Many people have a clear idea of what a ‘Real Dom/me’ is. And they get those opinions from our culture. Because the concept of certain traits being equated with dominance are inherent in our society we don’t notice them and then can’t work out why we aren’t getting what we want.
In order to help s-types find better D-types, sexsmurf is going to explain the difference between what our culture says dominance is and what it actually is.
Using a geeky reference, which is always welcome.
Picard has it, Janeway doesn’t
“I can’t find a real Dom.” the submissive complains, “I dated this person who seemed legit but it turns out that they are really a narcissistic codependent disaster, and the next person wasn’t any better!” Your problem, isn’t that Doms are all fakes, it’s your idea of what a Dom actually is that is fake. You’re dating Kathryn Janeway, when you need to be looking for Jean Luc Picard.
Star Trek next generation had two spinoffs, Deep Space Nine, a boring soap opera in space, and Voyager, a promising tale of ship and crew accidentally zapped to the far reaches of space trying to find its way home. Voyager should have been good, but it wasn’t, the biggest fault of which was the poorly drawn character of Captain Kathryn Janeway. What the producers wanted was someone dominant, which Kate Mulgrew has in spades left to her own devices, but how they got there was by making her overbearing and humorless, prompted, I believe by cultural ideals of what we think dominance should look like. Contrast this with Next Generations Jean Luc Picard. Because Picard has a dick the producer/director/writers/actors assumption is that there is no need to use the flourishes one might use to assert a little extra dominance because it’s already implied by cultural context. The result is that Patrick Stewart was allowed to play the character with a calm, quiet, self-assured, demeanor.
If you’ve watched both shows I want you to imagine yourself as crew on either ship. Who do you want to serve under? How do you feel when Picard tells you what to do versus Janeway? Picard is sensitive, inquisitive, and kind, all the while radiating gravitas and authority. Janeway is staunch and domineering, a smokescreen which ultimately steals her power.
Picard is the real deal, so why is it that when we go looking for a Dom we always fall for the Janeways? Again, it goes back to cultural context. Like it or not, dominance and masculinity are intertwined concepts, and everyone, subs and Doms alike, are trapped in this bullshit ideal of what a Real Man looks like. We reinforce it to each other as boys and girls, then as men and women, and finally, even in the core ideas of what power looks like, no matter which gender is in the drivers seat. The result is Doms who actually believe that ideal, or Doms who act a certain way because it’s the price of admission. It reminds me of some of the dyke parties I used to go to where the drag kings went around mimicking all the worst parts of masculinity and the fems just ate it up. When I look at that, and look at how a lot of Doms act, combined with how often submissives reinforce it, all I can think is: Captain Janeway.
This transposing of the false archetype of masculinity onto the supposed counter-culture of kink has always been a pet peeve of mine. Not to say that there aren’t Doms out there that are an authentic reflection of these ideals, there are, and to them I say: go with your bad self. To the rest of us though that are a little more complex, I say: can’t we all just drop the charade? It’s a little scary as a Dom, being authentic when authenticity can cost you. As a sub I’m sure it’s a bit of a mind bender as well, facing the fact that a Dominant personality might look a little different than what you’ve been socialized to accept. The image of the “Real Dom” is an illusion, and when we grasp this truth we can learn to let go of the one-dimensional cultural ideals and relax into a more genuinely honest, powerful expression of ourselves.