Monday, November 23, 2009

Femdom Virgin

Femdom.

Might as well in ancient Greek for how familiar I am with the meaning and all the nuances of the word.

I'm relatively new to erotic fiction as it is, much less true erotica or some of the more interesting subgenres. So it is thought provoking to ponder the effect of traditional gender roles on the D/s power exchange. Since I haven't had the time to come to any conclusions, I'll instead talk about my own experience in breaking free of gender stereotypes.

I come from about the most traditional gender-specific background  you can get. Dad worked, Mom didn't, two kids and a dog. No divorces in our family. The only chink in the armor of complete adherence to paternalistic values was the conspicuous absence of church in our lives, for which I am profoundly grateful, having seen the mess that a rigid religious upbringing can sometimes cause.

My family literally broke into two groups in my formative years, the workers and the waited-upon. Bet you can guess who was served and who did the serving.

The men of the family did things like hunt, work outside the home, and watch sports on tv, with the occasional foray into male-specific chores like firing up the chainsaw to take care of pesky branches, snowblowing the drive, cleaning gutters and digging post holes.

The women did everything else.

Without questioning. Without complaint. And without help -- with the exception of us girls, aka wives-in-training. Usually tucked away in the kitchen, so as to not disturb the discussion of whatever sport was being shown.

We had meals or snacks ready for "the guys" whenever they returned from one of their activities. We picked up their stuff, cleaned, cooked, and gave them all the choices, regardless of what was preferred by or easiest on us.

We kept the younger kids "out of their hair," especially the girls. Boys were tolerated since they would become the next generation of sports-watching, hunting males.

And nobody ever questioned this. It was like living in a 50's sitcom or Little House on the Prairie.

I knew from a young age how to play the game, and didn't think for a long time about whether I truly believed in it. I was already considered a bit odd, a bit different in that I escaped into books constantly and thoroughly. So much of this happened around me rather than to me.

My first realization my normal family wasn't "normal" came from spending time with one of my high school friends and her mom. She was divorced (more than once) and dated, fed her kids take-out, let them have parties, and actually had sex. We knew this since she had an amazing arsenal of toys in her room, a stash of tattered erotica, and on one occasion, we actually heard sex going down...in the middle of the afternoon.

She emerged with the guy, who in hindsight was a toy boy, much younger, looking disheveled and completely happy. It really struck me, seeing total satisfaction on a woman's face, and it wasn't from being told that the meal was delicious. They were both wrapped in towels, and on their way to the hot tub, she told my friend to order a couple pizzas for our dinner, to make sure to eat some salad with it, and to stay out of the backyard while they "swam privately."

Mindblowing and evocative stuff for a teen from a simple family. Especially one with my kind of imagination.

I'd love to be able to tell you that I blew all conventions out of the water, broke with tradition and became the sort of feminist that would have completely shocked everyone around me. My politics and social views are my own and are so vastly different from my family's, polar opposites in fact, that we agree to disagree and just don't discuss.

But here I am mirroring what I grew up with, married with two kids, a stay-at-home mom (albeit one that writes m/m erotic romance), living in the 'burbs. When I visit home, I fall back into the traditional roles, more out of respect for their house/their rules than anything. It's almost like playing a role, one I'm so familiar with that it's like an old movie you've watched so many times you know the dialogue by heart. In many respects, I play the role daily in my own home as well, since my husband came from an even more traditional family than did I, with the additional strict Catholic upbringing on top of everything else.

I consider my liberation to be one of the mind, and while I still struggle with the cage of gender role stagnation, I consider myself to have already won the most important battle...to free my soul.

9 comments:

  1. Devon,

    We're alike in many ways it seems. I too come from a very traditional family, mom stayed at home, father worked out, three kids, a dog and a cat. I think my generation has broken the mold though, with my parent's blessing.

    You'll learn a lot this week, I'm sure. Hopefully you won't be too shocked at how pervie we are.

    Great post, lady!

    Hugs

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  2. Devon,

    Great post and a wonderful insight into the person behind the words.

    The rigidly defined gender roles has always puzzled me. But I might mention that in my blog this week.

    Best,

    Ash

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  3. Hi Jude & Ash!

    Fortunately I've had over 20 years since my hand-forehead in my teens to gradually get my perv on. So I won't be too shocked, but I'm looking forward to absorbing more! Never stop learning, eh? ;)

    Looking forward to both your posts!

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  4. Oh, and just wanted to add that I find it hilarious at times, given my background, that my first published work was not only m/m erotic romance, but also with bdsm elements. Not exactly one that Mom's bragging on at the Red Hat Club.

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  5. Hello, Devon,

    Thanks for a great post as well as a peek inside your past. You sound comfortable with yourself, your role and your writing, and that's what counts.

    I believe that you said your husband knows of and approves of your writing, correct? So he's not that straight.

    As for me, I was the one with the divorced mom who liked to go out dancing and had lots of boyfriends... (wouldn't you guess?)

    Later, though, she was "born again" (a Jewish woman, yet!) -- and at one point accused me of being the Devil.

    Sigh.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed your gently humorous description of your traditional childhood.

    Warmly,
    Lisabet

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  6. Devon,

    Femdom isn't so much about whether you work outside the house or stay home as it is about attitude. I'm a stay-at-home mom too, but I don't think anyone's ever considered me as traditional, in spite of that role ;)

    You seem like a person who takes charge of your life, and that's a step in the femdom direction if you ask me!

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  7. Hi Lisabet, yes, I figured that was the case! :) Glad you enjoyed my ramble. And my husband naturally has very hot and cold responses to most things in his life. So the kneejerk, old-fashioned just-like-his-dad reactions are counterbalanced by some fun, irreverent, and empathetic views. The twist is that one never knows which way he'll blow...keeps me on my toes!

    Thanks Helen, the reference to being a SAHM is rather tongue-in-cheek anymore, especially since I don't look like butter would melt in my mouth, and yet the things I write... ;) I enjoy telling people what I do and watching their reactions! I suppose I do have a bit of a take charge side to me, or I wouldn't've been able to 'reinvent' myself at this point in my life. It's been an interesting year!!

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  8. Hi Devon!

    I'm getting here a little late. That was a thoughtful post, very much teh kind of post I enjoy reading. The image of yur friend's mom is very evocative, in that it pushes some of my own buttons. the m/m dominance thing I'm not sure how to connect with, but the image of an older woman bringing a young man home and working him out and then bringing him to the hot tub. I love that kind of story. Wish I could have been that young man at that age.

    And yet its interesting that you would grow up to write m/m stories. This seems a more common thing among women writers than I would have thought. I wonder why that is.

    Garce

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  9. Thanks for stopping by Garce! My thought is that as a m/m writer, I get to make TWO men do exactly what I want. ;) Yes, talk about a lightbulb going off, especially since I was sexually active at the time. Wish I could remember if it had an effect on my actions at the time!

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