Against Sadomasochism

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Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis
Against Sadomasochism.jpg
Author Robin Ruth Linden (editor)
Alice Walker
Robin Morgan
Kathleen Barry
Diana E. H. Russell
Susan Leigh Star
Ti-Grace Atkinson
John Stoltenberg
Sarah Lucia Hoagland
Susan Griffin
Cheri Lesh
Judith Butler
Audre Lorde
Subject Sadomasochism, Radical feminism
Genre Anthology
Publisher Frog in the Well
Publication date
1982
Media type Print
Pages 212
ISBN 0-960-36283-5
OCLC 7877113

Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis is a 1982 radical feminist anthology edited by Robin Ruth Linden, Darlene R. Pagano, Diana E. H. Russell, and Susan Leigh Star. The authors critique sadomasochism and BDSM from a feminist perspective, with most identifying sadomasochism as rooted in "patriarchal sexual ideology".[1]

Summary[edit]

The compilation includes essays by a variety of radical feminists such as Alice Walker, Robin Morgan, Kathleen Barry, Diana E. H. Russell, Susan Leigh Star, Ti-Grace Atkinson, John Stoltenberg, Sarah Lucia Hoagland, Susan Griffin, Cheri Lesh, and Judith Butler. The anthology also includes an interview between Audre Lorde and Susan Leigh Star. The essays express opposition to sadomasochism from a number of different viewpoints. Three pieces, a letter by Alice Walker, the interview with Audre Lorde, and a conversation between Karen Sims and Rose Mason, criticize the movement as insensitive to the experiences of Black women, particularly critizing "master/slave" relationships.[2][3] Susan Leigh Star criticizes the use of swastikas and other Nazi imagery by certain BDSM practitioners as anti-Semitic and racist.[4] Marissa Jonel and Elizabeth Harris's articles are accounts of personal experiences with sadomasochism, and Paula Tiklicorect and Melissa Bay Mathis use satire in their pieces. Several essays criticize Samois, a BDSM organization founded by and for lesbians. Susan Griffin's article, reprinted from her book Pornography and Silence with an introduction, criticizes The Story of O, the book from which Samois took their name. Griffin argues that The Story of O shows "how a pornographic society turns a woman's heart against herself."[5]

Analysis[edit]

Judith Butler, credited in the collection as "Judy Butler," criticized sadomasochism and the Samois collective in her essay in the collection "Lesbian S&M: The Politics of Dis-Illusion." However, by her 1990 book Gender Trouble she had changed her position, citing the Samois collective's publication Coming to Power, to which Against Sadomasochism was a response.[6][7] In Gender Trouble Butler argues that because all sexuality is constructed within existing patriarchal power relations, it is "politically impracticable" to seek a sexuality that operates outside of power. Instead, Butler advocates for the "displacement" of power relations in sexuality, looking for subversion "within the terms of power itself."[8]

Reception[edit]

In a review for lesbian feminist magazine off our backs, carol anne douglas highly recommended the book, praising its arguments convincing and calling parts of the book "moving."[9] Charles Moser wrote a negative review for The Journal of Sex Research, admitting that the essays are "well-written" but nonetheless calling the book "infuriating." Moser compares the feminist arguments against sadomasochism in the book to religious arguments against homosexuality, saying both of these cause unnecessary guilt.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Murphy, Timothy (2000). Reader's Guide to Lesbian and Gay Studies. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. p. 467. ISBN 1-57958-142-0. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ Rich, B. Ruby (1998). Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film Movement. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. p. 368. ISBN 0-82232-121-1. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ Sims, Karen; Mason, Rose; Pagano, Darlene (1982). "Racism and Sadomasochism: A Conversation with Two Black Lesbians". In Linden, Robin Ruth; Pagano, Darlene R.; Russell, Diana E. H. et al. Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis. San Francisco: Frog in the Well. pp. 99–105. 
  4. ^ Star, Susan Leigh (1982). "Swastikas: The Street and the University". In Linden, Robin Ruth; Pagano, Darlene P.; Russell, Diana E. H. et al. Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis. San Francisco: Frog in the Well. pp. 131–6. 
  5. ^ Griffin, Susan (1982). "Sadomasochism and the Erosion of Self: A Critical Reading of Story of O". In Linden, Robin Ruth; Pagano, Darlene R.; Russell, Diana E. H. et al. Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis. San Francisco: Frog in the Well. pp. 184–201. 
  6. ^ Butler, Judith (1999). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. p. 201. 
  7. ^ a b Moser, Charles (Nov 1984). "Book Review". The Journal of Sex Research 20 (4): 417–9. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Butler, Judith (1999). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. pp. 39–41. 
  9. ^ douglas, carol anne (February 1984). "against sadomasochism: a radical feminist analysis". off our backs 14 (2): 25. Retrieved 29 July 2015.