“I’m signal-boosting!”

“I’m raising awareness!”

No, you’re just a loudmouth prick.  Getting in arguments with random strangers on the internet accomplishes nothing.  Nor does preaching to the choir; Your friends are likely already aware of the causes you support, and are probably on the same page.  Telling them things they already know is not progress.  When I hear people claim to be “signal-boosting”, I often translate that as, “I’m running my mouth and telling other people to do the heavy lifting while I sit on my ass!”

What do you actually do to support your cause?  What kind of actions (as opposed to words) do you use?  What do you do when no one is looking?  How much do you give of yourself when you know no one will ever find out?

There is no shortage of worthy causes out there.  People want to fight for something bigger than themselves; it’s a natural drive.  So is wanting to be part of an in-group.  As is wanting to receive accolades.  Fighting for a worthy cause accomplishes all these things.  It feels good to say, “I’m an activist”, doesn’t it?  But is there any depth to it when you say it?  Are you actually doing anything to help your cause?  Or are you just regurgitating words and throwing around hashtags?  Actions and words are two very different things.  The people who are suffering and dying don’t give the tiniest fraction of a fuck about your hashtags; what they care about is any genuine aid you can give them.

Saying, “This sucks and someone should do something” is worthless.  Be the person who does something.

Invasively Invading Invaders

For quite some time now, there has been a pervasive worry among many in the BDSM community that we’ll have a huge influx of clueless new people flocking to our events because of the “50 Shades” books/movie.  Last year, I sat on a panel discussion at Fetfest where one of the attendees asked about this; even then, people had already been talking about it ad nauseam.

And it still hasn’t happened.  I have yet to meet a single person who has come to our community because of this particular book.  We haven’t had anybody come to a munch and kneel at anyone’s feet.  We haven’t seen anybody come to a party believing they were going to be swept away to some rich dom’s mansion.  There simply hasn’t been the foretold tide of stupidity and naivete.

But even if it happens, how should we respond?  With scorn and disdain?  Would creating a rift and letting them continue bumbling around really be the right thing to do?  What about education?  Our community is full of educational resources.  Not everyone wants to take the time to teach or mentor a new person, but there are workshops, roundtable discussions, and other events where people can learn, watch, and ask questions.  We were all clueless, bumbling new people at one point; no one has all the techniques or social skills nailed solely by instinct.  Regardless of how any new people arrive in the community, the fact remains that they’re here and often thirsting for knowledge.  New people are here because they found a new thing and pounced on it.  You can’t blame them for not knowing every facet about what we do straight away.

What about the people currently populating the BDSM community?  Doesn’t the older crowd view us the same way?  As the bull-in-a-china-shop, crazy new people who don’t take things real seriously?  I feel it’d be rather hypocritical to knock new people for the very same, while failing to adhere to the ways of the previous generation.  If this wave of new people arrives carrying their big bags full of fallacies from this book, we won’t let those fictional ideas take over.  I don’t see them as being harmful to the community, which is far bigger than they are.