A third accomplishment through the BDSM performances is the consensual exchanges of power, and the ability to take on a power role that may be the opposite of what one has been forced into in their daily life. This is not only powerful for those participating, but can be emotionally moving for those who witness it. I believe that this is the main difference between those who practice BDSM privately, and those who are willing to put on a more public performance, although it is still hidden from mainstream dominant culture. This is illustrated in a quote from panther, in Techniques of Pleasure:
For a lot of people, BDSM is not about whips and chains, it's about control, it's about power exchange. I think there are a lot of people who can relate to the power exchange: losing control, who holds the remote, who holds the checkbook, who chooses the radio station, who is driving, who decides where we're eating, where we're going on vacation. It's like the classic joke: 'we know who wears the pants in that family' or 'she knows her place.' (Weiss 143)
These performances fly in the face of dominance and oppression. The practitioners negotiate terms, set up safe words, and the one in the submissive role has the option to set up safe words and end a situation at any time. Although the BDSM subculture does perpetuate certain aspects of the dominant mainstream hegemonic culture, such as being full of primarily white people, and mostly men filling the dominant roles, the choice to participate in the performances or not, and witness or not, makes it transgressive. Perhaps most interesting at all, some BDSM practitioners reenact traumatic events from earlier in life as a way to take back control over what happened to...
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...s a subculture isn't hurting anyone, and making people happy or helping oneself or others in some way, it is clearly effective, whether or not the goal is to be resistant.
Brophy, James M. "Mirth and Subversion: Carnival in Cologne." History Today 1 July 1997: n. pag. Print.
DeChaine, Robert. "Mapping Subversion: Queercore Music's Playful Discourse of Resistance." Popular Music and Society (1997): 7-37. Web.
Haenfler, Ross. Goths, Gamers, and Grrrls: Deviance and Youth Subcultures. New York: Oxford UP, 2010. Print.
Pitts-Taylor, Victoria. In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. PDF.
Scott, James C. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven: Yale UP, 1990. Print.
Weiss, Margot Danielle. Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality. Durham: Duke UP, 2011. Print.