If there is one thing i’ve noticed in my short time on FetLife, its the nasty habit of sweeping critical conversations about the intersections of oppression, kink and accountability under the rug in lieu of saying “well we all like problematic things and so therefore we don’t really need to talk about this at all. lets just have fun okay?!!”
at first it frustrates me to see this, especially in dead or dying groups which are supposed to be safe spaces for people of color.
but then i have to stop, breathe a couple of times, and remember something really important.
people love to talk about how they busted a good nut or orgasmed to MARS. but nobody wants to about how avoiding critical conversations makes alternative sex culture unsafe and subsuquently not a real alternative or save heaven for a lot of us.
I get it, when it comes to BDSM people don’t want to be critical about their kinks. or anything related to sex. people just want to fuck, spank, be tied up, and escape the problems of the “real world”.
But has anyone stopped to think that if you’re a white man who calls me a n***** without my explicit permission then you’re bringing as aspect of the “real world” into our dynamic? the same real world you so eagerly seek to avoid? the same real world i might be seeking to avoid?
No? didn’t think about it. that’s the kool aid of white supremacy for you.
I have deep opinions about race play, hijab play, or anything that seeks to turn oppressed and marginalized people into a sex object or fetish within the context of a white supremacist society.
you could easily say that my opinions are largely informed by my lack of experience in the scene.
you could also say it makes me physically ill to see my identity as a muslim woman, for example, turned into a sexual kink by some of the vilest islamophobes and anti-arab racists on the block. the same people who would stop and frisk me on a NYC street, lock me up in guantanomo, or drone/bomb Muslim countries in the name of keeping America “safe from terrorism”.
I will never outright shit on your sunshine if you happen to be into race play or hijab play.
I will say that in order for us to be friends (never playmates), to talk, to occupy the same space together, you need to understand the rules of liking problematic things.
That means, if you so happen to find yourself as one of those people who likes something that might err on the side of “politically incorrect” (i hate that term but roll with me), understand
- nobody is telling you not to like it
- but don’t spend inordinate amounts of time justifying to people who suffer from the oppression or marginalization you seek to replicate why its okay for you to like problematic things and why they shouldn’t care that you do
- please do not default to the one person in an oppressed group who is like “oh man its totally okay if you scat and step all over my identity”. they don’t speak for all of us, their opinions don’t represent the overwhelming whole. and if you’re going to like something problematic at least G-up and admit not everyone from that oppressed group is going to see eye to eye with you let alone keep you in close company.
- you also should spend some time (hell a lot of time) thinking about how you potentially replicate that shit in real life.
- don’t even put out a hand looking for “ally cookies” or “ally” buttons of honor without my consent and me being able to see that you are in a constant process of learning and unlearning, decolonization, anti-racism, and anti-oppression. your hand will get smacked down with a vengence, and not in a good way either.
What I’m saying is totally not new here at all. Its been said many times before, long before me, and hopefully people will keep saying it.
But for my own sanity and for my ability to continue building relationships with people I need to say it.
I understand there are plenty of people in the BDSM scene who just want to play with no consequences.
I understand they are not all strictly white people (which makes me even sadder at times, to be honest)
I understand BDSM culture, like normative culture, relies on people from marginalized or oppressed identities liking problematic kinks in order to keep perpetuating problematic behavior and avoid being actively called out on its shit, let alone making changes and reforms (because metaphors and reoccurances of the “one then” all rule are a powerful thing)
I can’t change those people. In a lot of ways I have no fundamental desire to go around changing peoples minds. I do social justice related things in the rest of my life, and like many people in BDSM I come to the scene to relax and bang some things out (all the puns intended. all the puns)
But I will say if you want play with me, then you better learn how to come correct
And not just in the vein of addressing me by the right titles or with the right sweet sounding “language” of domme/sub communication and respect.