October 29: Playing with Power: Anarchist Approaches to BDSM

Folks in the Bay Area: I’m facilitating a workshop next Thursday (10/29) on anarchism and BDSM. It’s in Berkeley, it’s free, and there will be cupcakes.

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This month, we’ll have a facilitated discussion of what it means to practice BDSM as an anarchist. On the one hand, we have anti-BDSM arguments proclaiming that any type of BDSM play gives legitimacy to domination and submission as models for human relationships, and on the other, we have BDSM players who assert that anything they do and say is absolved by the fact that it turns them on. Some celebrate BDSM as a way to play with power, turning it on its head and perverting it for our own pleasure; other kinky folk are staunchly opposed to the idea of BDSM as merely “play,” and see “dominance” or “submission” as deep, constant aspects of their personality. If we are anti-hierarchical, can we also engage in (or support) relationships that are rooted in hierarchical models? Where do we draw the lines, if there are any to be drawn? We’ll look at a bit of BDSM and leather history, touch on the second-wave feminist backlash against BDSM in the 1980s, and identify specifically anarchist arguments against BDSM as a practice and as a subculture—and we’ll round it out with a discussion of concepts like “consent” and “play,” to see how these elements might help us make sense of What It Is That We Do.

Thursday, October 29
8-10pm
at the Long Haul Infoshop
3124 Shattuck Avenue / Woolsey in Berkeley (2 blocks from Ashby BART)
The space is wheelchair accessible and there is an accessible, gender-neutral bathroom.

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