I waited a while before I decided to write this blog post and I am glad I did for two reasons. First, I didn’t want to be caught up in all the early think pieces on Netflix’s Bonding because I knew that most would either be very much in favour of the production or strongly against it. I imagined there would be very few who held a middle of the road view on the new show and based on what I read, it seems I may have been correct.
Second, if I had written the post immediately upon finishing watching the series, I would have missed sharing a little anecdote that perfectly summarizes why I am in favour of the show overall. See, a month or two after the show first launched my busy younger sister reached out and asked if I had seen the show yet. She also asked what I thought of it. And she said, “So are you a Dominatrix then? Because that’s super badass if you are.” Of course, I replied, yes.
While my sister and the rest of my family knows that I am a sex worker that primarily offers online sessions, always of a female domination nature, they had no pop culture references for what I actually do on a daily basis. The show Bonding from Netflix allowed them to see into my world without actually having to show up for viewing one of my live sessions or to watch a bunch of my fetish clips.
I clarified that I could elaborate on the few reasons I didn’t think it was a perfect representation next time we saw each other in person, and I will get to that part soon. But overall, the show Bonding increases the visibility of sex workers and the kink/fetish/BDSM community. I LOVE THAT! It reminds me of how I feel about the rainbow flag at pride, yes it’s become commercialized but it still reminds everyone that I as a bisexual woman exist.
Now the main thing I didn’t like is the seemingly misinformed writers. I hated the scene where the Domme ties up her friend essentially without his consent and then leaves him in the room alone with her slave, who is a stranger to the friend. It made me extremely uncomfortable and I don’t know a single professional or lifestyle Domme who would act the same. There are a few other scenes that lack understanding of basic concepts a Dominatrix would know all about.
The show could have done a much better job at highlighting the current lived realities of professional Dominatrixes as a result of sex work being illegal in most locations. The show briefly highlights these concerns in the last few scenes, where violence occurs, but could have easily gone deeper. For example, even in Canada where selling sex is legal, it is illegal to hire security and it is illegal to advertise for more than one person offering services.