Labels, Tags and No-Speak


I’ve mentioned before that I belong to a forum called She Makes The Rules, which BTW is a place you need to be if you are interested in or are practicing a female-led relationship. Anyway, I posted there recently and the long and short of it is that I prompted a discussion about the terms femdom versus FLR. If one can judge by some of the member commentary, it would seem that the word femdom is becoming unpopular among those involved in legitimate female-led relationships. Apparently it’s become too closely associated with the proliferation of male-generated porn that depicts men being physically dominated and abused by mean, whip-wielding, leather-clad dominatrices.

Thus the term femdom connotes, shall we say, less savory activities in which people in this lifestyle do not necessary engage. In so doing, it panders to unrealistic male sexual fantasies, which, as most would agree, are decidedly unappealing to most women. The irony then, is that in the minds of some, especially those who are in or considering this lifestyle, the femdom moniker conveys a dynamic that is male-centric and male-focused. This of course is exactly opposite what this lifestyle is “suppose” to be all about. As you may imagine, those in the do-not-use camp, have a problem with this.

As I pointed out in a previous post, I haven’t been very active or tuned in to Internet discussions of this lifestyle over the last year or more. So I was surprised by the pushback regarding use of the word femdom. Since my interest and subsequent involvement in this lifestyle back in 2005, I’ve used terms such as femdom, female-led relationship (FLR), wife-led relationship (WLR) and loving female authority (LFA) almost interchangeably. For my money, femdom has been nothing more than an amalgamation of the words female and dominant. It seemed wonderfully descriptive, and if in fact it cuts with more of an edge than the terms FLR or LFA, it seemed perfectly apropos.

The hijacking of the word femdom notwithstanding, I think we sometimes get too caught up in the use of names, tags and labels. I find myself using the word queer. Hey, it’s a go-to word when I think something is odd or offbeat, but I often receive a look of disapproval from my daughter, who, BTW, is a lesbian. (She asserts that my ability to arrange flowers and decorate the home is clear indication that I am responsible for giving her the “gay gene,” but that’s a story for another day.) We’re headed that way with the word gay as well. What happened to “Don we now our gay apparel,” which did not originally mean wrapping one’s self in a rainbow flag.

Surprisingly, there was once a lengthy discussion in the SMTR forum about adding the word submissive to the No-Speak list when referring to the man’s role in a FLR. This because of negative connotations; you know, images of a doormat, wimp, wuss, namby-pamby, pantywaist and so forth. Some members held that uxorious is a better descriptor, except that your average person has no idea what uxorious means, and when you look is up, the word submissive is used in the definition. “Hey honey, I was thinking that it would be good for our marriage if I was uxorious and you acted like the goddess that you are.” GoddessV would have replied, “Damnit, why can’t you be normal and use regular words!” Umm, regular I am, but normal? Not so much.

I’m not going to worry too much about perceived meanings, connotations or implications of certain terms. For the time being, I’ll keep femdom in my vocabulary and cross my fingers in hopes it doesn’t alienate too many folks in or around the female-led lifestyle.  ~VK