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"Roiled by Katie Roiphe: Why her BDSM essay is BS"

on Wednesday, 18 April 2012. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

NY Daily News

Katie Roiphe's Newsweek cover story "The Fantasy Life of Working Women" hit the web yesterday, prompting a collective facepalm from sex-positive feminists everywhere.

If you're not familiar with Roiphe's other work, which includes gems such as "My Newborn Is Like a Narcotic,” then lucky you! Just like many of her previous writings, this spurious screed on BDSM's link to women's economic success is nothing more than anti-woman puritanism parading as feminism – with a healthy dose of privilege.

But there are a lot more problems with Roiphe's essay. Her treatment of women's sexual choices is condescending to the point of being borderline chauvinist.

Let's start, though, with Roiphe's "thesis." She uses BDSM scenes in E.L. James’ novel "50 Shades of Grey" and the new Lena Dunham series "Girls" to advance the argument that a "watered-down, skinny-vanilla-latte version of sadomasochism" is "in."

She makes the claim that the popular portrayals of the kinks so thoroughly described by James and Dunham – along with Psychology Today findings that women indulge "rape fantasies" –are a result of women's economic achievement. We want to be dominated sexually, Roiphe claims, because we dominate in other aspects of life.

This sounds like a load of BS about BDSM – and I'm certainly not the only person who has taken notice. ...

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