Topologies

Words for Toppish Women

Posted in identity by Cal Stockton on November 30, 2009

Femdom sucks.

I mean, god I love hurting men. I love it when men obey me, even (and perhaps especially) when I tell them to do things that they really don’t want to do. I love the pleasure we both get out of that. I love earning that trust. I love power, the rough pleasure of taking it and the humbling joy of having it given to me. I love unfairness. I love restraint and control. I love being taken care of, in the sense of receiving service; and I love taking care of, in the sense of treating my property well. I love brutality, I love penetration. I love getting into his head and figuring out what makes him tick, and using that against him. I love the good sort of filthiness, the right kind of fear. I love using men for my own pleasure, making him feel used and taken. Mine. I love evoking vulnerability. And more, and more.

But I hate femdom.

When we were first discussing names for this blog, we all agreed that femdom was not a term we use for ourselves. To steal Ivy‘s phrasing, femdom is more like a subset of porn that is not appealing to me.

I don’t think of myself as a dominatrix, either. I think of a dominatrix as a cartoon in black leather and spike heels. A corset, a singletail whip. A male fantasy in action, without a real woman inside. (Yes, I know that Ivy likes the term dominatrix, for all the reasons discussed in her convoluted terminology post. We have very different associations, and that’s okay.) I don’t wear spike heels or corsets. I usually wear jeans and a tank top, or nothing at all. I like to be comfortable when I start to get rough.

Everyone knows the anecdote about a reporter telling Gloria Steinem that she didn’t look 40, and Steinem retorting, “This is what 40 looks like.” I think that the difference here is that Ivy likes the word, so she can stand proud and demonstrate what a dominatrix really looks like, whereas for me, some words I just can’t reclaim.

(I’m also not a slut, despite having multiple lovers. But if you call me a bitch, especially while I’m hurting you, it’ll just get me hotter. Words are strange that way.)

Dominatrix and domme both bother me precisely because of the feminine endings. Where Ivy likes that they remind the world that we exist, I dislike that they reaffirm the idea that tops are male by default, and female by exception only. Why do we need cute endings just to show that the girls are getting in on the fun?

Dom doesn’t feel at all genderqueer to me, but it does sound a bit silly. It should be some dude’s name. Don. Dom. I think about chatting with my friends and saying “so, last weekend I was domming this gorgeous hot guy, but it turned out that [insert punchline here],” and I cringe.

I actually tend to think of what I do as topping, vague as that sounds. It’s not even all that accurate, technically speaking, given how people generally draw the line between topping and domming. I know that topping usually applies to sensation play, while domming applies to power play. What I do usually involves both. Still, top just feels like a less silly word to me. It’s a bit less absurdist, a bit more open-ended. It feels right.

Which is how we got to Topologies. Ivy uses the term ‘toppy’ where I use ‘toppish’, but it’s close enough. Delilah wrote about exploring her top side, with a wonderful discussion of how she started off thinking of herself as submissive and then found her own top side along the way while working as a pro domme for about four years. It worked for all of us.

And as Delilah pointed out, Wolfram Mathworld says:

“Topology is the mathematical study of the properties that are preserved through deformations, twistings, and stretchings of objects. Tearing, however, is not allowed.”

Seems like a fair set of limits, indeed. Though, honestly? I’d much rather negotiate for being allowed to tear right into my partners as I please.

And for your entertainment purposes only, rejected titles for this blog included: Women On Top (it’s already the name of one of Nancy Friday’s masturbation fantasy books); Flagging on the Left (Delilah actually doesn’t, so that was out); Muses of Bruises (this one makes me giggle); Musing on Bruises (even better!); Hurt, Cry, Love (aww); Three Mean Ladies (‘mean’ is such a complicated word); the Female Gaze (this is a feminist blog, after all); or We Three Queens (someone out there, please start a thoughtful drag queen blog! I will read it!).