Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Respect again

xposted from my lj

i'm too heartsick to excerpt from it... but guys, read this. please.

http://rageagainstthemanchine.com/2009/02/07/please-somebody-come-and-defend-kinkcom/

scroll down to orlando c's comment about his wife, where he says that he and his wife wanted to have kids, she got cancer, and he has been caretaking. and now they cannot have children, are looking into adopting, and are scared that if anyone discovers their kink, they won't be able to do that.

then read the comments from people who... get this... do not offer sympathy and do the decent thing which is rethink their stance or even just say "i disagree strongly with what you do, but I hope things go better for you"

but instead accuse him of using her illness to win sympathy points and question how much he respects and cares for her.

i... i just... radical feminists claim they're all about "respect for women," right, which the rest of us have sadly forgotten. but this is how they treat people.

how, ladies, how how HOW could i ever trust you to build a more caring, compassionate, and just world in accordance with a purer vision of respect for women or anyone else if THIS is how you treat people?

i know, the theory doesn't tell them to be mean. but "by their fruits shall ye know them." seriously.

34 comments:

Feminist Algorithm said...

Such a shame... the closedminded peers we share this earth with.

Love and support for my sisters in the BDSM community.

Raine Coyote said...

I managed about half of this post with my mouth hanging open in shock. The nastiness and disrespect shown to anyone who dared to disagree in a well tohught out and reasoned manner was horrible to read.
I see no open mindedness or tolerance or ability to see another point of view from many of these people.
I never realised thast feminism meant a strident minority telling other women what is the correct behaviour and crucifying them if they do not conform to that.

Urgh.

CammaJamma said...

The internet is a funny place.

Kids my age, especially guys my age, are always cautioned "Listen more than you talk. You've got two ears and one mouth. Be a good listener." And...I just regret almost all of the listening/reading I do on the internet. I really need to start talking more.

G-d dammit, Internet. I love feminism. I'm a white male and I love the entirety of the feminist discourse. I'm a feminist, and I'm happy to call myself that.
The reason I am a feminist is because I like women. A whole bunch. The most wonderful part of my existence on this earth has been the female presence on it. G-d's best work. And I want them to be happy, to be free, to be equal. Why some people are so opposed to happy women, I have no idea.

Ernest Greene said...

I read that thread in horror myself. It reminded me of a pack of jackals tearing apart a wounded animal. But then, jackals merely act on instinct. The vileness here was entirely conscious and deliberate.

And ironically, the thread and the OP that preceded it off were all about the evils of consensual cruelty as practiced in BDSM porn when the whole thing ended up devolveing into a spectacular example of the non-consensual kind.

For all the yapping about misogyny and hatred over there, I find it to be a consistenly foul cess pool of vented spleen on every visit. I believe it was created to be pretty much exactly that, with the predictably nasty tone of the OPs digging the ditch.

And I agree that wherever this is meant to do for anybody, nothing good is likely to emerge from such a toxic environment.

There are appropriate occasions for righteous indignation and harsh criticism in the face of injustice and untruth.

Savaging a guy who tries, in good faith, to explain the complexities of a potential adoption proceeding necessitated by his partner's illness and their sexual orientation does not qualify as anything righteous.

ND spat at me on Ren's blog last week about how she supports humanism only for the humane, from which she specifically excluded those with sadistic orientations.

By that logic, hardly anyone on that thread qualifies as humane or deserving of consideration for their own humanity.

Therein lies the most "problematic" of the many problematic aspects of this kind of "feminist discourse."

CammaJamma, you may love this kind of discourse, but you can expect your love to be unrequited. These particular women are not interested in your construction of happiness and while no one here is opposed in any way to the idea of happy women (contrary to your assertion, I don't think many people would be), the path to that happiness doesn't run through routine expressions of hatred toward well-intentioned people whose ideas deviate from rigid feminist ideology and whose personal experiences don't validate it.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I would call them monstrous but we monsters don't need the association.

Trinity said...

"I would call them monstrous but we monsters don't need the association."

WORD.

And I love the oblique dig at this post she put up there just now saying she doesn't need any more "whiners" and is fine being heartless.

Because I am such a pearl-clutcher, rightright?

Trinity said...

Also, Orlando is not the first person I've met with this problem. Nor is it, as Joan Kelly seems to love telling us (and everyone else loves to tell us to listen to her, because as everyone knows she's adopted children herself and is highly familiar with agencies in all other jurisdictions OH WAIT SHE NEVER SAID THAT), an issue that only arises if you're someone who's intentionally very out, as Orlando implies he and Murre were or wished to be.

And yes, I know this because it's happened to my friends.

Trinity said...

(okay, not this exactly, it had to do with custody of biological children. Still, it didn't arise as a result of someone being Mister Freak The Mundanes, which is what Joan seems to think Orlando meant.)

Dw3t-Hthr said...

And I love the oblique dig at this post she put up there just now saying she doesn't need any more "whiners" and is fine being heartless.

I'm beginning to think that holding this shitcake in contempt is investing too much positive energy in her.

I mean, contempt was what she got for refusing to make a direct response to any submissive women in any of the threads the wandered into; as I snarked recently, if she acknowledged the stories of women she might get some feminist cred!

But this, this is just such ...

Many and sharp the num'rous ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And Man, whose heav'n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn, -
Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!

Ernest Greene said...

Hey, at least she admits to believing submissive women have a right to live. That''s a major concession, considering the source.

Becky said...

Can we all just ignore this bizarre excuse for a feminist and let her fall into obscurity?
Since her blog is basically a circle-jerk of closed minds congratulating each other and tearing into anyone who dares to disagree with any point they claim to have found the Truth about, continuing to try to reach them is worse than useless.
Since (I susupect) I'm old enough to be 9-2's mother and I worked hard on some of basic forms of equality her cronies now take for granted I feel no need to ever visit that site again.
And Trinity, you can give it a pass as well-here's your note from the doctor saying it's bad for your health.

Ernest Greene said...

Becky,

I'd love to follow your advice, but this particular blog has become like The Hate Channel for everything we are. I agree with you that it's politically irrelevant overall, but ND has developed a following who fan out across the land to deliver the ugly messages from that source, as I once compared them to Rush's dittoheads.

As we're the target of a lot of that hate, I fear we will be dealing with these dittoheads for a long time to come in all kinds of other venues. Therefore, unpleasant as it is, it behooves us to keep an eye on what those who despise us both collectively and individually, are up to.

Can I get one of those notes too?

Trinity said...

Becky,

Perhaps I shouldn't pay so much attention to blogs like this one that spout such absolute vitriol, but there are two reasons that I posted this:

One. Orlando C. is a commentor here and at my personal journal. Simply letting their behavior toward him go by would make me feel like a bad friend. I wouldn't ignore it if someone punched an acquaintanceof mine in the face, so I'm also not going to ignore it when someone behaves abusively towards someone I "know" in another situation.

Two. I've noticed that when particularly egregious things like this happen, all too frequently they get forgotten. I can remember when something even worse happened to Ren, and I've noticed that people have by large forgotten about it because it happened a long time ago. That in itself isn't so terrible, but what happens is that people who weren't there here about it either so astounded at how egregious it was that they're not inclined to believe it happened at all.

The problem with this is that it means that people who would otherwise be easy to warn about these people's stunts have to learn the hard way that these people are profoundly unreasonable and viciously cruel. It's much easier to warn someone away from the cycle of behavior that will ultimately e unproductive for them when there's a clear example of someone behaving in a vicious and unreasonable way.

I'm posting because invariably, newly minted feminists find blogs like nine deuces or like I blame the patriarchy and are attracted by the no-nonsense, snarky, and frequently witty attitude. Even if they disagree with the dogmatic point of view that the owners of those blogs take, they stay for a while, telling themselves that couldn't possibly be as bad as many of us say it is. it's only months later when they realize why people would be upset with "strident feminists" who are "wickedly funny."

Being able to see the bullshit front and center for what it is shortcuts that process.

Trinity said...

also, good to see you, Ernest.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Yeah, as someone who makes a point of journaling fucked-up reality-warping bullshit from a particular individual in my life specifically so that I have a record of that happening so I don't slide into self-doubt when the gaslighting begins, I appreciate that part of what you're doing a good deal.

Ernest Greene said...

Hi Trinity,

Good to be back. Been slammed with work for so long I haven't been able to come up for air.

Sorry the occasion isn't something more pleasant, but it's still a fine thing to be in such good company.

I know you're busy too, but from reading TSA, it seems like you're finding a lot of satisfaction in what you do, which is a fine thing.

And I agree with your points on this thread 100%. It would be easy for a naive seeker to be drawn in by the superficial slickness of a polished hate-monger like Deuce, only to discover the hard way what happens when anyone dares to ask so much as an innocent question.

Forwarning is the best protection we can offer.

Orlando C. said...

Gee. Thank you, everyone, you've cheered me up immensely. Still, I am a little ambivalent about this. I mean, I keep a sex blog that has been talking about Murre's cancer in relation to our kink--obviously with her enthusiastic consent, contributions, and editing--for six months or so. So I was mostly just surprised to see someone react as if I had crossed some line of decorum by associating the two. And I do feel that we-the-kinky were being asked to provide personal narratives in that space, and I don't think people have a great deal of credibility in protesting the responses they have asked for.

But I do regret using pathos. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have mentioned vomit, or talked about consoling her; those details have no place in the refined, genteel argument that Nine Deuce's blog periodically pretends to be. Much more importantly, they have little place in a discussion of ideas. I was pretty distressed and angry when I wrote that post, and I slipped up. I think that's probably fairly excusable; I think the responses I got are probably excusable too. Ideology, also, is a passion that overrides one's better judgment.

The wifi at the hospital I spend most of my time in blocks RATMC, and it also blocks this blog (yer all fucking porn, folks...), and I think that's probably salutary for me. Maintaining our sexuality in some form through this moment is crucial for both of us; my desire to argue feminist theory with pseudonymous internet pundits really is not.

Beyond that...I suppose I am left frustrated along these lines.... The major organized opposition to kink in the US (and Europe) comes from the religious right. But they rarely mention kink; for them it is subsumed into the larger cesspool of sexual depravity that includes homosexuality, free condoms, masturbation, Planned Parenthood, and Elvis Presley's hips. Yet the specific critique of BDSM comes almost entirely from a minority group of feminists, who in a sense provide content for the right, though I appreciate why they don't see it that way.

Anyway, I am tired of directing further energy in their direction. I don't really think second-wave feminists are a credible threat to kinky people (or, unfortunately, patriarchy) in 2010. And while I suspect most of them of wallowing in white/academic/surprisingly-heterosexual privilege, my guess would be that they do far more good than harm. If Nine Deuce inspires the sort of confidence (or guilt) that prevents one or two rapes, I really don't care what she says about me, or about kink, or how pernicious her editorial practices are.

If I am going to go back into the ring, I want to it do it with someone I disagree with more holistically.

Becky, I'm taking your doctor's note.

And thank you, everyone, once again.

Ernest Greene said...

Orlando, you are a better and more forgiving person than I will ever be. That you can find some value in 92's activities demonstrates vividly just how wrong they all are about you and, ironically, how much better and stronger of a human being you are than any of her lickspittle toadies could hope to become in this life.

My highest regards to you, and my most sincere wishes for Murre's swift recovery.

One small point of disagreement as an addendum. I don't think the constant shit-slinging at consensual kinksters from Deuce's outhouse and similar super-fund sites does no damage and I don't buy the often-made assertion in such places that they wield no influence. They actively promote prejudice against us among wavering liberal types who might otherwise incline toward tolerance and their constant heckling can't do anything but add to the confusion and struggle of those who identify as feminists but have strong BDSM inclinations.

It hurts to be told that your basic sexual identity isn't yours but has rather been implanted in your mind by the evil patriarchy and that you should do whatever you must to purge yourself of it. Though they furiously deny that they're shaming BDSM-oriented women over there, it just seems to keep happening day after day after day. That doesn't strike me as harmless to those on the receiving end of it.

Nevertheless, agreed that their influence is only as great as granted to them by those who read and believe what they say. I prefer to hope that this is not a large cohort.

Trinity said...

"I don't think the constant shit-slinging at consensual kinksters from Deuce's outhouse and similar super-fund sites does no damage and I don't buy the often-made assertion in such places that they wield no influence."

I think it really depends on what we mean by "influence." If we mean "does this hurt some people by promoting anti-kink sentiment in those people's communities" then yes, they do, and you've hit it bang on. A woman who is interested in BDSM and also passionate about feminism may well find them and have her life all twisted up for a while with the nasty rhetoric.

And if that's not enough influence to care about, I do think these folks have some influence on things like obscenity law. Not because they're actually for obscenity law themselves (eh, some of them likely are, but many claim not to be), but because it bolsters the arguments of the "Morally" Nosy to go "see, and even the leftists agree with us. This kind of material demeans women!"

But if we're asking whether, say, ND (or BB, or WW, or any other specific person) has the kind of influence of, say, a Limbaugh, then obviously not.

seraglioletters said...

I'm so sorry about what happened to Orlando.

At the same time, I am also concerned about the focus on ND. I originally came to Let Them Eat . . . looking for answers to my OWN questions about feminism and kink and how to reconcile the two. I don't find those answers here. What I find is a "fight against the radfems".

What I'm looking for is an AFFIRMATIVE discussion that helps me make sense of my own sexuality. You're right, Trinity, that the radfem arguments have influence within feminism. A woman with a college-intro-course knowledge of feminism and some kinky impulses is going to be confused--trouble as much or more as a woman who's Catholic and kinky, I'd guess.

But I'm not sure the way to make a safe space for her is to reproduce nasty arguments other people, especially when those people are closeminded and full of hate. It doesn't help make an affirmative case for the liberating role (if ANY?) kink can play in gender. And that's the question I'd like the answer to.

Sorry to sound tetchy; need to get away from ND, need my coffee and probably need to read here far more often.

Ernest Greene said...

seraglioletters,

Just wanted to say I had a look at your blog and think it's terrific, visually stunning and full of honest insight.

I think you're doing a very fine job of putting out exactly the kind of message that you rightly feel needs to be heard here as well.

This blog often deals with direct concerns of kinky people unrelated to the political arguments made against us elsewhere. However, it also stands in rebuttal to those arguments, as often they're directed at those who frequent this space, and occasionally end up being advanced here.

There are other, less polticial sites, that offer a pretty consistently kink-positive view meant mainly for insiders and those wishing to join the community, and some are quite good, but much as I too would like this space to spend more bandwidth on forwarding that perspective, I think it's important that, when things like what happened to Orlando happen elsewhere, they get called out rather than allowed to stand unchallenged.

In short, I'd rather never read, see or talk about anything having to do with ND and her ilk anywhere ever again, but I don't think we can afford that luxury.

Trinity said...

Seraglio,

I had a peek at your site as well, and it's nice -- but I have to say I'm clueless as to how to respond to

"I originally came to Let Them Eat . . . looking for answers to my OWN questions about feminism and kink and how to reconcile the two."

I don't know how to help you reconcile anything -- or even if my outlook would in any way be helpful in that quest -- because you haven't told me what your "OWN questions" are.

It would vastly aid me in coming up with the kind of discussion you'd prefer if I knew what you were struggling with.

Personally, for me, I've found most of my own questions exascerbated by rhetoric that defines subjugation, subordination, oppression, and all those fancy concepts in ways that make it sound like kink in some way either contributes to or follows from any or all of the above.

And for me, the clearest route to cutting through that bullshit is noting that the people who continue to claim it tend to be people like ND -- people who seem to be looking for an ideological edifice to curse people behind.

If that's not helpful for you though, please feel free to discuss your doubts. I'm sure they'd be food for thought for me or one of the other posters here.

Alcibiades said...

I think it really depends on what we mean by "influence." If we mean "does this hurt some people by promoting anti-kink sentiment in those people's communities" then yes, they do, and you've hit it bang on. A woman who is interested in BDSM and also passionate about feminism may well find them and have her life all twisted up for a while with the nasty rhetoric."

I think their rhetoric is particularly troubling because of the place in which it is read. Sex-negative feminists are the foremost obstacle to levraging the general permissiveness of the American left into creating relatively safe spaces for kinky people. While it's no panacea, homophobia is at least mitigated by the fact that at least in some circumstances and to a certain extent one can choose cities, communities, and professions that are largely accepting of such things. Sex-naegtive feminism is an increasingly prominent obstacle to creating similar spaces for kinky people.

Becky said...

Alas, you folks are right about needing to rebut the world view of many radical feminists.
There really isn't a magic button for reconciling kinky sex, especially BDSM, and being a feminist.
Being a feminist, in my view, means working to give everyone as much freedom to make their own choices as possible, and to get equal pay for equal work.
You can stay at home and be supported as you raise kids, you can let your male partner raise the kids while you work as a merchant seaman, you can become President of the US or you can sell your way to the pink Cadillac of Mary Kay.
And so your sex life gets to be a reflection of who you are, not of society as a whole. If you can be confident that how you get your sexual satisfaction is healthy for you and fills your desires then it's all good.
How can you like this and still be a feminist? Easy- if what you do in the bedroom, or the hall or the kitchen is what you choose to do you have made the most important feminist act part of you daily life.
My real complaint about the current batch of rad-fems is that they seem so steeped in theory and ideology that they won't let the real world and people's actual experiences in it change their point of view when one contradicts the other. All Patriarchy is Evil! So if you like giving a man sexual power over you, you must have been brainwashed! Pain is never part of good sex! I don't care that you say you like it-it must be evil! Here, let me try drowning you to see if you're evil too. If you survive you are, and if you drown you died in a state of purity.
And they insist that this line of reasoning doesn't deny me the right to choose something they find icky. *sigh*

greenspade said...

First of all, I feel sorry for Orlando. Wish the best for you and your wife.

I've read some comments on ND's blog, only the first ones and last ones though, too many. And I also think they're quite close minded and intolerance.

Aside from that, I have a question, sorry if this is stupid but I'm curious, this is more about the bdsm, do you really have to do it that way? Can't be happy if you're doing it without hurting or humiliating?

I think every human have their own dark sides. I myself is trying to see what my orientation is, and that's why I came across this blog. But maybe not as extreme as stuffs in kink.com. Doesn't feel anything like hatred or disgust, more like amazed, wow these things really exist, but not my things. I guess I just have the mind of a bully. But I do like some, things.

So I'm wondering if you can do it in a more 'loving' ways, because when body's hurt, the pain is the signal sent to warn you, that there are something dangerous. I think putting yourself or your partner in a dangerous condition - lethal or not - is not really good. Just wondering...

Have a nice day...

sera said...

Thanks for the nice words about my blog, Ernest, and I see your point about the damage ND does.

Trinity, I'm a little confused by your confusion, but I'll try to make my question clearer. The simplest way to put it is exactly the way you do--the question is whether "kink in some way either contributes to or follows from" the oppression of women. (Feel free to substitute "harm", "bad for", or some less jargon-filled word for "oppression".)

I absolutely agree with you that radical feminist rhetoric actually obfuscates things for people genuinely trying to think their way through the question. But to people _genuinely_ trying to think their way through that question, it doesn't render the question moot. The radfems could be completely wrong in their framing of the issue and in their arguments, but still be right in their overall stance on the issue itself--which is why I suggested addressing the question directly rather than as a response to their arguments.

I'm going to use a bit of autobiography here not because I need the question answered--I'm not trying to make this comment thread about me--but as illustrative of questions I have had. When I was first starting out in BDSM I occasionally had ND-like reactions to what I was doing. I recall looking at sites that were only a little more intense than Kink.com with my boyfriend, and being both turned on and horrified. Kink had always been part of my fantasies, but 1) my fantasies were more focused on my pleasure--female pleasure--than I think most porn is; 2) the men in my fantasies were clearly "evil", and so the issue of how to have an ongoing affectionate and consensual relationship with a dominant partner didn't have to get resolved; 3) in my fantasies I didn't have to come to a compromise between what I wanted and what a partner wanted. While I thought being objectified, flogged, blindfolded, and machine-fucked was all fine, I thought getting a facial (just an example of one of my boyfriend's interests) was horrifically degrading. Or anal sex (until I tried it ;) ). And so on.

So I read as much as I could and went on discussion boards where people purported to talk about how they were "feminist" and kinky and asked--over and over again--how to be both. And the answer was always the same: "Blah blah blah if feminism is about anything it's about being able to choose." Which I found woefully inadequate for reasons that are pretty obvious to anyone who's studied political or social theory written after 1800. I found a few answers to these questions at some point, from friends who were neck deep in the LATEST gender theory, but not anywhere else. I thought there might be some of that here.

I stressed about this a lot, and I still sometimes do. Ernest, I take your point that I haven't read the blog from soup to nuts (though I've read a fair amount) and may in doing so find much of what I'm looking for. So if there's a basic post about "how we can use theory to understand kinky sexuality in 2010 as something other than a threat to women" that I'm missing, please send a link. Thank you!

Becky said...

The simplest way to put it is exactly the way you do--the question is whether "kink in some way either contributes to or follows from" the oppression of women. (Feel free to substitute "harm", "bad for", or some less jargon-filled word for "oppression".)
I'm not at all sure why answering this with the idea that if it's a freely made choice it isn't oppression is insufficient to your needs.
People have sexual desires that here and now are called "kinky" and are presented as undesirable and "bad". To the extent that that presentation can be used as an example of "proper" gender roles, that's oppression. What is considered kinky changes with culture, so if a person finds being humiliated arousing then what acts cause that humiliation will change as well. For some folks being asked to do things they see as the province of the other gender will do it, for others it's being coated in pee.
Is wearing a collar more a sign of submissiveness than wearing a steel chastity device? One is often more visible that the other, but one really gets to the heart of the matter.
As long as there are socially defined gender roles, and as long as one gender has the greater proportion of power, images of extreme versions of those roles will be used as propaganda to keep them in place.
If individuals are going to use the -see, she likes it!- excuse for sexual assault then there might be some merit in the claim that kink is related to oppression. But mostly those individuals are poorly socialized (to say the least) and would use a similar excuse to explain any behavior.
I guess I just don't see the magical cabal-like power of the patriarchy in play so much these days.

Rus-women.com said...

The internet is a funny place.
Also, Orlando is not the first person I've met with this problem. And yes, I know this because it's happened to my friends.

brides.com said...

Sometimes I think that internet is not funny but creepy place! There are a lot of weird people around!

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