Oct ‘20 Dominatrix of Color: Goddess Aliya

[Q1]: Where are you based and how long have you been doing femdom?

I’d say I got into femdom about 5 years ago when I first moved from DC to Baltimore. I was first introduced to the idea back in 2010, on OkCupid of all places. A small man asked to have a threesome with another Black woman he claimed was his girlfriend, so I gave him an honest but degrading response. He quickly admitted that he didn’t have a girlfriend and asked for my PayPal, hoping we could continue the humiliating conversation over emails and that I would take more of his money. I had never met anyone like this so of course I was intrigued. And the money wasn’t much, but it was more symbolic of power dynamic between us. We had a lot of fun together.

 

At this point I was neither familiar with the term ‘findom’ or even acquainted with femdom, so I was endlessly amused by our interactions even though I couldn’t explain them to myself. Having my brutal honesty accepted and sought after was enlightening – as a 19 year-old, it really changed my perception DEC8A3B8-644A-4122-A091-2F430652FAA3-200x300 Oct ‘20 Dominatrix of Color: Goddess Aliyaof the world and the expectations I had for men and my relationships with them going forward. I had spent so much time and energy trying to take power from the boys around me, and all the sudden it was right in my hands. 5 years later I found myself talking to a friend about how I missed having that in my life and wished I knew how to find it again. I described the relationship, she said “…you mean findom?” and that’s when the ball started rolling. The first year or so was mostly research for me. I met my first mentors and elders in a chatroom and soaked up as much wisdom as I could.

 

 

For the next couple years, I practiced findom online but eventually reached what I felt was a plateau – I was recreating and virtualizing a practice of BDSM that I had never experienced first-hand in person. That was when I began seeking out hands on femdom experience in a dungeon setting. I spent a few months visiting NYC periodically to explore the scene while I was still in Baltimore, and eventually moved to Brooklyn where I’m based now.

 

[Q2]: What’s your favorite fetish?

I think it’s a close call between sissification and findom. Financial domination will always be my first love. There’s a huge misconception especially among traditional femdom subs who view findom as a love of money. And of course everyone loves money, but previously I’d made more at the strip club in one night that I didn’t for weeks as a baby domme. For me, the power exchange is what excites me. When I receive tributes, it’s not just cash or a payment – it’s quite literally a sub’s sense of power, security, safety, and value as a man. Growing up without money in a family that came from it, the correlation is very clear to me. Taking one’s sense of security and value from them is the ultimate humiliation. Who are you without your assigned societal value? Who are you when you struggle? Who are you when you work all day for a check you can’t keep? Reallocating resources is about more than the tribute. It’s about a man working all day at his job just for me.

 

I’ve spent enough of my life working for the profit of others that I know what it does to people and their ego and sense of entitlement. This may sound chaotic, but it’s perfectly in line with my fantasized world view. America was built on stolen and exploited labor and still maintains its economy this way. It’s part of our culture to climb over one another and seize power from those who already lack it. Black women in particular hold so much of this weight, in the employed work we do, but also in the way that everyone else sees us as a maternal comfort they’re entitled to. My white family’s ancestry dates back to their violent arrival in Jamestown, and I think every day about how many Black women nursed these folks, cared for them as children, fed them, and did all the domestic work without consent to allow wasps the time and space to continue conquering and profiting off others. Everyone expects kindness, patience, and care from us even today.

 

Reversing those power dynamics and reclaiming dominance and autonomy provides stimulation and excitement, but also peace of mind. It’s a glimpse of the world I want to live in, so taking part in that change, even in private, gives me an incredible sense of praxis in my own beliefs.

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As for sissification, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the kink throughout my femdom career. Initially I interpreted it as a mockery of women, especially of trans women. I was upset by both the suggestion that a man becomes a woman by putting on a wig and high heels, and the idea that he should be ridiculed for his attempt at femininity. Especially when these men go back to their lives in which they rarely if ever defend the humanity of actual trans women. Since my first encounters with sissification, and after lots of discourse, unlearning, and relearning, my perspective’s changed and it’s become one of my favorite kinks to play with.

 

For me, the entertainment value comes from the fact that a man does not become a woman by wearing a dress, so seeing a man struggle with to embody even the simplest, most conventional displays of femininity is hilarious to me. In a way, it’s affirming of my own convictions around gender autonomy and womanhood. Womanness comes from the self, not the outfit. I know she’s over quoted, but Judith Butler puts it well- gender isn’t something we’re born with, it’s a phenomenon we create and recreate throughout every aspect of our lives. Trans women are women before and without starting any visible transition. In this way, men are still men no matter their attire, if and when they still identify with their maleness.

 

This kind of theory talk makes rhetorical sense, but there are also practical ways in which sissification has historically created confidential space and safe exploration both for closeted trans women and unrealized trans women. For a long time we didn’t even have the words to describe womanhood beyond assigned gender. There was just ‘transvestite,’ from vestis meaning clothing in Latin. So for ages we only had language to describe the gender as appearance based as opposed to the holistic aspects we recognize today. There have been generations of certain closeted trans women for whom BDSM and feminization kinks were perhaps their only access to freedom of self and self-exploration. So yeah, some of my interest is an extension of praxis, but I also just love making people feel pretty the same way I love dressing myself up, whether they’re women, men, or ascendent of the binary.

 

[Q3]: Are there any latex or fetish designers that you really love right now?

Yes! One thing I really miss about Baltimore is the creative DIY scene, where a lot of my inspiration comes from. The city has an almost southern feel that’s very conducive to community building and neighborliness. The queer community is especially tight knit and active, which is historically where we get the basis for contemporary fetish aesthetic. We’ve always had fetish wear, but the mainstream leather look we’re used to started with gay veterans who formed biker clubs as a way of recreating the community and freedom from heteronormativity that they had overseas. Baltimore is a cute, campy town full of beautiful queers and artists. A lot of the city’s transplants choose to stay for years after moving to attend the local arts college. This means there are a lot of folks who can work one job to support themselves while still having time and space to practice their crafts and do the work they really love. It’s amazing what this does for the community and I wish this kind of space wasn’t so rare.

 

One of my favorite designers is Iyla Addada (@ShrimpSweats), who has a shop called Fruit Leather (@FruitLeatherShop) based in Baltimore. I met them at a queer dance party in my old neighborhood, where they had a table set up showing some of their work. What I especially love are the custom pieces they’ve made for friends and folks in the queer community, especially those who often find shopping for intimate wear to be an exclusionary and even dysphoric experience. In their own words, Iyla’s goal is to “promote queer joy, to make pieces that people feel confident and comfortable in. I want to help give my queer kin the confidence to explore things they’ve only ever fantasized about.” To me, BDSM is all about creating the space we want to exist in, one where we can be sexy and powerful and affirm our truest self. I love what Iyla does with leather and how it makes people feel about themselves! Fetish wear should be as empowering as it is beautiful.

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[Q4]: Can you tell us one of your best session stories?

 

Ooh I have a few, but my best experience was both in session and what we achieved after the fact. I find the most satisfaction in training that actually reconditions my subs’ perspectives and their views of both themselves and the world around them. When I first began to embrace sissification, had a sub who really stood out to me. He had a very strong sense of self and personal style as a sissy, in the standards he held himself to but also his conduct, reservation, and treatment of others in the scene. Playing with him was a joy beyond the pleasure of humiliation. For us, the sissy persona was something to be encouraged and praised as I watched him grow closer to his idealized kink self. This was a man who had played with crossdressing for decades, but always as a kink with pro-dommes and compartmentalized from his personal life.

 

Of course my thoughts on the subject had come up, and once I got into the gender theory I was discussing earlier, something clicked in his head. This sub finally realized that she was actually a trans woman, and that her shame around femininity and her 9-5 life performed as a man didn’t negate her gender autonomy. Before this, she thought of her subspace as the end goal, rather than a negotiated middle ground between her desires and her societal pressures. Despite keeping this to herself without transitioning publicly, it relieved a lot of inner conflict and turmoil having that realization. I love when kink can transcend sexual gratification and become something that fulfills us at a deeper level. BDSM is our fantasy world, but my measure of success comes from how I allow myself and others to feel a sense of peace with themselves in the real world.

 

[Q5]: What’s something that you’re really excited about right now?

Haha I’m excited about a lot that’s going on! This year has been difficult on everyone to say the least. Between the pandemic and the overwhelming anti-Black violence and subsequent uprisings, folks have really been pushed to their limits, financially, physically, and especially emotionally. I was fortunate to be able to take a hiatus for the summer, so most of my time was spent supporting the movements close to my heart and caring for my organizer friends and loved ones who put their all into this community work. One of the best things to come out of this years crises has been the community support and solidarity I’ve seen in and beyond our femdom scene. Seeing dommes use their online platforms to influence their subs and followers and crowdfund for one another has been heartwarming and truly 3810A66D-84EB-4FEC-ACCE-595A3A6B1C4D-200x300 Oct ‘20 Dominatrix of Color: Goddess Aliyainspirational.

 

This has really been the year of femdom reaching beyond the limits of BDSM and impacting people in their real lives. We also found ways to take our skills as leaders and as caregivers with incredible responsibility for others, and channel that into a responsibility to care for one another and our communities. For every sex worker out of work, there’s a crowdfund created specifically for their survival and wellbeing. I see subs radicalized by their dommes more and more, in a way that sticks with them beyond their session and into their lives of power and privilege. I’ve seen friends publicly redistribute their tributes to Black sex workers in need, and even weave it into the mission of their femdom practice. Over the summer my friend Pandora (@PraisePandora) was redistributing said resources to our peers on her timeline, and it’s amazing how that kind of action can itself be an act of humiliation towards submissives. “I’m giving out money, so why can’t you?” At one point she saw me mention a protest I was going to, and on her own dug around to find my Venmo and sent me some cash, knowing I’d spent as much on safety supplies and meals for the day. She couldn’t make it to the protests herself, but she still found a way to support the efforts from home. My sister received thousands in reparations over the summer, just by reminding her white cis followers that most of their most of education and exposure to Black trans politics and history comes from the content she posts. She’s not even a sex worker and she dommed the shit out her audience by reminding them of the value she has in their lives. And then she donated a big chunk of it to our local Black trans community center, which directly supports our most at-risk sex workers.

 

Support like this, from our peers and from conscientious subs, literally allowed me to reinvest in my friends and neighbors during these uprisings. I finally got good at braiding hair and doing nails because those were the best aftercare I could provide to folks physically and emotionally battered by our police state. I got to spend time in the kitchen cooking meals and packing snacks for my loved ones, knowing it would fuel the critical work they do in the community. None of this would be possible if we didn’t have our passive income and $1,000 days. While the uprisings have slowed down in the media, our peers are still at it. I’m excited to see how this work continues in our scene and how we grow as a community that cares for one another beyond the dungeon and cyberspace. 2021 Will be the year of the radicalized submissive, àse àse.

 

 

[Q6]: How has your unique background influenced the way you approach femdom and being a dominatrix?

I’m glad you asked cause I think about this a lot and how grateful I am to be where I am now. I didn’t always have the sense of confidence and belonging in the world that I have today. I’d always seen myself as kind of an anthropologist of white people and men in particular, long before I was old enough to have an interest in femdom. Ethnically I identify as Anglo-Kikuyu – my mother is an American wasp, the documented descendent of colonists, and my father was a middle class Kenyan who emigrated in the late 80’s. Racially I’m Black, wherein my relative privilege comes not only from colorism, but also from my extended family’s generationally inherited power and the things it afforded me in proximity.

 

I was raised solely by my mother, who despite her upbringing chose the humble but difficult life of an anti-capitalist, artist, and academic. She had me right as the 90’s recession began, so we were living with my grandmother in my mom’s childhood home and buying most of our things at Goodwill. She worked full-time, cooked everything we ate, and cut our hair at home. The rest of my white family are bankers and such, with multiple homes and social capital, so sadly the preparation they tried to provide me with was for life was in for a life I’d never fully have access to. I hosted my birthday parties at country clubs, but they were clubs that my mother had naively revoked her own inherited memberships to as a teenager in protest of their segregation policies in the 70’s, so that access was limited to my childhood. For some reason I took ballroom dancing and horseback riding classes, but no one taught me to moisturize my skin, care for my over-washed hair, or have enough self-regard to defend myself against treatment I now recognize as blatant anti-Blackness. I managed to attend private schools thanks to my grandmother, at least until I was kicked out of boarding school junior year. I retained so little of the actual education as it felt irrelevant, but all the while I’d been studying wasps, other white people, class, and assimilation. Oddly enough, I was less focused on race and being white than I was on how to act and be more like people of this particular class status. This was before I developed a double consciousness, so I guess I thought doing the right things would gain me acceptance.

 

So to get back to the anthropology, I’d become this kind of database of intimate insight into white men as well as everyone else who tries to assimilate to them, all without having one economically competitive bone in my body. Instead of strengthening myself and studying my own circumstances and the social constructs confining me, I’d become an expert on how the people around me think and behave, instead of say learning how to trade stocks which would have been more useful. This is a skillset that hadn’t done much for me professionally, besides being good at making white men comfortable around me, which was not my goal.

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As a Black dominatrix, I’ve realized that this perspective and experience can be used to make men comfortable, but also to make them strategically uncomfortable. There’s a misconception from onlookers that BDSM is about causing pain and humiliation. In reality, it’s about providing enough trust, comfort, and acceptance that even painful and humiliating things can be done safely and confidently so much that they can be satisfying without causing harm. I grew up with kids with multiple nannies who were unsurprisingly Black and brown. So many that some of their dumbasses would say “Mmm, you smell like my nanny” when I wore cocoa butter, which I guess to them sounded like a good compliment. Jumping forward, I’ve realized that for a lot of my clients, I represent to them the space another Black woman held in their life at one point, either a caregiver, a taboo childhood crush, or someone they had wronged or had to leave behind in their youth. I may see myself as the descendent of genociding colonists and of African immigrants, but to them I’m just this hot Black girl- a blank canvas for their projections. America has grown so used to unconditional care and forgiveness from women like us, at this point we’re completely dependent on it as a society.

 

Knowing the value of my systemically mythologized and fetishized body and energy puts me in a position of incredible power. At heart I’m a caregiver, but I’m also a fucking bitch and a loudmouthed dissident full of conviction and opinions no one asked for. I love telling people about themselves. I love finally finding purpose for all the nonsense I absorbed and put myself through in my youth. I love that I can express both parts of myself, speak what’s actually on my mind, and do what I want, knowing that the other parts of my energy are worth it enough for my subs to withstand and even lust after my brutal honesty. They know this dick ain’t free and neither is this divine feminine energy.

 

You can find more on Goddess Aliya by following her Twitter (@goddessaliya), Instagram (@worshipaliya), or website, WorshipAliya.com.