Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.
Feminism and BDSM
The main point of feminism is giving an individual woman free choices in her life; that includes her sexual desire. While some radical feminists suggest connections between consensual BDSM scenes and non-consensual rape and sexual assault, sex positive feminists may tend to find this view insulting to women.
Some feminists have criticized BDSM for eroticizing power and violence, and for reinforcing misogyny. They argue that women who engage in BDSM are making a choice that is ultimately bad for women. Feminist defenders of BDSM argue that consensual BDSM activities are enjoyed by many women and validate the sexual and non-sexual inclinations of these women. They argue that feminists should not attack other woman's sexual or non-sexual desires as being "anti-feminist", and point out that there is no connection between consensual kinky or D/s activities and sex crimes, several studies even reference BDSM practice as being corollary to greater mental health and happiness.
It is often mentioned that in BDSM, roles are not fixed to gender, but personal preferences. The dominant partner in a heterosexual relationship may be the woman rather than the man; or BDSM may be part of male/male or female/female sexual relationships. Finally, some people switch roles at their whim, taking either a dominant or submissive role on different occasions. Several studies on the correlation of BDSM pornography and the violence against women recapitulate that there is no correlation. Japan is a useful example: a country which has the lowest rate of sexual crimes of all industrialized nations while being well known for its comprehensive BDSM and bondage pornography. In 1991 a lateral survey came to the conclusion that between 1964 and 1984, despite the increase in amount and availability of sadomasochistic pornography in the US, Germany, Denmark and Sweden there is no correlation with the national number of rapes to be found.
Further, many practices involving BDSM involve no sex, or in relationships where sex does occur, consensual D/s practices may be in part or completely non-sexual (see the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Analogy) and has more to do with consensual power exchange than sex or SM. Feminist proponents of sex positive culture tend to promote the notion that a woman's right to choose includes the right to give up that right to choose with informed consent, or alternately, to accept the responsibility to make choices for another that has given informed consent, should that be a mutually beneficial relationship for those involved.