Tag Archive: Leatherfolk

Management Tips for Dominants Types

Hi folks.
So, from time to time, I post links to stuff written for the business-suit set because I find that they can be helpful for dominant folks in full-time power-exchanges.
With that in mind, here are two such articles. Some of you may find them handy. Some of you may find them kind of old hat. Either way, here we go:
10 Rules for Successful Delegation
Giving Constructive Criticism
There you go. I hope they’re useful to at least some of you.
Ms Syren.


So it’s been a while. There’s half a dozen things I want to blog about, but they’re all a bit of a muddle in my head and/or I’m not sure I have the right to bring them up.

So, instead, you’re getting a book review. More or less.

Specifically, I’ll be talking about Leatherfolk: Radical Sex, People, Politics, and Practice, an anthology of essays on leather history and experience.

Basically, a while back, I decided it was high time I bothered learning some leather history. Part of this is that we recently held Ms National Capital Leather in town for the first time in ages, while I definitely didn’t feel up to entering, it did cross my mind that I might want to one day, so picking up on a little history wouldn’t be a bad idea. The other part is that I’m facilitating a discussion (barely a month away) about cultivating entitlement as dominants in D/s dynamics and I’d heard that Leatherfolk included an essay about bdsm and femininity — a subject that, given the discussion will be happening at a women’s kink event, was definitely relevant to my interests.

So I splurged and ordered a copy.

It arrived a few days ago and I’ve been reading through it ever since.

So. Is it any good?

First thing you have to know is that this is leather history from the U.S. I don’t actually know if there’s a Canadian equivalent (although I know who I’m expecting to write it if there isn’t one yet — no pressure ;-)) so, as far as Canadian Leather history goes, it’s not a great resource (although it does include work by and and about Geoff Mains, who was from British Columbia, so there’s something there).

Second this is: It was first published in 1991. The essays are timely, including bittersweet stories – like Dorothy Allison’s “Her Body, Mine, and His” – about re-finding the joy in fucking in spite of (and I do mean in spite of) the overwhelming waves of death and grief happening in and around the community.

There’s stuff in this book that makes me twitch, and most of that is the “urban primitive” stuff. I was talking about it with my sweetie yesterday — I’m 100% for finding/engaging spirituality through rituals based flesh hooking and other S/M techniques and experiences. But please, FFS, don’t say you’re Recreating a Native American Ritual when you’re operating within an entirely different cultural context and the only thing What You’re Doing has in common with, e.g., the Sun Dance is where you’ve placed those hooks in your body.
I mean, come on.

There’s also stuff in this book that I really appreciate. Geoff Mains’ “View from a Sling” is one of them. Pat Califia’s “Mr. Benson Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, while it’s weird for me to see him IDing as a woman (1991, remember), talks about the way dominance (like masculinity) is structured as a delicate house of cards — a situation that is still going on twenty years later (we need to smarten up, folks, let’s go). A number of essays address the intersection of Paganism and Leather (frequently through Radical Faeries, but also through Tantra) and how this intersection can be involved in changing the definition of masculinity.
I also appreciate the essays that are explicitly written to discuss leather history — from the 1930s to the 1990s — because they show me some of what went on before, and how this culture came to be what it currently is; and I’m really happy to see a few women authors in there, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Despite the stuff that makes me twitch or roll my eyes or – occasionally – want to smack some of the contributors, I think this book is a really good one to get ahold of. I (and, y’know, everyone else and their neon-pink cat) recommend this one if you’re looking for a good starting spot for learning leather history.

As an end-note: If people want to throw me recommendations for books on Canadian and/or Women’s leather history, do please drop me a note in the comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ms. Syren.