5/21/2007

BDSM is Worse Than Hitler!

...Or slavery*, or Abu Ghraib or whatever oppression of non-white people a white person is using to make the core point that BDSM is the Worst. Thing. Evr.

The reason why you should get angry, really fucking thermonuclear angry, every time people whip that hyper-hyperbole out at bdsm is thus:

It's designed specifically to minimise and normalise actual atrocities.

You think it's a coinkydink that the height of slavery and the holocaust all existed within staunchly conservative and anti-pron societies? The Nazis and their catholic neo-puritanism, Slavers and their beliefs that man was divided from man along a seam that happened to be marked by the black people being beastial slutty monsters and hte white man being a reserved gentleman who'd never mistreat a lady he didn't have legal ownership over (in which case it's not mistreatment, I say, whot), and therefore the white man deserved and had an inalienable right to own the black person.

It's funny that sex routinely marks the distinction between human and inhuman statuses according to the hegemonic discourse, a trend we see repeated within pretty much every duke rape thread that has ever existed, wherein stripping will almost instantly be conflated with prostitution, and this will magically make her testimony untrustworthy if not down right inscrutable and jewishly moneygrubbing via pixies or mind control ray firing anonymous bloggers. I keep expecting her to magically be accused of having a big nose and owning a bank, the racist cliches are just so fucking cliche in this case.

But that's all merely a means to the end of getting across the core point that whores aren't raped of course.

Well how could they? They once had sex with someone! They can't say no after that, that's cheating!

Of course cultfem retoric about sex work hoves a similar tact - except in that case such workers aren't allowed to give consent, and because consenting to sex is the most horrible thing that can ever happen to a woman, it is automatically upgraded from "teh icky" (which covers rape, serious physical abuse and all that menial shit) to Uberhyperfnordensquirtenoppreshein! That strange german compound word that refers to anything that is totally, like, worse than the holocaust man!

And of course this belief that sex workers are inhuman and have no rights to consent nor to say no is why sex workers are killed so disproportionately just going about their business, why they're abused and shat upon and considered targets by every patriarch and paternalist from the johns and preachers who pay their bills to the businessmen, self declared defenders of the public moralities and over through the police forces, all of whom exploit them in one way or another, and because of this social dialogue that makes sex workers into the lowest of the low, thye all know that it's acceptable to treat sex workers like that.

But before you can have all that you need to make clear what the real problem is, it's not mass murder, stalin taught us that mass murder is so much more acceptable than 1st degree murder and who am I to disagree with the man of steel? It's not torture, that act that usually precedes mass murder. And it's certainly not stripping people of their identities, their culture, their names, their families, their lives, their freedoms and their dignity, because that's normal.

No no, it's sex work, emphasis on the "sex", that's wrong.

That's why in the rape culture to consent is monsterous, chastity is human, and to be raped divine (as long as you don't act like it's wrong or anything).

And of course hte only way to get it fucking conditioned into people's head that consent-R-bad, is to use the colonialist's number one routine: "Those people need saving from themselves!" followed shortly by the oppression of Those people who's salvation was used as an excuse to employ the retoric, and make the laws and hand another fucking knout to the abusive parents that call themselves "the state".

Consent has to be demonised, as well as sex, because consent justifies sex, that most unjustifiable of acts, and the control of justifications is where power lies, and who's allowed to justify their actions, and who has to justify their actions, and who doesn't need to justify their actions because their actions are automatically given to be normal and okay and not requiring justification in the first place.

Because they're cisgender of a normative status, and their actions, irregardless of whether they're abberrant and ugly and disgusting by any sane standard of such things - like the guys who go on endless about the hawtness of little girls' breast nubbins, or the people who are convinced that giving away the rights of someone other than themselves (in between bitching at anyone who challenges their privelage of course) will lead to the people they just took rights from getting more rights than they had before via the transubstantiation of political brown nosing or something - are automatically accepted within that cloak of normalcy their class status provide them.

Torture is Rape. The Holocaust was Rape on a scale and with an intensity that managed to shock even Churchill, who'd quite happily used poison gas on the kurds when he was lord protector (or whatever the stupid title was) of messopotamia. Slavery was rape, longer lasting and a damn sight more thorough in many ways than the holocaust, but not worse, but not less either - Different.

Of course it's almost funny when feminists miss out that aspect, that all abuses are rape to one degree or another, that more so, all normative sexual encounters where a woman or anyone else from an oppressed group actually goes out of their way to have sex in a way they want to, actually consents to any degree, to any act, is then treated like the lowest form of scum on earth, and that even the mildest expression of consent to anything is taken to be consent to be raped and abused.

Of course the anti-BDSMers are trying to hide that they're basically too lazy to try to emphathise with subs and masochists (to try to figure out why they do say "si!" to being tied up and spanked, preferring instead to waffle about matrixes and, ironically enough coming from a bunch of people who quite proudly declare that their past experience of abuse is the sole basis on which they're making all their "rational" decisions to follow the teachings of their passive agressive idealogues these days, that all subs are stockholm syndromeing victims of abuse) and too, I swear to god, fucking stupid to grasp the retoric and concepts they're carrying around all happen to be recycled from the rape culture.

And I have to assume idiocy, I absolutely have to because otherwise I have to assume concious support of the rape culture on these absolute morons' part, I mean, ffs... Yes, declaring that you know when someone else is consenting (or isn't) better than the person you're talking about does is not exactly something we don't see pop up and wave it's ugly little frongs at us everytime a rape trial becomes big news - it's the whole frigging point of most of them, some rapist hires a big expensive lawyer to convince a jury that when the victim says she didn't consent, she really did.

Because of course "all heterosexual sex is rape". Now while some people are under the mistaken notion that that means that the patriarchy beams mind control rays into womens' head to suck the funk filled bratwurst of someone who isn't your own father (which is wrong, becuase there is no excuse for choosing to fellate non-paters, if it ain't rape, it ain't...valid?...erm...acceptable...err...I can mock you for it in a way that totally isn't a case of me fluffing my own horn and feeling superior becuase my sense of self worth is based around other people feeling lousy) what it acutally means is that under patriarchy, women do not consent, they should not consent, and mores to the point, they cannot consent - which means the menz gotta go consent on their behalf.

This of course leads to the classic rapepron cliche: Delayed Consent.

Delayed consent is a thing seen only in rape pron, it is bizarre.

The cliche goes like this; Woman refuses sex/is scared of teh sex, man forces himself upon woman, woman suddenly finds this inexplicably a turn on and begins humping back.

This is the plot to every rapepron fic, film and bodiceripper.

The central concept that is being thrust forward and sold to men and women (let us leave no Dawn Eden unexamined) is that peopel who are raped, wanted to be raped, they deserve it, they asked for it.

This is also what justifies and rationalises torture and the despicable treatment of prisoners and immigrants.

You see, the central thing that enables a person to act, for good or bad, is the idea that they can act, that it's okay to act. This is something that strikes me as fundamentally human, and one of hte biggest levers that systems of oppression wield against people. By controlling the validity of action, by contructing and maintaining a compelx intermixed and intertwined system by which humanity, citizenship, Class Statii and similar traits that define within our society who is a designated victim and who is a justified abuser, they define rape and torture as valid actions weilded by the oppressors, and fighting against that as invalid when done by the oppressed.

This way, through the control and validation of acts and acting, do systems of oppression allow the most evil and despicable actions to be made normative, and things that are about as evil as eating cookies (which, as an anorexic, I should point out is actually demonised to a certain extent, fucking crazy world that it is) are held up as Teh Worst Evil Evr.

You see this in the entirety of Big-L Libertarian thought, that classic idea that the poor, the homeless, the huddled masses are such out of choice, because they don't work hard enough of course! You see this in the Evangelical Seperatists who believe that it's perfectly normal that they are all slightly turned on by the thought of all those icky non-WASPs are burning in fiery agonies for all eternity, while doing the weekend born again thing where they "get" fogiveness from god after a quick bit of public prayer in between molesting their children and raping their wife. You see it again and again in "better them than us" bullshit that has become normative since 9/11, self defense is justifiable, but what we as a country have engaged in is nothing short of human sacrifice, killing people who were not going to hurt us in a million years and drinking their blood to protect ourselves from our cowardly fears and to ward against the enemies we've made doing stupid things, for stupid reasons.

Torture, abuse, rape, all exist because it is believed that victims have already consented to their abuse, that they, through their unjustified actions, deserve and asked for what is done to them.

And this is only helped by blurring the line between abuse and sex, by not being able to tell the difference between bondage play with a bit of mild masochism and actual torture and actual rape.

The people in Gitmo didn't do anything to deserve to be there, no body could, no body would consent to that, becuase what goes on in our torture camps and the ones we bought time shares in around the globe is not something that one can consent to.

Because it's rape, in it's purest form, rape of the mind, and rape of the body, that twists both until you form the pretty shapes that the rapists and their puppet jailers want them to be bent to. No being bound up to a wall for a an hour or so is not a stress position, it does not lead to the dislocations, the permanent nerve damage, it does not slowly drive the sub mad as it is maintained day after day after day for years on end. The post I link to right at the start has pictures of a slave with giant scars all over his back, and wnats you to think that that is the same as somethign that leaves red marks on some sub's butt.

But that's not where the biggest difference is, that's just obvious surface level stuff.

No, the big difference is the way the abusers relate to torture and abuse. You see, the worst thing, the most unconsciable act that an oppressed person can do is consent, and consent is the two edged sword, as a person says yes they are equally able to say no, and to have one option and not the other is not to have the option of consent at all.

So the punishment of the person who, underfoot and beaten and bruised, cries "no!" to his oppressor or cries "yes!" to others like him in acts that the oppressor has deemed not for him, is to splice that sword, to cut out the ability to say one or the other, or to remove both options.

A dom does not take consent away from the sub, they embrace their consent, they hold themselves in sway to the safe word or signal that is where the real source of power in a BDSM context lies. The sub has all the power, all the power that matters - the power of consent, the power to stop it if it goes too far.

The torturer is not there for the victim's pleasure, does not care about their consent, their Nos or protests, the torturer knows that their actions are justified, that they are allowed to do whatever they want because the victim has transgressed some rule, some interlinked system of hatred and societal scorn that enables the actions of the torturer, that validates him and his socially conditioned sense of right and wrong.

I object to the full legalisation of prostitution, decriminalisation is an easy thing to be in support of, becuase the only people who could object to the idea that prostitutes shouldn't be imprisoned and left so especially wide open to abuse from the police and prison system that only ends up further locking prostitutes within a cycle of abuse, is quite frankly sick, and wrong and post-whiteface Michael Jackson.

But I am not so sure about full legalisation, because it strikes me that such still relies on the police protecting prostitutes and making sure that things that legalisation might help them with are enforced.

And the biggest reason I differ with the pro-criminalisation feminists, the pro-institution feminists, is that I don't trust the police further than I can throw them (4 feet or so), I don't believe that putting the court's official protection around prostitutes will neccesarily help them.

Because I'm not entirely sure legality is the issue there.

The abuse of prostitutes is based around and ensured by the view that the prostitute is the lumpiest of the lumpenproletariat - and thus the most rapable, and the most acceptably abused of all people, they are not actually just making ends meet, or earning a living, but are a commodity, an object, for the use of those higher up in society to do with as they please.

It's the Entitlement, it's the at-ti-tude!

It's the object matrix, the idea that some people are objects.

Of course, Ren and Belle have asked the annoying question of "what's so wrong with being objectified?"

An Object ain't a Subject, it is devoid of perspective, of having a view point, or life of Self, or personality.

Porn that deals in objects not subjects is the problem with porn, that mainstream porn provides objects that feed into the entitlement of men that they have the right to access to female objects, to prove their masculinity and sooth their fragile egos, is how porn supports the rape culture, and even then does it on tangentially - it plays and encourages only those who are already going to rape anyway, who need to rape and who don't need to be encouraged by media to do it because their actions stem from the idea that they can, that it's okay, that there's nothing wrong with it because tehy deserve that right.

Porn doesn't make rapists, it doesn't even make rapists rape, but rapists do love the object pron, because it allows them to view all women as similar objects.

And the great thing about objects is that you don't emphasise with them, that little part of our monkey brains, that deals with the social neccesity - empathy - doesn't engage because what's being viewed ain't human, because we all base our conception of other's humanity on our own (which is why conservatives are so fucking scared of everything) - we hang our shadows and our hopes and dreams onto other people and in so doing define our own interactions with them.

The abused wife who returns, again and again, to her abusive husband is a clear example of this, it's not a case of her consenting to her abuse, it's not stockholm syndrome, it's that she views her husband as human, and projects her feelings of love onto him, and believes and hopes, because she cannot do anything else because she views him as a subject, and her subjectivity comes into play.

The sub doesn't project, doesn't expect niceties, there is only the agreement that when it comes right down to it, the sub has the final say in what happens, that safe word that has to bind or else it isn't BDSM, it's rape, it's abuse, it really IS torture.

* I don't particularly care about the whole vastleft "why do you hate the menz?" bs either btw, if porn is the documented abuse of women it is morally wrong to masturbate over it, if A = B, and B is morally repugnant, masturbating to A is not going to be a good thing is it now? And doing such marks you as one of the lowest forms of scumbag on earth irregardless of some bullshti notion that 1) rape is caused because men don't whack off enough (someone needs to resit their feminist exams it seems) and 2) that men have a god given right to wank material.

It isn't, they don't, shut the fuck up before I start slapping you, m'kay? You're not helping anyone.

The issue is whether A is actually equal to B, to which most sane people will realise that the answer to that is obviously; "sometimes it is", for instance GGW, but that strangely enough illegalising the whole thing will hardly make the "sometimes" occur less often than it does now.

11 comments:

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez said...

there is a certain amount of mechanical, predictable, annoying groupthink in any areas of human rights concern or activism and you do not employ it. this is why i value your writing as well as magniloquence's and a few others. because you are actually thinking about things, and not afraid to contradict the bell-curve well of thought on any issue. and that is so important.

i need to thank you for that part about the woman not leaving because she projects her humanity on the abuser...that really struck me deeply and gave me a new way to see someone who raised me, and why she did not leave a situation that was bad for me...for so long. and i really needed that new way to see it. so thank you.

Sassywho said...

that is a provoking thought, in regard to domestic violence. to whittle it down to low self-esteem, financial or social constraints, or even children always struck me as a roundabout way of confirming a woman of being less than....

and as far as bdsm/abu, yeah just wrong.

in fact, comparing porn/pornstitution to slavery, genocide is well quite frankly not just distasteful but reminds me of the "satanic cults" of the late 70's and early 80's.

yes, there were some, and yes there were some pretty despicable ones. However, people were coming out of the wood works, claiming repressed memories of ritual sacrifices, children being raped and murdered, and hundreds of truly bizarre ceremonies. One psychiatrist who became known to help people discover their repressed memories, eventually lost his license and the majority of the people affected sued for damages....

I'm not saying there weren't certainly cases of it, but it was later seen as something that just did not happen as much as we thought it did.

(this comes from a person who supposedly lived in an area that was close to one of the 7 gateways to hell... our zip code was 66617)

Renegade Evolution said...

RM:

Excellent post, as usual. And yes, the people who do not get that BDSM and actual torture are two entirely different things really boggle my mind...and oh, heaven for fend that ANY woman should get sexual pleasure...at all, ever...from anything...especially if it is a little...odd.

As for objectification, I still think to a degree it is utterly natural...and for all this talk of objectification done by some of the most feministyfeminists of them all...they sure do a WHOLE lot of it themselves...and no, it may not "inspire them to rape", but they are sure damn good at dehumanizing the people (like those poor, sick, fucked up submissives and whores) that need all the saving.

Rootietoot said...

Be careful. I'm agreeing with you again.

belledame222 said...

Hello; rape is the -violent invasion of someone else's boundaries.- PIV rape is certainly one horrible way to do it, but it's far from the only one; hell, it doesn't even have to be overtly sexual. As you say. Torture someone, literally get inside their skin, get inside their head, their psyche, their soul--what the fuck do people think that IS?

Trinity said...

Thank you, Belle and R. Mildred. I've experienced sexual issues due to some of the trauma (nonsexual abuse and repeated major surgery) I've experienced in my life, and I always thought that there were some parallels between what that did to me and rape.

No, I don't mean I claim to understand "exactly how a survivor of rape feels" -- there are many things I have not dealt with that survivors of a different form of assault do.

But I also think that there's also a level on which, hey, violation is violation. Why else would so many of us have PTSD -- the same symptoms, the same responses -- despite different traumas?

molly cocksocket said...

BDSM is just consensual role-play - a far cry from nonconensual real pain inflicted on others.

sly civilian said...

*nods*

yup, yup, and affirmative.

R. Mildred said...

Excellent post, as usual. And yes, the people who do not get that BDSM and actual torture are two entirely different things really boggle my mind...and oh, heaven for fend that ANY woman should get sexual pleasure...at all, ever...from anything...especially if it is a little...odd.

Well the whole "OMG *hyperventilates* BDSM is icky scary sex!" thing is a cliche, ffs, marylin manson fucking uses it! Anything manson uses to try to be all "out there" and "antidisestablishmentaralinist" has jumped the shark for such purposes several decades ago.

The modern Satanic Nun wears tweed, not rubber fetish suits! the modern statanic nun has fabulously white teeth, the blondest of blonde hair and a decent tan!

As for objectification, I still think to a degree it is utterly natural...

I think we're having a linguistic thing here - a lot of the stuff you've written about objectification being good is what I'd personally call "Subjectifying" rather than "objectifying".

The reason for that is A) something dawn eden wrote (it was crap, but it was crap in ways that made me think in non-crap ways) made me try to work out a grand unifying theory of emotional sexuality that was able to describe and explain both the "only within marriage" types and people like you or me who like fucking under most circumstances that aren't actually abusive, and everyon in between, and B) that recently led me to actually start thinking about it in terms of art, outside porn or pop media.

And the thing is, there's two ways to represent something artistically, one instils and represents the subject's humanity, or conveys upon a non-human subject an emotional depth taht represents the artist's own feelings toward the literal object, and it makes you connect emotionally with the subject (take that big ass picture in teh spanish dali museum of the pixelated woman with the big boobies for instance) while bad art is more Art D'Object - it merely involves pictures of the subject, and lacks all emotional depth (for instance, anything by andy warhol, who I hate and find pretentious as hell).

That emotional depth does actually seem to create a distinction that also seperates bad sex from good sex, there doesn't have to be a huge mind blowing Rawk-Ya-Wurld emotional connection, but even just with the body language involved in any sexual encounter (unless there's a fetish community that revolves around sensory deprivation tanks with glory holes cut into them), there is communication between the people involve, and because body language is primarily about the conveying of emotional states, this connects the people having sex Whether they realise it or not, in fact the very act of mutually consenting to sex requires enough of an emotional connection for both parties to be aware that the other person wants to have sex, which fundamentally requires a theory of self.

Bad sex, as ilustrated on that three part series Ex-() linked to a while ago, is often sex where one person isn't actually having sex with someone else emotionally, they're having sex because they're supposed to have sex, or because it satisfies a neurotic need they have - it becomes not about the sex, but about all sorts of things that exist entirely within their head, to which the other person(s) becomes merely a close up spectator, the other person may be fucking back or whatever but the emotional communication is mono-directional

But only in rape is there actually full objectification in real life, but in media, the objectification can arise trhough either A) bad art (that fails to subjectify the things it's representing, which in the case of most fashion modelling and adverts appears to be intentional) or B) is a product of the viewer of the art not allowing themselves to subjectify the subject for a wqide variety of reasons that I can mostly blame the patriarchy (and other systems) for training into those veiwers a fear and need to objectify women and other people (excluding clinical sociopaths for a moment of course) which leaves them unable to subjectify people.

Which leads to a rape culture.

How does that all tickle you?

lambert strether said...

Thanks for the link. Obviously, from that post (and many others) we're not BDSM experts.

What we're trying to investigate, in our perhaps ignorant and clumsy way, is the idea that there is a form of sexuality that occurs in the Conservative movement far more frequently than chance would allow, and that equates sex and torture (and indeed equates all forms of abuse with sex). They do it because they get off on it. The D/s frame is the only frame we have to look at this through, but we're very willing to be educated.

We might sum it up as "It's the abuse of power, stupid!"

It's as if they're playing with REAL whips, and REAL blood, and there are NO safe words at all. And, again, they enjoy the violence, enjoy the degradation of others. Isn't it true that there's a horrid form of intimacy between torturer and tortured?

Please, come to Corrente and comment, if you like. We need all the analytical tools we can get.

Encouragingly....

P.S. We don't have a thread on this right now, not having been provoked, but if you want a thread on how things OUGHT to be, we feel, try here.

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