Vicarious Kinks - S/M in the Socio-Legal Imaginary
Ummni Khan is an associate Professor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University.
Her new book entitled 'Vicarious Kinks - S/M in the Socio-Legal Imaginary' explores various aspects of Sado-Masochism in terms of its practices and impact on wider culture and the law.
Here, the author discusses the themes with Dr Raj Persaud
Professor Khan explores the position of S/M and other sexual
practices regarded as 'perverse' in the DSM - the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual which in the USA defines mental disorders. Why
and when do certain sexual activities become signals of psychiatric
Her book ranges over topics such as the way S/M is portrayed
in popular culture such as best-selling fiction like
'Fifty-Shades of Grey'
and Hollywood block buster movies
like 'Basic Instinct'
and 'Nine and a half Weeks'
and also examines how and when S/M comes up against the law.
Fascinating topics investigated in the book include the 'sex wars'
when Feminists, who regarded S/M as anti-feminist, took on Lesbians
who were into S/M. The book is published by the University of
Toronto Press and is available
Who decides where “normal” stops and “perverse” begins? In
Vicarious Kinks, Ummni Khan looks at the mass of claims that film,
feminism, the human sciences, and law make about sadomasochism and
its practitioners, and the way those claims become the basis for
the legal regulation of sadomasochist pornography and practice.
Khan’s audacious proposal is that for film, feminism, law, and
science, the constant focus on taboo sexuality is a form of
“vicarious kink” itself.
Rather than attempt to establish the “truth” about
sadomasochism, Vicarious Kinks asks who decides that sadomasochism
is perverse, examining how various fields present their claims to
truth when it comes to sadomasochism. The first monograph by a new
scholar working at the juncture of law and sexuality, Vicarious
Kinks challenges the myth of law as an objective adjudicator of