Friday, 15 June 2007

Infantilizing...

...no, not the fetish.

a bit of good discussion at the end of the comments to this

some of it pretty personal to get dredged up in an entry rather than comments, so I'll quote a rather generic piece of joan's comment and my response in there:

Joan:
But, especially in the spanking fetish scene, that infantilizing of the person who's on the bottom often extends outside of role play and is just an attitude that makes me feel like, wow, these people are in a time warp and think it's the 1950's and women are children who are always trying to "get away with things" and need to be put in their place. And by put in their place, I'm not even talking about spanking - I'm talking about the way people talk to each other, the attitudes of who knows what, who knows better than who, who should be looked up to with fluttering eyelashes, who is - basically - the classic patriarch figure (even with women tops).
Me:

AHHHHHHHHHH okay.

this makes a lot more sense to me now. thank you.

that whole "I'm a BRAAAT! *batbatbat*" thing.

Yeah, I puzzle over that too.

I don't really have the same experience of it being overwhelming though. In a few of the rural communities where most people are M/f, yes, I do see it.

But... hmm. What exactly does one DO about that?

Because some of it IS an ageplay thing, a particular sort of "little girl" role.

And I don't always know quite how I feel about carry-over. I'm sometimes really bothered by it, and sometimes really not at all.

Because on the one hand, yes, it seems a bad place to linger. And what does it mean that adult women want to see themselves that way a lot of the time?

But on the other, it seems to me like that's about childhood more than gender. It seems to me that, with the bratty bottoms twirling their pigtails at least, the fascination is with the idea of being a spoiled -- as in, beloved yet unruly -- little girl.

And that seems to me like it's tied more directly into wanting to re-write, re-experience, or play around with a certain idealized form of girlhood to e me than like it's about sexism.

But then the question becomes: what about the tops? What about "Daddy"? Where's he coming from?

I know plenty of "Daddy" types who I think are doing it in a healthy way, but they tend to be queer. I don't know as many straight Daddies at all, in general -- but with the online ones, certainly, there's an infantilizing element that goes beyond role and gets... squicky for me, too.

But again, how much of it is carried over into offline M/f D/s, I don't know myself. You suggest a goodly amount and I see no reason to doubt it.

So... hmm. Where does that leave us? I don't know either.

5 comments:

ellefromtheeast said...

I'm taking the central question of this post to be "What can healthy, feminist relationships get out of a Daddy/girl dynamic?"

First of all, I'll say that it does exist in the real-life community, and that the players I know do have some contact with the leather Daddy/boy dynamic. Also, I understand why it's squicky: on occasion, it's squicked me out, too. This is a dynamic that's emerged organically for us, and I sometimes wonder what that says about me, but we keep it because it works.

Girlspace does two things for me: it frees me from making decisions, and it allows me to accept rewards.

Turning off the thinking, analytical, decision-making part of my brain is really important to being in the moment, and to being attentive to sensations. That's sexy for me, and for my partner. Turning over decision-making authority to a trusted Daddy figure allows me to relax into the present.

Secondly, I can get really insecure about accepting pleasure and gifts. I often feel like I don't deserve them, or immediately start calculating what I need to do to earn or repay them. Girlspace makes me feel it's okay to be petted and indulged, and I can just say "Thank you."

This isn't the only type of dynamic present in our relationship. We're not 24/7 by any means, and even when we play, this isn't the only type of play we have. I need that thinking, analytical part of my mind, and I use it to the hilt most of the time. And we when play in other ways, I give lots of service and other ways of keeping the relationship reciprocal.

So I hope this answers the question, or at least kicks off the discussion.

Trinity said...

elle:

Thank you! That makes total sense to me.

My concern is less with ageplaying than it is with people I've met here and there who have a thing for talking about their "brat"ness all the time. That does worry me because the particular people I'm concerned about seem to use it as an excuse to act childishly bratty all the time.

And that... eh. Part of me it worries and part of me it doesn't. I like that these women can let their hair down so much and not care what others think of them... but sometimes they seem too wrapped up in it.

ellefromtheeast said...

I have to say, I don't get the brat thing, either. I'm not charmed by bratty children; why would I be charmed by adults in role as bratty children?

(However, I am charmed by well-behaved, precocious children, and when I engage in this type of play, I'm trying very hard to be a good girl.)

I haven't been around the "brat" dynamic much at all; I've heard people discuss it much more often than I've seen it in action.

Alon Levy said...

Does the same brat dynamic appear in F/m relationship, with the bottom being a spoiled little boy?

Trinity said...

"I haven't been around the "brat" dynamic much at all; I've heard people discuss it much more often than I've seen it in action."

I used to see it back when I lived out in the country. I don't know whether that means it's a more rural dynamic or not.

But a lot of the sub women I knew who were into it were very brassy, loudmouth types. I think they latched onto it as a way to get away with being loud and brassy, yet also be dominated at the same time

"because in the end, "Daddy" knows best" kinda deal.