Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Letters from Gehenna: The World on a Slant: The Marked Case of Equal

Letters from Gehenna: The World on a Slant: The Marked Case of Equal

The usual brilliance from dw3t-hthr, on "egalitarianism":

And here's the thing with certain models of egalitarianism: the argument that people should be treated the same regardless of their preferences on the matter mostly looks like the nightmare-bogeyman that was hacked together to explain why we shouldn't be commies to me. The argument that I shouldn't go my kinky-submissive way because it promotes inequality mostly looks like I am held to be unequal: that because my stuff is outside the Normal Human Thing, it doesn't deserve the consideration that other people do.

And I should be pleased with the way the disability insurance will pay out for my prostate problems, too.

This is the thing: equal treatment has to take into account individual differences, individual experience, context, background. No amount of modelling the default human as male will take away my uterus; no amount of modelling the default human as vanilla will take away my kinkiness.

I've had a relationship with someone who was so devoted to egalitarian treatment that he was deeply, painfully uncomfortable with my submissive tendencies and only faced them with such ambivalence that I wound up, more often than not, suppressing the reactions so as not to distress him.* I have a relationship now with my liege, who not only accepts but cherishes my submission even though he doesn't always remember to do anything with it (outside when it becomes quite obvious in the bedroom). And it's in the latter of these I feel far more treated as someone with equal standing in the relationship -- because even though I am explicitly in a support role rather than one of "equals", even though I have to deal with certain constraints and obligations, I am in a position to define what that interaction means and my satisfaction with the dynamic is of equal importance to his.

As soon as one starts to acknowledge the range of humanity, there has to come an acknowledgement that different people want and need different things as part of their support, satisfaction, and even happiness. And, as the old saw goes, if it were otherwise, think of the oatmeal shortage.

I am not a lesser being because of being submissive, nor is it a sign of weakness or ready compliance.

I'm just a marked case.


belledame222 said...

"The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases."


Trinity said...

The interesting thing is, i'm re-reading MacKinnon now, and some of the way MacKinnon talks about defaults and modelling and androcentrism sound like this post... despite, o'course, that MacKinnon would totally hate dw3t-hthr's relationship and needs.

Funny, innit?

Trinity said...

...and equality and what it means, too.

Flashlight Vagina said...

Thanks for this post, pretty effective piece of writing.