Why does the DD/lg (Daddy Dom/little girl) subset of the BDSM culture feel such a connection to Lana Del Rey’s soulful, classic Hollywood-inspired music?
Daddy Doms and Little Girls
DD/lg (the capitalization is very intentional) implies a relationship between a person that is more dominant. and a person that is more submissive, in which the dominant person can take on the nurturing role of caregiver while the submissive person reveals their more childlike side. This is stereotypically a male governing caretaker and a female childlike submissive, although any gender can apply to either role. The Dom (or Domme) and their “little” engage in a relationship that might involve elements of BDSM or kink culture, which could include anything from spanking and restraints to performing acts of service for the dominant party.
It creates a space in which the Dom almost acts as a mentor figure, guiding and supporting the little in reaching her (or his!) full potential. The little gets to enjoy exploring their inner child, maybe cuddling stuffed animals, listening to a story read by their loving Dom, or just indulging in the pleasure of being looked after and having their hair washed by their dominant partner.
“But wait,” you cry, “isn’t Daddy Dom and little girl laden with lashings of pedophilic incest?” Well, yes and no. Some practitioners have an interest in age-based roleplay which can overlap into DD/lg dynamics, and relationships can (but do not necessarily) involve sex. DD/lg blogs often contain sexualized references like the sucking of lollipops or frilly, feminine outfits reminiscent of a kid playing dress-up, but these are practices engaged in by consenting people over the age of eighteen. Realistically though, popular culture and mainstream media regularly infantilise grown women, so there’s nothing new here.
With full, open, risk-aware consent between two adults, there is technically no harm being done. Also, the term “daddy” is not always indicative of people trying to simulate a father/daughter relationship; it is more often a term that references the caring role of the dominant person – who might also be a woman.
Where does Lana Del Rey come into this?
Anyone trawling DD/lg-related tags will find soft-focus images of the smoky-voiced pop star pasted everywhere, littles posting selfies of their Lana-inspired makeup and using her lyrics as captions to their images. One possible reason is Del Rey’s general aesthetic – she’s classy and classic, beautiful in a sort of shy, doelike way that makes her seem sweet, youthful, and utterly charming; yet her pouty lips, curvy body, and slim-fitting outfits add contrasting sex appeal in a way that is utterly mesmerising. But it’s her songs that have been especially devoured by littles. Her music is sensuous, but with an element of childlike wonder, invoking a sense of romantic nostalgia in listeners. She can describe a feeling in a way that captures it in time, freezes it like a scene in a snow-globe that you can observe but never immerse yourself in. Like childhood, you can remember but never go back.
Del Rey also uses a lot of suspiciously “rough” imagery, comparing herself to an angel looking to be fucked hard, or reminiscing about wildly beloved partners that she knows are bad for her (“You’re no good for me / but baby I want you, I want you”). She often combines passionate romance with elements of danger, and seems to beg to be looked after. Sweetly, she cajoles “Be a good baby / Tell me you own me,” or sings “Put your hands on my waist / Do it softly.” But it’s lines like “Let me put on a show for you, daddy” and “You can be the boss, daddy / You can be the boss” that speak for themselves. Members of the community have even interpreted “He hit me and it felt like a kiss […] Give me all of that ultraviolence” to be akin to a girl asking for a pleasurable spanking.
Is Lana actually into elements of DD/lg? It’s difficult to tell from the outside, but her music has been adopted as part of the subculture and thus has that extra layer of significance added into its interpretation. If you identify as a little, you might enjoy listening to her albums while channelling your inner Hollywood bombshell in the most fabulously frilly and femme-tastic outfit you own …or just eating candy and colouring. That works too.