Friday, 29 May 2009

Feministing

As Kiya just posted here, there's a discussion of BDSM going on over at Feministing here.

Initially, I didn't want to comment, but the more I read of the comment threads, the more I feel I have to say something to Becstar. She participated in a comment thread here, in which she claimed not to be anti-BDSM "anymore." After a conversation with many of us, she's apparently changed her mind. Apparently she was so bothered by many of us not concurring with her stance on porn that she left, here.

I missed her inflammatory flounce somehow. If I had seen it, I would have said this then. But I didn't, so I'm saying it now that she's spewing anti-BDSM nastiness all over that Feministing blog post, including talking about how awful we are.

So I have this to say:

Becstar,

Your views are your own, of course. But many of us here bent over backwards to be kind and helpful to you. Hell, in the Facebook thread I defended you against a good friend, thinking that while you held some views I found repugnant, you were here in good faith. When you spoke of problems you had, many of us jumped to try and help you, to offer you support and possible solutions.

Is this how you repay us?

I hope you think long and hard about how you are behaving, because I find it profoundly dishonorable.

It's things like this, really, that convince me that the pro-BDSM position is not just one I hold because I want to have my selfish fun. I have seen people get heated on both sides, even mean and nasty. But I have never seen this "well, I'll kind of be here, hang out, stay relatively peaceful, and then completely go off and badmouth people who stood up for me and tried to help me" in pro-BDSM and pro-porn circles.

And the more I think about it the more I suspect that the zealotry on the anti-side is to blame. Because if you are a zealot, any time someone says "Hey, do you have figures to back your claim up?" or "actually, I'm in a TPE relationship, and..." or "Hey, I'm a sex worker, and you've left out this, this and this..." it becomes a horrible, horrible affront. Merely saying "Hey, wait, actually no" is, on the zealot's view, justifying real-world violence.

There is no room for considering any other viewpoint, because the connection to violence is instantly made and is unassailable. And anyone who would assail it is a monster, a lover of horrific cruelties.

I stand where I stand not because I like orgasms too much, but because I believe that way of thinking is downright dangerous. And, as this current fracas clearly shows, that way of thinking justifies totally dishonorable behavior, because anything that can be done in service to the Cause must be done, and damn whether it's dishonorable or obnoxious.

I stand where I do because I'd rather make an honest mistake and accidentally allow for horrors than go against my principles.

35 comments:

Hope said...

Thanks, that's pretty much what I wanted to say too. And also that in addition to being dishonorable I find her behavior vicious and hurtful. Particularly this.

Do you mind if I either post this over at Feministing or email it to her? I don't know that she comes around here anymore and I think it might be good for her to see.

Trinity said...

Yeah, I agree. Like I said in the post, it's not just that I disagree with that side's opinions. It's the endless repetition of doing things like that.

Something about their ideology says that sort of behavior is okay... which only goes to show how crooked it is.

Trinity said...

And yeah, show it to her if you want. Sometimes people really do need to be told that they are, in fact, behaving horrifically, and yes, people are noticing.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I'm not holding my breath waiting for any sort of recognition that I was a wee tiny bit triggered by her "inflammatory flounce" and surrounding commentary.

She's so in the right, you know. The shaking, howling, throwing up evening I had after that was a healing experience and for my own good, right?

Or maybe I was making it up, like I clearly made up the whole assault thing, my experiences with an abusive relationship, my wrestling with the question of who was responsible for my near-rape and eventual ability to actually blame the perp, and my telling her to get the fuck out of a bad relationship situation.

No, wait, there's documentary evidence of that last one.

Cranky Kiya is full of snide.

hexy said...

I could only get through half that comment thread. It's a trainwreck.

anarchafemme said...

I so much want to say how much BDSM has helped me heal abuse I've gone through my entire life, etc., but that thread over at Feministing makes me just upset and angry and feeling judged in ways such that I can't address it other than typing random characters on the keyboard, you know?

Becstar's being really underhanded, like she was just gathering info to attack people who do BDSM.

I fail to see how any feminism can feel like it gets to regulate people who are oppressed by patriarchy's sexualities and bodies, and I'm really glad that there are commenters over there pointing out that Becstar and company want to just replace one hierarchy with another. I'm obviously so not into replacing one hierarchy with another or creating hierarchy in radical movement.

belledame222 said...

Christ. Was it something I said? I mean. I gathered my looking at her cross-eyed was the tipping point. or something.

belledame222 said...

seriously though, what an asshole.

EthylBenzene said...

I'm not even looking. I'm not a huge fan of Feministing and don't usually even read it, so NOT reading this trainwreck is not really a problem for me. But yeah, Becstar hopefully will one day realize what a hateful, harmful person she's been. Maybe. Someday. I'm not holding my breath though. Sigh.

Trinity said...

Kiya,

Yes, you're exactly right. And again, I would have said more back then, but somehow I missed the comment notifications. I hadn't seen the whole studies argument, or the very nasty "You and/or your loved ones must never have been assaulted, or else you'd agree with me, no matter how little facts I have."

It's another common thing with this kind of person: My triggers fit the official approved pattern, so they must be taken seriously. If you mention yours and they're different, you're appropriating.

(This sort of thing is why I'm suspicious of a whole lot of claims of appropriation of all kinds, btw.)

I'm also increasingly suspicious, as time goes on, of "This triggers me, so I must be right about it. If you think I'm wrong, you're not honoring my experiences."

This is probably not gonna be popular to say even here, but, well, at least as I understand myself and what having PTSD means for me:

My PTSD is a disorder. My responses to my triggers, while wholly understandable, are intense overreactions. That's part of what it means to be triggered -- that I respond in an unwarranted way to something that is not, in fact, threatening.

So to me, "I'm triggered by porn/SM/whathaveyou" doesn't prove that whathaveyou is bad. It may prove that, if many people are triggered by whathaveyou, a properly respectful discussion or culture doesn't bring it up willy-nilly all over the place.

But it doesn't mean that your mental health issue has given you magical insight into the True Nature of whathaveyou. It means the opposite. It means you can't be objective because you have a mental health issue that gets in the way of doing so, ffs.

Trinity said...

"Becstar's being really underhanded, like she was just gathering info to attack people who do BDSM."

Yeah, that's what I'm beginning to suspect. That we (well, I) opened our doors to someone who we/I thought was honestly unsure about all this... and got epically trolled for the trouble.

SnowdropExplodes said...

Yeah, that's what I'm beginning to suspect. That we (well, I) opened our doors to someone who we/I thought was honestly unsure about all this... and got epically trolled for the trouble.

I agree. And yet, I hope we'll be willing to let it happen again.

In the book of "The Saga of Erik the Viking" there's an episode in which Erik and his men are stranded in the middle of winter in a foreign land; they have built themselves a hall and are waiting out the cold until they can set forth again in their longship. One evening, there comes a knocking at the door, and a thin waif with thin rags for clothes is there. The Vikings welcome her in and offer her shelter; they put more precious fuel on their fire to make it hotter and help her warm up. She tells them her parents are out in the blizzard, lost and hurt, but only a few yards from the door of the hall. In small groups, gradually Erik's men all offer to go out and search for the girl's parents - except one (who is known as having an ability to see things that others do not), who warns against sheltering this girl, and against going out into the blizzard.

Eventually, there is only Erik left; even the doubter has gone out into the night. At this point the girl reveals herself to be a demon in disguise, and places Erik under it's power, and he is about to cut out his heart with his dagger, and give it to the demon, when the doubter leads all of Erik's men back into the hall and kills the demon - he'd managed to break the spell that was affecting them all.

The story closes with a conversation between Erik and the doubter, concluding: "and yet - what we did was the right thing to do, and we would do it again."

Sometimes people will take advantage of a welcoming attitude, but to guard against that abuse would require that we become heartless, unwelcoming and excluding of others.

Trinity said...

"The story closes with a conversation between Erik and the doubter, concluding: "and yet - what we did was the right thing to do, and we would do it again.""

I feel that way too, to be honest. She could really have been on the fence. She might have been willing to accept our help.

EthylBenzene said...

"I hadn't seen the whole studies argument..."

Yeah, sorry about that. That kind of thing just irks me. I also didn't realize how much of a troll in disguise she was. Sorry for crapping up the thread :)

Trinity said...

@ethylbenzene:

You have nothing whatsoever to apologize for. Those kinds of press are the proper response.

I meant it as an apology myself, because I assumed that Becstar was just confused and a bit miffed at some of us for being (gasp!) pro-porn. I assumed this because I hadn't seen the horrendous behavior in that thread.

If I had, I would have been more aggressive about moderating. Probably not deleted any comments, but definitely told her that was unacceptable far sooner.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Regarding triggers, I'm gonna repost a fraction of this entry here:

Ban penises in my vicinity, just in case one of them might set me off? Presume to tell people "You can't bring that penis in here, she might have a flashback"? Free clue: my neuroses don't have a right to run my life, let alone the lives of innocents. I have the right to live like a normal person, and let other people likewise live their lives.

It sucks to have to manage triggers. But it's something that I have to do. It's something I've worked on, actively, gentle exposure to the occasional penis, going so far as to look at a few (though rarely for long, because it makes my brain itch in unpleasant ways due to, y'know, triggeryness). But I have to do it, because that's the price of living in my head. Like sometimes walking with a cane is the price of living in my body. I don't get to opt out. If I were crippled by the possibility of encountering someone with a penis unexpectedly, I couldn't go get the mail, let alone have a satisfying life including my partners.

EthylBenzene said...

Trin -- thanks, I just feel awful about what Kiya had to go through beacuse of Becstar's totally out of line "response" to me.

Kiya:
"Free clue: my neuroses don't have a right to run my life, let alone the lives of innocents."

Well said.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Don't worry so much about it, EB, please. I'm resilient enough to heal; I had a rough week after that (not just for that reason, I went into it a little low on cope) but I'm okay now. At least until my mother visits.

anarchafemme said...

I definitely agree that getting used underhandedly like that is part of the risk of being open, and that it's a risk worth taking.

Hey, using people's trust and openness like that is sometimes an intentional silencing tactic, figuring that people will speak out less if they've been burned for it before. Which is just all sorts of nasty.

ggg_girl said...

I have decided to stop engaging if becstar's personal attacks continue & I hope other people will do the same. It just seems pointless to feed into the negativity further. Maybe myself & other users will actually be able to have a meaningful conversation if everyone isn't using their time to respond to becstar's offensive comments.

http://community.feministing.com/2009/05/roller-coaster-rides.html#comment-262400

Alexandra Erin said...

The way she immediately ran to Nine Deuce's blog to share her tale of "I tried to engage with them and they abused me!" right after the flounce really makes the "underhanded" interpretation seem more likely. She wanted a war story, some wounds to show off to prove her valorous conduct against Teh Enemy.

anarchafemme said...

I really really hate the tendency (seemingly most common with anti-BDSM people, but not exclusive to them) to call any interaction that's the least bit negative or that they don't like "abuse".

It fits in with the general watering down of the word that's necessary to call acts done with informed, enthusiastic consent abuse.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Honestly, I'm far less bothered by the "trolling kinky spaces for information" than the "lying about the information she got".

The most dysfunctional relationship that's been discussed around here lately has been hers, and we told her to get the fuck out of it.

ggg_girl said...

Looks like becstar was banned from feministing. I wonder if the saga is over or not.

EthylBenzene said...

"I'm resilient enough to heal.."

I know, I just don't like to see people I like and respect get so triggered and upset like that. I have an overactive empathy glad, or something. Glad you are feeling better!

belledame222 said...

I'm not positive she was "spying" so much as just kind of wigged out about something recently; I've seen a fair amount of that tbh. People engage up to just a point and then for some reason, usually probably inspired by something outside the ongoing convo, slam the door and go extra hardcore in defense. shrug. not defending her in any way, just saying.

Hope said...

I'm with Belle. I don't really think she was being intentionally deceptive before, she just seems to have completely freaked out recently.

She seems to think that someone told her that she should just accept that her (now ex in case you all were wondering) boyfriend wanted to rape her and consent to it so that it wouldn't be rape.

I suspect it was a misunderstanding, but I can understand getting freaked out by that.

Hope said...

Not that it justifies acting so horrible, of course.

belledame222 said...

It's sort of aggravating how pretty much everyone here told her the -exact opposite,- in fact, and she somehow managed to...not take that in, or something. Who knows what her deal is. Didn't cause it, can't cure, etc. etc.

belledame222 said...

she said before she couldn't or wouldn't leave him for various reasons including financial, I think? (with the implication being ideally she -would- do); I guess it's easier to let out your feelings on strangers on the Internets than deal with that shit at home if you, you know, can't. Still, though: thanks, really, not.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Welp. At least she broke up with the jerk.

SnowdropExplodes said...

She seems to think that someone told her that she should just accept that her (now ex in case you all were wondering) boyfriend wanted to rape her and consent to it so that it wouldn't be rape.Hmm. We say, "get out - he's not a good person". She says "I can't leave". We say "Oh shit, well, stick to your guns and keep saying 'no' and keep yourself as safe as you can, cos this is not a good guy and we're worried for you".

Where's the "just say yes so it isn't rape" bit coming from?

At least she has now broken up with him and hopefully has some safe distance between them.

belledame222 said...

did she? well, that's good.

Hershele Ostropoler said...

becstar's been saying a lot of remarkably stupid shit there recently; my partner suspects troll

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