Balance & the submissive CEO

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.

About Tom Allen

The Grey Geezer Dauntless defender of, um, something that needed dauntless defending. Dammit, I can't read this script without my glasses. Hey, you kids, get off my damn lawn!
This entry was posted in BDSM, Beyond the Edge, D/s, D/s & BDSM, Femdommery, Fetish & Kink, kink, Manliness, relationships, sexuality, Sexuality & Relationships. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Balance & the submissive CEO

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I keep forgetting that people buy into cultural myths so easily. They seem so *obviously* mythic to moi, if literary-ily too perfect in crafting a story.

    Of course secret submissive male CEOs exist, as do secret submissive garage mechanics, fire fighters and transsexual window dressers. I’d venture (with no proof) that submission/dominance inclinations spread nearly evenly between the sexes and among all classes and walks of life.

    Whether I’m right or wrong, it’s nevertheless natural that class, occupation or gender would influence the *expression* of that sexuality.

    I can state with near 100% certainty that a submissive guy CEO is far more likely to spend gobs of money on a glamorous pro dom than the submissive guy factory worker is. Which guy makes better fodder for a story.

    Shrug. I’m afraid that d/s is portrayed as far more dramatic, twisted and scandalous than it. I’ve been wired this way for simply forever and you’d be hard pressed to squeeze an intriguing Scandal! Sex! sub-plot out of my life, much less carry a whole hour on tee vee.

    Not sure what I’m saying other than, oh yeah, I forgot, people do believe that stuff.

    hugs, E

  2. Toni says:

    Didn’t mean to hijack your blog Mr.Allen, so I apologise for that. I guess Iwas just saying that I have had a fair amount of experience in the higher echelons of the investment banking field, which is surely one of the most cut-throat of all industries – for now, IBM already reckon within 10 years 60-70% of trading staff will be replaced by computer programs.
    I guess Elizabeth was saying that people will believe what the media presents them, well we all know that and the media both in your country and here in the UK is shocking. If this is one of the key industries of the future, then we should be worried because of the crass over reliance on cheap reality entertainment and poor programming funded by telephone call-in revenue.
    Everybody as different experiences, I have had to work for 2 women in my 11 year career, one of whom was head of trading emerging market debt and medium-term financing for one of the largest banks in the world and who folded like a crushed flower when sacked and also tried to blame everybody else. The other was head of credit risk for a leading Japanese owned investment bank – she was cool. Although I havent spoken to her in years and I suspect the current market turmoil will probably have affected her adversely. These women were clearly my bosses but in the trading rooms around the world there is a kind of egalitarianism based on revenue. Nobody is hired because they bring character or insight, it is a pure numbers business and is generally a “zero-sum” game, if you lose money then someone else makes
    it and if you keep losing money, well then you are sacked. Stan O’Neal is making a lot of headlines for being sacked from Merrill’s, ok under his watch that company lost $8billion, but he still walked out with $161million in stock options and I personally found it annoying that most of the press only focussed on his ethnicity and the fact that he is the grandson of a slave – so what? I can tell you that you don’t get to run a company like his by being a nice guy and ok, now he can afford a heck of a lot more than 40 acres and a mule, I still doubt his Grandad would be proud.
    I know I have veered way of track here, but I am, as usual, drunk as can be, waiting for the Tokyo market open.
    Why are you guys so concerned with the way you are portrayed by the media anyway? Or for that matter the porn industry? why should it matter to you, most people on the blogs that I read are dismissive of vanilla opinions anyway.

  3. maymay says:

    I’ll just reiterate my point from before, which is that some people have that characteristic and others don’t, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that not everyone fits into their perfect little cookie cutter stereotype molds.

  4. Tom Allen says:

    Toni – no hijacking as far as I can see, just a comment discussion – which I welcome, of course.

    As to your question of why we seem to care, it’s because some of us are tired of the stereotypes and negative publicity. When child custody issues crop up, we know that allegations of BDSM always look bad. Some of us fear for our job security should our interests be made public. Some of us risk being ostracized by our families, simply because we enjoy a little extra sensation play. We’re tired of being associated with serial killers and other emotionally unstable types.

    Personally, I’m tired of seeing bottom or sub type guys always played for humiliating laughs in the movies.

  5. Patty says:

    Take the sex out of the equation; who wouldn’t like to flog their boss? ; )

  6. maymay says:

    Take the sex out of the equation; who wouldn’t like to flog their boss? ; )

    Patty, but then it’s not fun anymore. You might as well have a fistfight. That’d be much more thrilling. Flogging is just another word for deep tissue massage to me.

  7. Kate says:

    If he pays her to do those things to him…isn’t he still calling the shots? Or am I just missing something?

  8. Garry says:

    When I launched my browser this morning, this story was in their may list:

    http://www6.comcast.net/news/articles/national/2007/11/06/Wilhelm.Reich/?cvqh=itn_scientist

    Although I haven’t time to explore it, is there any relevance to the ‘armoring’ in our character evolution to this discussion?

    http://www.wilhelmreichmuseum.org/2002_conference.html

    Sorry, have to run, back to the office for a little stress from the CEO…

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