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Part 2 of this essay is here.

The largest producer of BDSM porn, by far, that I am aware of is Kink.com.They're headquartered in the old Armory building in San Francisco, where they produce controversy, BDSM porn, and demonstrations, though as near as I can tell it's only the second one that actually makes them money.

Bear with me for a minute; this is just backstory. I'm going to get all Ranty McRanterson in a minute here.

Kink.com has something of a mixed reception in the BDSM community, as far as I've seen anyway, though my experiences with them have always been positive, and I quite like all the Kink.com folks I've met personally. (Their reception in the Christian anti-porn community is less mixed; when I was at Baycon talking to some of the folks who work for Kink, I heard stories about a Christian group who'd been picketing the Armory building with signs reading "End Torture Porn." The irony in that is left as an exercise to the reader, though there was a part of me that wondered how many of the protesters were wearing crucifixes around their necks. But I digress.)

Kink.com was founded by a guy with a genuine interest in BDSM, and one of the things the company has done is try in various ways to support and give back to the BDSM community. There are some folks who take exception to that, and an argument can always be made that it's hard for a for-profit company of any kind to really have the best interests of the community that supports it at heart; having said that, I do believe their heart is in the right place.

Recently, one of the folks from Kink.com called me to talk about a new project they're launching, the BDSM Pledge Web site. The idea, as I understand it, is to create a kind of BDSM 'Code of Conduct' that folks could sign on to, post on their Web sites, and so forth.

It hasn't formally launched yet, and they're still soliciting comments about it. My opinion is that it's an interesting idea, but I'd like to see more from it. A lot more.




Before I get to the rant, I need to digress for a moment about two of the notions anyone who's at all familiar with the BDSM world has almost certainly encountered: "SSC" (Safe, Sane, and Consensual) and "RACK" (Risk Aware Consensual Kink).

These are two different-but-not-really notions about what it is that sets BDSM apart from abuse. The SSC folks emphasize that BDSM activities should, naturally, be safe, sane, and consensual. The RACK folks rightly protest that the notions of 'safe' and 'sane' are highly subjective. No kind of sexual activity (and indeed no activity in general) can ever truly be 'safe,' and 'sane' is a pretty damn slippery concept that's often used as a blunt instrument against folks who do things in bed that other folks don't much like. It wasn't that long ago, after all, that homosexuality was considered inherently 'insane' by the psychiatric community. They prefer instead to acknowledge the risk and say that BDSM is OK if the participants are aware of the risk and still consent to the activity.

Quite a lot of column inches have been wasted on the feud between these two camps. The BDSM Pledge comes down on the side of Safe, Sane, and Consensual, and the person I spoke to at Kink.com ruefully conceded that it's got some of the RACK contingent's backs up.

I personally am in neither camp. I think that both ideas are a load of bollocks.

Not because of what they say, mind you. I've written quite a lot about BDSM, and the issue of abuse is a central one, a defining element of kink as opposed to abuse. It's what they don't say that I find most annoying. Or, to be more precise, it's the way that members of both camps often fail to apply their own principles that I most object to.




So here's the part where I start to rant.

It has been my experience that the BDSM community as a whole gives a lot of lip service to the idea of 'consent,' but the practice doesn't track with the preaching very well. I've already written about a friend of mine who was sexually assaulted by a prominent 'leader' in the BDSM community, but the problems that I see go beyond out-and-out assault.

The problems as I see them exist in three areas: constant, low-level non-consensual behavior, an inability to distinguish between consensual non-consent and real non-consent, and predatory behavior. And I think the three are all related.

Now, I'm absolutely not suggesting that everyone in the BDSM community is a bad person, of course. I've met many wonderful, interesting, compassionate, intelligent, friendly people in the community who are absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, however, the bad actors can mess things up for the people who are fantastic.

And I'm not even saying the BDSM community is any worse than society as a whole. But we can, and must, do better.

First, there's the low-level non-consensual stuff I sometimes see at a conferences or play parties. It most often manifests as harassment of submissives, particularly female submissives; people swat their asses as they walk by, give them orders without negotiating whether or not it's appropriate to do so, and otherwise behave as if their boundaries are irrelevant. (This isn't entirely limited to men harassing women; it's happened to me at play parties when I've been with a partner who was holding the reins.) In its more subtle manifestation, it's a disregard for, sometimes even extending to a refusal to acknowledge, anyone who's clearly in a submissive role.

Look, I get it if that's your kink. Really, I do. But here's the thing. You see those two ideas up there? You see the word they have in common? It's "consensual." That means, the submissive consents to the activity. Nobody should ever make assumptions that it is okay to disregard someone's boundaries, or to touch someone, merely because that person is a submissive. This should be common sense. If you haven't asked, don't touch.

The folks in Master/slave or "TPE" (Total Power Exchange) relationships get wrapped around the axle on the same point. I know I'm likely to catch a lot of flak for this, but listen, guys: It's a fantasy. You may feel like you have a relationship that is a "true" or "real" Master/slave relationship, and you might even feel like those folks who aren't in relationships are poseurs or players, but it's still a fantasy. The millisecond, and I mean the millisecond, the "slave" stops granting consent, it's over. And if you try to make it keep going on after that point, you're not a dom. You're a rapist. You may think you're entitled to be a rapist, because total power exchange whatever whatever, but then every rapist always feels entitled to rape, so it's not like you're special on that point.

I had an acquaintance, many years ago, who carried on to great length about how he was a "true" master and his slave was "truly" his property and how other people could "play" at BDSM but for them it was real because he owned her just as surely as he owned his toaster and yadda yadda yadda. He kept on about it right up until the moment she served him with divorce papers. Poor guy was gobsmacked; he never saw it coming. One's toaster does not normally walk away with custody of one's child and alimony when it wants a change of scenery. Again, this should be obvious. No matter how firmly someone has convinced himself (and it's almost always a "him," though I've seen a couple of women fall into this trap) that he he really owns his slave really for reals, the instant that person stops consenting to the arrangement (even if part of the fantasy is that that person has given up consent), it's done. Anyone who can't acknowledge that fact is best left as a matter for the police, not the BDSM community, to deal with.

Which brings me to the third variety of problem person, the out-and-out predator.

These people are difficult to deal with. They're charming. They often rise to positions within a community that gives them respect and power. They host parties. They teach lessons. And folks don't want to deal with the fact that they are bad people.

We are, as a species, breathtakingly gifted at ignoring evil. Part of it is selfishness; we don't want to lose access to the things they give the community--the play spaces, the parties, the instruction. We find them likable, and don't want to believe bad things (and guys, seriously, if somebody says "so-and-so assaulted me" and your response is "Well, I've never had a problem with him," that's fucked up on so many levels it's hard to know where to start). We find it easy to blame the victim if we do become aware of something hinkey going on. (Astonishingly, I've seen women do this to other women--"Well, she should have known what would happen if she agreed to play privately with him; why was she leading him on?" or "Well, if she was a REAL submissive, she would be GRATEFUL for what happened!") We talk the talk about consent, but when an uncomfortable problem manifests in our faces, we find it hard to walk the walk.

This stuff--all of it--needs to stop.




Which brings me back to the BDSM code of conduct and the tussle between SSC and RACK.

Folks, I don't care. SSC and RACK come at the same general idea from different directions. Fighting about which one is better is squabbling over who should put the dishes away while the house is burning down. It doesn't matter how you define "safe" and "sane" or what level of risk is acceptable between consenting adults. What matters--what really matters--is acting like consent is important. Not just talking about it.

All the time. In little ways and big ways.

That means, no casually swatting some self-identified submissive on the ass just because you're a big domly dom and you think she's cute, and that's what you do with submissives. That means recognizing that consent is always important. It always matters, even when part of the fantasy is that it doesn't.

And that especially means not making excuses when other people fail to respect the boundaries of those around them.

Even when it's inconvenient. Even when you think it might cost you something.

My friend edwardmartiniii has this to say on the subject of inappropriate or abusive behavior in a community: "Don’t allow this behavior in your social group. It’s your group and that means that it's your job (as well the jobs of everyone else in the group) to not allow the behavior you find undesirable. It's your job to stop it. The people who are doing it might be clueless, or they might be malevolent, and I guess you are going to have to make that call, but the bottom line is that you are responsible for policing yourself and those around you. If you see something, then speak up. Right then. Act."

And I agree.

So I would like to see a code of ethics that goes beyond "be safe, sane, and consensual, negotiate, and respect limits." I'd like to see something that covers a lot more ground: Understand that roles are roles, but people are people, and it is your responsibility as a decent human being to treat everyone with respect. Don't make assumptions. Don't step on boundaries because you think the roles permit it. Don't excuse others who do.

There's more, and in Part 2 of this article I plan to talk quite a lot more about the things I'd like to see the community do.

Before that, though, I'd like to hear your reactions. What do you think? What problems, if any, have you seen in your communities? What would a code of ethical conduct for the subcultures you belong to look like?


Comments

( 63 comments — Leave a comment )
sweh
Jul. 14th, 2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
I agree with most of your rant; "consent" is the key word. I, personally, prefer "Informed Consent" but I can see where even that could be argued (are mindfucks "informed"?). The whole point is to have willing consentual partners, not targets of abuse.

I don't think, though, that any "code of conduct" is gonna work. If not done carefully it could just lead to finger pointing and accusations of abuse. Every persons relationships are unique and there will always be outliers. I don't want to hand ammo to anyone.

We need education; we need outreach; we don't need standards nor codes nor pledges.
terriaminute
Jul. 14th, 2012 02:55 pm (UTC)
There must be interim help for victims while outreach happens. There must be an "all fronts advance" on getting rid of this horrible element among us. Fear keeps victims silent and that is harmful to all of us, including future victims. They NEED ammo, they need a way to say no and make it stick. And organizers need on paper, published rules that allow them to say okay, you are wrong, get out. And make it stick.
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terriaminute
Jul. 14th, 2012 02:51 pm (UTC)
As you indicate, this problem is hardly limited to the BDSM communities. It happens at science fiction conventions, too. For some, a revealing costume looks like consent to touch. We do not take kindly to this, we have an in-your-face, one warning only policy. Cos-play is not consent at all. Ever.

Until we learn how to teach children about their personal boundaries and that these are theirs alone, that they can change them if they want to but only if THEY want to, this problem will continue apace. Too many people are hitting puberty with no clue as to what they are in charge of. And the other side of this coin is, too many people are hitting puberty thinking the world owes them what they want to such an extent that they're somehow exempt from observing basic human rights. Entitled, fantasy-ridden individuals reach adulthood having never had this bubble burst. It's supposed to happen around age 4 to 6 years. No, the world does NOT revolve around you, and no you are NOT a special snowflake.

Reality always works. But only for those of us who observe it. Not so much for those of us who have spent years or decades immersed in our own fucked-up versions. Humans hate hate hate to be wrong, about anything. But this level is like the worst wrong to be, and they fight coming out of it like wildcats. And the other broken people support them.
awfulhorrid
Jul. 14th, 2012 03:34 pm (UTC)
One of my partners tells of an experience she had when she was taken to a munch by a former partner and dom of hers. He had her wearing her collar and cuffs and some other 'marking' identification clearly indicating that she was his submissive. While she was not physically harassed, she did experience the behavior you describe: no one there would talk to her directly. Needless to say, she did not enjoy that experience and I'm determined to take her to an event with a classier group of people!

The worst part of this to me is that it is a self-perpetuating cycle. If people who are new to the BDSM world see that type of behavior, they very likely come to believe that this is they way that they too should act. In the case of my partner, she's in a relatively small metropolitan area (Louisville, KY), with a proportionally small BDSM community. There's really few groups from which a newbie can learn better behavior.

As a contrast, I've never experienced this myself, even when I'm clearly in the submissive role. This may be a matter of location (Chicago / Milwaukee / Madison) or it may be simply because I'm male and prevailing social norms make it harder to treat me as 'not there,' even if I am naked save a collar and leash at the time.

I think one thing our community needs is more general discussion of guidelines like the one you're putting forth here and less "The One True Way" approach often associated with both RACK and SSC. I look forward to your next installment of this.
nex0s
Jul. 14th, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
As a woman of color in BDSM social spaces, I've been treated as "not there" even when my white, male, partner was on his knees next to me, wearing my collar and cuffs.

This crap goes pretty deep.

N.
(no subject) - awfulhorrid - Jul. 16th, 2012 04:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Wait... - magickalmom - Jul. 15th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Wait... - awfulhorrid - Jul. 16th, 2012 03:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Wait... - magickalmom - Jul. 16th, 2012 05:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Wait... - awfulhorrid - Jul. 16th, 2012 12:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
bradhicks
Jul. 14th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
The first time I met a couple in a 24x7 D/s relationship was at a science fiction convention. I'm bad at dates, but I think it must have been about 25 or 30 years ago? Something about his attitude towards her rang my young alarm bells; I sought out an excuse to get talk to her out of his earshot to verify that she was okay. And I got rather insistent that she drop character long enough to do so.

I took a huge ration of shit over that: it's not sexy for people in 24x7 D/s relationships if they ever have to drop character for any reason, and it gets downright annoying if it happens every time they meet someone new who has to be reassured that the Dom's control over the submissive truly is uncoerced. I was bullied into knocking that shit right off.

Last year, we wrapped up a high-profile series of trials here in the St. Louis area. A triad who were some of the biggest names in the leather community, a male/female dom couple and their shared 24x7 D/s slave? Yeah, turned out not to be so consensual. She turned out to be a mentally retarded girl that they were keeping strung out on drugs to keep her non-verbal. There are dozens of men and women in the St. Louis area who now have to live with the fact that they took that couple's word for it that it was by the slave's consent that they did all of her talking for her, and that she had consented to have sex with them. And there are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of customers of their website who've paid good money for what turns out to actually be rape porn. So far, the prosecutors are accepting people's claims that they really didn't know and only jailing the couple. So far.

I felt a lot better about having been a bit of an asshole about 24x7 D/s when I was younger. If outsiders honestly can't tell whether what you're doing is consensual or coerced? That's an unacceptable risk to put them in for your kink.

- - - - -

As someone who was an AIDS awareness/safer sex instructor early in the epidemic, my personal opinion is that in this context, pushing back against the word "safe" is a derailing tactic. Yes, most of us know that there is no such thing as "safe sex," any more than there is such a thing as "safe driving." But grown-up English speakers know that when we tell someone to "drive safely" we don't mean "don't drive at all, because no driving is actually 100% safe." We mean "observe every safety precaution."

When somebody pushes back against the word "sane," because after all, what is sanity? I also suspect a derailing tactic, unless they're very, very new to this. In this context, insisting that your BDSM play be sane doesn't mean "don't have sex if you're even slightly crazy or with anybody who's even slightly crazy." It means "don't make yourself or other people crazier," which in practice usually comes down to don't push people's buttons in ways that break them. As I was taught at a relatively young age, people are like campsites: you should leave them better than you found them. That doesn't seem like an unreasonable request.

Which leaves consensual, which to anybody who didn't grow up in Redneckistan ought to be uncontroversial. But it's obviously not, is it, because to some people, stopping to ask for unambiguous consent is unsexy. All I can say to those people, as my story above points out rather brutally, is that coerced consent is a crime and assumed consent is incredibly risky. Maybe it's not anybody's place to tell you how to behave in private? But insisting that you obtain explicit unambiguous consent in front of others if you're going to involve them in your play even as spectators is a reasonable request. Observe it, or go play elsewhere. And if you choose the latter, it is entirely reasonable of us to involve the police, given the history, if we feel enough need to get third-party verification of somebody's consent.

Edited at 2012-07-14 04:22 pm (UTC)
frater_treinta
Jul. 14th, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
"Sane" can be a bit of a hot-button word. I have both PTSD and a diagnosed debilitating mental illness, but it's not something that's easy to spot i.e. I can drive, carry on a conversation, enter into legal contracts, and consent to have whatever freaky kind of sex of want in any sort of combination I want.

And oh the fun I've had backing people into corners when they started the whole "sane = no crazies allowed" attitude. Particularly fun was watching somebody keep doubling up with the "I don't mean you, I mean people who are X" only to discover that I was, in fact, both X and a volunteer at that very party. For several different values of X. Never has the phrase "when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging" been so appropriate, and so disastrously unfollowed.

If what you mean by sane is "first, do not harm," then really and truly good on you for it. But do be aware that's not how everyone is using it, and that there's still a lot of anti mental illness crap in the scene.
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joreth
Jul. 14th, 2012 07:24 pm (UTC)
One of the ways I've learned to cope with this kind of behaviour is to always dress "dominant" when I go to play spaces, even if I intend to play the bottom while there. It helps that I am a bottom and not a sub. But I've found I get a lot less shit - I get the privilege - when I present as a dominant. I don't get touched without consent, I don't get ignored, I am treated with respect - or at least my boundaries are adhered to.

And when I bitch about this topic in general, the victim-blamers point to the things I do to protect myself and say "see? You found a way around it, so you're obviously in favor of the victims making changes to their own persons in order to prevent bad things from happening!"

NO! That is not the point. I do that the same way I walk to my car with my keys in my hand and I don't wear shoes that I can't run in. Just because I've learned to take precautions doesn't mean that I should have to.

What's that saying going around these days? The only one who can stop rape is the rapist - something like that.

Telling people how to prevent their own abuse, while necessary, is not the solution. Stopping the abuse is. Submissives shouldn't have to dress as doms to avoid unwanted behaviour - that's not their kink and it's preventing them from experiencing their kink in places where they are supposed to be allowed to go to experience their kink.

I happen to switch, so I like dressing domly. But I do not like being required to dress domly (or in any particular style, for that matter). The solution is not for subbies to have to keep jumping out of their role to put doms in their places. The solution is for doms to back the fuck off and allow subbies to enjoy their role without threat.
virginia_fell
Jul. 14th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
But I've found I get a lot less shit - I get the privilege - when I present as a dominant.

Okay, so I am not the only one who does this. That's... validating, if sort of sad.
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Ropecast
Jul. 14th, 2012 09:46 pm (UTC)
Not far enough
Franklin,

It's proof that you're doing it right that my "response" to your post ended up turning into a blog post on http://www.graydancer.com/?p=1429 . So I won't take up much of your page, except to say I mostly agree with you.

However, I disagree that it's always the tops who are ignoring the bottoms. Any man who's worn a kilt around inebriated females knows that "inappropriate touching" (or just the simply rude and invasive "so, whatcha got on under there?") happens. That's not an excuse for tops mistreating bottoms - it's simply an observation that the problem is even more prevalent than you say.

I also take issue with the gent who insisted someone "come out of character" to have a discussion. I realize that for him, and for many, the idea of a D/s relationship falls into role play and kinky games. That's fair, I've played a few myself.

But for some - including some relationships I've been in, or hope to be in - it's not something you "come out" of. It's not a character, it's YOU. So asking someone to "come out" of it is like asking a fundamentalist to "come out" of being Christian to answer questions. Asking a man to "come out" of being a father to answer whether he wanted his kids. Or maybe like asking you, Franklin, to "come out" of being poly to "really" discuss whether you are happy in your relationships.

I don't know if that was the case in what the gent above relates - my point is that NEITHER DOES HE. It's worth considering the possibility that, for example, when you go to an event in collar and cuffs and in obvious subservience to someone - people not talking to you can be considered a mark of respect for your apparent choice of relationship. I know if I saw a couple like that, I would never address the small-letter-type without first making sure it was ok with the Big-Letter-Type. If so, then great! I can have a wonderful discussion. But to just go in and start talking? Unless little-letter has chatted with me first, I'm going to respect the apparent boundaries of their relationship. Much like I wouldn't ask you and your partners "Ok, sure, you're poly, but which of you is the REAL couple?"

Can't wait for part 2!

Edited at 2012-07-14 09:48 pm (UTC)
mantic_angel
Jul. 14th, 2012 11:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Not far enough
Agreed with "breaking character" but not agreed on "don't talk to submissives" - it's not my job to presume what the relationship is, and ignoring a submissive that ISN'T in such a situation is just plain rude.

If nothing else, *I* haven't consented to that scene, so the domme doesn't get to tell *me* who I can and cannot talk to. If the submissive isn't allowed to *respond*, that's fine.

In a space with an *explicit* protocol to the contrary, we're also fine, since then I've consented by being there. The idea of "implied consent" in a BDSM space is so horrifying that I won't touch it with a ten-foot pole, though. It must be EXPLICIT protocol.
Re: Not far enough - Ropecast - Jul. 15th, 2012 02:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not far enough - mantic_angel - Jul. 15th, 2012 03:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not far enough - Ropecast - Jul. 15th, 2012 05:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not far enough - mantic_angel - Jul. 15th, 2012 07:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not far enough - magickalmom - Jul. 15th, 2012 09:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not far enough - joreth - Jul. 16th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not far enough - mantic_angel - Jul. 17th, 2012 02:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not far enough - bradhicks - Jul. 15th, 2012 01:48 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not far enough - Ropecast - Jul. 15th, 2012 02:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not far enough - bradhicks - Jul. 15th, 2012 06:31 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Not far enough - bradhicks - Jul. 15th, 2012 08:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not far enough - red_girl_42 - Jul. 15th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
red_girl_42
Jul. 14th, 2012 11:11 pm (UTC)
I see a lot of people in subculture communities preaching about how enlightened and accepting they are, but in reality I find that any group of people contains the same percentage of assholes and idiots as any other group, whether they are poly people, BDSM folks, Christians, Democrats, or figure skaters (Okay, I actually have no experience with figure skaters. Maybe they really ARE enlightened!)

I expect this in groups, so it doesn't surprise or upset me. But I see outsiders use the bad behavior of a few members of a group to denigrate the whole group. All doms are rapists. All poly people are emotionally dysfunctional. All Christians are bigots. etc.

In the BDSM scene, there is a lot of opportunity to act in non-consensual ways. And yet, I've seen so much non-consensual stuff happen in so many other areas. I'm not sure the BDSM community is any better or worse than any other community, but they will suffer more when violations come to light because people already perceive BDSM as being dysfunctional and are looking for "evidence" to support this belief.

So is an ethical code of conduct useful for such groups? I don't know. I got into swinging and then poly without having any experience in those areas, and without knowing other people who practiced these relationship styles. Now I look at discussion forums and I see people giving advice that would have been useful to me when I started--advice about how I should expect to be treated and how I should treat others. My ignorance caused a lot of hurt and angst and so that kind of advice, perhaps in the form of a "code of conduct," would have been useful.

I think such codes would be very useful for people like me who are just ignorant or inexperienced. But there are always going to be predators in every group who will simply ignore these kinds of guidelines. They aren't interested in protecting their partners, they are simply interested in getting what they want. Codes are useless for such people.

Where they might come in handy, however, is for showing their victims (or potential victims) how they deserve to be treated. You can tell a sub that they always have the right to revoke their consent, at any time and for any reason, even in a 24/7 D/S relationship. It might not stop their partner from doing things without their consent, but it might help them decide to get out of that relationship and/or report the behavior to someone else.

And that latter part is important, too, I think. If you consent to being tied up and flogged, and your partner does something else that you did *not* consent to, the general public is going to claim that "you asked for it." But the BDSM community should know better. So perhaps any code of conduct should not just focus on the behavior or the people involved in a particular relationship, but also on the behavior of the community when violations are reported.

When my son's school started a new anti-bullying program, they focused a great deal of attention on bystander behavior. In other words, they didn't simply tell kids not to bully, or tell victims how to respond to bullying. They insisted that anyone who witnessed bullying had a responsibility, as well. AND they gave them the appropriate skills to do so. Perhaps something like this is a necessary part of any BDSM code of ethics, so that we don't have situations where someone gathers up the courage to say, "So-and-so raped me" only to hear, "Well *I've* never had a problem with him!"
mantic_angel
Jul. 15th, 2012 07:39 am (UTC)
"In the BDSM scene, there is a lot of opportunity to act in non-consensual ways. And yet, I've seen so much non-consensual stuff happen in so many other areas. I'm not sure the BDSM community is any better or worse than any other community"

The risk is amplified because of the behaviour: In a poly/Christian/etc. meetup, you can't just pull off your belt and start beating your significant other. In a BDSM event, that's actually fairly tame behaviour.

"Codes are useless for such people."

That's the point. A GOOD code of conduct is pushing OTHER people to check in and make sure things are okay. It's making sure the abuse victims are aware that what's happening isn't okay, and that the community will side with the victim rather than pretending nothing is wrong.

It's not about getting the predator to play by the rules, it's about creating an environment that's hostile to the predator.

The anti-bullying program at your son's school sounds like exactly the sort of thing that's useful :)
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(no subject) - tacit - Jul. 20th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
ready2please
Jul. 14th, 2012 11:44 pm (UTC)

I was directed to this post from my friends of friends list. I am very interested in reading Part 2 of your rant.

One thing that jumps out at me is the whole I can treat you as a submissive because you are clearly submissive. When the reality is, just because someone is a submissive doesn't mean in anyway that they are submissive to some asshole they don't even know who will take liberties and touch when not invited to do so.

I wonder, how does the Dom or Domme react when some person touches their submissive in a social environment when that third party has not been invited to interact with them physically?

You raise some very valid points.

Oh, and so I don't miss the second part of your rant I am going to add you. I hope that is okay?
bradhicks
Jul. 15th, 2012 01:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, no shit. There is no difference in my mind between "I know you submit to someone else, so I don't need your consent to top you" and "I know you had sex with someone else, so I don't need your consent to fuck you."
(no subject) - mantic_angel - Jul. 15th, 2012 07:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ready2please - Jul. 15th, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
non-consent - magickalmom - Jul. 15th, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: non-consent - ready2please - Jul. 15th, 2012 09:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: non-consent - magickalmom - Jul. 15th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
hypatia42
Jul. 15th, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC)
My experience with this topic is broad and I am opinionated. I attend sci-fi conventions and have had problems with people taking liberties. I find there far more often that women who are intoxicated are the most aggressive offenders in this setting. I have a work around by surrounding myself with people who will step in and stop someone if they can see inappropriate behavior. I know I shouldn't have to but I prefer to know I am safe so I can have my fun.

I have also attended festivals that have a high kink/BDSM aspect. I was discouraged from wearing a piece of jewelry that looks like a collar because I might be treated like a sub. As described it was accepted in this set of people to ignore subs, give them tasks, take physical liberties all without getting consent. I was afraid to express myself in ways that would have made it a happy place for me because people would have treated me in ways that would have enraged me.

Also in this same group, women are treated as sub-capable by man of the dom men. When asked point blank if they needed assistance with a physically demanding set up project I got, "Don't you worry your pretty little head about it. Just leave it to the menfolk." I am a 6 foot tall massage therapist. There is nothing about me that looks incapable except for the fact that I have breasts I guess.

On Fetlife I had to change my profile to say I was a TOP because of the number of inappropriate solicitations I was receiving. It was obvious that the men(and in this case it was all men) never read my profile, had no interest in whether or not I wanted the type of attention they were sending my way. Had they done so it would have told them everything they needed to walk away slowly. Doesn't mean I am a top. I am more accurately labeled independent. However, to get them to stop treating me as a piece of meat that is what I have to display. Now I get the opposite type of offer. If it weren't for the art and photographic displays by people I know that are not posted elsewhere online I would abandon the whole site as a waste of time.

I was raped by my then partner because I was there and he "needed" to have sex. It didn't matter that I didn't want to. I was a sexual partner for him and therefore he got to have sex with me when he felt he wanted it. Yes there are extenuating circumstances. Yes we were long distance partners and so didn't get the opportunity often. But when one person is sobbing in pain and begging the other to stop it is no longer consensual. It is rape. This is the same man that taught his daughter about safe words and dutifully respects them anytime she uses is in play. *shrug*
greenquotebook
Jul. 15th, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
You remind me a great deal of my much-beloved, late Sir. If we are ever in the same area, I would love to meet you in person.
dorklord07
Jul. 16th, 2012 03:51 am (UTC)
I'm not going to dive into this, cause I got's shit to do (FINALS SUBMISSION DEADLINES FUUUUUUUCK), but a quick ctrl+F search of these comments didn't turn up, in my opinion, two of the biggest writers on the topic of patriarchy, dom-ism, and abuse in BDSM.

Thomas @ YesMeansYes.wordpress.com
MayMay @ MaybeMaimed.com

There's too many individual posts between those two writers/sites to link all of them, but anyone interested in the intersection of systems of domination, abuse, and kink should go check 'em out. :D
curgoth
Jul. 16th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thomas has a summary up over at Feministe here.

I meant to post that link earlier in the conversation, but apparently forgot click "post comment" before walking away.
(no subject) - tacit - Jul. 20th, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
edwardmartiniii
Jul. 16th, 2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
Wow. Um, thanks! I'm flattered to be quoted here.

(Maybe I should peruse LJ more often...?)

Right on with your point, too!
itsjustahobby
Jul. 17th, 2012 09:30 am (UTC)
Re Ehica bdsm
I have blogged and blogged about his, the desire to use jargon and magic words ( I refuse to call them safe words) speaks to the very worst of BDSM. The idea it is dungeons and dragons with sex combined with the idea that we are some secret society who need to keep the plebs out.

What kind of ethical framework would I like to see ? The same one I see and use in my day to day life. There should be no difference. Hope you don't mind the links but it seems silly to repeat myself and you wanted input :-)

http://itsjustahobby.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/safe-words-dont-make-women-safe/

http://itsjustahobby.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/white-dress-and-cuffs/
ihvpave
Jul. 19th, 2012 11:31 am (UTC)
It's interesting to me because there are anecdotes - not all that rare - about Cybernet Entertainment being in violation with its performers of these self-same goals. There is argument that in the scenarios in question, the doms were merely "pushing the sub's boundaries" but it's also possible to argue that in a scene shot for film, the actress has a right to know what she's going to be asked to do. In fairness, it's not a claim that's all that unusual in the adult industry - gonzo films are particularly hindered by allegations along these lines - but it's an interesting juxtaposition, non?

I know this isn't the larger question at play, but I felt it worth mentioning.
tacit
Jul. 20th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
It is. I've seen some of those complaints, and it's really tough as an outsider to know how to respond to them; most of the complaints I've seen personally seem to be embedded in a larger salary dispute that's happening right now.

In general: Yes, absolutely. The same rules apply to BDSM performers. Anyone who's doing a scene for a BDSM film absolutely has the right to know what to expect (unless not knowing what to expect has explicitly been negotiated).
lefthand
Jul. 20th, 2012 05:22 am (UTC)
Well said. It's a lot of the reason I gave up on the leather community. I think it came when someone I introduced into leather came back to me several years later and said "goddamn you, you showed me an amazing time and I thought it was all like you. I have never found anyone who comes close" Her point was while I was very involved in doing it ethically, I was often alone in these efforts. I have been depressed to watch the community degenerate to the point of wondering if I was at a frat party.
tacit
Jul. 20th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
If you were to invent a code of conduct you'd like to see the community adopt, what sorts of things would you like to see on it?
code of conduct - lefthand - Aug. 7th, 2012 03:44 am (UTC) - Expand
catspaw00tng
Jul. 29th, 2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
A.C.T.
Instead of SSC or RACK, how about ACT? Actual Consent & Trust.

-Cat & Randy
( 63 comments — Leave a comment )