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incendiaryfeminist asked:

I absolutely adore you as a band, your music is incredible and you are so phenomenal live. But, if you're going to incorperate BDSM into your shows, I don't think I'll be able to see you live again. As someone who was hurt immensely by that scene, it worries me that young fans (especially girls) will find themselves in that world and get hurt. I'm not a prude, Where Does It Hurt is one of my favourite songs! I just really think you're amazing live as it is, you don't need shock tactics. <3 Love!


50 Shades of Total Bullshit

Firstly, I’m so sorry that you have had bad experiences within the BDSM scene. Let me start to answer your question by stating first and foremost that I am a very strong feminist. For those of you who don’t understand that word it simply means that I believe men and women to be 100% equal. Feminism isn’t about beating men down, it’s about bring women up and fighting sexism and misogyny. Sadly there are many men who still believe that women exist only to please them or to be owned and controlled. That said, for me at least, being a feminist is about making my own choices and expressing myself in ways that are meaningful to me despite what others, male or female, may think. I cannot abide the belief some men (and even women) have that women should cover up because men cannot be expected to control themselves or repress their sensuality in order to be taken seriously. In the same way, no woman should feel like they have to sexualize themselves in order to feel ‘valid’ in the eyes of society. To me, a big part of being a feminist is believing that women should be free to make their own choices. This is why, young fan base or not, I’m basically going to do whatever I want and not answer to anyone or their parents. What I do onstage and in videos is no more shocking than anything NIN, Rammstein or Marilyn Manson do. It’s also why I won’t put up with comments and posts that I deem to objectify me on our social networking sites. As far as I’m concerned, no one is welcome to make comments of a sexual nature about me or to me without my express permission.

Unless you count pulling Steve’s hair, scratching Nikki or eye-f*cking Val (all of which they are more than happy to participate in because we love, respect and trust each other) we have absolutely no plans to incorporate BDSM into our show. You may have heard that I was going to flog a girl onstage during William Control’s show. The only reason that came about was because…drum roll… she asked me to. This is something I took as a huge compliment because it means that she knows I respect her and that she trusts me. I have since decided against doing it onstage for the moment because out of context the whole thing could be misconstrued. However, make no mistake: when she is onstage with Will it is because she WANTS to be there as an expression of HER sexuality and NOT as a poor helpless thing letting some guy take advantage of her (I’m not saying you were any of those things, just that these are peoples’ general misconceptions). I would never presume to speak for William but from personal experience I can tell you that he is a gentleman who is nothing but respectful of women and any so called deviant behaviour he indulges in on or offstage is 110% consensual- including the times I’ve let him put a rope around my neck during his stage show (damn, that was fun). If you disagree with what he does onstage then the best advice I can give you is to stay away from his shows…but don’t feel sorry for the girls he’s onstage with because, trust me, they’re loving every second. If you feel there should be some kind of warning in place for parents then that’s something you can take up with the promoters who advertise his performances.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked about my relationship with BDSM. Let’s begin by explaining to those with no experience in the scene the type of thing we’re talking about. This post is titled as such because that daft novel is so far removed from what real BDSM relationships look like. Put very simply (and to say I’m generalizing here doesn’t do it justice as fetishes and approaches to ‘play’ are as multi-facaeted as people are) some people like to roleplay as being the Dominant partner and the other as the Submissive partner. People are one or the other or refer to themselves as ‘switches’ because they enjoy both. How this dom-sub relationship plays out varies hugely but can involve bondage (being tied up), pain (whipping, spanking, flogging etc.), worshipping (seeing the dom as a god or goddess to be served as such) and the list goes on and on. These types of activities are generally referred to as ‘playing’ and for good reason- everyone involved is having fun. Choosing a playmate can be compared to choosing a lover. For me- and the vast majority of people I have met whether in the scene or not- the best experiences come when there is absolute trust and respect for each other. You’re both there to have intimate, 100% consensual fun. That said, just like plenty of people have fun during meaningless one night stands (I never have for the record but I hear it happens) plenty of people find fun with a playmate for just one night.

Here is the important part kids: It doesn’t matter whether someone is kissing you, touching you, grabbing you, spanking you, whipping you or having sex with you…if it’s against your will it is assault. No questions, no ‘blurred lines’. Just assault. And that is never ever OK. Ever. Saying that you’ve had a bad experience with BDSM and therefore can never enjoy it again (assuming of course that you ever did) is like saying that because someone raped you you can never enjoy sex again. You were assaulted. Someone imposed their will upon you and that makes them a criminal who should be in prison. You didn’t do anything wrong and shouldn’t suffer for the rest of your life as a consequence of afore mentioned criminal’s actions.

Let’s get personal for a minute. After all, I can never understand what you went through- only you ever will. Therefore I’ll simply share my own experience. As many of you know, I was a professional alternative fashion, fetish and art nude model for many years before I left it behind for a career in music. During that time I had a lot of fun, got to prance about in awesome cool clothes in some amazing locations and explore different sides of myself. However, there was a dark side too. If I’m totally honest with myself, I was so young and insecure that I was very quickly convinced that my only source of self worth was male attention and validation. How very sad is that? I was so easily manipulated that I found myself doing things that I wasn’t comfortable with just because I didn’t have the confidence to refuse. It didn’t help that my father had just passed away from a long illness and that I was suffering from depression. The lyrics to Hollow were written for that poor, sad girl and I’ll always have a place in my heart for her. The lyrics to Awake Now were a tribute to how I managed to snap myself out of that mind set and save myself.

These days I am a completely different person. Just as the lyrics to Invincible Girl attest, what doesn’t kill you really can make you stronger if you don’t allow yourself to give in to victim complex. I’m not excusing the actions of the people who took advantage of me during those years, merely saying that I’m not going to allow them to ruin the rest of my life. Any kind of sexual expression was, in those days, simply currency. It was a way of getting what I wanted- money, love, attention, validation. My own pleasure wasn’t even on the list! These days I have ‘Chased The Demons From My Bed’ and have never been more comfortable with my sensuality. It’s a pretty wonderful place to be.

In conclusion, what I’d like you and other readers to take from this is the following:

We’ve no plans to incorporate any BDSM into our stage show…but that isn’t because I think there’s anything wrong with it. Such themes are likely to come up in other works we do because it interests me. We’re called ‘Bad’ Pollyanna not ‘teenagers and their parents friendly’ or ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ or ‘sugar-coated’ Pollyanna and if folks don’t like it they can look away. This isn’t to say that I think being sensual is ‘bad’ either…I’m just using that word for convenience.

Your sexual side belongs to you and you alone. It is to be shared with people of your choosing.

Anything that happens between yourself and another consenting adult is nobody else’s business. BDSM is just another way of expressing your sexuality if it’s something that appeals to you. And, at least in my opinion, should only be done with people you absolutely trust and respect and vice versa. My initial adventures into BDSM- and sex for that matter- were pretty disastrous because I neglected to follow this simple rule.

Lastly, (teenage girls take special note) if anyone ever says anything along the lines of ‘you would if you loved me’, ‘but everyone else is doing it’, ‘if you don’t you’re boring/ frigid’ or makes you feel like you’re obliged to engage in any kind of behaviour you aren’t totally comfortable with or, my favourite, tries to make you feel like you’re with the one with the problem because you don’t like being grabbed or treated like an object then please, please get them out of your space and, where necessary, your life. You don’t need that. Your sexuality is a natural, beautiful and intimate thing when it’s done right….even when whips and chains are involved.

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