My recent post about bdsm knowledge is getting a lot of hits, so I thought I’d write a little note about representing bdsm in my comic. Representing any marginalized group is a tricky endeavour and it’s why I wrote the following disclaimer on TBOM’s introductory page:
While there are many common elements between TBOM’s sexual scenes and what one might find in bdsm practice, the story is about a young woman’s idiosyncratic sexual fantasy life and is not meant to represent the real life power negotiations of bdsm practitioners, consenting adults who are drawing upon the rich culture and history of a large and diverse community.
To be clear, I don’t have much interest in policing the boundaries of what constitutes “real” bdsm or not. I don’t care for people who sniff at others who mainly enjoy the aesthetic of SM (i.e. Stand and Model). Doesn’t make a difference to me if you employ a little spanking to spice up your moribund sex life or if you are a 24/7 slave to your Mistress. If 50 Shades of Grey is the kind of kink that turns your crank, that’s none of my business.
However, while it is one thing to call whatever you do whatever you want, it is an entirely different matter to publicly claim that your individual actions can represent that of a community. This is why I’ve stressed that TBOM is fundamentally different than bdsm IRL. A scene is about an exchange between two (or more) persons. The dominant character in TBOM, the Posessor of Mutations, is not a person. He has no real agency or motives and his desires are merely reflective of Corinne’s. Because this precludes the possibility of any power exchange, it should not be read as “real” bdsm. There are other reasons of course, but this is the most important distinction I draw.
To be quite honest, I’ve never found a representation of bdsm in comics I’ve enjoyed although I’ve never actively looked. Any suggestions are most welcome!