WINTER 2020 VOL. 1 ISSUE 3 | NOV 20, 2020
Three years ago, I fell in love with a girl who was many things (a writer, business school student, world traveler)... but also a Professional Dominatrix. I was a late bloomer in more ways than one, and hadn't even felt an inkling of a sexual curiosity until I was in my early twenties. Perhaps I come from a lineage that had shamed (femme) sexuality to the point of paralyzing my sex drive into terror, or perhaps as a not-yet-realized lesbian, I just didn't know what I didn't know. Either way, my personal introduction to BDSM—and really sex itself—was much like a blockbuster Vin Diesel sequel: 2 Fast 2 Furious.
To be clear, we at QASC advocate that sex work is not only work, but also divinely healing and revolutionarily essential; sex workers must be supported, appreciated, and protected. And yet, this particular Dominatrix/ex-girlfriend I had fallen in love with was not someone who had been able to hold my hand (or heart) through the sensual, strange, and scary! world that her career in the sex industry had suddenly introduced into my life. I am still in the process of untangling the mixed emotions of fear, wonder, jealousy, love, and lust I felt in that particular relationship. I am still in the process of untangling my sexuality from the sexual expectations of romantic partners. I am still in the process of untangling sexual trauma from sexuality itself.
All this is to say, sex and sexuality is one big, wonderful mystery that brings the Queer community together—our constant questioning of heteronormative structures of sex and sexuality can actually lead to the dismantling of patriarchal systems and even human history itself. It is ok that our relationship to sex and our sexual selves is still revealing itself to us—what is sex, why do we want it, and what is its purpose are questions we need to keep exploring. Over thousands of years, sex has become convoluted with contradictions—love, belonging, capitalism, scarcity, violence, vulnerability, safety, danger. But what if untangling our questions about sex actually holds the key to all the world's problems? Sex is, after all, literally the origin of our entire existence. Maybe it's time to do some collective troubleshooting.
This issue of Dis-Orient explores the relationship between sex, sexual expression, and our identities, featuring "The Dragon and the Lotus: Sexual Reclamation Through Asian FemDomme" by Breanna Meow, in conversation with Mistress Lucy Sweetkill and Domina Dia Dynasty, art by Vincent Chong, "Unceremonial" by Cat Arisa March, and an oracle card reading by Ian Simmons-Francisco AKA The Luna Naughty. It goes without saying that this issue is intended for more mature readers, but in case you come across anything that captures your curiosity or concern, we encourage you to reach out to our resident sex-pert and cool auntie, Breanna Meow. All questions are sexy here.
LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX
BY BREANNA MEOW, IN CONVERSATION WITH MISTRESS LUCY SWEETKILL & DOMINA DIA DYNASTY
and THE LOTUS:
SEXUAL RECLAMATION THROUGH ASIAN FEMDOMME
We’ve all been witness to the misguided trope of Asian women* as the “lotus”—submissive, compliant, docile, and remiss to putting up a fight. Representations of this can be seen in film and media as characters in pleasure-centered roles of servitude that often include sexual acquiescence.
The idea of the Asian woman as “less-than” has been a long-held view within American society congruent to European settler perceptions of the East as “other” and romantizations of the Orient as an exotic and mysterious land, whose women were hypersexualized as a result of first encounters between the West and Asians—more specifically Asian women—having been through the military sex trade before and during World War II. These “comfort women,” as they were so endearingly referred to, performed forced and unprotected sexual acts that resulted in pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, many of whom died from botched abortions or complications associated with disease.
Normalization of Asian women thus being sexual objects, sought after because of their alluringly exotic aesthetic, disarming beauty, and servile disposition, became the so-called “forbidden fruit” of the East.
As a first generation mixed-Asian Canadian woman, I have been both the subject of, and witness to, most all the stereotypes placed on Asian women. From being sexualized by male counterparts, to being expected to act a certain way, encompassing specific roles, and playing the part of the “good girl” – obedient, dutiful, and yielding to any and all dominance.
It is important to note here that there is no shame in an Asian woman who consensually agrees to submission or plays a role within Asian fetishist groups. My goal with this article is to expose the problematic stereotypes Asian women have been subject to, which contributes to toxic masculine perceptions. As with all cultural stereotypes, interpretations of such have more than often been served up by European or white colonial imperialists, and more so by privileged, classist, and sexist patriarchal structures. We are still fighting against such systems to this day.
So to say that the empowerment of Asian women has been a long and arduous one, is a vast understatement.
I find the dichotomy of Asian FemDomme coupled with the “lotus blossom” trope to be quite fascinating, and a slap in the face to patriarchal standards and expectations of how an Asian woman should be or act. Sexual objectification has no place in these spaces. There is no room for white male fragility. Roles have now been reversed. No longer subject to male domination and misogynistic standards, Asian FemDommes are busting balls, and calling the shots.
What has drawn me to the work that I have seen the community of Asian FemDommes do, is just this. A reclamation of sexual power and agency, and done with great prowess at that. The co-founders of La Maison Rouge—a NYC-based BDSM education centre and dungeon, owned by professional dominatrixes Mistress Lucy Sweetkill, a first generation Vietnamese-American, and Domina Dia Dynasty, a first-generation Chinese-American—are pushing the boundaries of what it means to be an Asian woman. I had the privilege of interviewing them on what makes Asian FemDomme so unique within female domination.
* For the context of this interview, “women” will be a term used to denote female-identifying and femme individuals.
Considering that a large majority of your clientele consists of cisgender non-POC males, to what extent do you believe the act of female domination contributes to an overall shift in perception towards women, more specifically Asian women?
I believe Female domination helps shift and breakdown the heteronormative gender expectations placed on both men and women. We are creating a safe space that allows men to be in a role society says is wrong (submissive) and we are empowering women to embrace being in control. I think through these dynamics, it allows our male subs to expand their idea of what women are capable of, but also challenges their own ideas of themselves. I think it goes beyond shifting men’s ideas of women and Asian women—it is expanding all perspectives of gender roles, power dynamics, and what is considered desirable. I think the idea of a subservient Asian woman is becoming less appealing in many ways, but of course I am biased through my own preference of Female dominance. I want to say there are no issues with any gender wanting to be submissive, but it’s important to not assume roles without deeper questioning of why we are in these roles.
First of all, I think there’s a distinction between the act of female domination and the service of professional female domination. Female domination is any act by any woman or femme who is self-identified as dominant and refuses to submit in any scenario. This can occur anywhere in the real world. Professional female domination is a specialty service that flips the traditional service paradigm on its head and begins in a safe space, but can extend outwards. There are also sub-categories of professional female domination that stay within the realm of service topping and do not necessarily exceed the confines of the safe space. So with all of these distinctions made, I believe that professional female domination is a rich space of influence that could greatly affect a much needed shift in perception towards women. For Asian women specifically, we are often seen as one of two stereotypes: the submissive, subservient, oftentimes nerdy and meek woman; or the sexually aggressive Dragon Lady. These stereotypical perceptions of Asian women are harmful because they put us in categories that divide us and do not allow for our individualistic characters to shine.
Women in general have been seen as the thankless laborers of emotional and domestic duties in service to man for many centuries. Invisible labor such as birthing, sex, health care, housekeeping, cooking, child care, and organization have all been taken for granted as duties of the woman. To take a position of not only refusing to do these things for free, but also making the man learn how to do them, is a consciousness of revolution.
How can the fetishization of Asian women be used to your advantage in bringing in specific clientele for purposes of educating on the harmful attitudes towards Asian women?
I am not always aware when I see a client if they have an “Asian fetish,” but when it is made clear through conversation, I take the opportunity to discuss how fetishizing any race is objectifying and problematic. I have an opportunity being in the Dominant role with my clientele to teach and educate on many problematic behaviors I see in many men in general.
Pleasure and sexuality serve as a gateway into the mind, and has a much more far-reaching potential. As Asian women are often seen by cisgender non-POC males in a stereotypical way of hyper-sexual and subservient, this entry point is an advantage. Asian women like myself are visually alluring to specific generations and types of cisgender white men, especially ones who have come in contact with Eastern Asian women during wartime. This attraction draws them into our sphere of influence. Their yearning for a greater purpose combined with the deep emotional need to submit to or serve a woman, gives us the space to cultivate our craft of dominance by weaving our agenda into a larger tapestry of re-centering female pleasure, sensuality, behavior modification, reward and punishment, and re-education.
No longer subject to male domination and misogynistic standards, Asian FemDommes are busting balls, and calling the shots.
Pleasure and sexuality serve as a gateway into the mind
Do you think that by offering Dominatrix services as Asian women, you are setting the standard for how Asian women should be treated; or, in the very least, offering yourselves as a catalyst for change?
I think being an Asian Dominatrix, or really in general a Dominatrix, is a catalyst for change around assumed gender roles and power dynamics. I am offering an opportunity for my clientele to look at themselves differently, as well as learn how to treat women in general with more respect. I find that many of my clientele learn to become better allies to women and sex workers. I am usually their only exposure to these issues, so I take advantage of my position of power to help create a little change.
I like to think one of the side-effects of anyone who sees a Dominatrix is a heightened awareness of how to treat women and WOC in general, as a Dominant Woman will correct a client when they act or speak inappropriately. It’s really important for white Dommes to also bring to the attention of the client the treatment of WOC in this industry and advocate for us. I am hoping that all professional Dommes take it upon themselves to decide how they want to be treated in this industry and demand a baseline of respect, which in turn will hopefully bleed into the consciousness of the people who are coming in contact with this world, even if solely by media.
Does Asian FemDomme act in part as a reclamation of sexual power and dominance from non-POC patriarchal and colonial oppression of Asian women?
I see my work in BDSM as a general act of defiance towards societal norms and patriarchy. Being a sex worker and my own boss, challenges the patriarchal views of what women are allowed to do. For me, my journey in Domination work has been a personal reclamation of my own sexuality, and has helped empower me and feel secure in my power. I learned to not feel shame or apologize for my sexuality and for having a Dominant personality.
Yes, absolutely, as it brings into the public arena this idea that Asian Women and Femmes are multi-dimensional and vary from person to person as individuals. Many of us are sexually dominant, which is a fantasy for many people – white cis men in particular. We choose to monetize this dominance in a way that serves us, rather than providing a service where we take orders and often feel drained and dehumanized from it. More often than not, we are taking wealth from white cis men and redistributing it back into our communities.
In what ways can FemDomme act as a healing tool for toxic hypermasculinity and patriarchal structures, especially as WOC practitioners? In a spiritual sense, do you see your work as part of the Divine Feminine rising?
I think the world of heterosexual Female Domination can help women feel secure in their wants and needs. It can be a tool for helping women feel more empowered in themselves and their sexuality. On the flip side, it's a safe space for men to move away from these toxic male expectations of dominance as well as a limited view of sexuality. The more exposure to women in power that men have is always beneficial.
FemDomme has a sexualized appeal that draws all kinds of people in. Of those people, some seek to truly submit and simply need guidance, some are seeking a whole new arena of sexual exploration, and some are looking for a new direction and purpose for their life. All of these seekers are welcome, and there are many different approaches to each kind of seeking, all based in safety, care, and communication. By providing a safe space for cisgender men to be their “secret selves”—the one that they know society would ridicule or reject, the secret self that many men have shame about because of expected gender performances—we hold this space for them to experience vulnerability and overcome the shame. The fear of vulnerability and shame is a strong energy that can get stuck inside of a person and cause them to act in harmful ways to others, especially others who remind them of their stuckness. When there is a safe space to allow these hidden parts out, to explore them, eventually make friends with them, the shame dissipates and acceptance replaces it.
I absolutely see my work as a part of the Divine Feminine rising. It’s been a long time coming for the pendulum to swing the other way, as movement is life and stillness is death, and we were all dying under this toxic patriarchal consciousness. The Divine Feminine rising will bring about harmony through careful observation and cooperation, as well as sharing power instead of hoarding it.
It’s been a long time coming for the pendulum to swing the other way, as movement is life and stillness is death, and we were all dying under this toxic patriarchal consciousness.
As first generation Asian Americans raised by immigrant parents, how have your experiences shaped the way you approach FemDomme?
It is said that originally the Vietnamese culture was a matriarchal culture. There have been shifts through certain influences, but within my own family that was still very true. The women ruled my family, so the image of strong women was luckily my normal. However, I also witnessed how the women in my family played these power games with the men, giving them a sense of control, but really the women were in charge. I always found that fascinating and didn’t realize until later how power dynamics have always been intriguing to me. I think my interest in domination work comes from my interest in power dynamics.
Also, I would say the biggest thing I apply to my work that I was taught by my mother is my strong work ethic. She was an immigrant that didn’t speak the language and was a single mother of two. She worked extremely hard to provide for us as well as create a better life for herself and for us. I learned what it meant to be extremely self-sufficient in the face of extreme challenges.
I was raised by my grandmother, who was the matriarch of the four women in our family. She did not have any sons or surviving husbands, so there were virtually no men in my life growing up. Admittedly there was a void of how to deal with men effectively, and it took me some time to find my own most empowered way of doing that. But as my grandmother and mother raised me, they did so without the need for men in their lives. If necessary, they employed the labor of men for specific tasks, but there was never a need for a male companion. This sense of self-sufficiency, task mastering, and independence from men was deeply rooted in me and has helped me to find my own way in FemDomme as an independent thinker and do-er.
Breanna Meow is the creatrix of WhatTheSlut? – an online blog space dedicated to dismantling patriarchal structures and reclaiming sexuality through uplifting the stories of femme and female-identifying sex workers and those in the sex industry. She also dabbles in erotica and tells naughty stories on her podcast (which you can find on her website www.whattheslut.com). She is a proud queer Asian femme who travels the world with her beautiful life partner together as lesbian hippy nomads.
Mistress Lucy SweetKill @mistresssweetkill
Domina Dia Dynasty @dia__dynasty
IMAGE CREDITS & DESCRIPTIONS
1. MISTRESS LUCY SWEETKILL, DOMINA DIA DYNASTY & TWO SUBS, Photo by @chriscomfortphotos
Lucy and Dia stand with their arms draped over two perceivably cis-male people. The two cis-males are wearing latex hoods and black maid outfits. A patterned curtain is behind them, and a white orchid sits on a table at the center of the scene.
2. MISTRESS LUCY SWEETKILL & DOMINA DIA DYNASTY, Photo by @Seigalphoto
Illustrations of red dragons are collaged over a black and white photo of Lucy and Dia sitting on a wooden bench.
3. MISTRESS LUCY SWEETKILL & DOMINA DIA DYNASTY, Photo by @Seigalphoto
A photo of a lotus flower is collaged over a black and white photo of Lucy and Dia standing together. Both are wearing shiny black leather bodysuits.
4. COLLAGE OF MISTRESS LUCY SWEETKILL & DOMINA DIA DYNASTY, Photos by @_evilthell and @Seigalphoto
A collage: photo of Lucy and Dia in school girl outfits, standing behind a kneeling man wearing a pink wig and wrapped in chains, photo of Lucy and Dia in sparkly leggings in front of a back background, red Chinese fabrics, illustrations of lotus flowers and a dragon.
Vincent Chong (莊志明) is a Queer mixed-race Chinese-American artist and educator working in Chinese calligraphy, seal carving, painting, drawing, and performance. Vincent’s has roots in the Bubble_T fam in NYC. They paint portraits of members of their QTAPI community and organize QTBIPOC centered workshops. Vincent is a student of calligrapher Wu Wen-Sheng (吳文勝). They have shown work at The Museum of Chinese in America, Site Brooklyn, and PAAM. In May 2021 Vincent will have their first solo show at Skånes Konstförening Gallery in Malmö, Sweden. Residencies include the WOW Project Storefront Residency and Book Artist Residency at The Center for Book Arts. Performances include MoMA PS1, Abrons Art Center, Movement Research at Judson Church, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
For more of Vincent, follow on Instagram @crystalmonkeycalligraphy
明 (Portrait of Aki with Tobie), 2020
Acrylic on linen, 83in x 49 in
Aki is a photographer, and when we were sketching for this portrait, Aki expressed that he would like for his scars from his top surgery to be visible. This is the first of 5 large scale paintings for my first solo show at Skanes Konstforening gallery in Malmo, Sweden May 2021.
Aki sits on a bed, his dog Tobie sleeping beside him. The moon can be seen through the window behind them.
Portrait of Yên Nguyen, 2020
Acrylic on linen, 68in x 32in
Yên is a model, actor, and full time Goddex. When we met to do sketches for this portrait, Yên wanted the portrait to be nude, and we also decided a standing pose would be most powerful.
Yên stands nude, in front of a pink and blue background.
第三眼 ‘Third Eye' (selfportrait), 2020
Oil on canvas, 22in x 28in
The title is a play on the Chinese word for butthole:
屁眼 literally 'butt eye.'
The artist is bent over, presenting their butt (and butthole) to the viewer. Behind the artist there are posters and a map on the wall.
White Rabbit (Portrait of Ping), 2019
Acrylic on canvas, 34in x 28in
Ping is an artist, designer, and recent graduate.
Ping is reclined on top of a pink patterned bedsheet.
Triple Gemini (Portrait of ET Chong), 2020
Acrylic on canvas, 28in x 34in
ET is an artist and community organizer. When we met to do sketches for this painting, ET wanted their hole in the painting.
ET is laying on a white bedsheet, nude except for black socks. They are holding their legs up, exposing their genitals.
The Shepherd Wukong (Self Portrait as the Monkey King), 2020
Acrylic on linen, 83in x 49in
A self portrait for my 2021 show. The piece references Desmarais', The Shepherd Paris while incorporating symbols from my life and The Monkey King legend, which I have identified with since youth.
The artist stands nude except for blue underwear, black socks, and sneakers. An orange tiger cape is draped over their shoulders. Blue sky, green hills, and yellow-green grass can be seen behind them.
in this gown I cannot run—
only wooden duck shuffle shoeless or with sandals.
I walk wounded in this ceremonial kimono. a silk
coffin an iron cocoon
silk chafes a textured
whisper I whisper back
a conversation this inner ear
fabric seashell pink
I know this language
sweat creeps down the crease in my legs.
seated on a plastic chair
in the honeytrickle heat
I catch mybody
in a nearby window
this crimson mouth
these clasped hands
this robe a garden
all cherry bloom ancestral grace
I hike folds of fabric
to my waist over the toilet and pray
the crisp bow behind my back
makes me sit pretty
a small gentle biped
with albatross wings
those wide peach horizon
mother says obachan must be laughing
from the heavens at all the safety pins
hidden in the folds of her old kimono
and at the black yarn Jessie braided
tight around my ribcage
I listen for laughing
rosy hem around my ankles
laughing silver bird trill
the two of us tied together in one kimono
obachan’s ghost and I
laughing laughing laughing
till it hurts oh it hurts
how do you cackle in this thing—
by cat arisa march
Cat Arisa March (they/them/theirs) is a non-binary biracial sansei poet currently residing in Kalamazoo, Michigan. They originally grew up in Sydney, Australia and then Providence, Rhode Island. This contrast between a warm, colorful childhood and a cooler, gray adolescence is reflected in many of their poems.
This is Cat’s first time having their work accepted in a creative magazine! This piece is from an autobiographical set of poems titled, “all the women in my family [and me],” which is about the identities, memories, and histories of Cat and their family. The collection uses nature, wordplay, memory, and sound to bridge the dissonance between Cat and the generations of powerful women in their bloodline. Cat is unsure about whether or not the collection will ever be finished or published, but it exists, and that is good enough for now!
When Cat isn’t writing, they are playing Dungeons and Dragons, completing their master’s degree, and working towards uplifting under-represented students (particularly LGBTQ+ students of color) in higher education.
For more of Cat, follow on Instagram @thesmallestcat
A Celestial Reading
BY IAN SIMMONS-FRANCISCO
aka The Luna Naughty
Someone or ourselves have been wronged; the scales of justice have been thrown off balance, and our perception is not necessarily the truth. In order to get to the bottom of a many-sided story, we must confront both ourselves and the other parties involved.
SOVEREIGN OF SWORDS (QUEEN OF SWORDS)
The Sovereign of Swords is the master of their own thoughts and puts their emotions second; they know themselves well enough in order to be able to separate feeling from fact. They are able to approach situations in an unbiased way. How can we use our past problems of injustice to transform from the Hermit into the Sovereign that wears the Crown of Intellect?
Past situations of injustice have brought us to a place of contemplation of trying to understand our own perspective and others in a different light. Being conscious and aware of our own flaws allows us to be able to grow as humans. Not everything is going to be easy in life, but we can always learn to be better for ourselves. I advise to look into shadow work, used by a psychologist named Carl Jung. Shadow work is bringing forth unconscious behaviors and finding the root cause of them to be more conscious of those patterns. Once you are able to integrate your new found knowledge into real life situations with others, you are able to grow and put your skills to real use.
Ian Simmons-Francisco is a happa witch studying different types of oracle reading and psychology. Ian’s pronouns are they/them and in drag they go by ‘The Luna Naughty’
For more of Ian/Luna, follow on Instagram @thelunanaughty
The Hermit urges us to spend time in solitude to accumulate knowledge about ourselves. The lantern shows us the way by using our own knowledge. Have you been in the wrong? Sit with yourself and see what your inner knowing can teach you. You may already know what is needed in order to balance out those scales of justice.