Sarah Irby, Editor in Chief~

Have you ever had an internal battle involving a set of beliefs you have versus your deviation from those beliefs—a real conundrum that causes uncomfortable amounts of cognitive dissonance?

Yeah, you’re probably wondering what in the world I’m going on about, but let me give you an example: You’re a feminist who likes being submissive in the sack. How do you reconcile that with yourself?

Feminism has become a dirty word to many people nowadays, and I’ve certainly had guys I was involved with accuse me of hating menwhich is just absurd because I certainly wouldn’t let anyone I hate in my pants.

When it comes to BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism) and feminism, the views vary across the board. Some feminists see it as a type of violence or hatred toward women, while others see it as a form of female empowerment or expression of sexuality. While there are some exceptions, I have to say that I tend to be of the latter opinion.

Some (or maybe most) of you are probably under the impression that BDSM is degrading and heinous. In reality, it’s all about consent and what you’re into.

Just because I don’t want a man dominating me in everyday society doesn’t mean I don’t like it in the bedroom. A woman isn’t any less of a woman, any less of a feminist, any less powerful just because of her sexual preferences. BDSM is a kink, just like anything else. And hey, don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

Maybe you’re asking yourself how having a man’s hands around your neck could possibly be empowering. It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes it feels good to let a man think he has the advantage.

Illustration by Genevieve Griffin

Women are supposed to be weak, and your acceptance of his dominance might be a sign to him that that’s true. But not really, because you like it. In reality you’re in control because you’re getting what you want, while internally snickering at how he thinks he’s got you wrapped around his finger.

That’s control. And I think that’s what’s so appealing about it. You’re simultaneously in control and not, but you’re the only one who knows it. It’s like your very own little secret.

I personally don’t find BDSM degrading as a feminist because, if it’s happening, it’s because we both want it to. If someone is actually trying to diminish me and put me in my place, I know. You immediately get a bad vibe and know that something is off. That’s when it isn’t okay. That’s when it bothers me as a feminist.

So back to my earlier question: How do you reconcile these feelings with yourself? Answer: You don’t. Well, not really. If you’re in this boat, you just have to come to terms with the fact that you’re a human being with a diverse range of beliefs. Feminism is about social equality between the sexes. It has nothing to do with what you’re into sexually. With that being said, get out there, and do your thing, and try not to get too tied up in the complexities of it all. And yes, pun definitely intended.