Interview about SESTA with Swedish Radio

I was interviewed by Olivia Wikström from Swedish Radio about SESTA.

The clip is here: Mistress Tissa on Swedish Radio

Here’s the translation of the text on the site (not the full transcript):

The new US law SESTA punishes sites if someone is exposed to trafficking there. But many sex workers believe the law will fail.

SESTA, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, is a new law in the United States that wants to deal with online trafficking by making the sites themselves responsible for their presence. So now people behind sites can be punished with large fines or imprisonment if it is discovered.

This raises concern with sex workers, partly because it can limit what we can say about sex online, because no one will dare let it be there. In part, they mean that the law forces an exposed group in an even more vulnerable situation.

Removing these platforms will increase the proportion of people taking risky decisions about their jobs.

Mistress Tissa, dominatrix

With the help of the network, those who work with sex and eroticism can volunteer do more research on their clients and not expose themselves to the same risk as walking the streets.”

 

 

Mistress Tissa in Playboy article about FOSTA/SESTA

I’m included in an article about FOSTA/SESTA written by Graeme McMillan for Playboy.

You can read it here: The President’s War on Online Sex Work

Interview with Coalition Radio

On Friday the 16th, I was interviewed by Pat of Coalition Radio. In the interview, I discuss the SESTA bill. I touch on various related issues, but focus on what I believe are the psychosocial origins of the legislation.

You can listen here:

(This is an hour-long interview. Those who have attention issues [raises hand] may find it more palatable to listen to it in smaller chunks.)

Politics and FemDom

Since I was a child, I have been something of an activist. My main form of activism has been grassroots education. This means that I informally try to educate people. As in, I’m not actually a Teacher, but I try to teach. I (usually) don’t hold formal classrooms, I just “set-up shop” wherever.

One thing I tend to be concerned with is social issues and the politics around them. Some people don’t like to discuss politics. It makes them uncomfortable. I respect a person’s desire to bow out of things that make them uncomfortable, but I also like to ask people to think about how they are effected by such a decision.

One issue that occurs with education is that not everyone welcomes it. (*laugh*) It’s common that when you criticize some harmful idea that someone has, the person holding it will retaliate. (People who claim to not hold it sometimes retaliate, too.) Usually it’s in the form of verbal abuse, but also sometimes going so far as to make and carry out threats against you. Just because you’re talking about how something is shitty and hurts people in this world.

Recently, I had a new retaliation. Someone on Twitter said I was just “virtue signaling”. This means I like to grandstand My stance on something, post little pictures in support of things, but that I don’t actually do anything about them. Clearly, it’s meant to insult.

This was a first for Me. This person didn’t know Me well enough to make such a statement, and to know that I do more than just “talk” (not that talking can’t be valuable to an audience who remains in the dark), so it didn’t mean anything to Me, but it also showed how attempts to discuss things like sexism, homophobia, racism, transphobia,  etc, will attract misunderstanding.

Just before I began writing this, I was asked why I talk shit about men and that maybe I shouldn’t do that. This was obviously inspired by some of the things I’ve said on Twitter, where there is a literal sea of sexism waiting to drown you. (Actually, the sea is everywhere for women, if she doesn’t learn to keep her head up.) Twitter is actually a fantastic platform to share ideas (even if only 140 characters at a time). You can very quickly be “broadcasted” to millions of people. This can be helpful to get your ideas to a larger audience and have them think more critically about something, like sexism, for example.

So, do I hate men? Nothing is further from the truth.

First, I need to provide you with a basic keymap to My social commentary about this particular topic:

Men” = Patriarchal male. Note capital M to communicate that I’m talking about a particular kind of male.

Dude“, “Bro“, “Guys” = a subset of Patriarchal Men. Usually the types who are especially dumb, cocky, and like to mansplain.

men” = men without any cultural implications (e.g. their values, behavior). men are not inherently a problem.

There is a similar keymap for other topics I enjoy thinking about and discussing where I capitalize the culture and keep the people themselves lower case. Such as “White” and “white”. There is White culture, which actually contains many subcultures and practices which are not problematic but also some which are truly reprehensible, and there are also white people, who are not inherently anything. There are many other examples.

Anyway, this is a shorthand way of making a distinction between a human being and their culture. It’s not an original idea. You will see it used in other social-political critique/critical thinking/philosophy type places.

So, how do I feel about men? I’m pretty heavily into them. They’re nearly all of the people I play with (and therefore like). They’re nearly all of whom I have dated and partnered with in My life. Now, how do I feel about Men? Well, how do you think I feel about someone who believes themselves to be inherently superior to women? And who believes they should control how we think, feel, behave, dress, and reproduce? Just because they are men?

You may be wondering: do I ever criticize women? Absolutely. There are Patriarchal Women. I don’t like them either. However, because I’m a Dominant Women, My focus is on criticizing the majority of those who drive the Patriarchy (Men), a system which essentially loathes Women like Me. (I pretty heavily criticize Patriarchal Women in other spaces. Trust Me.)

Clearer now?

Also: When it comes to social/political commentary the rule of thumb is that if someone is saying something that does not apply to you personally, then they are talking about someone else.

Example: “Men need to stop trying to tell women that they can’t have abortions.”

If you see a statement like this, the first question to ask yourself is: Does this apply to you? Are you a man who believes that women should not be the ones who choose whether or not they must go through with a pregnancy? If you are one of those Men, then this person is talking about you. If you are not one of these Men, this person is not talking about you. Therefore, instead of becoming defensive, try to understand that you are not their intended audience and try to see the value in their perspective.

I feel that education is important work. As a Dominant Woman, the Patriarchy is of particular interest to Me. Since most of the people I play with express and explore very non-Patriarchal selves, it should be of interest to you, too. The Patriarchy is the very thing that causes men to feel shame about wanting to dress in “women’s” clothes, wanting to submit to a woman, wanting to be fucked in the ass, that being a “sensitive” and “caring” person makes you a “wimp” and “pussy” (note the misogyny in that word choice), and wanting to be touched and loved and accepted for who they really are.

So, when I criticize the Patriarchy, I’m actually not just doing it to liberate women, I’m doing it to liberate men, too.

All-inclusive Dominatrix

I WELCOME people of any:

Gender ♀♂⚧☿⚨⚭
Sexuality ⚢⚣⚤🔗🛐
Ethnicity/color 🖐🏽🖐🏿🖐🖐🏾🖐🏻
Religion 🕉✡☸☪️☯✝️☮⚛
Age (legal) 👧🏻👨🏿👵🏽👴
Body/ability 😇🤡😺👽👻♿

 

I have experience playing with people who are…

  • cis men, trans men, cis women, trans women, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, gender non-confirming, etc.
  • hetero men, gay men, lesbians, bisexual, pansexual, queer, etc.
  • African American, Latinx, Arab, South American, African, Caucasian, Asian, etc.
  • Pagan, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Jewish, Hindu, Taoist, etc
  • ages 18 to 79 (and everything between)
  • voluptuous, skinny, swimmer’s build, muscular, large, tall, short, depressed, anxious, personality “disordered”, autistic, bipolar, PTSD, etc.

I want everyone to feel that they’re safe to explore and express their identity and sexuality, regardless of whatever combination of the above they are!

Article: “The Thrilling, Messy Lives of New York’s Freelance Dominatrices”

I find most of this article problematic, but there is one part I did very much appreciate.

What I had issue with were that the examples they use of “freelance” (i.e. independent) Dominatrices are kind of odd, and ironically paint them (Us?) in an unprofessional light. The two Dommes they selected to represent New York’s independent were portrayed in a very unflattering way — one of which is running a Cyrano-de-Bergerac-esque operation. I can’t help but wonder if this was a ploy to draw business to houses by making independents look, well, “messy” —  and even dangerous.

The part I did like discusses the pathologization of kink:

The American Psychological Association defines a mental disorder as a “clinically significant behavior” associated with “present distress, disability, or a significant increased risk of suffering.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, a compendium of these disorders, is the text American psychologists use to diagnose patients.When the DSM was first published in 1952, it included “sexual deviation”—a category that included transvestism, pedophilia, homosexuality, fetishism, and sexual sadism. The second edition included masochism. The all-encompassing term was changed to the less-pejorative “paraphilias” in the third edition. When the fifth edition comes out in May, people who practice BDSM and feel distress about it will have a “paraphilic disorder.”This distresses the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, an advocacy group which considers DSM revision a “key project.” “We want to make sure that distress from society doesn’t mean a mental disorder,” says National Coalition of Sexual Freedom spokeswoman Susan Wright.

The DSM listed homosexuality as a sexual disorder until 1973, when extensive empirical evidence concluded that homosexuals performed no differently on psychological tests than their straight counterparts. Five different studies conducted on masochists since 1977 point to high functioning—measured by high educational level, income and occupational status—compared to the general population. Furthermore, other studies show there is no link between masochism and past abuse. Why should one atypical orientation be treated differently than another?

Charles Moser, a California researcher who asks exactly that, has emerged as the psychologist most active in advocating for BDSM’s removal from the manual. In an article co-authored with Peggy Kleinplatz this year, he wrote: “The situation of the Paraphilias at present parallels that of homosexuality in the early 1970s. Without the support or political astuteness of those who fought for the removal of homosexuality, the Paraphilias continue to be listed in the DSM.” No characteristic unifies paraphiliacs other than their sexual interests, he points out, just as no single trait is shared by all homosexuals besides same-sex attraction.

On the other hand, Richard Krueger, a Columbia University researcher who was part of the workgroup that authors the paraphilias section, is among those favoring retention. He cites people like Richard Benjamin who asphyxiate for sexual excitement: “There are people who hang themselves, and we felt universally that dying that way is very different from accidentally hanging yourself in the process of becoming sexually excited.” Indeed, a study conducted in 1972 found 50 people died each year in the United States from this practice. Thus the reasoning: Homosexuality isn’t innately dangerous; some forms of masochism are.

How dangerous is BDSM? “It is said that the most common reason for an emergency room visit in New York City on Sunday mornings is a hand laceration from cutting a bagel,” Moser says. “I can find essentially no emergency room visits related to S&M injuries in the professional literature. So if danger or injury is your criteria, then cutting a bagel is the sign of a mental disorder, and S&M is healthy.”

One thing Moser and Krueger agree on is the lack of studies on BDSM. Michael W. Wiederman’s 2003 article “Paraphilia and Fetishism,” which appeared in the Family Journal, argues that this lack of research could stem from the misconception that sexuality researchers study topics of personal relevance which makes them want to avoid taboo subjects. Meg Kaplan, a psychologist who also happens to be Krueger’s wife, says she frequently receives referrals from other doctors who are either unable or unwilling to discuss BDSM fantasies with clients.

“There’s very little money for studying typical sexual behavior, nevermind atypical sexual behavior,” Kaplan says.

[Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/04/the-thrilling-messy-lives-of-new-yorks-freelance-dominatrices/274582/]

Human Nature

Society tends to view people like Me as things to be criminalized and eradicated. Likewise with others whose livelihood involves eroticism or sex. When people like them are faced with some aspect they do not like about themselves, such as an interest in being tied down and flogged, people like Me who joyously do these things (consensually, of course), become scapegoats for their repressed sexuality.

One reason why I do what I do is because I am genuinely passionate about people expressing who they really are. I am especially interested in matters of identity, sexuality (especially kink), and intimacy. All of which are conscious elements of how I approach and practice BDSM.

Sadly, our world attempts to define and control these things from the moment we are born. We are color-coded and assigned roles and expectations about how we dress, behave, have sex–and with whom. We are told what is okay and what is not. And when we don’t fit into those boxes and express our true nature, we are often shamed.

I don’t think most people fall neatly into “woman” or “man” or “straight” or “gay”. I don’t even think most people are strictly “vanilla”. Identity and sexuality are far more interesting and nuanced than what we are lead to believe. Challenging and experimenting with what we have been taught about them can be very exciting, gratifying, and liberating.

I am here to provide a safe space for you to explore these things that you may feel afraid to express. I am here to usher you into a new awareness of yourself.