In the News with #MeToo, BDSM, and Active Consent

In the News with #MeToo, BDSM, and Active Consent

  Silent-Nude Woman in Bdsm Fetish Style . Photographer: ©William Langeveld – Netherlands

Silent-Nude Woman in Bdsm Fetish Style. Photographer: ©William Langeveld – Netherlands

In the News with #MeToo, BDSM, and Active Consent

By Emma Coyle 

Historically there has been a lot of confusion between BDSM and non-consensual activity in the bedroom. Which is perhaps why there was such an uproar about popular movies like Fifty Shades of Grey from the BDSM community and how it inaccurately portrayed their lifestyle and relationships. Power dynamics can become problematic or get in the way of clear consent. Those with less power in a given situation might feel pressured to perform consent to maintain their relationship or to comply with cultural norms regarding sex. This has been an active part of the message that the #MeToo movement has been able to make an aspect of the cultural conversation.

Eric Schneiderman, the former New York Attorney General, has recently been a target of the #MeToo movement, of which he has previously been an vocal supporter, for physically abusing women. In statements quoted in the The New Yorker he attests that any and all sexual activity was consensual. As a very powerful man, it is easy to believe that he exploited that dynamic to coerce consent from those he was engaging with. He is described as violently slapping women, choking them, bruising them, and calling them abusive names. All of those actions would be perfectly acceptable if the relationship was truly consensual, if he complied with the ideals of the BDSM community, of which he seems to be implying membership. If he sought enthusiastic consent from the women that he was with in each encounter that he had with them. To clear up any confusion, abusive behavior is not and never has been an aspect of BDSM. And for Schneiderman to insinuate that the alleged abuse could be consensual is a mockery. 

In protest against Eric Schneiderman, abuse, and incorrect comparisons between abuse and consensual relationships, I am using this opportunity to highlight the photography of William Langeveld from the Netherlands. He is known for his extensive work photographing the BDSM community with his wife Lottie Langeveld. His work shows the compassion that should be a central component to any sexual situation. Silent-Nude Woman in Bdsm Fetish Style is a blending between art and fashion. The figure’s relaxed muscles and hands show her comfort and ease, an Aphrodite-like pose softening the assumed harshness of the restraints. This is her choice, something she had consented to, and she is clearly not coerced. 

PSA:

“No means No” isn’t enough and puts the burden on the less powerful person in the situation, typically a situation that they already feel is out of their control. Risk analysis of those moments can lead the party with less power to decide to go along with a situation where it may be more dangerous to confront the other person. Consent should always be an enthusiastic “Yes means Yes” with no exceptions. 

If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation and need someone to talk with, please consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at :

1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or

1-800-787-3224 (TTY for Deaf/Hard of Hearing)

May is National Photography Month!

May is National Photography Month!

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