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.