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My name is Kali Washington. I am a doctoral student at Sofia University’s Global Transpersonal Psychology Program. I am respectively requesting your participation in a doctoral research study that I am conducting titled: How Does BDSM Affect the Embodiment of the Superwoman Role For African American Women? The intention is to examine how BDSM roles and practices influence the way African American women embody the superwoman role as defined by the Super Woman Schema. The Super Woman Schema is defined by the following attributes:

  • Obligation to manifest strength – The need to present an image of strength for the sake of the family and friends. Perception by others of being the strong one. This is an underlying factor of the stigma related to seeking mental healthcare.

  • Obligation to suppress emotions – Internalization of feelings due to the belief that no one would understand the situation being encountered. No awareness of how to communicate emotions and feelings as demonstrated by their mothers and grandmothers.

  • Resistance to being vulnerable or dependent - The inability or unwillingness to receive support resulting in the putting up defenses and preventing women from being vulnerable or relying on others. Originally, this resulted from experiences of being let down, misunderstood, or unfairly judged by others. Additional research added disappointment related to receiving inadequate support which leads to the reluctance to trust new people to help, including health practitioners.

  • Determination to succeed despite limited resources – The dedication, intent, and sense of pride of being the best and overcoming any obstacles that are faced. This is supported by the underlying belief that one must be strong to get through situations because nothing comes easily.

  • Obligation to help others - The innate need and sense of responsibility to nurture others by balancing several roles. Caregiving is prioritized over self-care.


The study involves (1) a prescreening survey to determine whether the study is a good fit, (2) completing basic demographic information in an online questionnaire, and (3) participating in a 60- to 90-minute interview via Zoom.

Participation is completely voluntary, and you may withdraw from the study at any time without penalty or prejudice. The study is completely confidential. To protect your privacy, you will be asked to choose a pseudonym, and your identifying information will be protected. The names of any individual you discuss during the interviews will also be changed to a pseudonym. Information from the interview may be used for scholarly articles and a later book project.


Please complete the prescreening survey if you meet the following criteria:

  • age of 25 years or older,

  • female,

  • African American

  • actively engage in BDSM practices for 2+ years,

  • self-identified as exhibiting the Super Woman Schema prior to engaging in BDSM activity.


Thank you for your time and considering participation. Please feel free to share this request.



Kali A. Washington

Ph.D. student at Sofia University


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