BDSM as Performance: The Experience of Empowerment in the ‘Submissive’ Role

Title: BDSM as Performance: The Experience of Empowerment in the ‘Submissive’ Role
Authors: Cinquino, Vanessa
Date: 2020
Abstract: Performing sexual identities that go beyond westernized heteronormative ideals encourage creative perspectives on how sexuality, pleasure and desire can be achieved. Within the sexual subculture of BDSM, submissive performativity is part of a co-dependent dynamic between the dominant and the submissive. This leads me to question how such submissive performances can elicit feelings of empowerment for the submissive. I argue that submissive performativity feels empowering because it creates contrived power exchanges that are a meaningful part of a submissive’s subjective reality. I use Goffman’s dramaturgical perspective on social interactions to analyze the importance of performing these sexual roles, along with discussing Foucault’s ideas on sadomasochism and manufactured power-dynamics crucial to the dominant/submissive exchange.
CollectionÉtudes sociologiques et anthropologiques - Mémoires // Sociological and Anthropological Studies - Research Papers