Warning

WARNING

This blog will contain...
...profanity, sexually explicit dialog andadult imagery.
If you are under 18 and/or offended by this...
THIS IS NOT THE BLOG YOU ARE LOOKING FOR

Thanks fiona, from "Sir Q and Me" for the warning message that just makes me melt. :)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Who is to judge if I'm non-consensually forcing my kink on others?

A recent news item has come to my attention repeatedly and I've avoided giving my opinion on it thus far. Given that the conversations happened in Facebook groups and I have quite a bit to say on the topic, I didn't want to post a super long comment on FB. Now I will further admit that I didn't read the one article that I saw being shared each time the conversation was started- the title and the conversation itself "made my blood boil," to use that phrase. "A woman walked her naked slave on a leash in public." I agree that this is an unacceptable thing to do, a serious breach of community standards. However as I saw other kinksters and authors jumping on this topic, saying things like "non-consensually forcing their kink on others," I saw the conversation as lacking nuance... and that lack has led me into arguments before.

http://leatherandgrace.wordpress.com/
First I would like to share a little on how I live kink as part of my identity, similar to how I live being queer and polyamorous. If you've read my blog before, it's very possible you've also read of my identity as a Unitarian Universalist. The UUA maintains "Identity" pages in the Welcoming Congregation section of their website; these include identities bisexual, asexual, transgender, and queer. Leather and Grace UUs for BDSM Awareness- an affinity group that I am part of and do some activism through- has shared a model "kink identity" page; you can view it here: http://modelkink101page.wordpress.com/ . In practicality, my kink identity affects things like my preference to use words like "my dominant" or "my Master," instead of using phrases like "my husband" or "my partner."

Now I'd like to talk a bit about past minority group challenges; I do consider BDSM practitioners/kinksters to be a minority group or for myself to be part of a minority. It used to be illegal for people not of the same race to marry throughout the US. The sight of a black man and a white woman holding hands, for example, could have caused police harassment. In some places, while not legal, such harassment is still the rule. Like I remember as a teen meeting a married couple who told the horrible story of having been escorted out of a town near where I lived because they were an interracial couple- there were tears in the woman's eyes as she talked about being told by the officer that they weren't welcome in that city.

Within the LGBTQIA+ community, the chief subject many are focused on is the right for same sex couples to marry, not to have civil unions or any other non-marriage term that can be coined, but to be married just as opposite sex pairings already do. In a variety of places around the world, we've come a great deal from "the love that dare not speak its name" (a phrase famously taken from the Lord Alfred Douglas poem "Two Loves" and mentioned in Oscar Wilde's gross indecency trial), but there are still plenty of places where a same sex couple may feel uncomfortable holding hands, feel unsafe in doing so.

In the last two paragraphs, I've given examples where the simple act of two people holding hands have at same time in history, in most(some?) places were considered outside "acceptable community standards." Of course standards can vary greatly among details such as place and time. Having just finished reading Julia Serano's "Excluded," where she spends a great deal of time looking at sexism from a feminist perspective and considers how transgender people and others have been excluded from the feminist movement, or at least parts of, I'm thinking how even in "queer activist" circles, there are people who don't meet "acceptable community standards." Like I am unwelcome among radical feminist circles because of my kink identity and probably dozen or more other ways that I fail the radfem standards.

Let me circle back to what I call the Man I love when talking about Him to others. Donald, Shaman, my Master, my dominant, my husband, my partner. I circle through all those ways of naming Him depending on whom I'm speaking with. Yes, "my partner" is last on the list, probably one of the more politically correct choices, but it's the one I dislike the most. Especially online, using His first name or His nickname aren't always the best choices because I may still need to explain somehow His relation to me. I have been told that "my Master" or "my dominant" are subjecting others to my kink.

In case this is your first time on my blog, I'd like to explain something quick. Yes, I identify as queer; I am not heterosexual, bisexual, asexual. I'm queer. I live outside definitions in many ways. This said, my Master's joke about my orientation is wonderfully telling- "Joelle's a lesbian except for me." So when I see a man and woman holding hands, more of me than not gets upset about things like "heterosexual privilege," thoughts of "If Shaman was a girl, there might be an issue with us holding hands in public." It might seem weird to some as I live in a primary relationship (I'm also polyamorous) with a male-bodied/identified person, but watching other male/female couples hold hands often angers me, sadly in a similar was to what homophobes feel when seeing a same gender couple doing the same.

I don't accept the argument "that's just the way it's always been." Beyond the fact that I love her writing, I recommend that you read Anastasia Vitsky's "Becoming Clissine." It's the first book in a planned series. Anastasia starts from the premise "what if heterosexuality was illegal?" Of course there's romance and physical discipline in the book (Anastasia does write "FF spanking fiction"), but her story also calls into question the notion that a community standard that demands only one appropriate choice is wrong.

The woman walking her naked submissive on a leash "where kids might see him," "where non-kinky might see him" does seem to be outside reasonable community standards, but so did a white woman and a black man once did. Who's to make the judgmental call? Who's to tell me what's the proper word for me to use to describe the relationship I have with the Man I love? I think we need to be cautious in "who" we give that power.

16 comments:

  1. Great post Joelle, very well said!

    Hugs
    Roz

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  2. While I don't think we should blindly follow social conventions or let society dictate our behavior, I think it's good to question how our actions impact others and where one person's rights end and another's begin. Thought provoking post, Joelle.

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    1. thanks for the comment, Johanna. Most definitely, on how our actions impact. I was further discussing this post with a friend who'd read it and I simplified part of my point in it as "I say my Master/my dominant in the same way others say 'my husband/boyfriend/wife/girlfriend etc"

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  3. I really like this post Joelle. It's a head scratcher. I can see both sides of this debate. On one side, I do believe that a person/couples should have the right to do what they want to do and say what they want to, in public. Everyone is created equally. However, I feel like the woman walking her naked submissive around in public was to much. With that being said, I wouldn't care whether they were in a heterosexual, homosexual, or D/s relationship, I wouldn't want to see the male or woman walking around naked in public. Sorry for rambling.

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    1. thanks for the comment, Meredith. I didn't find it really rambling. idk, part of it is I think how my Master jokes that I'm so far from the mainstream that I forget what the mainstream is, but even I look at the naked-leashed-in-public and like that's not acceptable. I think in a way, I see like a division I've talked about with UU friends- to me when I say "I am a lifestyle submissive." I'm making an identity statement, like a woman might say "I am a lesbian." That said, if my Master ordered me to strip at a bricks-and-mortar UU service (I go to the internet UU so it's a little different lol), that's one thing I wouldn't do. In the middle of the sanctuary is not a time to strip naked imho; I see that as an act, not identity. So the woman leading her naked sub was engaging in an act, not so much an expression of identity

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  4. With Jolynn and I, we don't even hold hands or kiss when we are out with the general public. I've seen people, some being guys, frown at us. Or you get the other reaction, where the guy walking towards us, is blushing, and his face and neck is all red. I've had that reaction with it just being me, and my wearing my collar when I am shopping or doing wherever. We are both short, curvy, and busty with long hair besides being feminine so it's not like someone will have to bleach their eyeballs after they see us kiss or hold hands. Would I like people to get over themselves and just let us enjoy our time out trotting around? That would be fantastic. The only times we can really be ourselves is at the house or out at a kink event with other kinksters.

    Kathy

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    1. Yup, people getting over themselves. While not quite the same as you and Jolynn, Kathy, Shaman and I have had the people who felt the need to rescue me, assuming that I'm defenseless little girl and Shaman's some creepy older guy. Snorts, yeah, He looks His 44 and I don't look my 36, but really? I know what you're saying about the blushing, embarrassed reaction. I don't often get that, at least on my collar- I'm not sure if it's because I have a rather simple stainless steel one. thanks for the comment

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  5. A good post, Joelle. One of the indicators of any minority group’s progress is how much their level of expression is constricted by and in comparison to the majority.

    Performing sexual intercourse on the sidewalk is considered unacceptable for everyone, but the acceptability of a couple holding hands depends upon many factors, and a polyamorous triad would find even more problems.

    Wearing a claddagh, engagement or wedding ring is acceptable, but wearing a simple collar is apt to raise questions.

    This latter part illustrates one of the most common problems marginalized groups face – the conflation of simple identification with activity. Decades ago, a person who merely said they were gay, lesbian or bisexual was often accused of “flaunting” or being “militant” about their “lifestyle”; now simple self-identification as kinky and/or poly risks facing reactions about “oversharing” about “sexual practices” that have never been discussed.

    For those in positions of relative privilege (hetero, monogamous, vanilla, et cetera), the question is one of how much social control they exert on those whom they have “othered” – or how much they’re willing to relinquish so that all people may attain a greater measure of equity.

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    1. thanks for your thoughtful comment, Desmond. yes, identity and activity, like I wrote in my reply earlier in the comments to this post. I think I've been lucky with my collar- I'm less likely to be asked about it except for when I have a reason to enter a courthouse, airport terminal, somewhere that one has to pass through a metal detector. Very correct though in your final question, what those in some sort of privilege are willing to give. I find that time and again when I try to engage some UUs in talk about kink- they are comfortable where they are, in their relative place of privilege and don't want to admit that they are in a place where they even have the power to "other" someone

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  6. Kathy and I started discussing this and it really made me think about things. When we talk about acceptance for different groups or couples expressing their kind of affection/love/intimacy my first reaction was that my wife and I holding hands isn't forcing our sexuality on people in general and the lady walking her naked submissive is forcing their kink. Of course then the question of why the two acts are so different within the right of expression.

    I think that the fact that nudity was occurring was part of it, but then walking a submissive on a lead isn't in my realm of acceptable clothes or no clothes. But is it an act of discrimination to tell them no like it is an act of discrimination to make a fuss about my wife and I holding hands or the example of the interracial couple above

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    1. ack poor Jolynn with the uncooperative technology. thanks for the valiant attempt to leave your comments. You are very right in questioning why one is and one isn't necessarily forcing one's kink. To me, I think of kids- it's common enough to see kids on the playground holding hands and there is not a sexual thing about it. I struggle to say that the couple were being discriminated against- with the exception of a BDSM play party, I can't imagine a place where that would be acceptable. Even at a nudist resort, having him on all four wearing a gimp mask would be an issue

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  7. Continuing here because the computer just froze up. So after thinking on it I needed to justify the difference between kink expression of affection or what not and same sex or interracial expression of affection. Perhaps IMO many people who are gay, lesbian, bi sexual, asexual, and the list goes on to include transsexual are born that way with no choice. They love who they love, they identify how they identify because it's natural and by damned we should be able to express affection that all people have the right to express in public.

    With my kink, I think it's more of a choice. Kink isn't really about who I love. Yes, I am attracted to submissive women, but the impact play, electrical play, and the other crazy stuff is what I do, not how
    I am programmed to love, so

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    1. I do get where you're coming from in this part, I think, Jolynn. It can be tricky, the place between enjoying the activity and identifying with the subculture. It's a hard one for me as a queer woman, having identified as bisexual when I first came out as a teen. The "born that way" argument always seems to leave something to be desired for those of us who aren't monosexual.

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  8. I give up. Damn technology, but it think you get where I was starting to come from in my head. Please scroll up to begin my rant. Thank you for getting my brain going. Great post

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    1. and you're welcome again :) brain going is good :) I hope you come back again... well today at this point as it took me until minutes after 12 am EST on the 8th before I finished and published my edge play post :D

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