“Yet it is essential to note that within Markovic’s works, BDSM is not the theme, but a setting, a channel for exploring modalities of society and the psyche. In BDSM, pleasure, discipline, and servitude are common parameters for a consensual exploration of sexuality and self-discovery. There is the potential to free oneself from daily expectations by exchanging these constraints for ritualized expectations, which offer an intimate form of liberation, carving out a deeply singular and protective space.

For those unfamiliar, BDSM is habitually characterized as alternative and deviant, although, in fact, many of its practices derive from common societal and historical dynamics. This is not, however, to say they are mere performative reproductions of violence and oppression. Among the striking differences is its thoughtfully considered rituals and more startlingly, a greater degree of consent, in which the submissive party determines the boundaries of a given scenario. This is markedly at odds with public-facing life which does not function within the realm of fetish, in which those in servitude, whether physical or mental, have little control—if any—over their bodies and the demands placed upon them.

In contemporary society, these same verbs or commands—to please, to serve, to obey— have a distinct impact on subjugated bodies, quite often female bodies, although most often these exact words remain unarticulated, instead festering as an implied expectation that, when challenged, is negated by dominant figures through shallow demonstrations of societal progress and politically correct facades. Meanwhile, the legacy of these demands and non-consensual submission remains not a vestige, but an active force, commonly internalized by those oppressed themselves.”

excerpt from the text “To Please, To Serve, To Obey” by Marija Ratkovic