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Monday, July 30, 2007

There is so little space for me

I think a lot of people enjoy the notions of a BDSM community because it feels good to belong and to know that there are other people who share your feelings. That's certainly true for me, but lately I've been reminded rather harshly about just how much of my own community does not actually include me in any significant way. And it hurts. A lot.

At the risk of posting a rather dreary self-pitying entry (on a Monday, no less), I have to say that I often feel like there is no space here for me. While I know intellectually that I'm not alone, it sure feels like I am.

Because friends were involved and it was free and sounded the least bit interesting, I went to a low-key erotic art show that OneTaste NY was producing. The artwork wasn't bad; it was just so typical. I can't tell if it helped the show or made it worse that the theme wasn't specifically BDSM-oriented. Why is it that even in people's supposedly non-kinky erotic art ideas women are submissive?

The overwhelming feel of the event was decidedly…patriarchal. "This is a flirt-heavy zone," the greeter told us as we entered, and proceeded to inquire about Eileen's weekend. Maybe "flirt-heavy" is just the PC word for meat market now. Maybe that's too harsh, but there's no denying the implication that men would do the purusing and women would be the pursued. There's nothing wrong with that (putting my head in Eileen's lap at a party was how we got together—quite the forward thing for submissive male to do, many people would probably think), but the expectation is nauseating.

Even the men, the poor ignorant sods, are succumbing to the peer pressure. (Maybe that's because most of them are spineless bastards to begin with who are just aching to be told what to do. Oops, maybe that was too harsh again.) You see it in their ridiculous bait-and-switch routines where the submissive men pretend to be dominant only long enough to get the woman to bed with them. Then they turn around and get on their hands and knees and start talking about how pathetic they are. This is probably one of the very few times I'll actually agree with those men: they are pathetic, and I'm not only ashamed but enraged to be thought of as similar to them, not to mention just how many things are wrong with the very idea that this tactic might actually work out well for anyone.

I'm jealous of the submissive women for whom this kind of space must be an incredible cornucopia of sexual celebration. I bet they actually had a blast at the art show. At the same time, I'm sorry, for their sake, that this potentially wonderful environment is all but destroyed by utterly disrespectful men.

In the end, no one's really all that happy, are they? Is there anyone out there who actually thinks the scene as it is right now is just peachy keen? That it couldn't be better?

A really long time ago, friends of mine who were elected to the TES board of directors encouraged me to run alongside them. They told me that I could do so much good for that community. And that was why I chose not to run: it's not my community, really. It's the closest thing I have to a community, so I adore it, but it's not mine because so much of what they do does not welcome or include me in any significant way. Oh sure, they encourage male submissives sometimes but the way they do so is so amazingly repulsive in so many ways that I just can't see myself having much to do with it. I don't begrudge that community their right to exist. I just want one of my own.

So I'm working hard to build it.

8 comments:

Eileen said...

Good post.

Bad reality, but good post.

How can we make the spaces for everyone wider? CV is doing a fantastic job of it; what else can be done? Should we start making our own porn? Should I take photos of you? Should we pitch a fit over spaces, or work to make the spaces different, or leave the spaces altogether?
I don't know, really. And then, will what you're working to make and what already exists ever have significant cross over?

maymay said...

Good post. Bad reality, but good post.

Thanks.

I started writing a short comment but it turned into a bit of tyrade, so I'll just post a new entry in reply.

Richard said...

There's nothing wrong with that (putting my head in Eileen's lap at a party was how we got together—quite the forward thing for submissive male to do, many people would probably think), but the expectation is nauseating.

Ok, I'm just getting caught up with your archives again. But I keep finding these things that are so wonderfully sexy.

That is exactly the kind of experience that beats all the porn in the head. No problem with porn. But it is mighty hard to live it.

maymay said...

Richard, you've no obligation to read my blog or to comment, but I love it that you do both. :)

That is exactly the kind of experience that beats all the porn in the head. No problem with porn. But it is mighty hard to live it.

Can you elaborate on what you meant here?

Juliet said...

Not sure about submissive women, but as a bi switch woman, your description makes it sound like the sort of environment that makes me want to use sharp things on people. And not in the good way.

The word "patriarchal" may be the important one here. Also, "flirt-heavy" which IME translates quite well as "you should expect to get a lot of unwanted hassle and if you complain about it they will treat you as the bad person". Even if I, personally, don't get the hassle (maybe they see the "sharp things" look...), the atmosphere stinks of that and it's not a good place to be.

Or in summary: people are going to piss me the fuck off. Cannot Be Bothered. So I just avoid the spaces :-\

(linked here from Eileen's recent post)

maymay said...

Juliet:

I don't think anyone there honestly intended to make me feel bad or to create the sort of environment that pushed people away. Of course, this is exaclty what I mean to say when I talk about this not being my space and not having one of my own. My point is that they are, in fact, good people. But what should they care about me if they a) have no interest in me and b) are actually quite happy with the way things are.

Frankly, why should they care about bi switch women like you, either, when what they are after is submissive women? Answer: they shouldn't.

You, personally, don't get the hassle because this is not a space for you either (from the very little I know about you); I'm just tired of there being only this sort of space and not one for me. Hence the post, of course.

Thanks for coming by and commenting, by the way. :) Eileen's posts are pretty fucking fantastic, eh?

Juliet said...

Frankly, why should they care about bi switch women like you, either, when what they are after is submissive women? Answer: they shouldn't.

Well - 50% of the time (or thereabouts) surely they *should* care? :-)

Actually, I think one of the things I'm getting at is that I think these spaces exclude more people than even they intend to (or: fail to include all of the people they would like to be including, if we're assuming that the exclusion is unintentional).

(This is applying your description to my experience & therefore may be out of whack - I may be thinking about different situations.)

Anyway: there are, clearly, a whole bunch of people who don't feel included. Which leaves very much the questions in Eileen's comment up above.

I went on about this extensively in a comment slightly earlier today, but then a) Firefox ate it, & b) it became a bit long for here. So I shall post it on my own blog given that I have finally gotten around to putting it up.

maymay said...

Juliet,

"Well - 50% of the time (or thereabouts) surely they *should* care? :-) "

You're right, of course, in that and that there are others who don't feel included. Something I don't think is often understood but that you touched on tangentially is that making people feel comfortable and welcome doesn't mean eagerly leering at the one or few parts of them you like as so many of these places do to "bi poly switches" like yourself. Instead, it is about actually providing a space for all their interests, or at least not shunning the ones that don't interest the majority crowd.

It's hard for this to happen in one space, but I think it's possible. Furthermore, it doesn't need to happen in one space.

Thanks for your comments. I see you started a blog…? I'm looking forward to reading more of your thoughts.