An excerpt from Coming to Power: Writings and Graphics on Lesbian
S/M. Edited by members of Samois
Coming to Power is a collection of art, essays and erotica from
“lesbian feminists” out of the fabled, feared Old Guard of the San
Francisco BDSM scene. It contains some questionable and dated content
that you have to take with a grain of salt in order to enjoy and learn
from this book. But there’s a wealth of knowledge to be had.
This book came out in 1981. It is a 282 page piece of history I never
thought I would see, written by queer women into S/M, for queer women
into S/M. Samois published this in the midst of the Sex Wars,
documenting and refuting the heated anti-sex climate of established
lesbian feminism. Samois queers found each other caught between the
mortar of heterosexual alienation and they pestle of lesbian feminist
puritanism, and rebelled. This book is a long scream, a maniacal
laugh, a “fuck you.” Excuse me while I gush.
A beautiful aspect of this book is that every one of the submissions
came in despite controversy. Not a single one of the pieces was
wholeheartedly agreed upon by every member of the publishing group. If
you hear a part of “Dear Aunt Sadie” that you hate, chances are a
Samois woman in the steering committee also hated it.
This reading is just a small taste of the boundless weirdness and
perfection of Coming to Power. As someone who grew up under the
bullwhip of Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior,
Aunt Sadie made me laugh out loud. I hope you like it too. If you do,
maybe take a chance on searching out your own copy of Coming to Power.
It could shake your world.
Editing and Production by September
Description by Hyena
Voices by September and Hyena