“So you like breaking rules, do you?” Kasia Urbaniak said to the bald man seated before her. “Or do you like getting in trouble? That’s pretty greedy of you, to come here and do something right away to warrant punishment. I haven’t even had a chance to assess what kind of punishment you need.”

She paced across the bright stage in her platform leather boots. An audience of 130 professional women — bankers, marketing directors — were observing this demonstration in the parquet-floored ballroom of a rented Midtown Manhattan co-working space. They took careful notes and, when prompted, shot their hands in the air to volunteer to role-play on the stage.

Ms. Urbaniak, 39, worked as a dominatrix for 17 years, independently and in dungeons in New York City. Now, in something she calls the Academy, she teaches women what she has learned about men. In a moment of cultural reckoning around gender and harassment, the Academy is one of the new unconventional entities, including anonymous spreadsheets and Hollywood-run legal defense funds, emerging to fight harassment, discrimination and bias.

So the point is not her leather riding crop. Her mission is to teach women how to employ a dominatrix’s rhetorical tools in any scenario when there’s a power imbalance with a man, whether or not it’s about sex. The scenarios happen everywhere.

Sometimes, it’s in an office elevator. “I worked for nine months negotiating a multimillion-dollar contract, and the day we closed, my boss suggested I look into lunch arrangements while he and his boss signed,” said Hanna Kubiak, 46, a business development director for an aerospace company.

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Here’s How to Deal with Men (Thwack!) by Alice Hines

January 20, 2018