My Activism Can Beat Up Your Activism!

I fail to understand the narrow-sightedness of some self-proclaimed activists.  We all choose causes to support that are close to us in some way.  There is no shortage of worthwhile causes to choose from- equal rights, lack of clean water, starvation, homelessness, cancer, heart disease, malaria, addiction, racism, sexism, various other -isms, poverty, child abuse, elder abuse, animal abuse, oligarchy, pollution, deforestation, etc.  You could easily devote your entire life and all your resources to any one of these causes.  The reality is that we each have limited resources, whether it’s time, energy, or money.  So we have to choose.

What baffles me is when someone takes the approach of, “If you don’t support my pet cause as adamantly as I do, you’re a horrible person.”  This lacks a basic understanding: The person they’re insulting may be fighting really hard for a different cause which is just as worthy of support.  Not everyone brags about their activism; some quietly work behind closed doors to make things better.  You don’t know unless you talk with them.

How lousy would it be for researchers to argue, “Heart disease kills more people than cancer, so I’m going to make fun of cancer patients and their caregivers”?  Or, “Deforestation is a huge issue, but pollution is such a minor problem, so I’m going to treat you horribly if you waste your time working against pollution”?  Yet we see this all the time with activism.  People don’t seem to get that the world is larger than their little bubble.

If you’re working to make the world better by any means, why not join forces with those doing the same rather than engaging in counterproductive infighting?  “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Inactivism

“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.

It’s Not My Fault! Blame My Parents!

Stereotypes are often portrayed as something we push on others.  But people frequently apply these stereotypes to themselves and hide behind them.

“I have a fiery temper because I’m a redhead/Latina/Italian/etc.”  No, you’re just an asshole who refuses to take responsibility for their actions.  If you lash out at someone when they don’t deserve it, you’re not doing it because of the way you were born; you’re doing it because you’re a prick.

“I like to drink because I’m Irish.”  No, you like to drink because you like the way it makes you feel.  It’s really that simple.

“I change my mind frequently because I’m a woman.”  No, you’re just indecisive, and you believe the baseless myths that society perpetuates.

I’m a big advocate of personal responsibility and owning your choices.  You can’t pass off your lousy behavior on the way you were born.  Your behavior is a conscious decision.  As such, I will hold you accountable for it.  Trying to pass it off because you were born a certain way is immature and evasive.  It also makes me less likely to trust and respect you.

These stereotypes are even more dangerous when we impose them on other people:

“You’re a man, so you should want sex all the time, 24/7.” 

“You identify as a slut, so that means you want to have sex with me.” 

“You’re submissive, so you’ll enjoy it if I try to boss you around.” 

“You have a penis; therefore you have the emotional availability of a rock, so I can treat you horribly and you won’t care.” 

This is all the nature side of the nature vs. nurture thing.  The nurture side is only slightly more valid, but not much.

“I act this way because I was brought up this way.”  How you’re brought up does have some bearing on how you act and think.  But once you realize that you’re basing your behavior on the way you were brought up, it now becomes your responsibility.  You know there’s a problem.  If you choose not to fix it, that’s entirely on you.  That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to fix, of course.  But it’s still your choice to continue that behavior or to do something about it.

I’m More Equal than You!

I’m seeing more and more of two particular groups butting heads, and it baffles me.  Feminists and men’s rights advocates both claim to want equality, yet they continue to pound each other in the public arena.  You’d think that two groups with a common goal would work together and be a stronger force toward that end, but the exact opposite is happening.

I frequently see people in both camps using underhanded tactics, throwing around insults, minimizing the other group’s problems, etc.  How hard is it to say, “My group has problems.  Your group has different problems.  Let’s work on all these problems”?

Instead, one group will ridicule the other whenever they bring to light the issues they face.  They’ll attempt to change the focus of the conversation back on to them by saying, “Well my group has to deal with this problem and that problem, so you have no right to complain.”  How is this any different than telling a rape victim, “You should shut up about all that; there are people starving to death or dying because they don’t have access to clean water”?  That’d be a really nasty approach, yet self-proclaimed advocates of equality use it all the time.  Playing the “who’s more oppressed” game benefits no one.  It only alienates people.  Trying to one-up others is not the best way to work towards equality.

Or they’ll paint an entire demographic group as being the problem, which is horribly ironic considering they claim to want equality. I’ve seen this tactic on both sides of the aisle as well.  Is it any wonder that people get defensive when you get offensive?  It’s a natural reaction.  Attacking people who have done nothing wrong is only creating a new set of victims.  And potentially a new set of enemies.  It’s counterproductive and immoral.

Or they’ll flat-out deny that problems exist despite evidence to the contrary.  Men’s rights advocates will deny that male privilege exists.  And feminists will deny that female privilege exists.  The simple fact is that both groups are getting screwed over in different ways.  Just because those ways are different shouldn’t negate anyone else’s struggles.  Do the people who are trying to eliminate pancreatic cancer get in fights with those who are working on renal cancer?  Do people battling to end hunger deride those working against domestic violence?

It’s not much different than the troubles in Ireland: Catholics and Protestants murdering each other, killing innocent non-combatants.  Yet both groups claim to be all about Christianity.  And they’re doing something very un-Christlike.

There are a ton of problems in the world that are worth fighting.  Why not work on those problems, rather than attacking those who are also working on them?  We’re on a battlefield, facing the enemy called inequality.  If we lose focus on that enemy and keep fighting each other, we lose the battle without the enemy ever lifting a finger.

 

 

Porn is Ruining Femdom! All Shall Perish!

Occasionally people go on about how femdom porn is ruining submissive men’s ideas of what BDSM is “supposed to” be.  They talk about how submissive men usually want all this freaky kinky stuff, pain play, etc.  Often these people will mention how they think women should all be paid to engage in BDSM acts like that since they don’t enjoy them.  If a man expresses a desire to bottom to a woman, he’s frequently met with myriad replies of, “Go see a pro; real women don’t do that.”

I often wonder how much crack one has to smoke before that kind of thinking makes sense.

Yes, submissive men are often masochists as well.  And usually kinky pervs to boot.  But the nice thing is that there are people out there who are looking for exactly that.  There are women who (gasp) enjoy topping men.  There are also people called “sadists” who get off on inflicting pain.  I can attest that they most definitely exist.  Lots of women actually get turned on by doing all these types of play.  It’s not just something manufactured by the porn industry.

Being submissive doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have desires anymore.  We still have them, and we go after what we want just like anyone else.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to engage in things like pegging, toilet play, foot worship, or left-handed albino Nicaraguan clown sex.  People who try to shame submissive men for daring to have desires only show their own lack of intelligence with their attacks.

If someone can’t differentiate between porn and real life, they’ve got bigger problems that likely weren’t caused by porn.  Treating someone like a fetish vending machine is a trait of a less-than-high-quality person.  Rather than blaming porn, why not hold these people accountable for how they choose to be?  Being an asshole has nothing to do with viewing habits and everything to do with personal choices.  Don’t let them off the hook for their actions by blaming porn.  They had the same basic socialization we all did in school, and unless they’re completely agoraphobic, they continue to have some interactions with people on a regular basis.  They also have access to lots of resources online that cover all aspects of social skills.  If they choose to still be cockbuckets in spite of all this, that’s their choice, and they should be held accountable for that choice.

On the payment issue, if the woman in question isn’t into whatever type of play it is with a particular person, she doesn’t have to engage.  She can move on and find someone/something else she’s interested in.  If she doesn’t enjoy topping at all, no one is forcing her to pretend that she does; however, she has no evidence backing her if she says that all women in general don’t like topping.  If she only enjoys certain types of play (and who doesn’t?) that’s completely okay.  Likewise, if she only tops within a relationship or with someone she has chemistry with, there’s nothing wrong with that either.  If she runs into someone who wants to play, and she’s not interested for whatever reason, all she has to do is chalk it up to incompatibility and move on.

It’s a scenario that doesn’t happen nearly enough.  Usually, if person A wants one thing, and person B wants another thing, they can either compromise or just say “we’re not a good fit” and keep searching.  Instead, the reality that more frequently happens is a big chunk of ugly.  They yell at each other, sling insults, attack the other person’s character, accuse the other of being fake, and get into a huge huff over why the other person is wrong.  What’s so hard about just admitting that they aren’t a good match for each other?  Is it an ego-saving thing?  Is it a simple desire to go off on a rant?  Inability to see more than one side of things?  Or are people really just that stupid?

The Not-So-Great Trigger Debate

Plenty of people in the BDSM community have triggers.  To be clear, I’m not talking about things that make them uncomfortable or squick them out; I’m talking about things that put them in a really bad place, things that may require removing themselves from the situation and/or emotional care.  Heavy things.  Many of these triggers involve a past traumatic experience of some sort.

What baffles me is when people try to place responsibility for avoiding their triggers on other people.  It may not be any fault of your own that you have that trigger, but now that you do have it, it’s yours.  Just like a medical condition, it’s up to you to take care of yourself by whatever means necessary.  If you’re diabetic, it’s up to you to eat right, check your sugar, and take your insulin.

This is one reason I find the call for people to announce trigger warnings at the beginning of every scene preposterous.  I’m sorry that you have that trigger, but I’m not going to tiptoe around you.  You came to a BDSM event knowing that people will be engaging in BDSM there.  If certain types of BDSM trigger you, then you have the decision to either skip the event or risk being triggered.  (Obviously if you’re unaware that you have a certain trigger, that’s different.)  When you willingly walk into an area knowing that people are doing things there that could trigger you, you’re making a choice.

People aren’t going to stop their scenes to announce it every time they’re about to break out a different toy or move on to a different form of play.  And announcing what types of play they may be doing at the beginning of the scene won’t do any good; only those present for that announcement will know.  What about the others who walk into the playspace after that announcement was made?

On top of that, there are so many triggers that it’s impossible to avoid them all.  People may be triggered by knives, littles (especially if it’s sexual in nature) face-slapping, choking, the top raising their voice, resistance play, blood, punching, sex, using certain words, tears, or any number of other things which are incredibly common at BDSM events.  Lots of people have triggers.  Some have more than one.  Now multiply that by all the people at the event, each with their own individual triggers.  How can you avoid them all?

I only have one trigger that I’m aware of.  It doesn’t hit me every time I run into it, but when it does, it can knock me out of action for the night or longer.  My trigger is a fairly common thing at many events, so it would be unrealistic to ask everyone to avoid this one thing while I’m around.  I take the more reasonable approach of taking care of myself.  I avoid certain events.  Other times I may leave early.  Or step outside for a while to remove myself from the situation.  Or grab someone I trust and find someplace private.  My well-being is my responsibility.  Trying to foist it on other people as if it were their problem would be rude.

One reason people come to these events is because they may not be able to engage in these forms of play at home for whatever reason.  Maybe they have kids in the house or are taking care of an elderly parent.  They could have thin walls in their apartment.  They may live in a dorm or barracks.  Requiring them to act as if their Grandma was in the room at an event would only drive them away.  People go to cut loose.  To do all the filthy, pervy BDSMy stuff that we do.

When you walk into a BDSM event, you’re aware that you’re likely to see and hear all sorts of extreme things.  There is no need for a walled-off “trigger zone” since nearly every scene would be required to happen in there.  The entire playspace is that “trigger zone”.  If you’re not ok with that, you don’t have to go in.  (Alternately, setting up a private party of your own with certain types of play being off-limits is an option.)  However, requiring a bunch of random strangers to conform to your requirements at a public event which you choose to attend is not going to be met well.

Humiliation is Bad, M’kay?

I frequently see people online complaining that all practitioners of feminization (as a form of humiliation play) are misogynistic assholes.  While this is flat-out wrong (especially in assuming that all who share a fetish also share a hive mentality) I’ve already covered my thoughts on why this is. I’m not going to beat that into the ground.  The short answer is that some are, some aren’t.

What I find strange is these same peoples’ silence over something very similar, especially since they’re normally so outraged about feminization as humiliation.

One very common form of verbal humiliation is to call the bottom things like “slut” or “whore”.  This is much more common among female bottoms.  It’s essentially slut-shaming as a kink.  Why do they consider this ok but not feminization?  If people get off on being shamed for being/appearing “X”, then according to the anti-feminization peoples’ logic, they must feel that “X” itself is shameful and bad.  Personally I’d much rather delve into each person’s reasons for getting off on these things before passing judgement, but for those who like to lump everyone of one group into a category, where is the outrage?

In my opinion, many of them are simply playing with the shame society thrusts upon promiscuous women.  So if that’s easy to understand, why is doing the exact same thing with feminization an issue?  Society also thrusts shame on men who dress as women.  How is that any different?  It’s playing with society’s assbaggery and making something sexy out of it.

Likewise, what about those into small-cock humiliation?  Do they really feel that everyone with a small dick is worthy of ridicule?  Or is it simply something that pushes these peoples’ buttons?  I tend to go with the latter.  People can be erotically humiliated by a lot of different things, but it doesn’t mean that they’re against people who possess whatever particular quality they’re playing with.

Can we please stop trying to group everyone into our own little boxes and assigning our own thought processes to them?  Most Muslims are not terrorists.  Most Christians are not of the Westboro Baptist variety.  Judge people as individuals rather than making your own assumptions about what motivates them and how they feel.