wonder. I wonder if there are others who are disturbed by BDSM who don’t ever speak up because they’re afraid of coming off as oppressive or judgmental. I wonder how many people in my social circle would say the same thing — that they feel that acceptance of BDSM is the norm, and they feel uncomfortable about that. I wonder.

At any rate, I’ve talked to someone in Chicago who’s putting together an actual zine in response to this one, and I’m working on an essay that she might include in it. I’ll post it here when it’s done. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what other folks think of this zine, especially other kinky anarchists.