Last post, I looked at how BDSM can be used to work through abuse. But what of those who want to use BDSM to move on from, not replay, traumatic pasts? Today, I'm thinking about the difficulty of shedding the "victim" label when an abuse survivor chooses to be kinky...
The female dominant (domme, dominatrix, domina, mistress, etc.) may appear to be a more defendable BDSM stereotype than that of the female submissive. On the surface, fem-doms invert negative stereotypes about female sexuality and the "female" personality. They are women who take control, who behave aggressively, who know what they want and demand it with force if necessary. In other words, they take on characteristics traditionally seen as "male." But while they may be accused of letting feminism down less often than their submissive sisters, dommes have it just as rough when it comes to the media.
What makes a work feminist? It's worth answering that before we begin. In some circles, depicting strong female characters resisting sexism is feminist. That's not enough for me. To qualify as a feminist work, I think that something actively needs to include an anti-oppression message, not just an anti-sexist one. A feminist work is one that challenges beliefs and attitudes about race, culture, gender, sexuality, disability, and much, much more. Not necessarily all in the same work or all at the same time, mind you, but I don't give a passing grade to works that are anti-sexist while conveying other -isms.
Your mileage may vary, and for the purposes of these evaluations, I'm looking at work that is considered feminist by society in general, not necessarily by my own standards, which means that these works might not pass my own personal litmus test. Or yours!