So much for that

Following on from this January post about the BDSM ‘scene’, it seems, unsurprisingly that nothing much has changed.

Below is a post from yourdisillusionment on this subject. TRIGGER WARNING for some of the descriptions used, plus I haven’t read all the links, so assume none of them are SFW, all of them may also be triggering, and you may be happier not reading them at all.

The Top BDSM Lie: “BDSM is consensual!”

Except for all those times when it isn’t, and the times when the tops don’t want it to be.

Don’t read past this if you don’t want to be sickened by the vileness of it all.

Brief examples from a wealth of available examples:

http://www.sexuality.org/latrans.html

“The fact is, I’m tired of being told what’s okay for me. I’m tired of all the safe words. Sometimes I’m tired of safe words altogether. I don’t want to negotiate everything to death. I want to be surprised or surprise someone. I want to be afraid, and I want to cause someone to piss in terror. I want to have sweat and piss and cum and blood dripping, and not just because it’s warm and late and the sex is nice. There are times when I want to walk into a room, grab that girl, slap her hard, and make her cry. I want to push her down and fuck her mind over twice as hard as her body.” – Laura Antoniou, in a speech given in 1995 in Seattle Washington. Ironically, the website is all emphatic about how you aren’t allowed to quote her on this, or on anything that she says. I guess I’m just topping you without consent, Laura. It’s called “fair use” – http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html.

http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2010/09/missouri_men_kept_sex_slave_for_torture.php

This horrific story about a runaway teen locked into a “sex slave” contract and forced into “horrific” tortures, as described by the clearly shocked news article writer, is met with a lot of denial by BDSMers. “THAT’S NOT BDSM!” they cry. “THEY WERE DOING IT WRONG!” Well let’s see… she had a contract. She was 16, which is actually the age of consent to sex in many states, and the rest of the time, you know, the sex-pozzers are all for older teens being able to say “yes”. They love, for example, the 17 year old girlfriend of Larry Flynt in the movie glorifying him. They had a contract – that’s consent, right? The process of fully giving up your rights is known in BDSM as “TPE” or “total power exchange” and it’s considered sort of the BDSM equivalent of Catholic marriage, twue wuv, where you completely and utterly trust your partner to make all your decisions for you and about your body and what happens to it and absolve yourself of any decision making responsibility or rights. http://www.bdsmtrainingacademy.com/tpe-total-power-exchange/
Branding your slave? Yes, that is done, usually by “Gorean” BDSMers – aka the uncool part of the scene, whom the rest of the scene also tries to pretend aren’t really the same as them because they make them look bad, but can never quite explain why they aren’t part of the scene, since they do all the same things and are just sexist sci-fi fanatics (and lest you think these shitstains exist only on the internet, let me tell you, there are plenty of them I encounter in the city where I live, and in fact they make up about 50% of the BDSM scene here.)
http://www.evilmonk.org/A/gor_silk.cfm
http://lgbt.wikia.com/wiki/Gorean

“Electrocuting”? Look up violet wands, probably they were using some device like that, or a homemade one. Making her strip and sleep with his friends? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen subs in the backrooms of BDSM chat boards talk about being passed around to master’s friends. And stripping is empowerful, according to the sex-poz crowd. The shock evident in this article is what happens when their sick practices are brought to light. Within the community, all of these things short of the home abortions and pet killing are considered okay – extreme edge play, perhaps, but totally fine. No criticism allowed!

January, 2012: Noise begins to spread through the BDSM community about how “consent” is being ignored routinely and subs are being abused. Immediate and strong resistance is felt as a backlash from a great number of tops. A Salon article is written about the problem – the BDSM world goes NUTS as long time scene insiders speak up about the persistent problem of “safe words” being ignored inside the “scene” negotiated boundaries being stomped on, women being raped, and the community coming together to silence the women and protect the rapists.
http://www.salon.com/2012/01/29/real_abuse_in_bdsm/singleton/

The backlash is immediate, with BDSM aficionados popping up everywhere to blame the victims, say they should have told someone, should have negotiated the scene better, read their stories and call them “grey areas” and “mutual confusion” with no clear abuser and victim. Kitty Stryker, a woman who spoke up in the original article, begins fighting back against this at first, running a series of blog posts about the depth of the problem in the BDSM culture.

http://purrversatility.blogspot.com/2012/01/safeward-safewords-and-battle-of.html


http://purrversatility.blogspot.com/2011/07/i-wish-i-could-safeword-rape-culture.html

She asks for submissions from readers and receives so many tales from people who have been raped and abused in the scene that she has to run it in THREE segments.

http://purrversatility.blogspot.com/2012/02/safeward-blog-carnival-2-part-1-trigger.html

She begins getting pushback from angry maledoms in the scene. Talking about raped subs is unacceptable.

http://purrversatility.blogspot.com/2012/02/lynching-rapists-or-how-not-to-be-ally.html

Meanwhile, others are talking about the issue, because Stryker is well known and making a fair amount of noise about it, as well a the Salon article having been picked up and distributed widely. Womanist Musings hosts a guest blog by a self-described male dom ally known only as “Snowdrop Explodes” – who is shortly thereafter exposed for having written a long confession about stalking a woman with intent to rape and kill her because “he was depressed.” He takes down the post, whining about how “people didn’t understand its intent”. Kitty Stryker posts in support of HIM, talking about how hard it is to be all honest and shit and come out and bare your soul about your past mistakes and deep dark inner desires to hunt a woman down and rape and kill her. “He’s not the only one who’s been there”, she says. She understands. Poor him, she says, explaining how she understands as she tells a story of how she viciously beat a tied up, sobbing woman.
http://www.womanist-musings.com/2012/01/what-happens-when-it-is-abuse-bdsm.html#IDComment279881636

http://purrversatility.blogspot.com/2012/02/playing-with-fire.html

Finally, Stryker steps back from “Consent culture”, after a final post watering down all of her former ones, saying there are lots of grey areas, no real clear victims or abusers, no it isn’t the opposite of rape culture. THE COMMUNITY IS SAFE FROM THOSE VICIOUS WOMEN SPEAKING UP AGAINST RAPIST DOMS AGAIN!

Kitty Stryker’s post about ‘stepping back’ from consent culture is here (link NSFW and the side bar contains images that may be triggering).

49 responses

  1. Whoa whoa whoa. What? This is incredibly inaccurate. I am continuing to teach Safe/Ward in the kink and poly communities- I presented it last month, and will again next month. I am working with Maggie Mayhem and Maxine Holloway on helping the various women having workers rights issues at Kink.com. And my situation was about a scene where my bottom didn’t say no, or safeword, and said she wanted to be spanked and caned (among other things)- the issue was that I felt uncomfortable, but kept going, rather than safewording myself when my gut felt squicked (as I should have). I said that people can violate a boundary (like hugging without asking) without being an abuser, and THAT is a grey area. I think this is a really inappropriate retelling of what was said, for dramatic effect, and it’s really unfortunate that it’s been chosen to be painted in such a way as to make sure feminists are split on the issue of bdsm rather than working together to stop nonconsentual behaviour and help people negotiate.

  2. Hello Kitty, thank you for your comment.

    In the original Salon article you are quoted as saying: “I have yet to meet a female submissive who hasn’t had some sort of sexual assault happen to her” and “The scene, which not only faces outside criticism but also serious legal threats, is ‘really invested’ in not talking about this” and “when I was a submissive, I felt the pressure to not safeword because I felt like that made you a bad submissive.”

    In the recent piece on your blog titled ‘Consent Culture: Let’s Review’ you say: “I’m happy to see that people are still thinking critically about what consent means” and “Consent Culture, the way I see it, is about recognizing that people fuck up, that consent is complex and influenced by many factors” and “This shit is complicated” and “Usually, what we need more of is education.”

    So, what started out as a powerful exposure and criticism of a culture where rape and sexual assault and coercion and those at the top of the hierarchy protecting their own is systematic, has been replaced with ‘it’s complicated’, and the idea that what rapists need to do is ‘educate’ themselves in how not to be rapists, as if they are not fully aware of exactly what they are doing.

    I predicted back in February that you would have to pick sides, and you have, you’ve decided not to rock the boat too much, not to try for any radical pulling-things-up-by-the-roots changes, but appeasement, and asking rapists to ‘think about’ what they are doing – this isn’t entirely fair, if you had tried, on your own, to make any radical change you would have failed, women have been trying to change this in mainstream culture since first wave feminism (at least), it isn’t something any one can do on their own.

    I would, though, be interested in the content of your workshops, are there transcriptions/notes/handouts available online? I hope your workshops are useful, and don’t just become a figleaf for an unaltered status quo, where BDSMers can say ‘yeah, we used to have a problem, but now there’s this Consent Culture workshop, so everything is A-OK’.

    It’s a shame you departed from the conversation we were having before, but then it was getting awkward when I called you out on your towing the ‘sex worker rights’ party line, and asked you to clarify on some of the things you were claiming for BDSM.

    I understand that the work you are doing must take up a lot of time and physical and emotional energy, but you had time to write a rather paint-by-numbers ‘ethical porn’ piece for the Huffington Post – funny that in that piece you link to this site, and say “It’s too bad that anti-porn feminists and pro-ethical porn feminists so infrequently talk with open minds together”, but don’t want to answer any difficult questions here.

  3. Males within the BDSM scene must be laughing themselves silly because once again the issue is twisted around so that supposedly as always, it is the female submissives who are responsible for allowing (sic) the male sexual predators to continue to subject innumerable women to sadistic male sexual violence. Oh yes, denial, denial and yet more denial is precisely what the BDSM scene want because there must be no focus on how and why sadistic male sexualised torture of women is seen as ‘just playing with sex roles.’ No we mustn’t name the issue as one of systemic sadistic male sexual violence against women because the female victims all ‘consented/signed forms/agreed to males and other misogynistic women aping male sexual domination over women, subjecting them to vile sadistic sexualised torture and violence.

    Whenever a male political prisoner is subjected to sadistic sexualised torture Male Supremacist System has no problem naming it as ‘sexualised torture’ but given women only supposedly exist to be men’s disposable sexual service stations then the issue of BDSM is merely one of individuals ‘consenting/agreeing to be subjected to male sexual violence. ‘

    Ironic is it not that the Spanner Court case did not result in the sadistic male sexual predators being acquitted of inflicting serious physical injury on submissive homosexual males. But then men have no problem recognising when another male/males inflicts sexual violence on other males who supposedly ‘consent’ because Male Supremacist Legal System does not view male on male sexual violence as ‘just erotic sexualised play.’ But sadistic male sexual violence inflicted on women is considered not ‘real violence’ because the female victims ‘consented.’ Ah yes men even claim they are not responsible for murdering a woman because she supposedly ‘wanted him to kill her!’

  4. I have answered many difficult questions here before- and under my own name, with no anonymity, something that means that I’ve opened myself up to people reading and seeing everything I do. I welcome you to try that sometime.

    Yes, there’s abuse in BDSM. I am still incredibly vocal about that. There are people who don’t hear “no” as “no”, don’t read body language, and eroticize a lack of safewords as being the “goal” of kinky sex. There’s also a lack of first response awareness in BDSM spaces, which is something I’m currently working more on- I think hosts and DMs should know how to respond and what resources are available if someone comes to them and says they’ve been abused. I also spend a lot of my time calling out “pillars of the community” who have enabled abusive behaviour and shamed people for talking about it. I remind people that it’s not just a question of male dominants abusing female submissives, though that’s the largest number of stories I get- male submissives get abused as well, and queer relationships certainly have their own stories. I teach workshops on how to have a safer environment, remind people that it’s not their place to decide whether rape or abuse has happened, what lines have been crossed, etc, but it IS their responsibility to treat a victim with compassion, respect, and dignity. Yes, there’s notes, and it’s constantly being updated and added to. I just presented it with a rape counselor at Open SF, in fact.

    Consent IS complex. I don’t believe in 100% consent, and frankly, you of all people shouldn’t either. I recommend these two pieces, which really sunk into my head when it came to issues around consent:
    http://radtransfem.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/under-duress-agency-power-and-consent-part-one-no/
    http://radtransfem.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/under-duress-agency-power-and-consent-part-two-yes/
    What I AM and have been saying is that if we live in a patriarchal capitalist world that influences everything we do and think, can it ever be so simple as “yes” and “no”? I think that while no is absolute, yes is tainted by your ability to say no- what pressures you’re under, social values, etc. So rather than the reading YOU have, which is that I’m suggesting that “no” is complicated, I’m saying the opposite, which is, in fact, far more in like with many anti-porn, anti-sex work rhetoric- YES is complicated and grey.

    And yes, I am a sex worker. I deserve rights. I deserve to feel like I can report crimes against me without fearing for my body or my freedom. I really don’t care what your feelings are on that, because I should have agency to decide what work I do and don’t want to do. Period. I am also anti-trafficking, and anti-poverty, and anti-racism. I work to address issues with immigration policy, I do outreach, I educate myself on why people go into sex work if they don’t want to and ADDRESS THE CORE ISSUES. Prostitution is not the core issue. Neither is porn. What IS a core issue is that female objectification is the highest paying set of employment opportunities, and the only arena where women make more than men. That’s a sexism issue. Porn CAN be ethical, when workers have rights, can decide who they want to shoot with and when, how their bodies are portrayed and termed, when male bodies and female bodies are equally desired and marketed and the goal is to shoot sex that people enjoy having. That exists. In my article at HuffPo, I talk a lot about that. I hope your readers check it out, and stop trying to make it possible for the police to rape and kill me rather than having legal protection. That’d be great, kthnx.

  5. Wow – it must be really wearing to hold such an ill informed viewpoint against a consensual practice that you know nothing about and are not involved in – may you be proud of your inarticulate , misinformed and Miss quote findings. I hope in the very least readers of this click on to links to kitty strykers excellent bkg so they can see for example that stepping away from blogging about something is not stepping away from it as an idea/fact- and other sensible deductions you failed to make from her clear writing. Oh but then you warn people about Colin The links because the might be triggered – handy for you for people not to investigate your distortions isn’t it. Sleep peacefully aggressive one.

  6. Kitty,

    It’s a real shame the civilised conversation didn’t last.

    The reason I blog anonymously is because of the numerous pro sex industry men who enjoy making rape and death threats against women who speak out against the status quo (and some of the johns and pimps and pornographers seem genuine in their threats, and able to carry them out) – you don’t actually blog under your legal name (I read your blog post about your grandmother(?) outing your work name in your home town), and bringing that up seems like a way to distract from the discussion with a personal attack.

    “Yes, there’s abuse in BDSM. I am still incredibly vocal about that.”

    Again, I am glad you are doing what you are doing, but you are doing it within the status quo.

    Please could you link to your notes? I am still interested in reading them.

    “What I AM and have been saying is that if we live in a patriarchal capitalist world that influences everything we do and think, can it ever be so simple as “yes” and “no”? I think that while no is absolute, yes is tainted by your ability to say no- what pressures you’re under, social values, etc.”

    Actually, I don’t disagree with the above, but it isn’t the reading I got from your ‘Consent Culture: Let’s Review’ piece.

    “And yes, I am a sex worker. I deserve rights. I deserve to feel like I can report crimes against me without fearing for my body or my freedom.”

    Well, I believe you deserve that too, but I don’t believe the decriminalisation of the sex industry, which will bring about its expansion and normalisation and turn the abuse into ‘just work’ is the best way to achieve that.

    “What IS a core issue is that female objectification is the highest paying set of employment opportunities, and the only arena where women make more than men.”

    Oh dear, this old canard, I expected better from you. Men in het porn are paid less than women because the women are the ones being subjected to double anals, and all the real money is behind the camera anyway (production and distribution are dominated by men).

    “Porn CAN be ethical, when workers have rights, can decide who they want to shoot with and when, how their bodies are portrayed and termed, when male bodies and female bodies are equally desired and marketed and the goal is to shoot sex that people enjoy having. That exists.”

    Funny, I’ve never seen it, all the porn that gets called ‘better’ or ‘feminist’ or ‘alt’ looks pretty much the same as the mainstream stuff, except maybe without the most extreme brutality one finds in gonzo; really, the bar is set so low.

    “I hope your readers check it out, and stop trying to make it possible for the police to rape and kill me rather than having legal protection. That’d be great, kthnx.”

    Yeah, right, because the world is controlled by a secret cabal of radical feminists and men hurt women because they’re well versed in radical feminist theory. This is the thing that really disgusts me about sex industry advocates, pretending that violence against women happens because of the opinions of radical feminists. Why are you only worried about the police? Why not the johns and pimps and pornographers and traffickers? Oh yes, it’s because you are at the top of the pyramid of ‘sex workers’, and you are far too useful to the pimps et al for them to allow you to come to any harm; they don’t want to lose their mouthpiece.

    I notice as well that you still don’t have anything to say about ‘juvenile sex workers’, it’s a bit harder to talk about ‘sex worker rights’ when you acknowledge that there are plenty of men out there who actively want to pay to rape prostituted children.

  7. Alison,

    Wow – it must be really wearing to write such an ill informed and clichéd comment!

    Blah blah blah, you just don’t understand the amazing mystical esoteric rape culture that is BDSM! Because sadomasochism is just so complicated!

    And trigger warnings are CENSORSHIP! How dare you warn readers who may have been victims of rape, including filmed rape to make pornography, that the sites you link to may be triggering – you hate free speech, and kittens, you definitely hate kittens, you meanie!

    Are you aware Alison, that there are lots of links in this blog post, not just to Kitty’s blog, or did you not bother reading it properly before commenting?

    “Sleep peacefully aggressive one.”

    Wow, that is sooooo profound, I can see why you call yourself a poet!

    Also, Alison, do yourself a favour and proof-read your writing a bit more carefully; ‘Miss quote findings’, ‘bkg’, and ‘Colin The links’ just make you look sloppy.

  8. Oh, and Alison, please stop aggression-shaming me.

  9. Because we all know that the only time a woman is allowed to be aggressive or assertive or loud or strong or opinionated is when some dude is getting off to it.

  10. Yes you are right, I was sniping at the end and in places – I apologise, not helpful of me
    I was not trying to be poetic – it is a silly screen name and I forgot I had it, I had to long in to an old log in – i should change it.
    The sloppiness I am less bothered about, I have given up being worried about it, I have a bit of a neurological condition that affects how I read things on screen and it is really impacted by autocorrect! Not sure how to spellcheck on phone. However, dyslexics, bad spellers and poor typers will have similar problems – I think as long as understood we should all be encouraged to have a voice.
    I am sure you are aware I did not suggest trigger warnings are censorship, but if there it makes it even more important to make sure you accurately represent the content you put in your argument as readers will beed to trust your version
    I did focus on your representation if kitty’s writing as I was struck by it’s contrast with the message of the blog- I was making a point – not writing a review, it’s a comment thread so I think that’s okay.
    I doubt other people will be interested enough in either mine or your comments to take them as any more than squabbling , but i wrote nothing to support the assertions you made about my views – I am aware that abuse exists (as it does in bin BDSM relationships) I think it is important to highlight it and imortant to stamp it out and I am not at all supportive of any blurred boundaries around consent.
    Out of interest how is it that it is felt so strongly that abuse is any more rife than in other sexual relationships – sorry if that isn’t your assertion, genuine question
    Anyway I am sure that neither you or I will Change out oppinion or behaviour following an online conversation and you will continue to happily have whatever relationship interactions you consensually choose and so will I. I hope we both have happy ones, and I mean that sincerely and not sarcastically
    Anger shaming is a thing? Sorry – you have a right to express anger as you choose – my bad.

  11. Oh and to clarify – I definately wouldn’t suggest you hate kittens – we all love kittens- of that I am sure we are agreed.

  12. Woah, did someone just use the 90s and Gorean to make a point about modern BDSM?
    In a post about consent, I see lots of people being talked for or having their quotes snipped; not a good start.

  13. Alison,

    Thank you for the maturity and honesty of your replies, I had a bit of a tumblr moment there myself.

    I don’t have time right now to go through Kitty’s ‘Consent Culture: Let’s Review’ piece, but I will copy the text below so people can read it without having to be exposed to pornography (Kitty, if you don’t want me reproducing your whole blog post here, please say and I will remove it).

  14. Please note, bold doesn’t show up in blockquotes with this WordPress style, the bolded bits are the numbered headings.

    So in the interest of my own mental health I stepped away from Consent Culture discussions for a few weeks. I’m happy to see that people are still thinking critically about what consent means, both interpersonally and in the greater context of the altsex scene (never mind the rest of the world). I do feel, however, that there’s a quick review that needs to be had on what my goals with Consent Culture are, as they seem to be getting confused. These mistaken ideas are in bold, with my explanation underneath to clarify.

    1) Consent Culture Hates Consensual Nonconsent

    -Not at all. Consensual nonconsent is totally part of my envisioning of consent culture, if it involves informed consent and if both parties feel they can walk away from the scene/situation safely if they so choose. Personally, if you have the financial ability to say “screw this” and get out of your relationship, rad. If you are encouraged to maintain your own friends, awesome! Consent Culture is about thinking critically about these dynamics of power we play around with and maintaining as close to 100% consent as is humanly possible, while keeping in mind things like social pressures/context. Consensual nonconsent can fall under that. I do think it’s important to at least have a discussion with a top type person before you sign away access to money and stop talking to your own friends and family, though, as those are often two things that make it much harder to get away from a relationship that turns abusive. It does not mean that consensual nonconsent is always abusive.

    2) Consent Culture Believes In The Victim/Abuser Binary

    -Definitely not. Consent Culture, the way I see it, is about recognizing that people fuck up, that consent is complex and influenced by many factors, that boundary-crossing does not automatically mean you are an abusive asshole and never a victim yourself or that having your boundaries crossed means that you are incapable of being abusive. Yes, if someone is a repeat offender, repeatedly gets defensive when called out and tries to silence the victim, I will be pretty suspicious that they “just fucked up”. But as a whole, I think that society encourages some messed up forms of communication that make it relatively easy to mean well and fuck up anyway. The question is how do you manage it afterwards. I would like to see more discussion around consent simply because I think acknowledging that it’s complicated is a great first step to figuring out how to make it somewhat less so, particularly in communities that say how consent is important to them- altsex folks should be excellent at thinking critically about these issues, because we’re already moving outside of the norms.

    3) The Opposite Of Consent Culture Is Rape Culture

    -There’s a reason when Maggie and I started this thing we talked about entitlement culture instead of rape culture, because rape is a triggering word and, frankly, not the most accurate. The issue at the core is the idea of combating entitlement to certain behaviours. Rape is an aspect of that, as is abuse, but it also covers things like racism, classism, sexism, ableism, sizeism, Twue Domism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. Which is why, rather than just talking about rape, we try to talk about the various ways oppression and marginalization intersect within altsex communities. Because if we want to turn this shit around, we need to address the core issues, and the best way to do that is to start talking about them.

    4) Consent Culture Is About Us Vs Them

    -No no no. Definitely not! I have come out as having been the victim of abuse in BDSM and also being an abuser in BDSM by crossing boundaries for just this reason. Again: this is not a binary. We have the potential to be both Us and Them, depending on the situation. This shit is complicated, and I challenge anyone to say they communicate perfectly and there’s never been a misunderstanding or that they’ve always asked for exactly what they wanted and gotten just that. We’re all muddling through here. Which is why I hate the idea of “white knights” in this discussion- I don’t think having this concept of “protecting” people or “banishing” others is useful except for in circumstances where someone refuses to take a step back and educate themselves. Usually, what we need more of is education in things like verbal and nonverbal consent cues, body language, spacial awareness, representation, things like that. There are some people who go looking for trouble, granted- but the more we talk about complexity, being humble when someone says you crossed their boundaries, and supporting assault victims, the more agency we’re giving everyone involved in altsex and the clearer it will be (in my opinion) when someone doesn’t give a fuck.

    I hope this makes sense- it’s late, I’m tired, but I wanted to at least start by clearing those things up. And I am really glad that the discussion continues. My anger really flares only at people who want to shut these discussions down to maintain some screwed up status quo even though people are saying it’s not safe for them. If I thought this was really unfixable and people in altsex were all abusive dipshits who don’t want to learn, I wouldn’t have bothered starting all this in the first place with Maggie. I have some faith that we’re mostly geeks here, and geeking out about complicated social constructs is part of what we like to do- we like to hack those constructs and create our own that work for us, in all their diversity. And that’s rad.

    I just want to challenge the idea that things are perfect as they are and critically analyzing our own communities is anathema.

    Carry on.

  15. Woah, did someone just use the 90s and Gorean to make a point about modern BDSM?
    In a post about consent, I see lots of people being talked for or having their quotes snipped; not a good start.

    Ari,

    Your comment appeared in moderation while I was replying to Alison.

    Goreans are real, as are full-time ‘life style’ BDSMers, you may find Gor embarrassing (who wouldn’t), but there are a number of men out there who believe that enslavement is a woman’s true calling, and for whom ‘consent’ is an inconvenient legal necessity.

    Saying that they are not real BDSMers because they are abusive is circular logic that ‘proves’ BDSM is never abusive – it’s like abstinence-only educators claiming abstinence-only always works because once people start having sex, they are no longer practicing abstinence.

    I think the Laura Antoniou quote is perfectly valid, I’ve read similar things elsewhere.

    Claiming I’m ‘talking for others’ is a classic derailment tactic, all it means is you don’t like what I have to say, and you’d rather listen to women who don’t challenge your status quo.

  16. “Goreans are real, as are full-time ‘life style’ BDSMers”
    Oh of course they are, I never suggested otherwise, contrary to you speaking for me here, “Saying that they are not real BDSMers” (said no such thing).
    However using ‘goreans’ to talk about modern BDSM is like using Mormon fundamentalism to talk about christianity, or scientology to talk about psychiatry. They are so different that using them as a sample example without context is dishonest.

    “I think the Laura Antoniou quote is perfectly valid, I’ve read similar things elsewhere.”
    In that case I assume the writer should have no problem finding a quote from this century.

    “Claiming I’m ‘talking for others’ is a classic derailment tactic, all it means is you…”
    There you go again. Perhaps if you really want to know what people say you would ask them instead of tell them. Unless you think I’ve silently consented for you to speak for me. For the records, I have not.

  17. I’m sad to see such a personal and un-nuanced attack on Kitty, whose work for consent in the BDSM culture has had many positive effects. As for feminist porn, try “The Art of Blowjob” by Camille Crimson and her long-time boyfriend.

    Consent gets violated in BDSM; that doesn’t make consensual BDSM wrong. Justice gets violated by cops; that doesn’t make law-abiding, hard-working cops wrong. Patients get manipulated, coerced, and traumatized by megalomaniacal psychologists; that doesn’t negate the work of healthy therapists with strong boundaries. Parents do all manners of horrific things to their children; parenthood itself is not bad, and amazingly healthy parents exist too.

    Judging a whole thing because some parts are bad is extraordinarily illogical. BDSM can be freeing, empowering, emotionally rich, and fully consensual, and I encourage you to focus your negativity on the bad *elements* rather than the whole.

  18. I think you left “civilized conversation” land when you quoted someone saying my piece “Playing With Fire” was “a story of how she viciously beat a tied up, sobbing woman”.

    I’ll email you the notes, if you so desire. You can contact me via miss.kitty.stryker at gmail.

    I performed in ethical porn today, actually. I worked with a woman who equally wanted to work with me- there was one director (who was completely passive and let us do our thing while shooting unobtrusively) and one assistant, both female- we got paid immediately after and went for pizza. We used safer sex supplies, we used our own toys that we enjoy, and we communicated throughout the shoot so we both had some hot sex that happened to be on camera. There was no fetishization of either of our bodies, and neither of us has a body that is advertised in media as “perfect”. Is that mainstream LA porn? Nope, but it does happen, and LA is losing money because porn like what I shot today is beginning to take over. You can ignore that, if you like, but you’re actively silencing women and refusing them agency while trying to “rescue” others, which is pretty condescending.

    Also, het porn is not the only porn that exists, ya know.

    Why am I worried about the police? Because while bad johns and traffickers and manipulative pornographers and pimps exist, THEY aren’t the ones who get raped, abused, and jailed by the people who are supposed to protect and serve. additionally, the police is COMPLETELY owned by the patriarchy. Um, look at how they deal with rape charges. Why aren’t YOU worried about the police, who are the ones most actively assisting people who are enacting violence against women by being those people?!?

    And you think I’m a mouthpiece for pimps? How, exactly? I encourage everyone I know to stop working for someone else and go freelance, whether it be for sex work or for my day job in tech. I supported and signal boosted the cam girls who wanted to unionize at a local porn studio and encouraged them to go to court. O.o I’m the last person they want around!

  19. Ari,

    You are trying to disown a section of the BDSM ‘community’ that you think makes you look bad; you are saying they do not represent you, and that they are not like you and nothing to do with you.

    I say that is bullshit; trying to disown any section of your ‘community’ that makes said ‘community’ look bad, until only the ‘good’ examples are left is dishonest, and I am not buying it.

    You want a recent quote? Try this, guys and gals who want to watch recordings of real rapes call that desire a ‘kink’, cry ‘kink shaming’ when called out on it, and think there’s nothing wrong with asking a rape victim if ‘her video’ is available on line.

    Or are you going to disown them as well because they make you look bad?

    I am speaking out against BDSM, I am not speaking on behalf of anyone who is pro-BDSM. Calling you out on your bullshit is not the same as speaking for you.

  20. Galiana,

    BDSM is the eroticisation of abuse, inequality, sexism and racism. If you find that “freeing, empowering [and] emotionally rich” I feel genuinely sorry for you.

    Care to offer any real logic or rationale to back up that claim?

    Just saying something is so isn’t the same as proving it. Just because something gets you off doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful, to you or the other people involved. Not one commenter on this subject has been able to offer any real theory to back up such claims.

    “Judging a whole thing because some parts are bad is extraordinarily illogical.”

    Well, as Kitty herself said in the original Salon article “I have yet to meet a female submissive who hasn’t had some sort of sexual assault happen to her.” That is what I would call systematic abuse.

  21. Kitty,

    I think you left “civilized conversation” land when you quoted someone saying my piece “Playing With Fire” was “a story of how she viciously beat a tied up, sobbing woman”

    I’m not the one who tried to get my twitter followers to dogpile someone when they said something I didn’t like, that was really classy.

    I’ll email you the notes, if you so desire. You can contact me via miss.kitty.stryker at gmail.

    You can send them to me at anti.p.london [at] hotmail.com, please also say about how they can be quoted.

    I performed in ethical porn today, actually. I worked with a woman who equally wanted to work with me- there was one director (who was completely passive and let us do our thing while shooting unobtrusively) and one assistant, both female- we got paid immediately after and went for pizza. We used safer sex supplies, we used our own toys that we enjoy, and we communicated throughout the shoot so we both had some hot sex that happened to be on camera. There was no fetishization of either of our bodies, and neither of us has a body that is advertised in media as “perfect”. Is that mainstream LA porn? Nope, but it does happen, and LA is losing money because porn like what I shot today is beginning to take over. You can ignore that, if you like, but you’re actively silencing women and refusing them agency while trying to “rescue” others, which is pretty condescending.

    Well that’s absolutely great for you as an individual, but I doubt it’s doing much for the rest of us. Also, I don’t believe that ‘alt’ porn is actually taking over, LA may be losing its place as the porn capital, but that doesn’t mean gonzo is going out of fashion. The LA industry isn’t dying out because of ‘independent’ porn, it’s dying out because the industry is becoming more professional and corporate.

    Also, het porn is not the only porn that exists, ya know.

    Yeah, I do know. Queer porn can be just as abusive and degrading as het porn, and the stuff I’ve seen looks suspiciously similar to gonzo.

    Why am I worried about the police? Because while bad johns and traffickers and manipulative pornographers and pimps exist, THEY aren’t the ones who get raped, abused, and jailed by the people who are supposed to protect and serve. additionally, the police is COMPLETELY owned by the patriarchy. Um, look at how they deal with rape charges. Why aren’t YOU worried about the police, who are the ones most actively assisting people who are enacting violence against women by being those people?!?

    Kitty, you are white, articulate, adult, and a legal citizen of your country of residence, you are no where near as vulnerable to violence as a drug-addicted street worker, or a runaway teenager engaging in survival sex in return for a place to sleep, or a trafficked woman, and it is completely dishonest of you to act as if you are.

    It is also completely dishonest to act as if police brutality is somehow the fault of radical feminists or that the kind of men who abuse women are even aware of radical feminism. Sex industry advocates always deliberately and cynically ignore the fact that the abolitionist approach to prostitution includes decriminalising the prostitute her (or him) self, instead you claim that we want to criminalise prostitutes, that we’re actively causing the violence (I don’t even live in the same country as you, my influence on US laws is practically zero). You said “I hope your readers check it out, and stop trying to make it possible for the police to rape and kill me rather than having legal protection. That’d be great, kthnx.” This is completely dishonest because I want prostitutes themselves to be decriminalised, as does every other radical feminist.

    And you think I’m a mouthpiece for pimps? How, exactly? I encourage everyone I know to stop working for someone else and go freelance, whether it be for sex work or for my day job in tech. I supported and signal boosted the cam girls who wanted to unionize at a local porn studio and encouraged them to go to court. O.o I’m the last person they want around!

    Campaigning over the contracts for cam ‘girls’ at a porn company that at least pretends to be ethical is an easy fight. I have never seen a single ‘sex worker rights’ group try to do anything to protect women in gonzo porn from being subjected to double anals until they suffer a prolapsed anus (although the AIM clinic stitched them up again afterwards). ‘Sex positive’ ‘feminists’ like Tristan Taormino collaborate with gonzo pornographers, and SWAAY tells us that porn performers don’t actually want condoms! The reason? The sex they perform is so violent, condoms would just make it more painful, plus some people are allergic to latex (funny, this is never an issue when 100% condom use in prostitution is supposed to turn it into ‘just work’).

    I honestly doubt you are giving any pimps or pornographers any sleepless nights. You promote the sex industry, you down play the violence of the johns and pimps and pornographers, you keep quiet about the commercial sexual exploitation of children (‘juvenile sex workers’).

    BDSM is the eroticisation of abuse, of inequality, of sexism and racism, and nobody, including you, has been able to offer me a convincing explanation of how it could be otherwise. BDSM is like the sex industry in general (BDSM is so commercial and commodified it’s impossible to separate it from the sex industry), it couldn’t exist without a steady stream of abused and psychologically damaged women and girls (and men and boys) to fuel it. Just because somebody ‘chooses’ something, doesn’t mean it isn’t bad for them, just because something gives somebody an orgasm doesn’t make it unequivocally good.

    The BDSM ‘community’ has been hiding behind ‘we have a culture of consent’ for decades. The original Salon article was a brave and radical exposure of the fact that this ‘consent culture’ wasn’t true, but I stand by my assertion that your message has become diluted, and you are now working within the status quo.

  22. Alison asked:

    “Out of interest how is it that it is felt so strongly that abuse is any more rife than in other sexual relationships – sorry if that isn’t your assertion, genuine question.”

    I find it very odd that Kitty’s supporters are trying to call me out on assertions I am making, based on what Kitty herself has said.

    From the Salon article ‘When safe words are ignored’:

    As Stryker wrote last year in an essay for Good Vibrations magazine, “I have yet to meet a female submissive who hasn’t had some sort of sexual assault happen to her.”

    and

    “When I start to think of the number of times I have been cajoled, pressured, or forced into sex that I did not want when I came into ‘the BDSM community’, I can’t actually count them,” Stryker wrote in Good Vibrations’ magazine. “As I reflected on the number of times I’ve … been pressured into a situation where saying ‘no’ was either not respected or not an option, or said that I did not want a certain kind of toy used on me which was then used, I’m kind of horrified.”

    Kitty, the fact that this is coming from commenters who are reading your blog and following you on twitter, suggests that it is fair for me to say that your message has become watered down.

  23. You started your reply to me with “BDSM is the eroticisation of abuse, inequality, sexism and racism.” which explains how it might be impossible for you to hear my perspective, since your definition in and of itself includes abuse. It’s a similar argument to “The Bible says the Bible is right so therefore the Bible is right” – if your definition of BDSM includes abuse, then yes, you will see abuse.

    However, I have a different experience than Kitty’s. Kitty says “I have yet to meet a female submissive who hasn’t had some sort of sexual assault happen to her.”

    I am that female submissive. I have never had anything happen to me in a BDSM context without my full consent.

    I have, however, had things happen to me in a vanilla context which violated my consent. Not only “minor” things like being groped, fondled, or smacked on the ass (all of which have happened to me professionally and socially before I even knew what BDSM was), but more severe things which are trigger warnings, and clearly abusive and/or illegal.

    I don’t know what the hell is wrong with the San Francisco BDSM culture, but every time I read about it, I wonder why anyone is there. I agree there seems to be systematic abuse there. My experience is so very different than what I read about theirs being.

    I have participated in the Austin and Central IL BDSM cultures, and found partners, and consensually and enjoyably participated in bondage, masochism, and submission with partners who negotiated clearly beforehand, and respected our negotiations in-scene.

    I know female submissives in both cultures who have never had their consent violated during BDSM activities. In fact, I know more female submissives who have NOT had their consent violated than who HAVE (in Austin and Central IL).

    I know female submissives in both cultures who have had their consent violated during BDSM. I also know women in both cultures who have had their consent violated outside of BDSM.

    I cannot offer theories or studies because I’m just a participant, not a scholar. I can, however, offer my personal experience. I find it empowering to know that I can take a hit and not collapse, in exactly same way I found it empowering to take a self-defense course.

    I feel cherished and respected when I play with a partner who respects our negotiations and my consent, and I feel that consensual BDSM has healed me of some of the scars of being violated non-consensually in vanilla contexts; when I chose to surrender control to someone who I could stop at any time, I was able to regain my power in a way that I couldn’t manage to do any other way.

    Rape culture exists outside of BDSM and within BDSM. Consent culture exists outside BDSM and within BDSM. I only choose to interact with people who absolutely respect consent, vanilla or BDSM. Period.

    BDSM can be horribly traumatic. I would never enter into an “open contract” with no safe words, and I consider those an abusive aspect of BDSM, and I vocally condemn them. However, BDSM hasn’t been traumatic for me. It’s been healing and empowering and wonderful. Sorry I wasn’t clear about that before.

  24. Also, you say separately “I say that is bullshit; trying to disown any section of your ‘community’ that makes said ‘community’ look bad, until only the ‘good’ examples are left is dishonest, and I am not buying it.”

    I disagree completely. I’m sure there are feminists who do things you disagree with. For example, you called out feminists who criticize people with eating disorders, based on a PostSecrets postcard.

    Some feminists shame those with eating disorders. That doesn’t make all feminists representative of your views, your experience, or your definition of feminism.

    The terrorists who perpetrated 9/11 are not representative of all Muslims.

    My experience of feminism, BDSM, religious organizations, and a host of other communities suggests that there are horrible elements within any community. That does not justify condemning the community as a whole. And that does not mean the communities have nothing positive to offer. To say otherwise is allowing the negative, abusive elements to define the community, which would be a shame to let them have that much power.

  25. Galiana,

    BDSM contains activities that look like abuse, that re-enact abusive scenarios, that eroticises the re-enactment of abuse. I don’t think ‘consent’ alone removes that abusiveness.

    As far as I am concerned, torturing someone is abusive, even if they say they want it, even if they get some kind of enjoyment from it, even if it gives them an orgasm, it’s psychologically damaged and damaging.

    I’m glad that you have not suffered any overt abuse within the BDSM scene in your area, and I’m sorry to hear about the abuse you suffered in the ‘mainstream’ (as a radical feminist I don’t believe that the mainstream is safe or good for women).

    “I find it empowering to know that I can take a hit and not collapse, in exactly same way I found it empowering to take a self-defense course.”

    “I feel cherished and respected when I play with a partner who respects our negotiations and my consent, and I feel that consensual BDSM has healed me of some of the scars of being violated non-consensually in vanilla contexts; when I chose to surrender control to someone who I could stop at any time, I was able to regain my power in a way that I couldn’t manage to do any other way.”

    I find it so sad and upsetting that the only way women can feel powerful or safe or cared for is by putting themselves into these situations. It seems obvious to me that this is the symptom of psychological damage, I’m sure you won’t agree.

    I find it sad and upsetting also, that the only time ‘consent’ gets taken seriously (except that it doesn’t), is when a woman is consenting to be tortured.

  26. Galiana,

    Your second comment appeared in moderation while I was answering your first comment.

    I stand by my assertion that Ari was being dishonest by claiming that we should only look at the ‘good’ BDSMers.

    “Some feminists shame those with eating disorders. That doesn’t make all feminists representative of your views, your experience, or your definition of feminism.”

    I am a radical feminist, and shaming people with eating disorders is not radical feminism, by definition.

    The ‘bad’ BDSMers are still BDSMers, they practice BDSM (unless you are going to make the claim that when it goes wrong it is no longer BDSM, which takes us back to my abstinence-only comparison), and since we don’t have any scientifically reliable survey on how many BDSMers are ‘good’ and ‘bad’, it’s dishonest to claim that the ‘bad’ aren’t representative.

    Also, we’re not talking about people’s opinions on the internet here, we’re talking about what actually happens, for real, in the real world, to real women.

    “The terrorists who perpetrated 9/11 are not representative of all Muslims.”

    But, they are, perhaps, representative of Muslims who are terrorists.

    What I really want from BDSMers is accountability, Kitty was (and still is, to a lesser degree) doing that, she’s calling out what’s happening in her ‘community’, instead of saying that’s nothing to do with me, which is what Ari was doing.

  27. If ‘bad’ BDSMers are not real BDSMers, then the BDSM ‘community’ is chock full of dangerous imposters, and that needs dealing with just as much as if you admit that the ‘bad’ BDSMers are real members of the ‘community’.

  28. “You are trying to disown a section of the BDSM ‘community’ that you think makes you look bad; ”
    I am? Really? Thanks for explaining that to me, I had no idea that’s what I said. Glad I have you to tell me what’s going on in my silly little head.
    Oh and nope, I’m not trying to “disown” them, since I never owned them in the first place.

    “you are saying they do not represent you, and that they are not like you and nothing to do with you. ”
    At least you got that part right!

    Of course there are bad, stupid, idiotic people who practice BDSM, sometimes with bullshit twisted misogynistic ideas around it. I certainly don’t believe the ‘BDSM community’ is some sort of perfect place where these people don’t exist. I can think of multiple examples of issues within the community. However whipping out Gorean or other fringe extremes as if they are an average example of ‘the community’ is a dishonest generalization and makes it clear the writer was looking for an easy target to hate instead of a real discussion.

    If I ever meet a Gorean I will be happy to smack down their misogynistic fragile ego, but the truth is I’ve never met one. They certainly aren’t part of my community.

  29. “I stand by my assertion that Ari was being dishonest by claiming that we should only look at the ‘good’ BDSMers.”

    Ha!
    I stand by my assertion that I never said any such thing.
    You appear to be getting your prejudice in my comments. Unlike peanut butter and Jelly, they don’t really go well together.

  30. Ok, forget about Goreans, they are an embarrassing sub-culture and you have nothing to do with them.

    This question goes to Galiana as well: if you discovered someone in your community was abusive, someone you knew personally, or as a friend of a friend, someone who used the same social and on-line spaces as you, would you say they are nothing to do with you, and not representative of you and your community, or would you say there is an abusive element in your community and your community needed to deal with it? Would you say that they were a rotten apple and not representative of your community as a whole, or would you say your community needed to take a good hard look at itself and ask how that could have happened in the first place?

    What Kitty is/was doing is saying the BDSM community as a whole needs to take a good long look at itself – and she is getting a lot of flak from within her community, maybe not from the people commenting here, but I do find it amusing that in trying to defend her and attack me, people are basically dismissing her original point (she was saying originally that abuse was systematic, not just unfortunate one-offs).

  31. And Ari, I am not trying to tell you what’s going on in your head, I am saying your arguments are dishonest, those are two very different things.

  32. Also Ari, I notice you had nothing to say about the rape kinksters, or are they nothing to do with you as well?

  33. Galiana Chance

    antiplondon: You say “I am a radical feminist, and shaming people with eating disorders is not radical feminism, by definition.”

    I say “I am a practitioner of consensual BDSM, and any activity which violates someone’s consent is not consensual BDSM, by my definition.”

    Either everyone gets to define their community by who they feel represent them, or everyone has to accept the definition of community others create for them, which is horribly disempowering for everyone.

    I believe defining your own labels, and your own community, is a central tenet of self-realization, and I would appreciate if you would please stop trying to force nonconsensual people into my sense of community without my consent, and I, in turn, will allow you to define radical feminism any way you so choose. I will not try to tell you that pro-porn feminists are part of your community if you cease from insisting that non-consensual BDSM is part of mine.

    Rape kinksters are NOT AT ALL part of the consensual BDSM community. People who “play” with absolute contracts, no safe words, or any other activity which denies consent are NOT AT ALL part of the consensual BDSM community.

    I am no more a member of an all-inclusive BDSM community than you are an all-inclusive feminist community. I get to choose my filters and adjectives, so my definition of my community including the word “consensual” is just as valid as your definition of your community including the word “radical”. Any attempt to force your definition of my lifestyle makes me less able to hear your other potentially valid points.

    And let me be clear: You obviously have a lot of valid points. You are doing much good work. I support many of your efforts wholeheartedly. However, I don’t think you’re doing yourself, or your message, any favors by spending effort telling people who they identify with. I want you to succeed at helping to reduce the rape culture, and helping you to increase the consent culture, in any medium. I hope you choose to drop this particular tactic in future conversations. I think it will serve your message well.

    On to your question of an abuser in my community: I avoid abusers personally, I warn others who I can tell are interacting with the abuser, I uninvite the absuer from events I organize, and whenever there is a public manifestation of consent violation, I publicly state “I believe this is consent violation and I am utterly against it.”

    I absolutely try to do both activities you suggest: I try to change the unwanted behavior by naming and shaming abuse, and I try to change the community by exposing abuse, and by encouraging others to expose abuse when others see it.

    A community can either by well-behaved, or it can be open to anyone. Open communities attract people with bad behaviors who have been rejected from closed communities. That means any alternative lifestyle group which invites the public to attend will have to deal with sociopathic behavior at some point, from online gaming to religious communities to mneighborhood farming coops to feminism to BDSM.

    Those bad apples showing up don’t spoil a crop unless you refuse to deal with them. I don’t refuse to deal with them. I do my part to stand against them. And in the meantime, I do my best to enjoy all the wonderful good apples which remain.

  34. Galiana,

    Thank you for your comment and I am glad that you are not complacent about non-consensual activity within your community.

    A think there may have been a slight misunderstanding here, and we were side-tracked by Goreans et al; I believe all BDSM is harmful (maybe I should have used that word instead of abusive), regardless of whether it is consensual or not. Someone can 100% freely consent to something that is harmful to them.

    “Rape kinksters are NOT AT ALL part of the consensual BDSM community. People who “play” with absolute contracts, no safe words, or any other activity which denies consent are NOT AT ALL part of the consensual BDSM community.”

    You are actually creating a sub-category of the BDSM community with your definition of ‘consensual BDSM’ – may I suggest secession? By your own definition of ‘self-labeling’ rape kinksters et al have every right to call themselves part of the BDSM community, and I, then, have every right to talk about them when I talk about BDSM.

    Your comparison with radical feminism doesn’t really work, I’m not defining it in a ‘way I choose’, my political beliefs fit the publicly understood definition of radical feminism; in the same way that to be a Communist you have to agree with the Communist Manifesto, else split and create a new group, radical feminism is defined as being anti-porn, anti-prostitution, anti-BDSM etc (pro-porn feminists do not call themselves radical, because they don’t want to be mistaken for someone who is anti-porn).

    We risk going round in circles splitting hairs with this, but you are basically saying that your BDSM community doesn’t include the abusers, because you define it to exclude abusers; that’s fine, really, but doesn’t do anything about the BDSM scenes that do contain abusers.

    If you want to wash your hands of the majority of the BDSM community as a whole, that’s fine, but you can’t then criticise me when I talk about BDSM as a whole, based on what a prominent person within that community (Kitty Stryker) has said, because I don’t acknowledge your own tiny corner of it. In a discussion about sexual abuse in the Catholic church (for which large numbers of people in the hierarchy of the Catholic church are complicit through their actions and inactions), would you insist that everyone constantly acknowledge your church, which was lucky enough not to get a paedophile priest assigned to it?

    “However, I don’t think you’re doing yourself, or your message, any favors by spending effort telling people who they identify with.”

    I haven’t really been doing that, and I’m not interested in doing that; the main point of the post and the following comment thread was me calling out Kitty Stryker on what I saw as a watering down of her original message (in the Salon article). I used a quote that mentioned instances of people who consider themselves to be BDSMers, who were abusive; a handful of people didn’t like being associated with those individuals – I’m not going to back down and say those abusive people aren’t BDSMers, those people themselves call themselves BDSMers, and what they are doing fits most definitions (but not yours) of what BDSM is.

    I still maintain that it is dishonest to conflate talking about a group of BDSMers you don’t like and don’t want to be associated with, and ‘speaking for you’ (as Ari did) – I haven’t accused any of the individuals commenting here of being Goreans, or abusers, and I haven’t claimed to speak on behalf of anyone in any part of the BDSM community.

    I acknowledge the fact that you identify yourself as belonging to a community you call ‘consensual BDSM’, and that you believe your community does its best to keep out individuals you consider to be abusers.

    I acknowledge the fact that you reject large parts of the wider BDSM community as being nothing to do with you.

    I reserve the right to be critical of BDSM as a whole, including ‘consensual BDSM’.

  35. It should be noted I don’t really know any of the details between you and Kitty or your past conversations, I just saw 1995 and Gorean as main examples and laughed.

    “if you discovered someone in your community was abusive…”
    In that case something would need to be done. I get annoyed when the community hides or protects someone who is abusive. While I wasn’t directly involved in the conversations I’ve helped with events that have banned individuals from attending because of their past abuses and stand by those bans. At least one of those bans came after a long conversation with the abuser.

    “Ari, I am not trying to tell you what’s going on in your head, I am saying your arguments are dishonest, those are two very different things.”

    In which case you might consider pointing out how you think my actual arguments are ‘dishonest’ instead of making up things that I didn’t say.

  36. As it turns out, once you start talking about rape culture and consent, it happens I haven’t met very many women *point blank* that haven’t had some sort of sexual assault happen to them. In or out of BDSM. I think the kink community (in many places, not just SF) enables nonconsensual behaviour by not actively addressing it, but I also think that rape culture generally enables sexually abusive behaviour. BDSM is not above the rest of culture. I think it could be, and it’s pretty important for it to critique itself to address how institutionalized racism, classism, sexism, ableism, etc is enacted within that community- but I also think it’s worth pointing out that BDSM is not unique in that. I’ve met some horrifically racist, classist, and transphobic radical feminists, for example, but I don’t blame radical feminism for that per se.

  37. Nice one Kitty,

    You haven’t addressed a single thing I’ve said (more than once) about child commercial sexual exploitation, abuse in mainstream pornography, the violence from pimps, johns or pornographers, or your own misrepresentation of your own level of vulnerability.

    You objected to me saying your ‘consent’ message was watered down, and now you’ve delivered a big fat apology for the BDSM scene, which has really just proven my point entirely. I disagree completely that the BDSM scene could be better than the mainstream, it’s patriarchy in concentrated form, because it’s the eroticisation of inequality, violence, racism, sexism and abuse, how can a sub-culture that feeds off the worst of the mainstream ever be better than the mainstream?

    “I’ve met some horrifically racist, classist, and transphobic radical feminists, for example, but I don’t blame radical feminism for that per se.”

    Bollocks you have, ‘classism’ and ‘racism’ get thrown at radical feminists all the time with no proof whatsoever; you get white dudes calling black radical feminists on Tumblr ‘race traitors’ for being radical feminists.

    As for ‘transphobia’, all one has to do to be called ‘transphobic’ (and then receive a torrent of rape and death threats) is understand that sex and gender are two different things.

  38. Ari,

    “It should be noted I don’t really know any of the details between you and Kitty or your past conversations, I just saw 1995 and Gorean as main examples and laughed.”

    So, you’re basically just a troll then. Either address the real topic of this thread or kindly eff off, I’m not going to spend any more of my time arguing in circles with you.

  39. *I* haven’t said radical feminism is characterized by transphobia, racism and classism. Prove me wrong.

    And usually, people get called transphobic because they say transphobic things, like “trans women are just men who want to get into female only space”. That’s not simply “we understand sex and gender as two different things”.

    I’ve addressed all your other points already, multiple times, here and in my own blog, actually. The thing is, you don’t listen to my voice. My voice is invalid to you, because it doesn’t work with your worldview. For you, all prostitution is victimization. All BDSM is rape culture eroticized. While I definitely see and discuss constantly the issues of patriarchy and capitalism on these subcultures, I disagree that they’re inherently problematic, but frankly, nothing I say seems to matter, so I’m going to stop bothering.

  40. […] of this, I’ve been accused of taking a softer stance on rape and consent in BDSM by a couple of radical feminists. My story about playing with a submissive wherein neither of us safeworded and […]

  41. *I* haven’t said radical feminism is characterized by transphobia, racism and classism. Prove me wrong.

    *I* didn’t actually say you did, I said ‘bollocks’ to your claim that you’ve met racist, classist radical feminists. Prove me wrong.

    And usually, people get called transphobic because they say transphobic things, like “trans women are just men who want to get into female only space”. That’s not simply “we understand sex and gender as two different things”.

    Ha!, try spending some time on Tumblr, where people do get attacked only for saying sex =/= gender.

    I’ve addressed all your other points already, multiple times, here and in my own blog, actually.

    Oh no you haven’t Kitty. You haven’t said anything here about ‘juvenile sex workers’; you haven’t said anything about the conditions for making Gonzo porn; you haven’t been honest about your level of vulnerability in the sex industry. I asked “How can inserting a knife into a woman’s vagina be about “sensation and exploration” (for the one doing the inserting anyway) and not about violence domination and degradation?” and you didn’t reply.

    If you’d already written extensively about these things on your blog, why not link to those posts, instead of trying to use the fact that I haven’t read and memorised your entire blog as ‘proof’ that I was ‘invalidating’ you?

    The thing is, you don’t listen to my voice. My voice is invalid to you, because it doesn’t work with your worldview. For you, all prostitution is victimization. All BDSM is rape culture eroticized. While I definitely see and discuss constantly the issues of patriarchy and capitalism on these subcultures, I disagree that they’re inherently problematic, but frankly, nothing I say seems to matter, so I’m going to stop bothering.

    Kitty, I wrote a long post quoting the Salon piece you contributed to, I have let through every single one of your comments and responded to you in detail; I have been listening to you, probably a lot better than your twitter supporters, who just couldn’t work out where I got the idea from that the BDSM ‘community’ had a problem with consent.

    I have repeatedly said that the work you are doing on consent is brave and worthwhile, and disagreeing with someone is not the same as ‘invalidating’ them.

    I did not say all prostitution is victimisation, I said the sex industry is a pyramid with a very broad base, and that you are at the top – funny, you’re accusing me of seeing prostitution as victimisation, but you were happy to play the victim to accuse me and radical feminists in general of “trying to make it possible for the police to rape and kill [you] rather than having legal protection.”

    I would be more than happy to have a honest conversation with you, Kitty, but you are the one not being honest.

  42. […] of this, I’ve been accused of taking a softer stance on rape and consent in BDSM by a couple of radical […]

  43. […] who thought they could trick me into letting that racist shit through by posing as a rape survivor (hey, maybe it’s one of Kitty Strykers friends trying to ‘prove’ her right!), as that’s easier to handle than the idea that a woman who really is a rape survivor, who […]

  44. […] This isn’t new, the liberal-left press, such as the Guardian/Observer and liberal ‘feminist’ blogs such as ‘the F-word’ have operated near total censorship on this issue for some time now, so that even talking about the subject in a way that isn’t in line with current trans dogma is labelled ‘transphobia’ and silenced (and I mean real silencing, as in having your words erased, not the identity politics version of silencing, as in ‘being disagreed with‘). […]

  45. […] blog post about the Salon article I said that Stryker would have to choose sides at some point, and within six months she had backed down, and gone from a damning indictment of the BDSM community to ‘consent is complicated’ […]

  46. Do you perhaps have an archived version of the your disillusionment post? It is no longer there.

  47. If I remember correctly, what appears above in blockquotes is pretty much all of the original post.

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