Although feminism as an overall concept is gaining in widespread cultural popularity, and the stereotypes society has long attached to feminists are (slowly, painfully) lessening in intensity, there are plenty of clichés that feminist women (and men) are still being forced to either destroy, or subtly circumnavigate. "Does shaving make me a bad feminist?" or "Does becoming a mother make a bad feminist?" are questions women are asking themselves, as we're continually hyper-aware of what specific labels say about us as human beings.
But the truth is, adhering to or trying to force yourself into certain characteristics that people think are feminist, isn't feminist at all. In fact, it sounds a lot like trying to fit into socially constructed notions of womanhood, femininity and/or masculinity, in order to embody specific gender qualities that society has long tried to convince us will "make a man a man" and "make a woman a woman." I mean, it's all bullshit really. Which is why shaving doesn't make you a bad feminist, and having children doesn't make you a bad feminist. A working mom can be a feminist, a stay-at-home mom can be a feminist and, yes, a father can be a feminist.
The bottom line is, there are almost no aspects of a person's identity or hobbies, habits, or preferences, that undermine someone's ability to be a feminist. And this holds true when it comes to sex. For example, a feminist can, without a doubt, be sexually submissive. The idea that a feminist is dominant in the bedroom is another aging stereotype, used to pigeonhole feminists into the man-hating trope of old. You don't have to put out cigarettes on your partner's tongue (or even be a fan of woman-on-top positions) to be a feminist (but hey, if you and your partner are into any that, no judgement here).
So with that in mind, here are 6 reasons why being submissive in bed doesn't make you a bad feminist. Stereotypes are for the birds, and good sex is for those who aren't held back by notions of what their preferences might say about them.
You're Choosing Your Own Sexual Preferences
Since we're talking about consensual sex, when you're submissive, it's because you're choosing to be. It is, without a doubt, a position of empowerment. You're leaving all preconceived notions, cultural implications, and judgements away from the bedroom and your sex life. You like what you like simply because, well, you like it. Just because someone might perceive you as being this way or that way, that doesn't mean you're going to force yourself to do something you don't enjoy. You have your preferences, you've explored your sexuality and you've decided that being submissive is what gets you going. So get it!
You're Not Afraid To Express Yourself
Sexuality is just another form of expression, and you're definitely not afraid to express yourself. Unfortunately, our culture has attached a certain set of social implications to sexual preferences, essentially shaming certain individuals for expressing themselves in specific ways (not to mention using sexuality to enforce gender inequality). A feminist who chooses to be submissive is essentially saying, "To hell with your judgements and fictitious assumptions, I'm going to express myself anyway I want."
Stereotypes Don't Shape Your Desires
While the idea of being a feminist has changed (people are finally starting to believe that we're not all ~she-woman man-haters~) some of the stereotypes associated with feminists have remained. But the truth is, being a feminist really just means that you're down with gender equality, and you believe every woman should have the same choices as every man. So a feminist doesn't have to shave if she doesn't want to, but a feminist can definitely shave if that is her preference. A feminist doesn't have to have children if she doesn't want to, but having children doesn't make you a bad feminist.
The same is true for sex. A feminist can be dominant if she wants to, but wanting to be submissive doesn't make her a bad feminist. And if you're a feminist who is also submissive, you're saying that the aging stereotypes of feminism aren't going to shape your sexual preferences. You aren't going to be submissive just because you're a woman, but you're not going to force yourself to be dominant in bed just because you're a feminist.
You're The Boss In Other Ways
Just because you're submissive in the bedroom doesn't mean you're submissive in every other aspect of your life. Many individuals who choose to be submissive do so because they're tired of always making the decisions. Life is hard and full of choices and when you're the boss in other places, whether it's at home or at work, it can be nice to take a break and let someone else hold onto the reigns. Especially when you're naked.
You're Deciding What You Want To Do With Your Body
Make no mistake, even when you're submissive, you're still calling the shots. You're choosing what to do with your body, who you're doing that thing with, and for how long. A submissive is still in control, even when they're relinquishing control. A dominant/submissive sexual relationship is just an exchange of power, and that power ebbs and flows between them.
There's Power In Being Submissive
Multiple studies have studied dominant and submissive sexual traits, and the paradoxes those behaviors display. Both socially and behaviorally, it seems that there is a power in both the submissive and dominant roles, which means that just because an individual chooses to be the submissive partner in a sexual relationship, that doesn't mean they've relinquished their power. In fact, Dr. Leon F. Seltzer goes on to say in Psychology Today that the connection between dominant and submissive is why it's smart to "avoid making hard-and-fast distinctions between dominance and submission—for humans, too, seem capable of shifting from one role to the other."
The truth is, a submissive and a dominant have to work together. One needs the other in order for the sexual relationship to work, and there isn't a person in the bedroom who holds more power than the other. At any time, the submissive can stay "stop," and just like that, it's all over. That's just as powerful as being dominant.
You See Sex As Something To Have Fun With
Guys, sex is fun. Our hyper-active, intellectually stimulated minds would like to attach multiple, complex meanings to sexual activity, but really, it's mostly just fun. A feminist knows that, and she's not going to weigh sex down with a plethora of identifiers and quantifiers, essentially draining all the fun out of sexual activity. Do what you're into, and own it. There's nothing more feminist than that.