Monday, April 11, 2011

Momentum, Part One.

Now that I’ve had a few days to unwind, catch up, and take care of my taxes, I thought I’d start talking about Momentum. What it meant to me. What I learned about myself. And what I took away from it.

There are bound to be many blog posts written about it. That is, after all, one of the best things about media. Letting others tell you about their experiences, with their own points of view and what resonated with them. I’ll do my best to retweet links as I find them, and if you’re interested in Momentumcon 2012, you might wish to join the forum
There is also a Fetlife group and you can always search the hashtag on twitter: #mcon.

My experience as both a presenter and attendee began even before I stepped my foot into the hotel. I spent many months researching what I was going to use in my own presentation. Talking to others about their experiences and learning about all of the other presenters. I read thousands of blog posts, articles, and stories from these people ranging from gender to sex work to kink to sexuality. I listened. I learned. And I had a world open up to me. One that I’d been content to sit on the sidelines and enjoy, but never thinking my voice mattered amongst the crowd. I didn’t have a degree in women’s studies or sexuality. I’m cis-gendered, heterosexual and therefore I didn’t have much in the way of experiencing anything else. I never thought overmuch about porn or sex workers. I denied I wrote a sex blog, instead calling it a relationship blog because I only sometimes wrote about sex. I was content to just experience my kinks, in the way I was comfortable with, and if I didn’t really understand anything else, I was ok with that.

Before Momentumcon.

A long time ago, when I first discovered my kinks, it wasn’t that great of an experience. I’d had a hard time learning. I’ve written a little about it before, and about how it took help to figure out that I wasn’t crazy. I struggled with mixed messages given to me by society and most especially television. I think this is one of the main reasons why I no longer watch TV. I dislike the fact that to be thought of as a strong woman, you cannot be a submissive one. Ever. Not even situationally. Not even (and maybe not especially) in a relationship.

But even all these years later, I realized that I still had a lot of shame left. Shame about being a masochist and “letting men hit me”. Shame about liking sex and porn and kink. Shame of being found out that who I was, didn’t fit in with what my mother and nearly every other non-kinky woman I might meet, thought about who I should be.

It should come as no surprise that one of the sessions I attended was Princess Kali’s. I have made no secret that I admire her greatly. I admire her vivaciousness. Her ability to understand people. Her unabashed kinkiness. But mostly I admire her because she’s a woman who knows what she wants and gets it and doesn't apologize for it. I admire her so much, then when I suffered panic just before teaching my very first class a couple of years ago, the only way I got through it was to roleplay Princess Kali. She still has better shoes though ::wink::

Her session was called Women Taking Power: D/s dynamic as Feminism.

Every woman has a right to choose what their experience of sexuality is, though many women struggle with fitting their desire to be submissive or dominant into their philosophy of feminism. This class will address the process that each woman goes through to claim their own power, regardless of which side of the D/s dynamic she prefers.

I went into the session expecting that I’d hear about how it’s “more acceptable” to be a dominant female than a submissive one. I’d been expecting to hear that feminists would count me out of the club simply because I wasn't one. I’d wondered if she could provide any insight on the dichotomy that I still sometimes feel from others which usually manifests as “you’re JUST a submissive”. The old “domleh dom” behavior I see all to frequently. As if being around submissives is a game to see who can get the little subbie to do XYZ the fastest”. Kinky people are sometimes the worst bigots to other kinky people. We eat our own pretty frequently too.

I listened to Kali talk about the waves of feminism and how they’ve been turned over time. From having the “same rights as men” to “being just like men”, to being an outcast because some of us choose to have the rights of men, but also choose to fulfill ourselves in a role which we find satisfying. As a submissive. I equate this to the “stay-at-home” mommy thing. It’s come so far around that making a choice for yourself, among all of the available life choices, to be a stay at home mommy, means that one is somehow betraying all other women.

If you don’t call bullshit here, I’ll do it for you.

Everyone “gets” the concept of a dominant female. That’s “good”. That’s “normal”. That’s “expected”. But being a submissive one...all too often I feel the weight of feminism and my mother on my back. By what right does anyone have to choose my path to happiness? Whether in the guise of feminism or not? Three phrases that stuck in my mind from Princess_Kali’s session are below:

Feminism is about expressing your own experience and going with that.

We don't have to choose one. We can be greedy sluts.

Even open minded people don't necessarily understand.

I like the way those phrases go together. They work for me in a way that lets me enjoy who I am, what I like and how I wish to live. And it gives me a power and a strength to understand that not everyone is going to “get it”. It may be my option to try to help them understand, but if they can’t see that I’m stronger as a woman BECAUSE I submit to Septimus, then fuck ‘em. (Sorry, I'm having a Popeye moment :)

And finally, the last soundbite that got to me, is something that Septimus has said time and time again, albeit in a different way:

When a strong person chooses to submit to you, you should pat yourself on the back.

Kali takes nothing for granted. Not her good fortune in doing what she loves nor the devotion of her submissives Learning that for me, knowing that a woman I admire so much, admires the other side of the slash, made me want to do her dishes. She’s a role model I can comfortably emulate, not just roleplay. And if she ever does this session again, anywhere, I suggest you find a way to attend.

Even if she is a dominant ::wink::

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