May 4, 2011

The 50s Lifestyle

Many want to establish their relationships around the 1950's concept of how a household was run. During this time period, the man was the unequivocal leader of the household. The woman was subservient to him. This was something that went without discussion. It simply was the way things were. Remember, this is long before the Equal Rights Movement and womens lib. It is amazing to see so many yearning for a return to what was after so many battles were fought seeking the freedom to get out of this situation. I guess that is a debate for another day. The point is that many seek living under a roof where the man is in control.

My Grandmother

My grandmother lived this exact scenario that we discussed. She was a homemaker with all power being in the hands of my grandfather. It was a male dominated society and this was not questioned. Her life was dedicated to the raising of a family while keeping my grandfather happy. It was the atypical 'June Cleaver' existence.

One thing that needs mentioning is that my grandfather, because of work, traveled a lot. This was the 1940s so we aren't referring to hopping on an airplane to take a shuttle flight. Rather, it was the era where one got on a train and rode for a full day to arrive at a destination where a business meeting was held. In the time period, it was not uncommon for men like my grandfather to leave early Monday morning and return Friday night. This meant that the rearing of the children was left to the woman of the house.

On that side of my family, there are 5 children. The age difference between the oldest and the youngest is 16 years. Therefore, my grandmother had her hands full for many years. Add in the fact that the oldest was a bit troublesome (the eventual decision to discipline him was my grandfather locking him out of the house at 17 and him enlisting in the Navy) and you can see how her responsibilities were enormous. Basically, the buck stopped with my grandmother.


Why do I bring up this point? My intention is to show how one can be subservient while being strong. For those who believe that being submissive to someone else is a sign of weakness and an invitation to walk all over that person, think again. This was a living example of how strength and submissiveness are not mutually exclusive.

In fact, I believe that for one to properly submit, he or she requires a great deal of strength. The 'kiddie doms' of the world like to believe that a submissive is someone who is needy and weak. This is not the case. The concept of giving one's life completely to another is something that few of us can identify with. There needs to be a tremendous amount of trust, confidence, and inner desire to serve for this to occur. It is sad how so many want to pervert this idea into something shameful. It is not. A true submissive is one of the strongest people that you will meet. She is one who knows exactly what is wanted and is willing to go get it. This is done in spite of the societal conditioning that teaches the exact opposite. In the Western cultures, we do not value service. Instead, we promote power and domination. I can assure you that it takes just as much strength to serve as it does to control.


Many refer to the 1950s as a simpler time where good values were exhibited by almost everyone. While there is certainly some truth to this, I believe it was a time where people had clarity. What I mean by this is that the power structure was obvious. Everyone knew the roles.

For example, my grandmother was the backbone of the family. She was obligated with the responsibility of raising the children. This meant that discipline was part of the deal. And it was a role that she took to heart (as I learned her ways did not stop with only her children but grandchildren also). Since my grandfather was not present a great deal of the time, she was left to tend to the daily mishaps which would arise with such a bunch. Everyone knew who was in charge.

Of course, she always had the immortal threat 'wait until your father gets home'. I can only imagine what that would be like...dealing with a man who just spent 8 hours on a train returning home to find a list of disciplinary actions to be rendered on his plate. Common sense tells me this is a scenario most would try to avoid and from what I heard it rarely took place. My grandmother, for the most part, excelled at handling the problems as they arose. Her husband was the breadwinner; she tended to the children. Nothing can be clearer than that.

BDSM help to define the different roles within the relationship. The power structure is clear. There is one person in charge and the other follows. Equality, when it comes to power, is not part of the equation. It is impossible to step on toes since each person is assigned with a different responsibility. If each takes his/her position seriously, then you have the foundation for a successful relationship. The problem arises when one (or both) parties are playing games with this. Then the lines of demarcation get skewed.

One final thought. My grandmother never knelt before my grandfather. However, there was no question as to who was the controlling force. Each person knew exactly who had the power without making a spectacle of it. Sadly, we see many in the BDSM world who get all caught up with the protocols of submission. Those who need one to kneel before him to feel in control are lacking in power. As my example showed, even without kneeling, all knew what the situation was. Remember this the next time you see someone caught up in the protocol. True power does not come from the protocol followed but, rather, the individuals involved in the relationship.

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Anonymous said...

A wonderful post and a superb blog, Sir!

Thank you!

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