Short post today because I am starting this one late. After a busy weekend, I did a lot of sleeping. Anyway, there are days I wish I had massive wealth like Bill Gates. Not because I love money, but because of something I would like to do with that money. But I suppose I should explain something. Don’t worry. I will be brief. Continue reading
Archive for strength
Yet another question that appeared in the search terms is: “Why would it be hard for someone to be submissive?” Obviously I cannot know what is the intent of the person who asked that question. But it seems to me like a question from someone who thinks being a submissive is supposed to be easy. So let’s talk about that. Continue reading
Day 5 of answering questions posed by Diane Owens.
As a person, what is your greatest strength? Your greatest weakness?
My greatest strength… hm. That is a tough one. It is the sort of question I would normally leave for others to say because I feel I cannot be objective about it. But in this instance, that would be a cop out.
I would say my greatest strength is my tendency to be patiently calm. I am not easily rattled. I am, usually, emotionally steady. And despite the fact that I often gripe about drivers doing things that annoy me, I am slow to anger. It helps me be mentally and emotionally stable.
My greatest weakness… crab thermidor.
Okay, seriously, my greatest weakness is probably my social ineptitude. I do not do small talk well. I am not the most tactful of people (though I am trying to improve this). My social ineptitude stands in my way sometimes. And I am reluctant to do much to change it, because I am, frankly, comfortable being direct and honest, and I see being more sociable as something that would require me to change that.
Day 3 of answering questions posed by Diane Owens.
Which emotion is stronger, love or hate? Why?
I believe which is stronger depends entirely on the individual. It is like the old two dogs or wolves story. Which one is stronger will depend on which one the person feeds the most.
As individuals we choose which emotions we feed. True, some emotions are felt as automatic reactions to things outside our control. But we can feed anger or resentment or envy and let these things fester into hate, or we can feed forgiveness and love and let them prevent hate.
Some people are, unfortunately, taught to hate. That kind of hate can be difficult to overcome. Even so, if the individual recognizes his hate and chooses to make the effort to overcome it, he can do so in time.
The version of the two dogs story that I heard first, in case you were wondering, goes something like this: There was a villager who had two dogs, a black one and a white one. Every week, he would bring his dogs to the village square to fight each other, and he took bets on which one would win. The dog owner always knew which one would win, and people wondered how he knew. Eventually he explained his secret. “Sometimes I will feed one and starve the other,” he said. “And the one I feed most will win.”
There are other versions of the story, and you can find them online.
Of course we can also, to a limited extent, feed these emotions in others. We can feed love in children or friends or subs or Doms. We do this by treating them with respect and kindness and love. That will take different forms with different people, but the principle is the same for all.
The point being, if you want love in you and around you, then you have to feed love in and around you. If you want love to overcome hate, then feed love and starve hate. Accept people as individuals. Avoid “us versus them” mentalities. Learn forgiveness. Give generously. When you feed love most, love will prevail.
While taking a look around (at/for what you’ll just have to imagine) I came across a blog called In My Opinion. There I found a post wherein the author of said blog addresses the question “What makes a strong/powerful woman?” My only criticism is that the list of women she gave did not include anyone like Rose Wilder Lane or Isabel Paterson. But that maybe more my bias than hers.
Anyway, in the post the author says this:
While I write these words I can almost see my dad’s eyes rolling in my mind. I have never asked my dad if he thinks that men are dominant to women. I think I have never asked because I was unsure if I really wanted to know the answer. I love my dad with every part of my being but there is a HUGE generation gap between us (he is 74 and I am 33). Times have changed and our viewpoints just don’t seem to match up on a lot. He may never express it (which I respect him for) but I have a sneaking suspicion that my dad thinks the woman’s place is in the home….cooking, cleaning and taking care of children. This is what he knew for a large portion of his life…this was the role of most women at the time he was growing up. He has now raised a daughter that has none of those interests whatsoever. I was the child to always push the envelope and fight societal norms as hard as I could.
That made me smile a little bit. But also the mention of the word dominant brought to mind the fact that I am Dominant. Not for hire. I don’t do that. It’s just something I am. I am also tall, a fan of intelligent sci-fi and someone who enjoys fresh seafood. I have mentioned being a Dominant here before, but I don’t talk about it much because it is not a big deal. Anyway, so as the female author of the aforementioned post spoke of “the woman’s place,” I thought: it is where she wants it to be.
And then I thought: I wonder how many people could grasp that notion. A feminist Dominant. It seems not strange to me, but then, I am libertarian. Strange is subjective.
Being libertarian is perhaps the key there, I think. I believe in people being free to choose for themselves. Being Dominant does not mean I think all women should be subjugated. However fun that might be (kidding, sort of), I firmly believe people have to be free to discover themselves and make their own choices. Men, women, brown, pale, hetero, homo, bi, bald, even people who like the Hallmark channel.
But if I am a Dominant, doesn’t that mean I expect women to submit? Not unless she wants to. Some people like conflict. I prefer peace and liberty. I’m not saying for a woman who submits there are not rules or that there is no punishment for disobedience. Of course there is. What I am saying is that I will not force anyone to submit. Besides forcing someone to submit being unethical and generally immoral and probably illegal, my job is not to tell you what to want. I can help you figure that out, but I cannot define you. That is up to you.
Which is not to say I think the author of the aforementioned post is someone who would or should submit to a Dominant. I do not know enough about her to say. Besides which, this post is not about her. It is about my thoughts. So do not think I am commenting on her personally, because I am not.
So what about men being dominant? Some men are. Some men are not. Some women are dominant. Some are not. Some people learn dominant behavior. Some people are simply naturally dominant. Some people are naturally submissive. Neither is better than the other. Neither is truly stronger than the other. Both roles require strength to be performed well. Both require a willingness to listen and communicate honestly to be performed well.
Make no mistake, I am not talking about a guy who abuses his significant other and/or expects her to do everything while he does nothing. I’m talking about a relationship which elevates all parties involved. I’m talking about a healthy relationship involving trust, communication and honesty. I am talking about a relationship wherein the Dominant and the submissive each have responsibilities toward the other.
But perhaps I should leave further discussion of that for another time.
Someone mentioned to me the other day something about a scene in a book called Fifty Shades of Grey. It sounded intriguing. And then my mind moved on to other things. Earlier today, my Google News page listed articles about this book. Didn’t someone mention that the other day, I thought. Yeah. So what is this? I clicked a few links, and it gets more interesting by the minute.
I don’t mean the book. I have not read it, nor even purchased a copy. But the news about this is interesting. More interesting still are the opinion articles that seek to condemn the book.
Apparently the book is a novel about a woman who ends up in a Dominance/submission relationship with a man. And not a mild one either. Apparently this novel includes some explicit BDSM scenes. The interesting part is that the relationship is not, as seems typical in fiction of various sorts these days, a Dominatrix and a man who wants to be abused. Rather this Fifty Shades of Grey book is about a woman who chooses to submit to a man as he seeks to control her almost completely, if the descriptions of the book are to be believed.
And apparently the popularity of this book has some women scared. Several of the links via Google were to opinion pieces that were swift to insist that the book was somehow a setback for feminism. Whitney Frink, over at msnbc.com, says
Some argue that the storyline (and graphic sex, no doubt) provides escapism for its readers. I would have no problem with this rationale if the book wasn’t gaining popularity on the idea that it’s both fun (“mommy porn”) and positive (“a true love story”).
I’m no Gloria Steinem (I do like a door held for me once in a while), but the feminist in me was clawing to get out as I read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” If S&M is your thing, be my guest. If vapid books are your thing, to each their own. If it helps awaken your bedroom imagination, so be it. But let’s not tout this book as anything other than the big step backwards that it is.
She does not actually explain why someone should not find the book fun and romantic. She just seems to assume everyone would agree a book about a woman submitting to a man is a “big step backwards.” Though why is it is a step backwards she also does not explain.
Gina Barreca at the Hartford Courant says,
Women are pretending that they are the virginal heroine (with the all-too common name of “Anastasia Steele” — don’t you know, like, 12 women with that name?) whom he chooses as his object of desire.
Except “desire” is maybe not the right word for it: maybe “target” or “victim” would be more accurate.
And maybe “bondage” is a just sexy word for “degradation.”
1) I don’t know many women named Katie Scarlett O’Hara either. Sheesh. 2) Clearly this woman feels threatened by the book. Or at least its popularity. Apparently she is one of those feminists who cannot fathom why a woman might choose to submit. Indeed, that a woman might choose that offends her sense of feminism. She starts her column with this:
A hundred years of the women’s movement and what do we have? Women sneaking off to read “mommy porn” on their Nooks.
Wouldn’t our suffragette grandmothers be proud?
Why women choosing their own sexual fantasies and/or lifestyle is somehow anti-suffrage, Ms. Barrecca never explains.
This book must be some kind of awesome to have some women so afraid of it.
But Ms. Barreca lives in a strange place. She says also,
Women are encouraged by our culture to look for men who will provide them with an identity, even if that identity is “slave.”
They are? Where is this going on? Somewhere this must be, because over at Salon.com (where Tracy Clark-Flory talked to Dominatrices about the book) is this quote:
[Melissa] Febos, who considers herself a feminist and also has submissive fantasies, says, “I still live in a culture that floods my consciousness with instructions to be a passive, sexual object; that my only power rests in my sexuality as defined by men’s desire,” she says. [sic]
Where do these women live? In the 1950s? In the U.S. culture of 2012, images of strong women are everywhere. Very nearly the only BDSM images one ever sees in the mainstream media are of Dominatrices punishing men. There are strong women in comedies, crime dramas, sci-fi, fantasy, medical dramas. Some of the most popular authors of our day are women. Women hold places of power in politics and corporations. Yeah, I know, it’s still a male dominated society, but don’t tell me females are not told be strong independent women all the time, all over the place. Because they are.
Any feminism that does not allow for women to voluntarily choose to submit in a non-abusive relationship is not feminism. If women are to be free to choose their own lives and free to own their sexuality, then we cannot also say to them, “but these choices are unacceptable and if you choose one or more of them then there is something wrong with you.” Why should we not say that to them? Because that would just exchange one kind of paternalism for another.
I suggest those who frown upon submissive women should try not to be afraid of strong women. There is more to strength than being bossy. And not all bossy women are strong, just at not all bossy men are strong. If what I am saying offends you, I suggest further that is your problem, not mine.