Thinking Kink

The Collision of BDSM, Feminism and Popular Culture


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About the Book

When the mildly kink-themed trilogy 50 Shades of Grey became popular reading in 2012, the media speculated that feminism was in reverse, as the public went mad over bondage and discipline, domination and submission and sadomasochism (BDSM). The novels provoked academic debate about BDSM and the issues it raises for feminists. Is the female dominant truly powerful or is she just another objectified body? Does lesbian BDSM avoid the problematic nature of heterosexual kink, or is it actually more subject to the “male gaze” of feminist theory? And what is it about kink that has creators of pop culture—from Anne Rice to the producers of Scrubs—using it to attract audiences? Examining the tropes of kink in books, TV shows, film and the music industry, this work addresses these and other questions that depictions of BDSM raise for the feminist audience. The author interweaves her own research and experiences in the BDSM scene with the subculture’s portrayal in the media. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

The late Catherine Scott was a freelance writer from Great Britain. She wrote for Ms. magazine, The Daily Telegraph and the Times Literary Supplement.

Bibliographic Details

Catherine Scott
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 22 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9863-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2039-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
1. Subversive or Complicit? The Female Dominant 9
2. Brave or Pathetic? Masculinity’s Troubled Relationship with the Male Submissive 29
3. Who’s Vanilla, Who’s Edgy and Why It Matters: The Mainstreaming of Kink 48
4. Billionaires, Bullies and Lost Boys: The Male Dominant 63
5. Safe Words: BDSM and the Concept of Consent 85
6. A Heavy Load to Bear: Feminism and the Submissive Female 101
7. Dykes, Daddies and Drag Queens: How BDSM and LGBT People Are Portrayed 130
8. Consumerism, Switches and Abuse: Different Faces of BDSM 156
9. Blinding Whiteness? Race and BDSM 180
Afterword 201
Chapter Notes 207
Bibliography 215
Index 217