I went to KUNG FU TEA everyday for a week just because of this article and here’s what happened:

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It’s time to stop conflating dominance and abuse

Trigger warning: BDSM, abuse, kink, consent/violation

Last week, “Fifty Shades Darker,” sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” broke the record held by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for most-viewed trailer in 24 hours. It’s clearly capturing the attention of a mainstream YouTube audience despite criticism that the relationship depicted, between Dominant Christian Grey and Submissive Anastasia Steele, is abusive. Much of that criticism stems from the historical representation of BDSM relationships as inherently abusive, when this is not in fact the case.

BDSM is an overlapping acronym for Bondage/Discipline Domination/Submission Sadism/Masochism. The aspect most principal to this essay is Domination/Submission which is sexual dynamic where one partner (the dominant) is given permission to make the majority of sexual decisions (when to have sex, how, or when). Dominance and Submission can overlap with other aspects within BDSM (such as Bondage or Sadomasochism) but such overlaps are not required.

The above mentioned is far from the only instance when heterosexual BDSM has been portrayed as the “innate” sexual fantasy of the masses, or when a dominant man’s desire to dominate a partner has been conflated with a desire to abuse that same partner.

Take this 1972 essay on gendered dynamics and desires published in the alternative “Vermont Freeman” that literally uses the word “abused” to refer to a submissive woman in the hands of a dominant man:

“A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused. A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.”

The author is Bernard Sanders, or as he’s now commonly known as, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, the progressive Vermont senator turned failed Democratic nominee and Brown’s favorite geriatric heartthrob.

Look at that lip bite

Now Sanders is right in that dominant men can absolutely abuse submissive women, and one could argue that “Fifty Shades of Grey” (as well as his Freudian one-shot) is an example of that. But he is wrong in his perpetuation of the assumption that sexual abuse stems from the position of an individual or the rope tying them up; sexual abuse is the product of sexual conduct carried out without freely given consent. As long as the submissive has the ability to revoke consent at any point (hand signals and safe words are the most common methods) and the dominant immediately obeys them, kinky sex is just as consensual as any other type of sex.

First of all, innate sexual fantasies are almost always portrayed as kinky, spank-based BDSM, and BDSM is usually protrayed as an abusive, physically damaging relationship between a dominant man and a submissive woman. These portrayals marginalize a great many people, including queer people who are ignored in the heteronormative narrative of sexuality and abuse, men who enjoy being submissive and women who enjoy being dominant.

Beyond that, the rhetoric with which modern society discusses BDSM often conflates it with abuse, much like Sanders did. This interpretation denies women the agency to consent to kinky sex, and obscures instances of abuse that take place outside of BDSM relationships, such as economic or emotional abuse, as well as violations of sexual consent between individuals who are do not identify or participate in any form of BDSM play.


But this interpretation — which perpetuates the idea that there is a positive relationship between kink and rape — is also incredibly harmful to those who enjoy BDSM, to those who have been abused, and even those who have been abused within BDSM relationships.

This is especially important to me, as I am both a very kinky person and someone who has experienced abuse at the hands of someone who believed they were simply being kinky.

Now, when my (non-abusive) partner and I role play, and the kinks (spanking, hair-pulling, rope) come out, he’s not abusing or oppressing me. I’m enjoying my sexuality in the way I prefer to with his help. There’s a safe word in place, so either one of us can end the kink-fest whenever we want.

I have a rape fantasy, sure. But I don’t actually want to be raped, and any person who does rape me is still committing a violent crime — in much the same way that a middle schooler who enjoys playing Call of Duty doesn’t actually want to be stranded in a warzone and certainly doesn’t want to be shot.


Dominance, within a consensual, safe word-guarded relationship, is not abuse.

Submission, within a consensual, safe word-guarded relationship, is not oppression.

That is all,

April Cum-she-will.


Baby’s first bean bag toss

The Brown-Harvard Homecoming Game is the setting for one of a Brunonian fall’s most illustrious traditions: the homecoming tailgate. Brown and Harvard students come together to partake in a little harmless pregame fun with non-alcoholic beverages and family-friendly music. At least that’s what I told my parents. In truth, the event is called Brown State, because it is the one time when members of the Brown student body party like students at schools where car flipping and body painting are regular occurrences. I was told that, as a freshman, I needed to go. I took a few friends from my unit with me and made careful note of my observations.

  1. There is a lot of wandering aimlessly. Freshmen don’t exactly know the ins and outs of having a fun college time yet, and don’t even know very many people. So a lot of time was spent finding each other, losing each other and fearfully scanning the crowd for familiar faces. The moments when we recognized someone were emotional, with relieved hugs all around.


Ahhh who are these people?

  1. It’s hard to figure out what to do. Some people played complicated drinking games. Others decided to jump on top of cars. The most inebriated found that tackling each other and getting told off by the police was the best option. My friends and I just stood there and tried to look cool and popular, doing our best to avoid bumping into any drunk person who might get annoyed. In reality we probably looked more like TV show nerdy middle schoolers hiding from bullies.


Suhh Dude

  1. Awkward dancing. With little wiggle room in the crowd, the only way to move was really with upper-body gestures, with some light hip shakes sprinkled in. None of us had very much to drink since we weren’t able to find beers easily, and thus were acutely aware of how awkward and uncoordinated we truly were.



Hi. I’m a freshman. Am I cool yet?

  1. The weekend of the Homecoming game is really, really long. Friday night was Friday night, with everything that a wild Friday night entails. Then we woke up at 10:30 a.m. or so and it was time to party again. Then the game happened. Then we crashed like grandparents by the afternoon.


Woooo College!

Thanks to some hardcore napping we rallied like champs for A Night on College Hill and pulled off even more increasingly cringy dance moves.

  1. It was pretty fun. Nothing brings together a pack of freshmen like feeling uncomfortable and sticking out for all the wrong reasons. I never felt as close to my unit mates as when we were surrounded by drunk people and not really sure how to act or what to do. If anything, it was a good lesson that we weren’t high school seniors anymore and have a lot to learn. I know that I’ll be doing some more of that learning at the tailgate next year. See you then.

Presidential Debate Live Blog

10:40 PM: Debate wraps up, shockingly the status quo is maintained.

10:36 PM: Clinton points out Trump’s affection for beauty contests, tendency to call women “fat pigs and slobs.” He says “Rosie O’Donnell deserved it.”

10:33 PM: Questions of stamina on either side.

10:23 PM: Donald Trump thinks his strongest asset is his temperament.

10:20 PM: Would somebody please call Sean Hannity so we can stop talking about it?

10:18 PM: Trump credits himself for NATO’s decision to form an anti-terror branch.

10:15 PM: Trump blames Clinton for growth of ISIS, says “we should have taken the oil.”

10:10 PM: “I was just endorsed by Ice…” says Trump. Huh?

10:02 PM: “I think I’ve developed very good relationships over the last little while” with African-American communities, says Trump. Over the last two weeks? Good for you, Trump.


10:00 PM: “I think Donald Trump just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And yes I did. You know what else I did? I prepared to be president, and I think that’s a good thing,” says Clinton.

9:53 PM: Clinton acknowledges harsh truths regarding race for the first time tonight. “I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police,” she says.

9:47 PM: Trump implies benefits to stop and frisk, Lester Holt reminds Trump that stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional, Trump tells Holt that he’s wrong.

9:46 PM: Clinton tiptoes around race question, emphasizes her respect for law enforcement.

9:42 PM: “It’s all words,” says Trump. Yes Donald, you need words to have a debate.

9:41 PM: “We have become a third world country,” says Trump. Didn’t know LaGuardia put us in the third world.

9:40 PM: Clinton smooth-talks her way through email jibe, clearly more practiced discussing emails than policy.

9:35 PM: Trump refuses to release tax returns. “Maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is,” says Clinton.

9:31 PM: “We are in a big fat ugly bubble.”


9:27 PM: “I’m really calling for major jobs,” says Trump. He does not follow with a plan to create them.

9:23 PM: Trump claims pride in tax cut that is “biggest since Ronald Reagan,” seems contrary to what I just learned in Principles.

9:20 PM: Hillary wastes time defending her husband’s record.

9:17 PM: Clinton highlights that Trump rooted for housing crisis– “I hope it does collapse, cuz then I can go in and buy some and make some money”– and Trump responds with– “That’s called business, by the way.”

9:08 PM: “Finally we are on the stage together, Donald Trump and I. Donald… It’s good to be with you,” says Clinton with marked hesitation.

9:00 PM: As the countdown begins for the first of three presidential debates before the November election, the anticipation grows- who will come out on top? Will Trump’s buffoonery trump Clinton’s practiced pragmatism?



If you are interested in the upcoming election, love discussing and debating politics or want to learn about current affairs from world-renowned experts — or all of the above, the Watson is the place for you! This semester, they’re holding a discussion series called “American Democracy: The Dangers and Opportunities of Right Here and Right Now!” It’s a historic election — be sure to take part and learn your stuff!

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Thayer Street Face-Off

The “I Can’t Cook Book” is the title of a never-opened cookbook that magically appeared in the living room of the apartment I share with my roommates. I assume that this book is meant for me because my roommates have no trouble cooking for themselves and getting all of their nutrients in. I, on the other hand, have been living solely on the classic college meals: eggs, pb&j, grilled cheese, Ramen, mac ‘n’ cheese and sautéed spinach (which my roommates just taught me to make). Sometimes I consume all of these things in one day, but if I’m lucky, my roommates will make extra food, and I can eat a real meal.

Coming to college, I was expecting this. My mom (whose Christmas present will be the “I Can’t Cook Book” from my apartment) cannot cook either, so my family orders out for pretty much every meal. I am close to doing this with the restaurants on Thayer. I’ve survived two weeks on my repertoire of recipes, but I don’t think I can last much longer. Everyone knows that on Thayer street, there are important rivalries to explore.

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