This is just a draft, I’m working on organizing my ideas of this, once I get it down perfectly I’m going to post it to communities and such.
This concept was actually the idea of Lisa Diamond, Ph.D, a professor of mine here at the University of Utah. We were talking about BDSM in my Gender and Sexual Orientation class yesterday, and this is a concept which she came up with.
What does it mean?
The term “power drag” is playing on the same idea as gender drag is, most notably Judith Butler’s idea of performativity, that all gender is drag, all gender is constructed “woman is to drag not as original is to copy, but as copy is to copy. all gender is drag” (paraphrased). This does this by showing that gender is simply a performance, and regardless of the body that masculinity or femininity is placed upon it is still masculinity and femininity.
What power within BDSM and specifically D/s or M/s relations does is emphasize the power dynamics between the two people, going to one extreme of power, with absolute power and absolute submission, it is showing that power is a performance, and without an exchange of power no power can be gained or lost. Power drag shows that there is no natural power dynamic between people just as there is no natural gender.
However, just as one cannot escape gender, one cannot escape power dynamics either, but power drag brings awareness to the power dynamics between all people, not just people within BDSM relationships. It shows the constructedness of “natural” power, such as white dominance or male dominance, even when it is a white male dominating a non-white female there is still a choice being made as opposed to blindly accepting the dominance of the white male. Most obviously this constructedness or non-naturalness is shown when a female dominates a male or when a non-white person dominates a white person, or any other inequalites (age, class, ability, etc.).
Why is it important?
By exposing the non-naturalness of power dynamics between people we can begin to play with power (though we in BDSM have been doing that for a long time now already) and we show how power is fluid, and power dynamics can change from moment to moment. The realization of power drag could help both with keeping roles within relationships strict or being able to relax the usually strict roles within our relationships.
Gender drag is to Gender as Power drag is to Power?
What else? I’m sure there’s more I can/should talk about. What kinds of questions do you all have about this? What else should be included in a conceptualization of power drag? What else do I need to discuss?
This is so huge and I’m so excited by it that I don’t quite know how to cover everything or what I’m missing.