I enjoyed Quizzical Mama's new post on the Good Vibes Blog, 50 Shades of Obsessing with Spanking. Although the current popular enthusiasm for all things kinky is positive in a lot of ways, like most politically-minded kinksters she's aware that the trilogy "lacks a more reflective, playful approach to power and submission". Unlike, say, feminist spanking porn...
What intrigues me is how some of the female porn makers I look at in my book After Pornified: How Women Are Transforming Pornography & Why It Really Matters appropriate and play with power and submission fantasies. In consensual play with erotic fantasies, no matter how stereotypical and cliché, we do not bind ourselves to the fantasy but free ourselves from its hold, creating room for something different.
Where perhaps domination and submission is replaced by power as a creative energy. Where erotic fantasies feed on new understandings of gender that do not rest on old-fashioned gender stereotypes that cast women as submissive and passive and men as dominant and active.
It's hard to avoid, when reading articles like this, using them as a checklist to measure my work against. And it's always a relief, as with this one, to discover that my own ideas about how to make spanking porn feminist resonate with those of other progressive thinkers.
The distinction QuizzicalMama makes between "active/passive" and "dominant/submissive" is an important one. One of the stories I've been trying to tell in a lot of my recent films is that of active submission, self-determined submission, submission that's sought out by an empowered, self-aware individual because it brings them happiness. Submission doesn't have to be imposed from outside; consensual submission is the free choice of an independent agent, who benefits enough from it to continually re-make that choice.
Likewise, I'm passionate about re-modelling dominant and submissive as roles that are detached from physical sex and gender identity. Dominance can be feminine, and it doesn't have to look like the latex-clad stereotype, either. Submission can be masculine, and honourable, and brave, whatever your gender. And both roles can be complex, layered, interleaved. The same person can be both, and do both at different times, or at the same time in different ways.
Since I started identifying as a switch I've become increasingly enthusiastic about representing switches in spanking video. Many kinky performers are switches, but in most scenes they are only asked to do one or the other. Switch scenes, in which one or both partners play both roles, are much rarer. I'll be filming more of those this autumn and winter, and as always, scenario ideas are very welcome.