Monday 2 June 2014

BDSMonday - Kink In The Media/Popular Culture

Love it or hate it (and I'm staying completely neutral on this one), Fifty Shades of Grey has launched BDSM into the public's view. Something used to be completely taboo is starting (starting!) to become a safe topic to discuss in a lot of social situations, with more and more people having at least a basic understanding of what BDSM is and is not.

BDSM has been cropping up in popular culture more and more--sometimes good, sometimes bad.

I haven't seen it for a while, but I remember enjoying the relationship between Lady Heather and Grissom on CSI. She's shown as a character and a human being, not just a mindless, leather-clad flogging machine. And it's refreshing to see BDSM on a police procedure show that isn't just, "Oh, a serial killer tied her up and did ____. How kinky!" or something like that.

I recently read The Right Address by Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman. I wasn't thrilled by it, and I was especially unimpressed with the way one of the characters died--tied up, wearing a dog collar in a divey room. It's an example of the all-too-common portrayal of BDSM as violent, scary, obscene, scandalous and dangerous. No one is surprised that he died that way, because he was into BDSM.

One of my favourite portrayals of BDSM on mainstream television is this scene from Supernatural (in case the video doesn't work for you, it's from season 4, episode 12: Criss Angel Is A Douchebag, and the scene is Dean talking to The Chief). Yes, it's played as a joke--Dean thinks he's being sent to see someone who has information, and he ends up in a BDSM club--but Dean doesn't freak out or act disgusted that a man with a flogger is coming on to him. And, more importantly, after The Chief does his spiel, he asks Dean for his safeword! BDSM isn't being shown as random, abusive violence, it's shown as having rules and a structure of its own.

What positive portrayals of BDSM have you seen in mainstream, vanilla culture? Aaaaand which not-so-positive portrayals have you come across?


If you have an idea for BDSMonday, or would like to contribute in any way, please message me or email me: tq.strange (at)

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