Gender and BDSM revisited: reflections on a decade of researching kink communities

Barker, Meg (2013). Gender and BDSM revisited: reflections on a decade of researching kink communities. Psychology of Women Section Review, 15(2) pp. 20–28.

URL: https://www.dora.dmu.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/2086/9...

Abstract

This paper reflects upon the ways in which my understandings of BDSM and gender have shifted over the past 10 years of studying kink communities. I begin with my early work on women who identified with both BDSM and feminism, and how they presented their positions. Then I touch upon ethical issues of how we research precarious communities, and our role as researchers in making certain narratives available or not. Following this, I summarise an analysis of a BDSM blog which complicates common views of female domination, and raises important questions about gender in kink communities. Finally I mention my most recent work on shifting understandings of consent within kink communities, and how these are in line with certain strands of feminist thought, pointing to important directions for future research. Throughout the paper I endeavour to draw out implications both for research practice and for how we understand the operation of gender and power in kink communities and beyond.

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