I am all for female self-awareness, empowerment and sexual liberation, especially when most of us are brought up in a culture that doesn’t make much room for open and honest discussions in regards to our bodies (my fellow Muslimahs, you know what I’m getting at).
So when I witness young girls actively seeking information on topics relating to relationships and sex, it gives me hope. They, we, should be informed. How else can we know that saying “yes” and “no” is in our right? How else can we learn to value ourselves and learn to recognize mistreatment when we witness or experience it? Because young adult novels geared toward the demographic aren’t always the best and most realistic source of information on the topics.
Then “Fifty Shades of Grey” came along and every fiber in my being cringed.
Besides being a terrible concoction of writing, metaphors and romanticized abuse, it did open up the topic of BDSM, albeit in ways the community who practiced it deemed inaccurate.
So, what is BDSM?
Put simply, they are acts that constitute a variety of physical actions, including submission, sadism, bondage, dominance and more.
Modern day BDSM holds to the philosophy of SSC, or “Safe, Sane and Consensual.” In other words, both parties agree to what acts are acceptable and if, at any point, a line is crossed, or an individual wants to stop, then they have a “safe” word.
But it is unrealistic to say that there are people who would not use this to their advantage and actually hurt women.
And when one looks at the history of BDSM, it does not surprise. Misogyny is at its core.
Marquis de Sade, an 18th century French Aristocrat and politician, was known for his erotic works, which were riddled with violent pornographic fantasies. He is given the most credit as being the father of this movement, which begs the question:
Sade was a known serial rapist and pedophile, knowing this, how can one assume that acts derived from his lifestyle are safe and respectful of the female body?
I have heard so many arguments in support of this and pornography, much of which has the words “freedom” and “sexual liberation” thrown into it.
And I acknowledge that women and men can perform deviant acts under consent.
But the reality is, this kind of pseudo-sexual-liberalism and blind acceptance of such things creates a world where “NO” doesn’t mean crap to the other party, to the point that a story where a man gets a girl drunk enough to rape her is considered “sexy” and bestselling.
By: Rehnuma Majid, Layali’s Film Columnist.