Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kaelah's Corner (Oct 2012):
Too Real

 (A historical whipping scene. Hot as a kinky fantasy, but undoubtedly horrible for the victims in real life.)

Several days ago when watching TV, I came across a news report about Pakistan where a 14-year-old girl who fought for women's rights had been shot in the head by Taliban extremists. The report showed how awfully women had been treated under the Taliban regime. It also included a short scene of a woman being held to the ground by several men and being flogged. The whole report moved me because the thought of being oppressed and violated like women (and men) are under extremist regimes is one of the most horrible things I can imagine. But the report also made me think about my limits as a kinky woman and blogger and that's what I want to post about today.

As most of you certainly know, I am against any form of physical (and psychological) punishment, be it severe judicial canings or slapping a child with one's hand. The only exception are consensual (i.e. informed consent) discipline agreements between adults who really have a free choice in that matter and the possibility to withdraw their consent at any given time. I don't practise any kind of consensual corporal punishment and I openly admit that I even consider some forms of consensual discipline arrangements to be rather unhealthy for the people involved. But, as long as the above conditions are given, adults should have the freedom to do whatever they want, in my view.

I don't want to talk about real-life discipline, though, but about erotic kinky role-play. Because even consensual kinky role-play scenarios are often based on (historical) forms of corporal punishment which aren't (or weren't) consensual at all in reality. Be it canings in school, judicial CP, naval floggings or maybe even dark abduction and rape scenarios. Now, I am of course absolutely convinced that one can be strongly against any form of violence or non-consensual CP in real life but still enjoy consensual role-plays which resemble scenarios that would be horrible if they were real.

I admittedly belong to those kinksters who easily feel uncomfortable with consensual non-consent, though, and I often prefer at least semi-consensual role-play scenarios - where the spankee, albeit reluctantly, agrees to a punishment. But that is just a personal preference. In my opinion there is nothing morally wrong with consensual non-consent. And even my fantasies can be stimulated by non-consensual real-life scenarios. For example, when Ludwig and I once visited the museum at the Churchill War Rooms in London, a school punishment book caught my attention. The fantasy of brave school boys taking their canings definitely pushes my kinky buttons. But still I am absolutely against any form of real-life CP for school children. Because, let's face it: While I hope that Churchill and his classmates didn't suffer any permanent trauma from the canings which they received at school, it still was a non-consensual act which might have caused mental harm (not to mention the physical one). The same goes for me for naval floggings which I find hot in the not bloody role-play version, but which must have been horrible in the historical real-life version.

I think it is absolutely possible to acknowledge the horrors of real-life violence and to feel with the victims when coming across (historical) references of real-life CP, but to find the idea of a consensual role-play scenario which involves elements of these real-life events appealing at the same time. The question is how to deal with that topic as a blogger. And that is where I have to say that I have certain personal limits of what I would or wouldn't do. I have to admit that I personally wouldn't really feel comfortable to present, for instance, historical newspaper articles about specific non-consensual real-life CP which involve real people's names here on the blog as a basis for erotic kinky fantasies. I can deal with others doing that, though, as long as they clearly distinguish in their writing between the objectionable and horrible real-life event and the consensual erotic fantasy which was triggered by it.

What I can't deal with, though, are depictions of real-life violence (especially when it comes to current events) that are used on kinky blogs without any further comments and without a clear sign of compassion and respect for the victims. For example, a while ago I found one link between several kinky ones which led to a newspaper article about a young woman who had been subjected to judicial CP in Saudi Arabia. The article was presented on a Tumblr blog between erotic kinky pictures. In this case it was a first person real-life account and it obviously was a yellow-press article, so it isn't even clear whether the woman depicted was a real victim. And there was one comment which clearly spoke against real-life judicial CP, too. But there were of course also several "like" notes, uncommented reblogs and even one person who clearly supported the idea of judicial CP.

Regardless of the exact circumstances and the question of whether we are talking about a real victim or a fake in this special case, I would like to use the presentation of this article as an example for the kind of depictions which are clearly outside my comfort zone as a kinky blogger and blog reader. Because looking at it from the perspective of a real victim, I find these kinds of posts, especially without any further comments or with inconsiderate comments which don't distinguish between fantasy and reality, tasteless. If I were a victim of violence and then found a newspaper article or news report about my suffering on an erotic blog (maybe even with people saying how cool and sexy that is or that this is how "naughty women" should be treated), I would feel violated once again. And that's why I am very careful about these things.

I only ever once asked Ludwig to delete a link on our blog. It was a link to a blog that regularly published articles about real-life CP and lacked any kind of disclaimer in which the authors distanced themselves from real-life violence. Ludwig agreed with my request after taking a second look at the blog himself.

How about you? What is your personal comfort zone regarding (historical) real-life references to corporal punishment and their presentation on kinky blogs? I am curious to hear about your opinion!

P. S. Right now, I only manage to write the regular posts for this blog, but not to answer any e-mails and comments or to comment on other blogs. I am still reading, though, and I will come back to your comments and e-mails soon.


joeyred51 said...

Having experienced CP for many years in school, I am against it for adults and children. CP can morph into abuse and that is always bad.

Bobbie Jo said...

I have seen some stuff from a site I checked into when I first started to investigate my kink. It was about CP and most of it was just plain brutal. I don't think the real stuff belongs in kink blogs. If it was a statement of compassion for the victim, then that would be a different thing. I detest when I see things such as you mentioned: others thinking the real thing is sexy or cool. It isn't. As Joey has said, CP often ends up as abuse and not correction.

Fenris said...

First, I certainly don't favor CP for children or adults as real, non-consensual, non-erotic punishment.
In a kinky scenario, I can't actually eroticize CP and spanking as a punishment for something I consider to be a serious issue. An unfair or totally exaggerated punishment holds much more kinky potential for me (a caning for uniform infraction, e.g.). Also, taking the punishment for someone else is something I fantasize about since I read Mark Twain as a child. I never enjoyed the idea of seeing someone punished who "deserves it".
It is probably double standard, but I can quite enjoy accounts of historical punishments, let's say, in boarding schools while the idea of a modern day whipping under the Taliban regime, either in real life or in a kinky scenario, is abhorrent to me. As CP was long since outlawed when I still attended school, it is much easier for me to exploit the idea for a kinky scenario, as a school caning is nothing that could have happened to me or my friends.
This may sound quite confused, but who says that kink is something based on logic?

Val said...

Fascinating. To begin with, the second paragraph of this post describes me very well, and as stated on several occasions already, our views coincide in many respects. It makes me sick to my stomach when I see parents smacking their kids, such as in a supermarket, as around here parents do not get sent to jail for doing that.
Many museums, especially the castle ones, display artifacts, and their dungeons seem to be a particular attraction for visitors, who often times giggle and comment on the various tools on display, including those which otherwise we might find attractive and useful in our kink. Right this minute, for whatever reason, I recall vividly three bundles of birch twigs on display in the museum of Hochensalzburg fortress, in a glass cabinet in one of the large museum rooms upstairs, with another birch just hanging on a nail. Captions explained that they were used for punishment, and most visitors I have seen would view them with interest, just as I did. I wonder if they still have them there. So I have mixed feelings when confronted in public with such artifacts, probably for fear of having my kink this exposed...
I am not surprised though how many are in fact turned on by real situations, and this is probably a condition which always existed with humans. ANy renditions of public executions (not necessarily killing people, but you know, the milder stuff such as floggings, pillorying, and so on), for example, would either show or describe large crowds assembled of their own will, watching and commenting approvingly.
Which made me think of the following: if, today, a cable TV channel showing real stuff, not fantasy clips, of "Public Punishment" existed, how many would subscribe to it? I would guess "many."

Ludwig said...

I think Fenris raises an important point, which is true for me as well and probably for many other kinksters. I think that most of us are more comfortable with taking inspiration from real-life CP practices that are historically distant than with taking inspiration from those that are contemporary.

We can regard the former, i.e. things that happened a long time ago and are no longer practiced today (at least not in our part of the world), like CP in schools, floggings in the military or witch trials in medieval Europe, as the "bad old days" and gain comfort from the knowledge that they are over. These practices were morally objectionable, but they have been abolished, no one is suffering under them anymore, and the victims that did suffer from them once are long dead. So we don't feel like we should have a bad conscience for using these historical CP practices as "fantasy fodder".

With abuse that is happening today, like floggings in Iran, we do not have that comfortable historical distance, nor can we take comfort in the fact that things have changed for the better there, because they haven't. So it feels inappropriate to use these practices as inspiration in erotic fantasy, as if one were becoming an accomplice in these terrible abuses that are going on today, in our time.

I think this is an important emotional difference and the reason why many of us, myself included, can eroticise historical CP practices, but not CP that is going on today.

Steve from Kent said...

I don’t believe that history should be airbrushed, so mention of old forms of judicial punishment is something I have no problem with.
How these things inspire our kinky thoughts – if at all – will no doubt differ from one person to another.

If, like me, you attended school in the UK during the 1960s and 1970s, then you are virtually certain to have first-hand experience of the disciplinary regimes as they existed back then.
Those personal memories are bound to filter through into our kinky fantasies in one way or another. Maybe in a positive erotic way, maybe in a bad way. Again, I guess that it will depend on the person.

Kaelah said...

@ joeyred51:
I am with you about that, Joey.

@ Bobbie Jo:
I think our limits are quite similar, Bobbie Jo!

@ Fenris:
As Ludwig already said, I think you raised an important point when it comes to the distinction between historic accounts and contemporary accounts of real life CP. I have to admit that I often feel uncomfortable with historic accounts as well, though. I guess that is especially true when they remind me of times where women didn't have (m)any rights and often were at the mercy of men. That's a picture which is so scary for me that I can hardly eroticise it, often not even as a fantasy. Historical CP items on the other hand or stories which are more consensual or which I can turn into consensual ones have a bigger appeal for me.

@ Val:
I guess you are right, a TV program showing real punishments would surely have lots of fans! If those punishments weren't consensual (fun) ones, I guess I wouldn't be one of them.

@ Steve from Kent:
I think you are absolutely right about the effect that real-life experiences with (non-consensual) CP can have on people's kink. I don't know how it would influence me, but my guess is that it would make it more difficult for me to live out my kink.