Publication details

Dilemmas of a subculture : An analysis of BDSM blogs about Fifty Shades of Grey



Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Sexualities
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Authenticity; BDSM; Fifty Shades of Grey; subculture; virtual ethnography
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Description Recently, much has been written in the mass media about the novel and film Fifty Shades of Grey. It was widely portrayed as an example of BDSM (a common abbreviation for the terms bondage, discipline, dominance, submissivity, sadism and masochism) subculture and used as a symbol of sadomasochistic identity. But is this public view based on the self image of BDSM subcultural members or is it a figment of the imagination of writers and journalists? This article presents the voice of BDSM activists, who are silenced and excluded from the public debate. Using a virtual ethnographic method, we analyse the BDSM blogosphere as a platform for subcultural expressions of opinion. We combine this with a documentary analysis. In doing so, we examine how BDSM subculture members perceive themselves in contrast to the mainstream view of them pictured in the book Fifty Shades of Grey. This article investigates to what extent the subcultural conception of BDSM corresponds to the book's depiction and where it differs fundamentally.
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