Lately, I've seen other kinksters posting on Fetlife and other places "examples" of kink going "mainstream" - basically the use of BDSM and fetish imagery in otherwise vanilla media. A few have even argued that this is a "good thing" and that we shouldn't be so worried about reaching out to and educating vanilla folks.
I respectfully disagree.
First of all: Just because someone in mainstream media appropriates the imagery of a particular group of people, that doesn't necessarily mean that they fully comprehend what that means. One clip I saw, for example, were two soap opera characters in a steamy encounter, with the woman dressed like a dominatrix, handcuffing the guy and spouting aggressive dialogue about getting whatever she wants. No negotiation or assurance of safety ("Oh no, where'd I put the key?"). Just another stereotypical portrayal meant to titillate the average viewer.
And the biggest thing lost on folks - both the scriptwriters and actors, and the BDSM folks who might applaud it? That couple could get into trouble just for being kinky.
In many jurisdictions, consensual bondage and sadomasochism could get you arrested for assault and battery, domestic violence, false imprisonment and any other charges a cop can think of. Ridiculous as it may sound, laws can be and continue to be interpreted to make consensual yet unconventional eroticism a punishable offense.
Not to mention kinksters who have been fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, expelled from otherwise liberal faith communities, even verbally and physically abused when outed as kinky.
I think it more accurate to say there is more awareness of kink than to say it's "going mainstream" in any real sense of the word. The GLBT community is much further along than we are, largely because of the efforts of educators and activists. Whether we want to become genuinely mainstream, or merely left alone, we can't rely on flawed and fleeting media images to do that for us. There's more to raising authentic awareness than that, and it requires the hard work of educating our vanilla neighbors.