Wednesday, April 25, 2007

...eh, screw it.

i've decided: if i'm going to get caught up in other peoples' grand operatic dramas, complete with looney tunes, at least i ought to be entertained by it.

so, with that, i return, gratefully, to the Old Masters:





You have to admit, there is a certain universal poignance to it...



...best leave it to the professionals.



"Oh, I've had enough of this."

"No, you haven't."

"Oh, shut up."

62 comments:

Trinity said...

hehehehehe

seen twisty's latest?

BDSMERS, GET SOME HELLLP.

funny, my therapist now is better than any other. and she seems to agree with me that doing BDSM does help... ;)

Amber said...

I love it. LOVE it!

As for Twisty? Oh, I just laugh at her now. She's great for a morning chuckle!

Central Content Publisher said...

I was shocked to find out that twisty's site was sincere. I thought it was satire for the longest time.

You know, even though I have a long history with BDSMers (even some slightly famous ones), it's never been my thing (quick aside, I do consider the term vanilla to be a pejorative term - and since when is vanilla not an exotic spice? - but that's not my point). So, as an informed outsider, if I can call myself that, I've never seen or heard any rational reason to be opposed to it. All the fuss seems to fall into the category of hearing satanic messages when you play the record backwards.

Are there really any concrete arguments against BDSM?

belledame222 said...

I'm sure there are, but you're gonna have to ask someone else about 'em this week, I'm on a very extended lunch hour.

as for wossname, i haven't actually read her in quite some time and have no idea what she's currently fapping about, but expect it's exactly the same as the last eighteen squillion or so drones she's released.

now: if you want to continue further on the subject, you're going to have to pay for another five minutes.

Alon Levy said...

But the five minutes aren't over.

On another note, I'm going to read Jessica Valenti's book really soon... and then review it. I must be a glutton for drama.

Central Content Publisher said...

I'm sure there are, but you're gonna have to ask someone else [...] - belledame

Fair enough. Any suggestions? Not that I want to be against it... I'm just curious about whether or not there is an actual issue.

SnowdropExplodes said...

CCP - personally I don't use vanilla as a pejorative term.

I view it as being in much the same way as SF/Fantasy fans refer to "mundane" people.

Mundane we are used to understanding as meaning "boring", and vanilla we interpret as meaning "boring" also.

However, "mundane" means "of the world"; "vanilla" is simply "the most popular flavour".

Therefore when SF/Fantasy fans refer to "mundanes" they simply refer to people not given to flights of fancy, and that is a positive thing, it is just a trait not shared by the SF/Fantasy community as a general rule. When BDSM people refer to "vanillas" they refer to people who choose the most popular flavour (of sexuality), to distinguish from people who have chosen a different flavour. But vanilla is a popular flavour for a reason, so clearly there is nothing wrong with it. I don't know of better ways to refer to "people not like us".

Central Content Publisher said...

SnowdropExplodes: You might want to look up pejorative, and re-read your comment.

belledame222 said...

I'm rereading it. I think possibly there's some confusion over this:


Mundane we are used to understanding as meaning "boring", and vanilla we interpret as meaning "boring" also.


i take "we" here to mean "in general," not BDSM-ers; that is, these are the commonly understood definitions of both mundane and vanilla, HOWEVER, that's not how we (now SF fans and BDSMers, respectively) see it, because:

belledame222 said...

I look at "vanilla" as on a par with "straight," myself. and in fact sometimes people who do BDSM describe "vanilla" sex as "straight sex," in this instance not so much focusing on it being hetsex as talking about "straight-up sex," no accoutrements, no "scene," you know.

Trinity said...

from the OED:

A. n. A word or expression which by its form or context expresses or implies contempt for the thing named; a derogatory word or form.

Lucy, you've got some spleenin' to do. Why do you not buy snowdrop's explanation that "vanilla" is simply a description of what most people do?

When you look back at yourself through the eyes of someone else's subculture, you might not like what you see -- but that doesn't always mean you're actually being treated with contempt.

Trinity said...

"Are there really any concrete arguments against BDSM?"

Not sure how you mean "concrete" but there is plenty out there in the basic vein you've seen: patriarchy eroticizes domination and submission. BDSM folk are simply those with a more virulent form of the social disease.

Trinity said...

"I look at "vanilla" as on a par with "straight," myself."

Yup, that's the sort of thing I was getting at.

I tried for a while to say "those not-BDSMers over there" because of people feeling insulted... but seriously why is it an INSULT that you don't do what I (often) do in bed? Ehh?

Saying there's an insult in that is about like saying there's an insult in "straight" -- which I could see someone saying there is, actually, if said someone prides herself on being a very adventurous lil heterosexual.

But that's not the point of the word.

belledame222 said...

anyway, now that i've had my interview and am less agitated, i can answer your question from earlier in a general way, CCP:

There are a few different arguments against BDSM, some more sophisticated than others. The less sophisticated one is the one where the whole idea of "consent" doesn't seem to register, or isn't sufficient to the objector. mainly, they see BDSM as synonymous with abuse. Sometimes people see it that way because, frankly, in general it's not got a great rep or mainstream portrayal, and if one's only information came from sensationalistic TV or movies and so on, then, well there you are. In some cases I think people have been in situations with a partner who was basically being abusive and called it BDSM; this will tend to color one's feeling about the matter rather dramatically, i think.

The more sophisticated understand the difference between consensual BDSM and playacting, but...well, with some people, they have these very idealistic (and often strangely full of blindspots, but that's a longer post) notion of how human relations and especially sex are supposed to work: anything smacking of a power dynamic can only be a reflection of, and reaffirmation of, o let's call it the Patriarchy; i'm sure there are others who use different terms who think along similar lines (master/slave mentality, say, and White Supremacy, and so on).

belledame222 said...

anyway if you're interested in the radfem perspective specifically there's an anthology called "Against Sadmasochism;" i forget edited by whom, but full of the usual suspects, circa, what, early 80's? probably out of print, but check your local friendly library.

belledame222 said...

oh, and i forgot: for the most part, in my experience at least, radical feminists tend to focus heavily if not exclusively on maletop/fembottom dynamics; other combinations are generally sort of ignored, dismissed as statistically irrelevant, argued (particularly wrt female-female couples) that in -some- way it's reflecting or recreating internalized Patriarchal power structures (butch-femme got that a lot as well), argued that in femtop/malebottom combos the woman is doing it primarily to please the male partner, and it's all just a game anyway and the woman is kidding herself with this illusion of "power;" or any combination of the above.

belledame222 said...

finally, it's not just sex and power but sex and -violence,- or what's perceived as violence. it's not just a radical feminist thing either, that part of it: a -lot- of people simply can't fathom the idea that "pain" can be erotic, although generally ime Joe Blow on the street tends to "get it" a lot better than ideologues if you explain using comparisons to, say, heavy-contact sports, or eating hot chili peppers: it's an endorphin high (among other things).

but a lot of people can't put that together with -sex-, or won't; and then couple that with the image of a man striking a woman and well there you are...

R. Mildred said...

OMG Bugs Bunny Tossed elmer Fudd's sAlad!

It is teh porn for teh swoonings!

little light said...

Dios, what did I miss?

Central Content Publisher said...

Belledame on positions against BDSM: Yeah, I figured that was where things still stood. I really haven't been around that community for awhile, so I wondered if there was something new under the sun. Apparently not.

note - I don't find any of those arguments compelling.

Why do you not buy snowdrop's explanation that "vanilla" is simply a description of what most people do? - trinity

and

I look at "vanilla" as on a par with "straight," myself. - belledame

Well, if you want to say straight, you can say straight - Ya know? Although, it's probably not very accurate.

As preamble, I know the word is generally used as code within the scene to talk about people outside of the scene, but specifically to refer to people who don't or may not understand. As in, "so, I was describing this scene to my brother, he's vanilla btw, and just as I got to the part where...". Or sometimes, it's used as a cliquish in-joke.

That said, here's my problem with it...

Being called boring is belittling. The effect of "vanilla" is to at once belittle non-BDSMers, and to aggrandize BDSMers. This makes it a pejorative term. The term sometimes leeks out into other groups as well, like the queer community (except the ones who want to be conservative), but I'll just say BDSMer for now.

Note that I say BDSMer, and not deviant. In many ways, deviant and vanilla are sister words from opposite poles (though deviant also has an academic context). Anyway, quick arguments:

- All sexual activity (although saying life activity would probably be more accurate, after all, BDSM isn't a sexual activity per se) happens within a context. It may be a BDSM context, or another context, perhaps a plushy context. Whatever the context, we do know that it varies wildly across populations, as does the activity itself. This makes it really hard to pin "straight", or "normal" down. Is tantric sex vanilla?

- BDSM is actually pretty mainstream. The last Fetish event I went to had literally, thousands of people there. Of course, they aren't ALL BDSMers, but you know what I mean.

- Vanilla isn't the most common flavor. Chocolate is.

In its defense, I think vanilla is a reactionary pejorative, spurred into existence by a culture that's been traditionally demonizing of fetishistic practices. Be that as it may, its effect is still primarily belittling to those whom it refers.

I think BDSM is boring, but I don't have a special word to express that. Which isn't surprising because I don't think of BDSMers as people who do something I think is boring, but as people who share a hobby.

P.S. Mundane is pejorative too.

Trinity said...

"but as people who share a hobby."

If you want to nitpick

I have one for ya

My sexual orientation ain't a fucking hobby.

Deal proposal: I won't call you vanilla if you don't talk about my sexual self like it's a diversion.

Central Content Publisher said...

Switch "people with a shared hobby" to "people with shared interests", if that helps.

I won't call you vanilla if you don't talk about my sexual self like it's a diversion. - trinity

No deals. Do whatever you feel is right.

Einstein's hobby was physics. Hobbies are often an essential part of who a person is, and key to their fulfillment as individuals - sexual or otherwise. Just say'in.

Trinity said...

Nope.

OED again:

" 5. A favourite occupation or topic, pursued merely for the amusement or interest that it affords, and which is compared to the riding of a toy horse (sense 3); an individual pursuit to which a person is devoted (in the speaker's opinion) out of proportion to its real importance. Formerly HOBBY-HORSE n. (sense 6)."

Trinity said...

"Switch "people with a shared hobby" to "people with shared interests", if that helps."

So queer people are just people who are interested in the same thing? I don't see it that way. And personally, I think seeing BDSM this way as a whole is very similar to doing what the people who see gayness as a "lifestyle," a way of partying and being frivolous, do. Just without the GOD HATES YOU bs.

For some people, sure, BDSM is a diversion. For a lot of us... it ain't.

SnowdropExplodes said...

CCP: When SF fans call non--SF fans "mundane" they are NOT calling them "boring.

They are calling them "not-us", using a term that is deived from the Latin root, "mundane" meaning "worldly".

Likewise, when BDSM people call someone "vanilla", it is NOT, in general, calling them "boring". Traditionally, "vanilla" is assumed to be the most commonly available and most popular flavour, and is recognised as such (incidentally, I think it would be very hard to change the usage, because calling people "chocolate" might possibly be interpreted as a racial slur!).

Therefore, you are mistaken when you interpret these terms as pejorative in themselves, although I am sure there are some people who do use them in that way (just as some people consider calling a popular musician "mainstream" to be pejorative whereas others simply use it as a descriptive term). Some people use the word "foreigner" as a pejorative term, but that does not make the word itself pejorative. The distinction between "native" and "foreigner" is the same distinction between "BDSMer" and "vanilla" or "SF fan" and "mundane".

You are also mistaken to consider "deviant" as necessarily a pejorative term, it is a strictly accurate description (meaning 'differing from the norm"), albeit perhaps more prosaic and less colourful than the metaphor "vanilla". Of course, there are those who spit the word with venom, and they clearly do use it in a pejorative sense, and there are those who understand it in that way.

The reason for your observed incidents which you assume imply a pejorative usage, are based more accurately in he necessity of keeping BDSM orientation under wraps. Much of society genuinely doesn't understand about who we are and what we do, and if confronted by it in real life would have serious problems dealing with it. This does create a sense of a clique atmosphere, it is true, because there are those "in" and those "not-in", but I have found that the BDSM community is really very easy to enter, unlike most cliquey groupings.

Maybe some people do use "not-us" terms in a belittling way, but in general, this is not the case (and is, in particular, not the case within the groups where I have seen them used particularly, namely, the BDSM and SF fan communities) and I think it is over-sensitive to suggest that it is the case.

Please excuse the length of this post, I just realised I tend to get excited talking about linguistics!

belledame222 said...

LL: tune in tomorrow, i'm probably going to say something. Once.

belledame222 said...

Vanilla isn't the most common flavor. Chocolate is.

Common (i.e. "popular") for what? Candy bars? Sure. Ice cream? Nope. Still vanilla

(No it isn't!

Yes it is!)

Sassywho said...

shit belle, i had no idea cartoons were going to turn into a sex conversation.... i've been missing out.

it's funny, when i think about my pervs and what makes me hot, i rarely apply a title to it. not because i am opposed or afraid of one stigma or another, but just that i don't want to be limited.

i'm very clear with myself and others on boundaries, such as tying me up would never be okay, but i have no problem tying up another.

i'm comfortable enough to ask for what i want, which quite frankly is the epitome of a healthy sexuality.....

Nanette said...

I wouldn't consider the term "vanilla" a pejorative - it seems quite descriptive of a nice, popular flavor which can be intense or light and airy, and to which one can add many different things that complement, but do not overwhelm the original taste.

It's a good shorthand for those of differing orientations that may consider themselves every other flavor but (or in addition to).

I don't understand the BDSM identity/culture myself but then again I don't need to. I've never been quite sure how it was my business what people (willingly) do in their private lives.

Also, some things puzzle me - although I of course think that structural oppressions, coercions and so on that victimize women (as well as men, sometimes) need to be torn down, I really do not understand the hows and whys of those feminists who (at least as far as I understand) seem to feel a strange sense of ownership over people's bodies, lives, loves and beliefs.

So much so that they feel comfortable saying (in so many words) "when we destroy (or maybe it's become) the patriarchy, you (who enjoy BDSM, sex and/or porn, are transgender, etc) will cease to exist".

How weird is that?

(Or am I misunderstanding lots? wouldn't be the first time.)

Nanette said...

Not to mention all the Lipstick Landfills that will be needed.

belledame222 said...

I really do not understand the hows and whys of those feminists who (at least as far as I understand) seem to feel a strange sense of ownership over people's bodies, lives, loves and beliefs.

No, I think you're understanding it quite well.

Two things, one below the other.

At the theoretical level, the idea is basically that Class Woman is or should be united, that we all have our Womanhood as a common bond, Sisterhood Is Powerful, only united can we succeed, etc.

of course in practice this isn't the case for a whole shitload of reasons. the mature thing to do would be to accept that in fact it's a bit more complicated than that and revise the Theory accordingly. some people do. others don't.

those who don't, they still have to find some way of justifying their (human) rage and aggression toward other women. so they create all these hoops and hurdles to create a subclass of women that aren't REALLY women; or are traitors to Class Woman and thus may be treated accordingly; or some such.

beneath -that,- there is the question of why some people need to do this and others don't.

and, sociopolitical theory aside, what i think it boils down to is a very primitive and ill-defined sense of boundaries.

"I'm cold, put on a sweater."

It plays out subtly in some cases; in others it's rather staggeringly blatant. And crazy-making.

belledame222 said...

and by the way, those same poor boundaries are also both i would say coming from the same source as the rage toward the (abusive/oppressive) Patriarchy -and- a partial explanation as to why so many kinds of sex are seen as threatening.

there are a lot of ways to fuck with peoples' sense of identity, their internal borders, if you will, assuming they ever developed solid ones to begin with. Rape and other forms of physical/sexual abuse aren't the only ways, but they're quite powerful ones.

but in any case, if one feels one has been "invaded," one is going to

1) do everything one can to shore up the boundaries with extra-thick protection (hence the "safe space" business)

2) in some cases, unfortunately, also, will unconsciously act out that same invasiveness on other people, albeit probably not in the exact same way it was done to them, since they're now conscious of that much, at least.

so someone who's been physically-sexually abused will perhaps never ever dream of doing such a thing to anyone else, will actively crusade against sexual abusers...

but might just be unconsciously exerting control over other peoples' sexuality in other, less tangible ways.

belledame222 said...

oh yeah, and: the fear of "invasion" also has a lot to do with "purification" crusades, from eschewing of obvious things like certain kinds of food and sex (esp. penetration) to constantly weeding out the less-than-pure from one's inner circle.

Iamcuriousblue said...

SnowdropExplodes said:

"CCP - personally I don't use vanilla as a pejorative term.

Mundane we are used to understanding as meaning "boring", and vanilla we interpret as meaning "boring" also."


By way of analogy, vanilla is actually a wonderful and hugely underrated flavor. (I suppose it gets its "boring" rep from cheap vanilla ice cream with very little actual vanilla flavoring in it.)

Nanette said:

"So much so that they feel comfortable saying (in so many words) "when we destroy (or maybe it's become) the patriarchy, you (who enjoy BDSM, sex and/or porn, are transgender, etc) will cease to exist"."

I can understand the theory that in a utopian society without power relationships, fetishization of power relationships would, over the course of time, fade away. But its beyond me how that has any relevance to people socialized in this world, where socialization (and fetishization) of power relationships is instilled into practically everyone from the moment they're born.

Presumably in this same utopian society, the State would whither away too, yet I don't see radical feminists arguing against partaking of State power. Quite the opposite in fact.

belledame222 said...

ayup, real vanilla ice cream with actual vanilla bean is a far cry from that bland pap that passes itself off as vanilla.

i still happen to prefer chocolate, but even i can tell the difference...

Trinity said...

"I can understand the theory that in a utopian society without power relationships, fetishization of power relationships would, over the course of time, fade away. But its beyond me how that has any relevance to people socialized in this world, where socialization (and fetishization) of power relationships is instilled into practically everyone from the moment they're born."

Yes, but I would argue a step further still:

While it may be true that a society that doesn't include power relationships would not have many people in a who enjoyed play acting them for sexual pleasure, I don't honestly believe that it's possible to eliminate power relationships from any and all ways that humans interact. There's so many different forms of power that eliminating them all doesn't even seem like the point of fighting oppression to me. so the idea that there would never be any BDSM in such a society is irrelevant to anything, because as far as I can tell such a society could never exist in the first place. We could work to deemphasized hierarchy, but we could never work to destroy it. And even if we deemphasized it, that would encourage some people to find it erotic simply because it's not a usual situation and thus is exotic and interesting.

Honestly it seems to me that the original power over relationship is that of parent or guardian and child. That's a relationship in which even the kindest of parents have to tell children what to do or order them not to do things sometimes. And this power over is actually designed to keep them healthy and safe. Like any form of power over, it can be used wrong by abusers, but it's not something that we can ever do away with. That's just not possible. The whole idea that in a utopian society nothing would be based on power over just doesn't work for me, when all of us begin our lives at the bottom of a power relationships.

Sassywho said...

as a primarily het woman(eh i'm about 6.9 on the kinsey scale... so that could be a stretch), i will admit not fully understanding lesbian sexuality.

meaning, if your only reason for being a lesbian(i know this is a very small minority) is because all het sex is rape... or penetration=rape, that gives a lot of weight to those homophobe bible-thumpers who say it is a choice.

of course i don't know very many lesbians who chose to be for that reason, most of the ones i know just happen to really like women.

and just to break it down to the basics, we as humans(animals too) create rituals and meaning around most of our most primitive carnal essences that have everything to do with life.

first with birth, the process itself is bloody, messy and not very aesthetically pleasing. yet we have baby showers, blue and pink clothes, and ignore some of the ugly parts like hemorrhoids and post-partum. some women choose hospitals, others midwives, some choose to have their babies at home and others may choose water. there are plenty of people who feel righteous about their choice and have no problem "educating" others, but in the end it's the free-will or should be of that woman delivering.

the next "life-compatible" activity is sex, and every culture has their own mores in how this is approached and dating rituals. given it hasn't always been female-friendly, but no matter what kind of sex you are having it's not the act itself that is offensive.... it's the meaning/perception behind it.

so if by golly have a man draining his balls on your chin is offensive to you, it is.... to you. but if i'm in agreement with my partner that it is not, then in our own sphere it is not. period. ultimately it's the people with agency over their physical bodies who get to decide.

as a sexual woman i always thought it was patriarchal notions that said if i enjoyed sex too much that was the reason that i deserved to be subjugated and second class, of course that is the culture that i choose not to partake in.

to bring it full circle, death is never very pretty either. most cultures have some kind of ritual that has meaning. some are buried, others cremated, some people have small funerals others extravagant parades. there are a million different ways people mourn or celebrate... depending on what your culture says about it.

who are we to judge how others give life, enjoy life, or mourn/celebrate death? each of them being the most personal/intimate experiences one can physically have, and no one should be forced/coerced/punished into any experience.

*sorry belle, i know that was a stretch... hope it made sense*

Iamcuriousblue said...

Trinity –

I quite agree with your take on the subject. Certainly some power differentials, most notably parent/child, are inherent to the human condition and are present even in highly egalitarian “primitive” societies or in some kind of anarchist utopia. Moreover, at least some eroticization of aggression, dominance, and submission would probably be present even in a far more egalitarian society. (Of course, power relationships in the larger society, or abuse history, or like dynamics, do play a role in the development of sadomasochism in real existing society. That shouldn’t be taken as any reason to condemn or limit sadomasochism, though.)

If I could converse with radical feminists beyond shouting distance, I’d love to get to the bottom of what their ideas of power relationships are. What constitutes a power relationship, when power relationships are and aren’t legitimate, and what their concept of personal autonomy is. I really don’t get the impression that they’ve thought very deeply about such questions at all, because their contradictions are so glaring. On one hand, their ideals about sex and interpersonal relationships are always stated as coming from what they see a place of absolute egalitarianism. On the other hand, their methods of bringing about such “egalitarianism” are so totally authoritarian.

(Actually, to say that a lot of antis haven’t thought about this deeply is putting it very nicely. Many I’m quite sure haven’t even thought about this question at all and seem to confuse a kneejerk impulse to bust “perverts” with some kind of revolutionary feminist activism.)

Iamcuriousblue said...

Sassywho said:
"as a primarily het woman(eh i'm about 6.9 on the kinsey scale... so that could be a stretch)"

Well, actually, exclusively het would be Kinsey 0 and exclusively lesbian would be Kinsey 6. And Kinsey 6.9 would be an outright Freudian slip. - LOL -

Sassywho said...

iamcuriousblue: lol, unintentional at that. ooops, had my scale mixed up, and het-scaled at that... 10 lashes for me.

antiprincess said...

Not for nothin' but I wonder if anyone told Twisty to stop slagging on nonradicalfeminists?

and if they did, would she ever stop laughing?

belledame222 said...

who?

belledame222 said...

...you know that whole adage about "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win." ?

yeah. it's kind of been going in the opposite direction for me, with some...people. Fight, laugh. Ignore.

losers.

bint alshamsa said...

sassywho,

so if by golly have a man draining his balls on your chin is offensive to you, it is.... to you.

Okay, as far as I'm concerned, you have officially won the "Worst Imagery Associated With a Blowjob" award. Let's just say that if I had read your message yesterday rather than today, The German would have gotten a lot more sleep last night. :P

-bint alshamsa
(who isn't offended by ball-draining action but isn't fond of thinking of it in those terms either)

Sassywho said...

bint alshamsa: i'm all good for bad blowjob imagery, it really is a gift to sound like a 13 year old boy who stayed up too late one night and caught skinamax.

Nanette said...

Thanks belle, for the explanation! That clears things up a little bit - the rage part (no matter how sweetly expressed) is what I mostly see, and what I find the most disturbing.

iamcuriousblue:

I can understand the theory that in a utopian society without power relationships, fetishization of power relationships would, over the course of time, fade away. But its beyond me how that has any relevance to people socialized in this world, where socialization (and fetishization) of power relationships is instilled into practically everyone from the moment they're born.

Yes, exactly. It seems a little like trying to dismantle a structure from the bottom up.

SnowdropExplodes said...

"so if by golly have a man draining his balls on your chin is offensive to you, it is.... to you.

Okay, as far as I'm concerned, you have officially won the "Worst Imagery Associated With a Blowjob" award."

Funny, I interpreted it as a description of a titwank rather than a blow job - but maybe that's because I prefer to drain my balls on her tonsils rather than her chin.

(suffers a slight moment of "male guilt" at that last comment, but then remembers what my partner's reaction is when it happens)

bint alshamsa said...

sassywho,

it really is a gift to sound like a 13 year old boy who stayed up too late one night and caught skinamax.

Uh, what if you were a thirteen year old girl who got back up after her parents went to bed and decided to find out exactly what it is she wasn't supposed to be looking at? Do we get any points for that? ;)

-bint
*crossing my fingers and hoping for the best*

Sassywho said...

bint: of course, but if you were anything like me that happened way before 13, that just happened to be the age that it seemed boys started to wake up to such things.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

One of the things that drives me bonkers about a lot of the discussions of power I see is that a lot of people seem to only have one concept of what power is: the power to coerce, to command, to compel compliance.

I will stop alliterating now, honest.

Personal power -- such as centredness, self-knowledge, self-discipline, focus, follow-through, all those perky inspirational cartoon virtues -- is invisible. It's not real power, or something; thus people seeking these things are not seen as having or developing power.

Supportive power is outright vilified in a lot of cases, and this is a cultural norm, ranging from contempt for support professions to blowing off parenting as not actual work worthy of recognition. To, in the specific case of BDSM stuff, treating a submissive in a power-dynamic charged relationship as a doormat or as someone who is become lesser.

Sometimes when I come across the discussions of BDSM and egalitarianism I wind up wondering what planet I'm from anyway -- coming into my power as I settle into my d/s relationship as a submissive, developing confidence and strength there because my natural comfort zone is with supportive power, and it's so damn nice to have a place where I don't have to fake comfort with authoritative power to have my contribution respected and valued.

Amy said...

LOL, I remember watching those Looney Tunes as a kid...the few childhood memories I do have revolve round TV programmes and Disney films. :S
Gotta love Monty Python <3 I haven't seen that particular sketch before!
x

Kim said...

It's Saturday AM, betch.
Awaiting your SureToBeAwesome Take Back the Blog post ...

Kim said...

WHOA!
Is that A HIMALAYAN in Nanette's avatar???

Nanette said...

Kim, the cat? I have no clue. It looks like one, tho.

It's not my cat, I just love the tin foil hat thingy.

Trinity said...

"Moreover, at least some eroticization of aggression, dominance, and submission would probably be present even in a far more egalitarian society. (Of course, power relationships in the larger society, or abuse history, or like dynamics, do play a role in the development of sadomasochism in real existing society."

Possibly. But has anyone -- ANYONE -- narrowed this down in ANY useful way? Not that I've found. There's just a vague (and Freudian from what I can tell) hand-wave in the direction of abuse. I prefer to deal with actual attainable facts -- and from the trickle of study I've seen, yes there is a higher incidence of abuse history among BDSMers than among the general population, but it's hardly like most of us are.

Alon Levy said...

Trusting studies that reach conclusions that disagree with the party line is strictly forbidden in feminist discourse.

Sorry, Trinity.

Trinity said...

Eh. On BDSM, I have this annoying tendency to listen to science and my conscience, not theories of Societal Sadomasochism (tm)

Alon Levy said...

Yeah, those are just fronts for sexism.

On another note, my final verdict on Full Frontal Feminism is that Jessica can't write.

Iamcuriousblue said...

Trinity –

I never said that MOST bdsm enthusiasts have abusive backgrounds, just that its there, probably in numbers higher than the general population.

People who deal with past abuse through s/m is a real thing, just as much as the cliche of the powerful guy who likes to be topped. Obviously, there's a lot of other reasons people get into s/m, but dealing with negative power issues in one's early history or present life is certainly a common one.

That shouldn't be taken as a put-down of s/m, since its a hell of a lot more positive than a lot of other ways of dealing with such issues. Its certainly better than the way many of the anti-s/m folks are dealing with their power and/or abuse issues, which is to draw everybody else in the world into their issues and call it radical political activism!

nexy said...

well, bdsm aside, i have to say that i think bugs looks exceptionally hot in his viking chick ensemble in that first youtube clip.

Central Content Publisher said...

Well, after almost 15 years of being in and around the BDSM scene (my X-wife was a professional dominatrix), I've seen large swaths of the BDSM population in action, and participated to some degree. Mind you, this is mostly in Toronto, but Toronto has a fairly large BDSM community compared to other North American cities, so, I'm guessing I've met a fair cross section of the community.

"Vanilla", in my experience, is overwhelmingly used as a pejorative. Often, by people who don't even mean to use it that way, but not uncommonly by arrogant narcissistic idiots - often disguised as tops.

For me, personally, this is a strange annoyance. My sexual orientation is much less mainstream than BDSM, but isn't BDSM, so it's with some irony I hear the term "vanilla" used.

Frankly, it's best avoided. Not because I find it offensive, but because it says more about the naivety of the speaker that about its object.

That said: I appreciate that no one here intensionally uses it in pejorative sense.

belledame222 said...

nexy: o most definitely...