Representation matters… but Netflix doesn’t always get it right.
Sex Workers and BDSM enthusiasts aren’t pleased with Bonding, a new Netflix original that appears to misrepresent relationships between “subs” and “doms.” Rolling Stone recently critiqued the show for “glossing over how doms and subs negotiate boundaries and consent.”
Critics are savaging Bonding for its reinforcement of “harmful stereotypes” and “sex-negativity.”
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) April 29, 2019
Others are saying the comedy trivializes some harsh realities of sex work. Series creator Rightor Doyle has insisted that Bonding aims to “explore” the world of sex work without “exploiting it,” but not everybody agrees.
Many in the BDSM community are distancing themselves from Bonding.
'If we’d taken a shot every time Bonding got something wrong about BDSM, professional domination, or sex work in general, we would have been dead before the end of the first 15-minute episode.' https://t.co/fzYQygIf6Z
— molly smith (@pastachips) April 29, 2019
Oof. Just watched two episodes of Netflix’s Bonding before I had to turn it off. The person who wrote this clearly knows nothing about being a sex worker. It’s painful.
— The Real Ruby Rapture (@RubyRapture) April 24, 2019
Started watching BONDING on Netflix. So far the pro domme has stated she's "not a prostitute" and the other main character has laughed at every kink he's been exposed to
Getting the impression that no one in kink or sex work was actually involved in the making of this show
— Crafty Lindsey (@CraftyLindsey) April 24, 2019
Some are convinced the show is written by “vanilla” people.
Watching #bondingnetflix and want to know who the fuck was their BDSM consult on this??? The Domme’s corset doesn’t fit and she is wearing a fucking dog collar into session. Vanilla people should not be allowed to write/portray kink.
— Megan McCord (@Megan_McCord) April 25, 2019
But plenty of people seem to like Bonding. Maybe it’s not so bad?
— Lauren Cox (@Iaurencox) April 26, 2019
Just got done watching this.
Bonding on Netflix. 7 x 15 min episodes. It's pretty funny, lol.
— Izzy Rizinti 🏳️🌈🏴 (@BellaRizinti) April 24, 2019
Loved this show. Can't wait for more and hopefully they will make them a little longer
— Joyce Carlson (@joycecarlson33) April 26, 2019
Bonding on Netflix is pretty good! If you're into vanilla sex definitely not for you.
— Amairani (@BLmannyUE) April 26, 2019
However, one guy discovered Twitter and Netflix promoting fictional sex worker accounts related to Bonding.
Real account of a licensed brothel supporting hundreds of real-life legal sex workers: Shadowbanned, Discredited, Stigmatized by Twitter.
— Jeremy Lemur (@ejeremy) April 26, 2019
It struck many as deeply hypocritical of Twitter, especially considering how the platform stigmatizes sex work.
It's honestly ridiculous for them to do this. Like if a FULL ON Fake can be verified… Why can't we?
— 🐝 𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓓𝓲𝓿𝓲𝓷𝓮 𝓑𝓮𝓮 🍯 #FDDS #paybrats (@HoneybeeDeity) April 29, 2019
Others debated the complex relationship between social media and sex work.
Promoting sex work and or adult content is not against Twitter's TOS.
By the way what about all of those folks who post and promote their sexual encounters who aren't sex workers and simply do it for free, they be shadowbanned to? Or leave the platform?
— Veronica Vixen (@BmoresVixen) April 27, 2019
Either way, Bonding keeps getting spanked on Twitter.
I am literally 2 minutes into Bonding on @Netflix and I don’t know who’s vanilla ass created this shit but it’s so bad and SO inaccurate.
— CB 💫 (@itsceebeee) April 28, 2019
@bondingnetflix had so much potential until it became blatantly obvious it was written and directed by a vanilla white man
— lex (@_alexapro) April 25, 2019
I say this with as much sincerity as I can, as an abolitionist: Bonding on Netflix sucks so fucking badly I think the writer should go to jail. Like, literally, men should have their writing privledges collectively revoked levels of bad. I want to punch the writer in the face bad
— Elisabeth Winter (@WinterisWriting) April 26, 2019
Is it really worth being mad over a Netflix show? …No. No, it is not.
But sex-workers, dominatrixes, and proponents of BDSM still have a point. It’s not right when corporations like Netflix claim to honor niche communities but instead exploit and misrepresent them.
Maybe next season, they should hire a few real dominatrixes to whip the writing staff into shape.