Not having a Facebook (still) and not wanting one (still), I'd left it at that and had no idea what they were, or weren't, up to. I must admit that I'd expected them to get bored fast; many BDSM-related blogthrashes die quick.
But now I notice Ernest Greene commenting that they're apparently still going strong, and exhorting us to keep challenging their views.
ETA: Looking at her page again, I do not think Harmony's "throwing down a gauntlet." I wrote this assuming I'd missed her doing so, but perusing more carefully I find she's saying she wants a "safe space" free from debate. I have strong critiques of the whole concept of "safe space," but that doesn't mean I'd crash people's meeting.
I leave this up as is because I do think it's easy to see the provocative pictures and text on the main page as a challenge, and because I stand by what I'm saying in the post. However, I wanted to note that I wrote it as if Harmony wanted a fight. I now see that she didn't, and people might assume from reading me that she does. It's only right to apologize to her for that, so: I'm sorry for not checking more thoroughly whether that was so.
Here's Ernest's comment:
I'm starting to feel like a troll for challenging every lie and distortion I read on Harmony's little hate log, but Facebook is seen by millions and I think it's important for us to rebut being trashed in such a high-profile venue.So I had a brief look, and decided to say more.
I hope some others here will have a look at the latest affronts and weigh in with some solid counter arguments and positive examples.
Harmony continues to throw down the glove in front of us and I think we need to pick it up. There are readers out there who are conflicted about their BDSM sexuality and they require our support in the face of the ugly misrepresentation of who we are and what we're about that this group promulgates.
I don't know if Harmony and her little club know about this blog, and if they do, whether they'd be the sort to read it or avoid it, but on the off chance:
I'd just like to ask why it is, Harmony and others, that what we do matters so much to you. We know your arguments so well we've got most of them memorized. It should be pretty clear that your being "critical" of what we do and enjoy is not going to convince us. Similarly, we've learned from the many reiterations of these conversations that we're not all that likely to convince you that your "theories" are old, removed from reality, and not supported by the admittedly small amount of data presented by studies of those who practice BDSM.
So I've got to wonder: what exactly is your goal? It might be to sway those in the middle, if you can. It might be to assert, in what you feel is a deluge of pro-BDSM feminism (I would call it, at best, BDSM-tolerant feminism, myself), that some of you do still loudly and proudly hold the opposing view.
But it really seems odd to a lot of us on the pro-BDSM side of the aisle. There is quite a lot of lurid description. There's even a pornographic image on your website, albeit with a line through it. While there's been frank discussion here of quite a few kinks, and we've not hidden from talking about things in detail, we're not the ones putting a gagged, bound, naked woman on our welcome mat.
So my challenge to you is just this: Do you have more to say than simply lurid recountings of what we like? Can you talk about those of us who are survivors without using the sort of maudlin language that dehumanizes us, but titillates those who want to see us as people with tragically maudlin stories?
(Examples of this:
The desire to dominate, degrade, and hurt others usually comes from a person’s own psychological wounds. People who are into BDSM are more likely to have been abused [corroborating data conspicuously absent], especially during childhood. And abuse teaches victims that relationships can only be hierarchal, can only be between dominator and dominated, abuser and victim. Or even without abuse, the experience of living in a racist patriarchal capitalism is enough to teach these lessons and do psychological damage.Is it at all possible for you to treat people who have been abused as people, Harmony, rather than as damage-objects? Is it possible to treat our desires and wants as legitimate, or do only people who have never been victimized get to be unsullied?
....These people are in serious need of healing. They are in serious need of understanding that power need not be about power imbalance; that there is such thing as healthy power that is shared in relationships of equality; that you don’t need to have power over someone else to have power within yourself.
....As with the desire to act in the role of the dom/sadist, the desire to act in the role of the sub comes from psychological wounds. As mentioned, those into BDSM are more likely to have been abused, especially in childhood. And even if they were not abused, the experience of living in a racist patriarchal capitalism is enough to do psychological damage and to teach us that relationships are by definition hierarchal.
....Given the psychological wounds and previous traumas that people carry into BDSM, the presence of “free choice” should be critiqued, even if the presence of “consent” is not denied. “Free choice” is an idea promoted by ultra-libertarians and post-modernists who don’t recognize the profound impact that society, culture, and our personal life experiences have on shaping everything about who we are. Does the victim of child sexual abuse, who has been taught that she is worthless and that her sexuality is degraded, freely choose a life as a prostitute or porn actress?*** Does the war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder freely choose to drink to oblivion everyday?
For all that you rant about setting up hierarchies, you are creating one here. The untouched people for whom "free choice" is critiqued less, and those of us who have had our choices destroyed by someone else's exercise of the agency we don't get.
Why do you have this need to talk down to us, Harmony? Why set up the hierarchies you do? If you're one of us, and you truly believe you have less of a self than people who have never been hurt, I feel sorry for you. If you're not, and you savor the idea that those poor people who've been hurt are below you and have less authentic choices than you, I call bullshit on you saying you're "anti-hierarchy."