Kay MacIsaac discovered herself a week after she turned 20. Until then she thought she was a lesbian.
She was working as a stripper under the name Bambi Jones when she noticed a man staring at her. He was hypnotizing, so she chased him, she said.
He introduced her to BDSM: bondage, domination, submission/sadism and masochism.
“He showed me who I am and what I enjoy.”
Three years later and MacIsaac is in a different relationship with someone who also enjoys BDSM.
She grew up in a religious family who made it very clear that sex of that kind was wrong, she said.
“All my life I’ve been taught a certain way. I had it in my head that it was wrong.”
MacIsaac is just reading 50 Shades of Grey now. The book by E.L. James has been turned into a movie about a young girl being introduced to BDSM for the first time.
It is a terrible representation of BDSM, she said.
It’s as if it was written by a desperate housewife.
“Written by someone who hasn’t even seen a pair of handcuffs.”
If done properly, with an understanding of safe words and limitations, you figure out how to handle it without harm.
“Consent is the huge thing. If they don’t, I don’t agree.”
She wishes more people would ask her questions so she could explain to them it’s not something that is wrong, she said.
MacIsaac counts herself as a feminist. She takes part in a weekly meeting to talk about how they can empower women.
“There was a whole misunderstanding with the 50 Shades of Grey ordeal. I just wish people were more open about it and actually asked questions.”
The problem is the public doesn’t understand BDSM, she said.
They get their information from books like 50 Shades of Grey.
Jillian Kilfoil is also a feminist.
Growing up, she always knew she was one, but when she started to base her school projects around that theme, she was bullied for it.
After presenting a project in Grade 6, she sat down in her seat while a boy yelled at her.
“Shut up and get back in the kitchen.”
At prom she protested and refused to wear a dress. Kilfoil lost friends because of it, but 10 years later they told her they understand why she did it, she said.
“I always asked myself if anyone cared or supported me.”
She is now the executive director of Women’s Network P.E.I. and focuses on equality for everyone, not just women.
P.E.I. needs to work on becoming more open to talking about sex. Schools need to talk about consent and desire, not just reproduction, she said.
“We need to accept that people are having sex.”
Kilfoil hasn’t read or seen 50 Shades of Grey, but she understands it’s a poor portrayal of BDSM.
There needs to be a conversation about desire and consent. There’s a difference between power and control, and sex and
violence, she said.
“Desire can look a lot different for a lot of different people.”