Seeing Power, Seeing Colour: A Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis of Colorblindness Within Academic Understandings of BDSM

Date

2023-03-19

Authors

Thon, Hannah

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Abstract

In my work, I use the practice of BDSM as a backdrop to critically assess academic understandings of race, specifically the dichotomy of whiteness and non-whiteness. BDSM is a practice that eroticizes power, and with this, power structures are purposefully and explicitly expressed - including those surrounding gender and race. In my engagement with this topic, I challenge how race is seen in relation to submissive and masochistic women within BDSM, specifically how the presence of colorblindness assumes (and hides) whiteness as the unmarked ‘standard’ for all identities. Performing a feminist critical discourse analysis on peer reviewed academic journal articles, I uncover strong themes of colorblindness as I question why race, particularly whiteness, is distinctly absent from most scholarship surrounding BDSM.

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Keywords

colorblind, whiteness, race, gender, sexuality, BDSM

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