BDSM as a social and commercial commodity for self-representation, community and play in Australia 1970-2010
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MA Candidate, La Trobe University
BDSM, sadomasochism, B&D, S/M, bondage, kinky are all terms used to describe an individual with an eclectic, diverse, or more hardcore sexual appetite. These descriptors are employed for a range of reasons but are deployed primarily to seek out and engage with others of similar taste. Not only can they be used as a description for sexual behaviour, but they can also be used to identify the self and others. Research into BDSM overseas has grown in popularity in recent years (particularly after Fifty Shades of Grey's debut), but what is there to uncover about BDSM in Australia? How has the BDSM identity been commodified, commercialised, and appropriated to foster and encourage social and/or intimate connection in private and public spaces? This paper presents initial findings from my MA research, revealing how BDSM identities were developed and shaped in Australia through personal advertising found in pornographic magazines, community media such as Wicked Women, and commercial club nights.
Reece (he/him) is an MA candidate in the Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University. His research investigates oral and archival sources to produce a history of BDSM in Australia. His thesis looks specifically at the role of public space in constructing and commodifying the image of a sadomasochistic citizen.