I've been meaning to write something about this for some time, but was not quite sure how. I'm still not sure how, but I am going to do my best.
From what I understand, industrial was not always associated with fetish, latex, women making out for men, etc. It was associated with pushing boundaries and counter cultures which I am sure at times included BDSM.
I got into BDSM scenes in part through its combination with the industrial scene. Note, I had been playing on my own with whoever was down from the time I was a young teenager. What I am saying is that I met groups of people willing to do nasty things together through these all ages "Fetish Nights" (I'm going to start saying "BDSM" because I think that's what they mean) that began happening, which usually included Dommes, Dungeons (or portable dungeon like things), and industrial/goth/darkwave/etc bands on stage. When I first found it I thought I was in heaven. And over time, I watched each side of the coin deteriorate.
What was once nights full of people tied to large restraint structures being consensually abused by experienced people to hard beats and talented musicians has become fruitless nights of mislabeled "fetish" occurrences and bad sound systems pumping out the same 5 songs the DJs wish to play. Newer younger people coming into these scenes see skinny straight women dancing half naked and making out in vinyl for male onlookers and no real bdsm players or skill or experience or show. And let me say, I have met some of these newer DJs doing these nights, they deserve respect, especially for starting events in a scene that has been deteriorating and dying for so long. But events like the above flier make people like me roll their eyes at best.
So what happened?
Something happened. My theory is that the combination of these two awesome things together made the standard for an awesome event go down drastically. You don't have to put much effort into goth night if you tell people there will be BDSM happening there. And if you don't know what BDSM is aside from what you see at goth night, then you likely will be misrepresenting it. That combined with the ever increasing misogyny in industrial scenes, the expectation of women to be eye candy for men, and the bro-fest that encourages men only to be dom top masters who will own all of the ladies, is a recipe for disaster. And frankly, boredom.
I encourage everyone into BDSM to delve deeper, find munches in your area, meet real BDSM players with experience, let them teach you, learn from them, or at the very least, do some research and test things on yourself and experiment wisely.
To industrial promoters who have fallen into this trend of "fetish nights," consider getting back to the music, not simply what will turn a few heads. There is one promoter in our fine city who's stuck to the music for decades now and he's succeeding and has done some amazing projects. Sure, "fetish" and vinyl might look nice on a flier. But if that's not what you're bringing, consider focusing more on the music. I took a friend out to an industrial BDSM night once hoping to give her an easy introduction to a few things she was interested in and I got to a club, with horrible music, no bdsm or leather or anything whatsoever happening, two girls in their underwear flirting with the club owner, and when I asked one of the organizers where the BDSM was, he said they were supposed to have topless jello wrestling but the girls cancelled.
And let me say, props to the young guys for trying to start something here and make it work. That takes bravery and persistence. But, to be very honest, as a queer female who brought a girl I was semi- interested in impressing to this night, I felt like I was at a frat bar. I was embarrassed and I didn't even design the thing. I was embarrassed of my scene. And to be honest, at the time I had little right to be because I was rarely around. So, take my complaints with a grain of salt. Perhaps I should get up and do something instead of complaining.
I will admit I did go to one night recently with a couple of DJs and an experienced queer woman rigger doing a rope suspension demo and while it was kind of a boring night, it was at least giving heed to some experience.
So come on now. Give me back my goth. Give me back my BDSM. Remember that there are a hell of a lot of vanilla folks who want to go to shows once in a while without being subjected to our weird bdsm shit. And if you insist on combining BDSM and industrial, please do it in a smart and creative way that shows respect for both scenes.