So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

11 February, 2009

The Shareef Don't Like It

There is a giant dwama ongoing in the blogworld again, mostly talking about BDSM. I've been dithering about whether I want to comment on it, whether I have anything new to say; I've chased down links, I've pulled up a stash of old posts to point people at, and so on.

And there's all kinds of stuff out there. About "women who allege to enjoy BDSM", say. Or how consent is bad, there's a brainbender for you. Women are responsible for the actions of patriarchal men, and don't you forget it, and eat your lima beans, there are children starving in far-away places. And people who disagree are 'little girls' who need to be chastised by the wiser among us, of course. Oh yes, charming calls for tops to kill themselves: "If exploring your “dark side” entails wanking to women being tortured, it might be best to leave it unexplored. Or kill yourself." Godwin's Law is, of course, satisfied. Or some other joyous things that Ren has catalogued for the world. But don't forget, none of this speaking out about those horrible people has any power to harm anyone anyway, so why are you upset in the first place? It's not paternalistic or anything to be Concerned about submissive women, you know.

Now, I don't expect to get any more response than I did the first time I responded to this nonsense, as one of the major players has explicitly stated that she's only "getting into it" with men who reply to her, and while she claims to be reading and considering, well, the level of response to me, to antiprincess, Cara, hexy, Subversive Submissive, all in threads where she was a participant until one of the above showed up, well, I guess we're not worthy of response. No, the problem is teh mens, not us poor deluded women, especially the submissive ones. So we don't actually get anything even resembling an acknowledgement. We're just defending our doms, after all. Or something. No, only the ones In Autoritah should be responding.

(Thanks to Ren and Trin for linking to most of these so I don't have to trawl through the cesspit myself. I find it interesting that Nine Deuce considers them worthy of responding to. Maybe it's that "You must be a man" thing striking again.)

... I could generate more links. But really, that's plenty depressing enough, and if you go read them you're in for some masochism. I'm linking to them primarily because I find holding these kinds of 'discussions' with gaps in the communication threads tends to lead to insidious results. Nobody can claim I'm taking them out of context or responding in bad faith; the context is all there in its hideous glory. And I'm not feeling like playing scared of trolls and assholes descending upon me because I had the temerity to speak up, no matter how out of place it might be for a woman and a submissive to say something.

What I find depressing about this - I mean, aside from the virulent hostility and Wrong Womaning and stuff like that - is the notion that all of this stuff is unexamined, that people don't write about it, think about it, that it's all just happy fluffy "Well it makes me happy!" There's the snarky, "How can you feel derided for being a submissive woman? in the middle of those threads deriding submissive women, and I think back to writing about the forms of power that someone of my sex, class, and background was socially obligated to and the persistent social degradation of support roles, which cannot but carry over into sexual support roles. About my experiences in an 'egalitarian' relationship that denied my kink, for that matter, and how much more oppressive that turned out to be than a relationship where I can be an equal partner, just as whole and present as myself as my liege.

ND claims to understand where "submissive women" are coming from with some fascinating strawmen about what that might be, to be "charitable" about the zoo exhibit's motivations. And uses terms like "M/f", one of those peculiar gender fetishes that kind of creeps me the hell out, suggesting that it's so hard to be accepted as sexual in this society so being in a situation where one can be "out of control" might be appealing, how submission is intrinsically derived from shame and all, and other suggestions that BDSM is just plain disordered, a coping mechanism that's only semi-functional at best.

I see people writing that kink is about humiliation and degradation and pain, nothing other than rape and abuse, snidely dismissing things as silly frivolous people who think they're 'empowered' by their sexual escapades, participating in the intrinsic treatment of women as inferior, just about being wild and other and transgressive. Some of them treat kink culture as a monolithic edifice in which if one specific act can be condemned the rest will fall apart. They talk about fantasy worlds, recapitulating experiences of abuse, the poor unenlightened and benighted submissives who need to be liberated, and similar things.

None of them have asked about pride. Or sensuality. There have been no investigations of the nature of power and gendered assumptions about it that I have seen. None have touched on anything that might reach the potential inspirational power of submission.

Nobody has really reached for actual power and taken it to bed with them.

In all this examining and exploration and demanding understanding of why submissives are the way we are, is there ...

... anything I can say that I haven't already said?


Dw3t-Hthr said...

I should add a link to my post about why I'm not a masochist, for completenesses sake, as there's also the narrative through there of how kink is all about hurting people. Sigh.

Zeborah said...

The fundamental thing is that People Are Different.

Occasionally I go idly searching for, say, irc or other chat places where one might be able to play a bit. And the Gorean ones aside, I do get put off (even beyond my natural shyness) by the general custom of marking a dominant as (say) Marie and a submissive as marie and maybe, if they've been really thoughtful, a switch as maRie or whatever.

How is one meant to spell one's name if one isn't quite sure yet *what* one is? Or if one is submissive-but-not-your-submissive, or submissive-but-not-a-tame-submissive, or submissive-but-dammit-that's-*my*-*name*?

[And then there's all this talk about virtual serving of drinks, which sounds the height of boredom - if I thought housework was sexy my house would be a lot tidier. Possibly actual conversation in these places is more interesting, but one isn't (for understandable reasons) allowed to go in and lurk in order to observe and decide whether it's right for one. So I go and write books instead.]

<shrug> It's not like anyone's obliged to provide a community tailored to my tastes. Just a shame that I haven't found one that suits me.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

My response to all of those damnfool games with capitalisation and the like is mostly "Topping the English language is not my kink."

But, as I've commented before, the English language related thing that's actually relevant to my d/s is fixing my liege's abominable spelling. Amongst the services we offer: editing.

I never really felt anything but out-of-place in most kinky communities that I came across, honestly. Though most of my points of rupture weren't about capitalisation protocols -- I wasn't looking for chatrooms where such things are more common -- it mostly means I peer around the edges of the thing to see whether anything useful is available for me to fish out rather than participate. (One of the forty-level posts I linked in there talks about this. I think it's the one linked from 'kink as monolith'.)

One of the things I found utterly hysterical about this entire thing was one person thinking she could get real information about the lives of actual kinksters by posting on Craigslist. Which has even less connection with actual lived reality than CollarMe (one of the most popular sources of material for the LJ community dot_bdsm_snark).

Anonymous said...

I find the whole thing infuriating. Of course, women like me (tops, or switches) don't exist in this discourse at all. We're obviously controlled by men in some different way that should be separately addressed. 'Cause lord knows the man is controlling you whether he's on the top or the bottom.

One the things I find kind of strange/amusing is thinking that someone is an abuser or a deranged psychopath based on their response to your ad.

Look, if you put out an ad that says, "I'm submissive and I want to be your sex slave," then some reasonable people are going to reasonably try to push your buttons in order to get you hot to meet them. So if you get a message back that describes how someone wants to enslave you and make you submit...suddenly they're an evil predator?

I know some people have fantasies that they don't realize are not realistic, but it's also perfectly possible that the responder is just trying to share a hot fantasy with you in a spirit of mutuality. Or they realize that what they're saying is not going to happen on a first date but it's more like a goal. Or what the fuck ever.

Also, the consent thing. I love how "consent" is construed by these people are "she really doesn't want it but I pressured her into reluctantly agreeing." Now, that happens sometimes in my relationship (I pressure Jos into reluctantly agreeing to someone he doesn't want but can only consent to), but that's a specifically negotiated type of thing that makes him weak in the knees with joy and hotness.

I mean, yeah, you know, if you're a man and you're pressuring your girlfriend into s&m and she's not into it and isn't having a good time, then you're an asshole. But that's not what people are talking about when they say "consent", at least not the kind of people posting to a radfem blog.

Gah. Sorry for the long comment. I could go on about this stuff all day.

ben said...

"No, only the ones In Autoritah should be responding."

Ugh, ugh, ugh.

That is some ratfuckery. But don't worry, dear because This Is For Your Own Good®


Anonymous said...

That is an awesome post.

Trinity said...

"We're obviously controlled by men in some different way that should be separately addressed. 'Cause lord knows the man is controlling you whether he's on the top or the bottom."

That's their brand of "feminism" in a nutshell:

"See that man over there? You belong, body and soul, to him. You can do nothing about this, but together we CAN dance around bonfires and howl at the unfairness of it all."

Trinity said...


I thought that at first too. But when I stopped capping the words "top" and "dominant" and even, horror of horrors, spelled "Trinity" with a small t a time or two out of lazy, the world didn't end. If people mind you calling yourself "Marie," they're fucking morons.

Anonymous said...

No, and you said it quite well.

Anonymous said...

I was wrong, you can also reference this study

Daisy Deadhead said...

Well, damn. I had no idea THIS MUCH STUFF was getting posted. (Am I totally out of it or what?)

Just one of my messages to let yall know I am behind you, rah rah. I find most of that linked stuff just too bizarre to read.

((sigh)) They are like "cartoon feminists" = Ellen Jamesians.

Trinity said...

Hey Daisy, what do you think of this bit I posted at ND's and over at SM-F? I'm kind of extrapolating from what I've studied, and I know you were there...

Dw3t-Hthr said...

It's a real head trip, isn't it, Daisy? And not one of the pleasant or even enlightening kind.