Ritchie, Ani and Barker, Meg
Feminist SM: A contradiction in terms or a way of challenging traditional gendered dynamics through sexual practice?
Lesbian and Gay Psychology Review, 6(3) pp. 227–239.
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Much academic literature on SM (sadomasochism) still portrays it as anti-feminist with authors arguing that, for example, SM reproduces and reinforces heterosexual gendered hierarchies and power imbalances. This study explored how women who identify as SMers understand and explain their practices in relation to feminist principles and gendered dynamics. An in-depth focus group discussion was conducted with a group of women who practice SM. Participants were involved in designing and managing the discussion and in analysing the transcripts. It is clear that these women did not perceive their SM practices to be necessarily incompatible with a feminist agenda. The potential for SM scenes to subvert or reveal traditional gendered dynamics was discussed and themes of distinguishing fantasy from reality and the importance of choice emerged.
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