(This process has actually been underway since at least the 90s, with the rediscovery of Bettie Page and the imagery of some Madonna videos to name just two things, but whatever…)
Call it the “straight-ing” of BDSM, because as Paglia notes:
Weiss surveys the gradual transformation of BDSM from the “more outlaw” era of gay leathermen in Folsom Street bars of the pre-AIDS era to today’s largely heterosexual scene in affluent Silicon Valley, where high-tech workers congregate at private parties or convivial “munches” at chain restaurants with convenient parking lots. (…)
Home Depot is sometimes dubbed “Home Dungeon” for its tempting offerings, such as rope, eye bolts, and wooden paint stirrers, which we are told make “great, stingy paddles.” The thrifty take note: Rattan to make canes can be cheaply purchased in bulk at garden-supply stores.
If you’ve ever made the mistake of watching the Canadian TV show, Kink, you know how true the following is.
Even the male “doms” on that program look like puny beta fags; they’re about as menacing as Don Knotts.
I thought this might be semi-self-selecting — that the only kinky people they could get to agree to go on TV all happened to look like belugas, but apparently not:
Newmahr captures how her subjects, even before they entered SM, viewed themselves as “outsiders” who lived “on the fringe of social acceptance.” Most are overweight, but it’s never remarked on. Several women are over six feet tall, generally a social disadvantage elsewhere. (…)
Some men are small-statured or have vivid, angry memories of being bullied at school. Newmahr notes the “pervasive social awkwardness” in the scene, the “ill-fitting, outdated clothing” and the women’s lack of makeup and jewelry.
The men often have little interest in sports and own cars of middling quality.
However, maybe I was right in a way.
If you’ve ever watch that Canadian show Intervention (or even The Last 10 Pounds) you’ll have noticed that those participants are almost always hideous lower class people, too.
In describing her subjects’ style of “blunt speaking” and boasting, as well as their disconcerting invasion of personal space in conversation, however, Newmahr does not mention social class, about which she says little in her book. I would hazard a guess that she was uncovering the difference between lower-middle-class and upper-middle-class manners—the latter characterizing the world she customarily inhabits as an academic.
These fine distinctions are insufficiently observed in the United States, where liberal political discourse too often employs a simplistic dichotomy between rich and poor.
Anyhow, in a related story from a few days back, Conor Friedersdorf actually manages to make sex boring, as you’d have guessed.