16 Aug Body vocabulary- this femme is tying

I have been thinking about femininity and rope. Or rather expressions of femininity and rope. Ginger Rogers once danced with that Fred guy and said that she does everything Fred does but backwards and in heels. When I first came out on the scene I started going full high femme. Never before it had been so much fun to slap on layers of makeup, to extend my body or mould it with clothes, accessories, corsets. The first kink related experience I had was when I got completely high on endorphins while being laced into a corset. Makeup and the dress up had not been something I had felt was accessible or fun, because it felt like it needed to follow rules I was not very interested in. On the London fetish and BDSM scene, those rules went out of the window and I could adhere to ‘less is not more, more needs more’. It became something fun, something creative, something that made the highlight of what was the difference between the everyday mundane, and the fantastical that a night at Torture Garden or Subversion could be like. Remember this: it is one of the many reasons the dress codes are awesome. We exit the mundane and enter into the fantastical. So stop complaining about dress codes and have fun with it.

 As I entered the rope world more and more, there was other factors to take into account. Like being able to move, follow, bend, lift, letting the body be useful and present. I have a very strong memory of feeling like a superhero at a Torture Garden party. Full latex, in a cage with Synth. We tied, and for some reason, half way through, the music, the lights, the crowded space and ropes were not my friend anymore. Sam was close by, we helped in getting the jam out of the ropes and resumed the sexy times. But still, there was a lingering feeling in my body that something was wrong. It did not feel easy to tie, like it usually did. It did not dawn on me until the day after what it was. The full covering latex had meant I was doing resistance training while tying with my partner. My shoulders were aching as if I had been away lifting weights for hours. I had not been prepared for it and it meant that I felt I had put my partner at risk. I moved as if I was not wearing latex. So what gave? Much of the extravagance in the material. I still make an effort, no doubt about it, but if I can’t move in it, tie with it, or be tied in it, it is not my revolution. 

Another thing is what the eyes see. What happens when you take on the high femme.  I have always been aware of what it means to display what is read as feminine cues in public. The usual bullshit of your body not being your own. Always being judged, measured. Assumed to be public property. One of the reasons I love kinky parties is because I can step out of that and into another bubble. I can never leave sexism and patriarchy and fat hatred behind, but the acceptance and respect is at least on a more outspoken level. 

If you live with male privilege, this is a tough nut to crack though. To realise that the spaces you inhabit is one in which a large part of a population has a baseline of knowing that their agency and body is not respected. Chew on that for a minute or two. 

So here we get to the topic of complements. They are nice. No, seriously though, they are. I work on accepting compliments and kind words with the very simple response: Thank you, that was really nice to hear! It is easier in writing than face to face.

 But here is a thought: women get more compliments on how they look, while men get more compliments on what they achieve, what they do. I kid you not, this is the case everywhere, and it makes even a well meant, kind comment about how beautiful the dress I’m wearing while tying really frustrating. Hey, I just dangled a human being from the rafters, everyone survived, nobody died, they look happy and you care about my appearance?! I know it is well meant, and I should perhaps not feel offended, because you did not intend any harm. Guess what though, if you have stood on my foot without intending to do so, you have still stood on my foot. In an instance you have made me into a visual invisibility, erased what I have struggled so hard to learn.  How about creating an idea in which expressions femininity (not necessarily connected to a ‘female’ body) is about expressions of a subject, not an object for consumption? My agency still lingers in those pieces of fabric that I wear, sometimes stronger, sometimes denied, sometimes separated from what I achieve while in or outside of ropes. 

Rope is exciting to me still. My perspectives are changing and the last couple of years have been a project in regaining my own bottoming experiences. Getting to know my body and starting attempts to be present in that thing which has expressed the result of so much of what this fat phobic, sexist makes us believe. I struggle each day with being present and cogniscent of what I need, rather than what I should look like. There is only so many ways in which it is possible to punish yourself for what you are not. I have hunger. I have movement. I have thirst. This is the baseline from where I work to minimise the many years of self hatred and eating disorders.
I’m sculpting away at something different at the moment; who I can be and how much space I can inhabit between the lines of ropes, fabric, ideas and projections of femininity and strength. 

This femme is lazy these days. Heels are a bloody nuisance and what ever is on my body, I make sure it fit the purpose I’m here for. To do rope. To breathe, to live. For those of you high/hard femmes wearing your makeup like war paint and your heels like weapons of mass destruction, your boots and your fuck patriarchy I’m going to do what I want, I love you.  You are doing what I can’t do and I know that you are like catalysts for others around us. You are important, your are skilled, you wreck havoc on expectations on what we are supposed to be and I salute you. 

4 Comments
  • Gray
    Posted at 21:29h, 16 August Reply

    Hedwig – LOVE THIS! Thank you for giving me a glimpse into the mixture of positive and negative that is the life of a femme rigger. I will certainly keep it in mind when complimenting.

    One exception I have to take, though, is not as a rigger but as a dancer. Ginger never said that, it was said about her, and it’s not only hilariously inaccurate (leads and follows do not do the same thing) it’s actually insulting to her skill as a dancer. It would be something like saying “bottoms do everything tops do, but in midair with their hands tied behind their backs!” No – they have complementary skills, and to try an imply otherwise removes the agency and skill set of the bottom (or follow).

    Other than that, LOVED reading this!

    • hedwig
      Posted at 12:50h, 17 August Reply

      Duly noted, thank you for bringing that up Gray. There it goes for me not doing research properly.
      Will edit 🙂

    • hedwig
      Posted at 09:16h, 20 August Reply

      Actually, come to think about it. When I wrote the text, I meant that Rogers was not the bottom, but the female rigger. Which is also unclear and perhaps not the most accurate illustration.

  • Cat
    Posted at 02:45h, 18 August Reply

    You are not the only one. It happens regardless of the function the woman is performing. Hillary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State of the U.S. and all the media could talk about was what she was wearing. So she went out and bought a bunch of identical black pants suits so that they would have nothing interesting to say about her wardrobe, and could only talk about her actions.
    But I am also learning to be a rigger, and yeah, I get more comments on how I look while tying and how sexy the scene was when I do a scene in public than any compliments on the tie. The exceptions to this are the most appreciated, though.

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