|Bitch Goddesses All the Way Down|
|Written by Amanda Gannon|
|Tuesday, 15 November 2011 05:11|
The woman as bitch goddess is revered and feared precisely because she is aberrant. Dystopian fantasies about planets full of high-heeled space vixens are powerful, popular, and perennial because they are driven not just by a reversal or alteration of how things are, but by a very real fear of dangerous women.
The fear is a huge part of the arousing nature of that fantasy. If dominant women were considered a subset of normal, instead of considered deviants from normal, it would not look the same. It still would be a powerful fantasy, just not as powerful, and I think it would make up proportionally less of the fem-dom fantasies.
There's nothing wrong with that fantasy, of course. As I have said many times, your kink is your kink, and we have very little control over what gets us.
My point is that the popular image of dominant women relies on an image of them that in turn relies on Othering of women. You can't have the dreaded, cold, remote punishatrix without the "distant" part . . . without keeping her at a distance.
That bothers the shit out of me. Though we are coming around slowly, our society already views women as the "other" sex, even if that's benevolently casting them as the "fairer" sex, or in the case of ball-busting leather bitches, the fiercer sex. It's never "Hey, some women like giving orders or providing pain, just like some men do. It must be a human thing." It's "Chicks who act like dominant men are aberrant and terrifying and the wrongness of their behavior is rampagingly sexy." Girls suck at math.
And it often kind of by accident ignores the fact that the women who do want this not only exist, but are just as painfully human as anyone else. And what they want is not necessarily what the people who fetishize them want, because the fetish has, for so long, not been defined by women. It has been largely inhabited by women who match a standard they did not set. Women who don't match often don't join the scene, because they don't realize there's anything there for them.
Again, and as always, the fantasy itself is not bad, or indicative of any defect of character. Heck, I share it; harsh women get me hot, I completely understand. What I am railing against, what I am always railing against, is the way that fem-dom is depicted as one monolithic thing: Woman Untamed, woman as she exists in the wild, primal ur-woman, gatekeeper of the almighty pussy, the woman whose word is law, and who has the power to grant or withhold pleasure according to her whim. Which is not a fantasy about a real woman, or even dominant women in general. It's a fantasy about some roles some dominant woman can take.
A little of this is a good thing. Too much is too much. When it's nearly the only thing that's offered, it's unconscionable. It's like being told you can choose between thirty-one flavors of ice cream, but when you get right down to it, they all happen to taste like chocolate.
This painting of the archetypal image of Woman as Dominant Goddess . . . it is a reversal of the male-dom status quo (which is, make no mistake, a knee-weakeningly sexy thing – the male-dom part, not the fact that it's the status-quo), but it isn't depicted as one alternative among many, it is depicted as the alternative, and relatively little attention is given to the many, many other ways that female dominance might express itself. It is a fantasy driven for the most part by people who are not the dominant woman. That obscures or outright excludes the dominant woman's own fantasies, which are assumed to be in line with what these people, mostly men, want. In reality, it just isn't so. And while there's nothing wrong with the image of the punishing bitch goddess per se, most depictions of female dominance I see are depictions of this woman, or of her immediate sisters, variations of her like reflections in paired mirrors. Bitch goddesses, all the way down.
The landscape from her point of view is seldom explored. And I think that is what we need to do.
So how do we go about doing it?
I think talking about it is a good start.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 05:13|