In the 1999 film Payback, Lucy Liu plays a dominatrix named Pearl. Clad in patent leather lingerie and fishnets, she stomps on her boyfriend’s balls and recites the lines, “Me love you, baby, me love you long time.” Accurate media portrayals of sex workers of color are hard to come by in general, but from her criminality to her willingness to let her boyfriend beat her up, Liu’s character is a poor depiction of an Asian dominatrix.

Professional domination, a historically taboo career that combines sex work with BDSM, is already sensationalized in pop culture as a world of cracking whips, villainous dungeons, and anguished screams. But combining that with Orientalist, hypersexualized stereotypes — either the fragile “lotus blossom” or aggressive “dragon lady” — can send some in a tailspin of fetishization and prurient curiosity.

Which is why Domina Dia Dynasty and Mistress Lucy Sweetkill, two New York City professional dominatrixes (pro dommes), warned against generalizing their experiences for the entire community.

Lucy, 33, is Vietnamese American, and Dia, 41, is Chinese American. They came into their unconventional career in similar ways, but have opposing personalities. Lucy’s clients often call her “daddy,” because of her authoritative energy, while Dia’s ultra-feminine energy gets her the nickname “goddess” and sometimes, to her displeasure, “mommy.”

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Asian American Dommes use stereotypes to their advantage in the Fetish world by Tiffany Diane Tso

Jan. 2nd, 2019