This post started out as a comment to the discussion on my last post, specifically the discussion between Toni and Maymay with regard to the stereotyping of corporate CEO types having submissive streaks. It started getting out of control as I put more thought into it, so I sort of gave it a promotion.
This discussion started with the stereotype – played off in the TV show Nip/Tuck – about the high-powered corporate executive who “needs” to find some kind of balance in his life by seeing a highly paid dominatrix.
There is a problem with the discussion about the validity of who sees Dominatrixes – it begs the question that powerful men need some kind of balance in the first place. In fact, the real problem goes deeper, in that we too often “find” the solution to a question and stop looking at the situation anymore because the solution seems so obvious.
Example: To me, it’s obvious that the sun is a little ball of burning gas that goes around the Earth. If my grasp of math and geometry were even less than it is now, you’d have a hard time convincing me otherwise. Likewise, it’s very easy to find the “correct” assumption when dealing with questions of a psycho/sociological nature, but they too often overlook the huge and varied human experience. There’s a reason why “social sciences” are in a separate category from “hard sciences;” it’s very difficult to prove cause and effect, and even more difficult to predict based on behavior.
The issue with the stereotype of the hard-working CEO seeing a Dominatrix is that most of us not being highly paid CEOs, find that it fits in with our own idea of “balance;” which is not necessarily the way that our CEO sees it. In fact, I would go as far as to say that some of these stereotypes are our own creations because, like certain urban legends, we secretly believe that if they aren’t true, well, then they should be – if only for the sake of allowing us to pretend that there is some kind of balance to society or culture.
Kurt Vonnegut, writing in “The Sirens of Titan,” posited that people enjoy the contrast: that is, they don’t care which comes first, the suffering or the reward, the ups or the downs; what people enjoy is the narrative of someone being subjected both extremes. We’re fascinated by the idea of some kind of social balance, and so we make up our stories about people to match our own idea of balance: The deposed king reclaiming his throne, the rich man who gambles his money away, and yes, the high powered CEO who has a need to be tied down and whipped (for his sins of being a high powered CEO, maybe?).
In fact, though, by accepting the assumption that our CEO needs to be whipped and dominated after-hours to make up for his over-exertion of testosterone during the day, it creates a set of belief parameters by which we tend to see other, similar behaviors – which could (and probably will) lead to other wrong or confusing beliefs. Certainly, by accepting the “balance” theory, it leaves unexplained why some people with normal, every-day jobs want to be dominated, spanked, tied down, or to engage in any of the dozens of kinds of behaviors that we associate with BDSM. It also fails to explain the lesser stereotype of aggressive businessmen who continue to act out the Dom role on younger, female subs. And all of this completely misses any kind of explanation for the entire array of the population, in which we find low-energy, low-paid people with a desire for topping or bottoming, or mid-level managers with a desire for bondage, or housewives with a desire to be paddled after the children are asleep.
Of course, the media always has a field day when a “high powered corporate executive” is found to have been consorting with Maitresse du Painne; but frankly, when I see those stories, my first thought is that somebody making ten times my salary could certainly afford the $1,500 per session rates, and more power to him.