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Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis

Against Sadomasochism: A
Radical Feminist Analysis
Robin Ruth Linden, Darlene R. Pagano,
Diana E. H. Russell and Susan Leigh Star
Frog in the Well1982

A 1982 radical feminist anthology edited by Robin Ruth Linden, Darlene R. Pagano, Diana E. H. Russell, and Susan Leigh Star. The essays in the book critique sadomasochism and BDSM from a feminist perspective, with most of the contributors identifying sadomasochism as rooted in “patriarchal sexual ideology”.

The compilation includes essays by a variety of radical feminists such as Alice Walker, Robin Morgan, Kathleen Barry, Diana E. H. Russell, Susan Leigh Star, Ti-Grace Atkinson, John Stoltenberg, Sarah Lucia Hoagland, Susan Griffin, Cheri Lesh, and Judy Butler. The anthology also includes an interview between Audre Lorde and Susan Leigh Star. The essays address issues such as whether lesbian feminism is compatible with sadomasochism, S/M’s similarities with pornography, and the connections between sadomasochism and racism. Several essays criticize Samois, a BDSM organization founded by and for lesbians.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: against sadomasochism / Robin Ruth Linden
  • Letter from a former masochist / Marissa Jonel
  • Pornography and the sexual revolution: the backlash of sadomasochism / Sally Roesch Wagner
  • Sadomasochism and the social construction of desire / Karen Rian
  • On the history of cultural sadism / Kathleen Barry
  • Interview with Audre Lorde / Audre Lorde and Susan Leigh Star
  • Feminism and sadomasochism: self-critical notes / Bat-Ami Bar On
  • Sadomasochism and the liberal tradition / Hilde Hein
  • Why I’m against S/M liberation / Ti-Grace Atkinson
  • Sadomasochism: a personal experience / Elizabeth Harris
  • A response to Samois / Jesse Meredith
  • Racism and sadomasochism: a conversation with two black lesbians / Karen Sims and Rose Mason with Darlene Pagano
  • An opinionated piece on sadomasochism / Maryel Norris
  • The politics of sado-masochistic fantasies / Robin Morgan
  • Sadomasochism: eroticized violence, eroticized powerlessness / John Stoltenberg
  • Swastikas: the street and the university / Susan Leigh Star
  • Is sadomasochism feminist? A critique of the Samois position / Jeanette Nichols, Darlene Pagano and Margaret Rossoff
  • The saga of Sadie O. Massey / Vivienne Walker-Crawford
  • Sadism, masochism, and lesbian-feminism / Sarah Lucia Hoagland
  • Smokers protest healthism / Paula Tiklicorect
  • New expanded-type version lesbian hankerchief code / Melissa Bay Mathis
  • Lesbian S & M: the politics of dis-illusion / Judy Butler
  • Sadomasochism: a contra-feminist activity / Diana E.H. Russell
  • Sadomasochism and the erosion of self: a critical reading of Story of O / Susan Griffin
  • Hunger and thirst in the house of distorted mirrors / Cheri Lesh
  • A letter of the times, or should this sado-masochism be saved? / Alice Walker