Read the full article by Mistress Blunt at Motherboard.Vice.com

Mistress Blunt, a real-life dominatrix for the last nine years, gives her review of Bonding, a new Netflix series about being a domme.

On April 24, the day Netflix released its original series Bonding, my dad texted me.

“GOD DAMN IT. There’s a new Netflix comedy about a dominatrix,” he said. “I told you to write it.” I had already heard it was bad, but as a dominatrix who is invested in how my profession is portrayed by the media, who was I not to binge watch it and cringe?

Having worked as a dominatrix for over nine years, I have watched as BDSM has entered the mainstream. From 50 Shades of Grey’s fetishization of an abusive relationship, to the sensationalized and simplistic portrayal of a professional dominatrix in Netflix’sBonding, it’s all bad. Even the title, which looks like it tried really hard to make a pun.

Writer and producer Rightor Doyle said that the show is based on his experiences as a dominatrix’s assistant: “The important thing about the show for me is we are exploring this world, but not exploiting it,” Doyle said in an interview with the NY Post.

But what is exploitation if not taking someone else’s story, boiling it down to stereotypes and telling it for them? The show purports to unpack the stereotypes of life as a dominatrix, but really just reinforces them at every turn. The main character is reduced to an archetype of an angry, traumatized woman who aggressively yells at men and is a control freak. Like most mainstream portrayal of BDSM, a nuanced understanding of power dynamics, consent and negotiation are utterly missing.

There is a movement and desire for by-and-for story telling (storytelling by the people portrayed, written for the people portrayed). The kink, sex worker, and queer communities are hungry for real stories that don’t sensationalize our lives. More and more sex workers are coming out of the closet and sharing stories about their lived experiences, such as the sex-worker-written web series Mercy Mistress.

Yet, rather than tell a nuanced and complex story that reflects the realities of a sex worker’s life, Netflix decided to release a sitcom about a sex worker, written by a gay man who doesn’t (openly) identify as a sex worker. A man who is just dipping his toe into his friend’s life.