Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kink, Discussions and Emotions

I participated in another very emotional discussion during the past few days, this time about the discrimination against M/M spanking play and porn. The discussion took place on Mija's and on Indy's blog. While we basically all agreed upon the fact that we want M/M spanking play and porn to be treated equally, we judged certain forms of discrimination differently.

Mija, Paul and Indy argued that Spanking Tube is worse than many others because they feature M/M clips and make money with M/M affiliate links, but treat M/M enthusiasts as second class people by not showing their clips on the main page and not including them in many of their most popular search functions. While I basically agreed that I find the approach discriminating, my argument was that I feel much less welcome on many other sites which refuse to feature any M/M topics at all because it might scare people away, and that I don't like the thought that they get away as being less discriminating than Spanking Tube.

The discussion was mainly between Mija, Paul, Indy, Ludwig and me. While being emotional, it never became disrespectful or personal, even though we finally had to agree to disagree because we just looked at the topic from very different stances. We all explained them carefully, but we didn't force our opinions on each other and respected each other's decision to stand by their point of view. Afterwards Mija wrote a wonderful post on the importance of fair discussions and the acceptance of disagreements that resonated very much with my thoughts and made it easier for me to let go.

But many discussions on spanking blogs and forums aren't like that. Often people become very personal and disrespectful and try to hurt others. One example was the recent discussion with Bill who was very aggressive and said some very disrespectful and insulting things not only to Ludwig and me but also about spanking models.

Some time earlier there was another discussion on The Spanking Spot triggered by a tongue-in-cheek comment about a model that could easily be interpreted as having a racist undertone. This time it was the other way round. Brushstrokes, who had made this comment, was harshly attacked as being racist and disrespectful against models. While I saw why his comment could be misleading, I decided to support Brushstrokes against the already quite big number of people who were attacking him, so that he would at least have a chance to say what he really meant and to modify his statement. I'm usually on the side of those who are in the minority or who are harshly attacked, which doesn't make these discussions much easier for me...

Luckily, the discussion really cooled down after a while. But one participant, a spanking model named Scarlett, was very aggressive during the whole discussion. Before she finally left the discussion, her rants culminated in the following comment in reply to another participant: “You’ve got no idea who I am… I don’t really care what you think about me, but FYI, I’m the kind of girl who features in spanking videos, rather than the kind of sad old perver who wanks over them ‘cos he can’t get any real life action. So I’ll settle for that, actually.”

When Ludwig and I talked on the phone, he pointed out these two examples and wondered if they could be taken as a sign that many of the spanking porn viewers secretly have a good deal of contempt for the models and vice versa. I thought about it for a moment and then told him that my theory was a different one. From what I have learned, aggressive comments tend to say much more about the fears, insecurities and bad experiences of the ones who make these comments than they say about the ones who get addressed by these comments. And I think that our kink is a very personal topic and people can easily be hurt or become scared. The aggression is just a sign of that. Let's have a look at the different examples and I will show you what I mean.

Bill wrote a lot about the spanking industry and their professionals who, according to him, always interfere with every discussion about video customers' preferences and want to tell him, a video customer but not an active member of the scene, what kind of spanking he should or shouldn't like and how thankful he has to be to the industry and to the famous spanking models who want his money but refuse to fulfil his fantasies. At least that is the compressed short-version of his rant. Looking at that, all of his other comments make a lot more sense.

Obviously Bill is frustrated because he spends a lot of money on spanking porn but usually doesn't find clips that suit his taste. For some reasons, he also seems to feel like a spanko second class because he isn't (or, as he mentioned very often, doesn't want to be) an active member of the scene and a part of the spanking industry. And then two people turn up and tell him that his suggestion to make models cry whether they like it or not is disrespectful and that people have different limits which should be respected and that he would maybe understand this a bit better had he ever participated in a spanking shoot as a spankee himself. Do I have to say anything more?

What about Scarlett? Well, I assume that many spanking models who are real enthusiasts are scared from time to time that the consumers might objectify them, treat them disrespectfully, consider them to be somehow "available" or think that they have the right to expect certain things from them just because they are models. I'm not a professional model, but from time to time the thought of being objectified by someone I don't know (maybe someone I wouldn't even like) or of seeming "available" because I'm participating in spanking clips scares me as well. Maybe that is a typical female fear, I don't know.

But when you look at Scarlett's reaction from this point of view, it becomes clear that Brushstrokes's comment must have touched one of her core fears. And then others (mostly male readers plus me) joined in and told her that her aggressive reaction was completely off the mark and at least as disrespectful as Brushstrokes's initial comment. Obviously, she finally did not know what to do any more, except for making that very aggressive and completely stupid comment.

Ludwig had another very interesting forum discussion in 2009, shortly after having topped for Mood Pictures. It was about severe spanking videos, and especially one woman in the discussion called him a psycho and completely sick. Again, the source for these kinds of reactions to my mind are insecurities about and issues with one's own kink. The question “Am I sick and am I doing something wrong?” leads to the following answer: “No, what I am doing is still okay. But everything that is more extreme is sick and rightfully scares people. So, if I fight those sickos, others won't be scared by my kink and won't attack me.”

And why did Ludwig get so involved in the discussion? Well, first of all his experience with Mood Pictures was quite fresh, he had personally been attacked and no one else had spoken up for his point of view. But, more importantly than that, our relationship was very new at that time and I was still struggling with watching severe scenes myself. That's why Ludwig reacted much more emotionally to the topic in 2009 than he would today.

And what about me? I think it is quite simple: I am very scared that people might get something that I say or do wrong and that a big group of them might attack me. That's why I interfered with the discussion on The Spanking Spot and defended Brushstrokes. When Bill made his disrespectful comments towards spanking models, I had just made that shoot for Pandora's site. One of my biggest fears is that people think that they have any right to expect more and more from me, or things I'm not comfortable with, just because I'm showing a lot of me on the blog and in pictures and films. And I'm afraid that people could treat me disrespectfully. Bill's comments fed exactly those fears. Later he attacked not only me but also Ludwig personally, and that is something that I can hardly stand, either [note from Ludwig: a great oak is not bothered when the dogs bark at it]. In the discussion about M/M discrimination I had the feeling that Spanking Tube, where I find at least some of the clips that make me happy and where I feel more welcome than on many other sites, was singled out for their "homophobic" policy while others got away with their complete avoidance of M/M.

Well, what can we learn? I don't know whether my theory helps a lot, but at least it makes it a bit easier for me to understand why others are so aggressive sometimes and why this doesn't say anything about me. Furthermore, it also helps me to understand why I sometimes feel so deeply hurt by certain comments.

The problem is that it doesn't help me much to deal better with these kinds of discussions. A few days ago the dispute on Zille's blog flared up again with some rather negative consequences for my energy levels, so yesterday I finally decided to unsubscribe from the blog entry. Today I'm already feeling better, but I'm still behind with my vanilla work and duties. 

That's why I have finally decided to take a hiatus. I might write the one or other blog post, but I won't read a lot on other blogs and I definitely won't participate in any discussions.

Quite frankly, at the moment I don't feel like I really belong to the mainstream spanking community, anyway. Don't get me wrong: I've met very lovely people here, I very much appreciate all the kind comments I get, I enjoy all the thoughtful discussions, I like to see how spanking works for different people and I love writing and participating in aesthetic projects like making photos or clips.

But it happens very rarely that I find posts, stories, pictures or clips on other sites that work for me on an erotic level. I usually don't meet any people whose kink is very similar to mine or who are in similar situations concerning their relationship, blogging experiences, play preferences, film preferences, photo- and clip-making experiences and so on. So, there are people whom I like very much on a personal level, and there are very interesting things to explore on an intellectual level. But I don't find much in the online community that provides me with new ideas that fit to my own kink and touch me on an erotic level.

And so, right now, it all seems to cost me more energy than I get back. I'm sure that'll change again soon, once I am completely recovered and have caught up with my vanilla work. But until then I will take it more slowly. Have a wonderful Sunday everyone, take care and see you all soon!


Our Bottoms Burn said... happens very rarely that I find posts, stories, pictures or clips on other sites that work for me on an erotic level. I usually don't meet any people whose kink is very similar to mine....

Welcome to our very small club.
I sometimes think we are all different.

Anonymous said...

I normally only read on BDSM forums and see others have discussions, it works fine for me, maybe you can try that for a while, your blog post seems sad to me, I hope you are okay.

Redtail said...

I will very much miss your posts if you decide not to come back. While your kink IS different than mine, it still works for me on an erotic level and I will miss the opportunity to explore it with you. The world certainly should be big enough for all of us.

Mija said...

I'm sorry that the blogs have been, well, less than fun for you. But I know that it happens. This should be fun, serious fun sometimes, but enjoyable none the less.

I know for me there are always ebbs and flows in my interests -- something you can probably see on my blog. What I'm actually into is what I do with Paul and a few friends, not what I tend to find on the internet. If you need time away, definitely take it. We'll be here when you come back.

Thanks for your many thoughtful comments on my blogs. :)

Indy said...

Somehow, on first reading, I missed your paragraph about taking a hiatus. I'll definitely miss your posts, which are among my favorite in the blogosphere. You bring a freshness and unique perspective to your writing that gives me a lot to think about after I read one of your posts. And I often find that there are similarities beneath the differences that help me understand my own kink better by reading about yours.

I hope you enjoy your hiatus, and, like Mija, I'll be here when you're back.


Anonymous said...

Dear Kaelah,

I’m saddened to hear of your decision to take a break from writing and from sharing yourself with the mainstream spanking community. Each week I look forward to reading your posts and listening to your ideas and experiences; I enjoy even more the freedom with which you express yourself emotionally with the rest of us. To learn that you will be gone from our lives leaves a feeling of emptiness within me. Do come back soon; I miss you.

The incident on Zille’s blog was an unfortunate experience. Both you and Ludwig showed great courage and restraint in your brilliant defense of the ethical treatment of spanking models. This defense seemed largely misunderstood or ignored by a single poster, Bill, who was more interested in satisfying his own personal desires and validating his misguided opinions at the expense of others. Even more disconcerting for me than Bill’s ongoing diatribe, however, was the move by one of the blog owners to abruptly and arbitrarily end the discussion just when the folly of Bill’s assertions were about to be laid bare. (I wonder about the timing and motivation behind this move.) If the blog owners had never intended to permit editorial crosstalk among posters, they should have made that stipulation clear at the very beginning of the survey. If that wasn’t the case, meaning crosstalk was alright, they could have handled the tabling of the discussion in such a way so as to demonstrate greater impartiality and fairness. In my opinion, this impartiality seemed to be lacking.

Kaelah, hopefully with the passage of time you will begin to feel better about your involvement in the spanking blogosphere so we may enjoy your company once more. Until then, have a restful break and good luck with your various pursuits.

Kaelah said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments! :-) I'm still here and I will also continue posting, just a bit less frequently than in the last few months. I will also spend less time reading other blogs and I won't get involved in discussions there for the time being.

@ Our Bottoms Burn:
I know that as a couple of two switches who practise spanking for fun and sexual pleasure you are also struggling with not finding a lot of stuff that appeals to you erotically.

I think in a way you are right, all kinky people seem to be different. To my mind, when it comes to kink, it's the little things that are very important and make the difference between “nice” and “really hot”. So, while there are basic fantasies which are shared by many people, there always seem to be small but important differences. In your and my case it seems that even the basic fantasies are quite different from those which are shared by the majority of spankos, which makes it even more difficult to find stuff that has an erotic appeal.

@ Anonymous:
Thanks for your advice! I think I'll better stay away from discussions completely for the time being, though, because if I read a discussion and I think that an important point is missing or that someone has said something offensive or has been offended, it is difficult for me to stay silent and to get the topic out of my mind again.

@ Redtail:
Thank you very much for your kind comment. The world definitely is big enough for all of us and I'm very happy about sharing my exploration with our readers here on the blog!

@ Mija:
You really raised an interesting point which seems to be true for me as well! I think what I'm really into are the things I do with Ludwig (plus reading about and watching some M/M fantasies from time to time). I guess that this was a bit different when I started exploring my kink, but now that I have Ludwig and we have developed (and are still continuously developing) our form of kinky play, this satisfies my erotic desires much better than anything which I can find online.

Thank you for writing so many thought-provoking posts on your blog and for being so open for exchanging thoughts and discussing different ideas and points of view!

I'm currently translating one of the first M/M scenes which I have ever read to share it here on the blog. I hope you will like it! :-)

@ Indy:
It's always a pleasure to exchange thoughts with you! :-)

@ Annapurna:
Thanks a lot for your kind words! :-)

I think that Zille and Mr Defeu wanted to get their thread back on topic, and I sympathise. However, Ludwig and I both agree with you that they didn't handle this particularly well.

Don't worry, I'm not gone. My next posts might be a bit shorter and a bit more light-hearted, though. But I think from time to time some light-hearted stuff can be nice as well!

Rich Person said...

It would be sad if you stayed away too long. But, everyone has to follow their path, and perhaps yours is just a different direction for awhile.

While it's hard to ignore what others say, we all have to keep it in perspective. Unless they are going to show up on my doorstep (unlikely) then I don't feel threatened by them. I've put years into forming my opinions and I doubt that they have so much more experience or are so much more intelligent that they have the right answers and I don't. Quite frankly, you're obviously extremely smart. And, you're entitled to your opinions. You can't tell them what to think, but by the same token, they can't do that to you, either.

Of course, when you expose such an intimate part of yourself as to make a spanking video that creates risks. So, you have reason to be anxious about what people might say. But if you were to put them on trial for who they are, how well would they fare? If you stripped them naked and paraded them in public, how well would they hold up?

As for where you can feed your kink, it's not obvious the answer to that question. It's a pretty thin gruel for the most part. However, if you stop writing it will be downright watery.

So, relax for a bit. But don't be overly concerned by what these people write. The best writing rises to the top. The audience will assess them for what they say. If it's worthless drivel, it will soon drain out the bottom.

Abel1234 said...

I've only just, somewhat belatedly, caught up with this post - and I'm sorry to read that you feel you need a break.

I find some of the debates that take place within our community to be incredibly stressful, too. Very often, one can't express an opinion in any way contrary to others' views without them jumping on you for being wrong, prejudiced etc. (and this, usually, from the folks who most vociferously claim that "your kink is OK"). It's as though they solicit opinion on issues that they know are debatable or controversial, but really don't want to hear others' contrary views - or believe that they have such a moral high ground that they can sneer at anyone who has different perspectives.

I was particularly caught up in one of the debates you mention. Various of our friends / readers attacked me for linking to the site in question, claiming that in so doing we were promoting what they saw as the author's racist attitudes. As a result and to avoid upset / confusion, we removed our links, without expressing any opinion on the allegations they'd made - and then faced a barrage of abuse for so doing.

I've learnt from all of this to steer clear of controversy as much as I can. I've avoided the more recent Spanking Tube M/M discussions altogether, for example, interesting as they are and much as I have opinions.

Life is too short for an interest that should be fun to end up being the source of stress. I hope you'll find your way back into the discussions before too long.

Pandora Blake said...

While I'm sorry to hear that there won't be more of your trademark thoughtful, analytical posts on complex issues for a while, it seems to me like this is totally the right step for you to take if it's all getting a bit much. Debating on the internet is, when it comes down to it, a hobby. We may feel like it's a duty or responsibility when we see discussions about things we care deeply about, but actually choosing to engage online is just that - a choice - and it's not an inevitable one. If you have the energy to do it, brilliant - hopefully it'll be stimulating, help your clarify your own position, and give other people something to think about. But if you don't have that energy, it's not compulsory, and you aren't chickening out for choosing to step away for a while.

Activism and campaigning is exhausting, and when it comes down to it, that's what you're doing - even at an informal, conversational level. All activists have to pick their battles and use their energies wisely. There's no point exhausting yourself arguing with people who will never change their minds, and there's no point throwing all your energy into discussions that are ultimately unsatisfying. There's no shame in that.

Kink blogging should, when it comes down to it, be fun. I hope that this step back helps you find a way to make it fun for you again :)

Kaelah said...

@ Rich:
Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts and for your kind words! I definitely won't stop blogging in the near future. And I won't stay away from ethical discussions and posts because they are much too important for me. I'm not interested in writing a light-hearted picture and nice stories blog, I also want to discuss intellectual topics. Getting rid of the fears isn't easy, though. I think they will always remain a part of me. But maybe I'll manage to become a bit more relaxed about offensive or outright stupid comments and behaviour over time, like Ludwig did...

@ Abel:
Yes, that discussion on The Spanking Spot really was a bit strange. And I'm sorry to hear that you got caught in the crossfire! I think I'll choose my battles carefully in the future, just like Ludwig described in his post about the topic. But I definitely won't stay away from them! Having fun is one aim when I'm reading and writing posts, but ethical and other intellectual questions are also close to my heart. If anything, I assume that I might become a bit more radical, actually. During the last discussions my main concern was not to hurt anyone I like because of having different opinions. Thinking about it, this is nonsense, though. Discussing different opinions openly and respectfully to my mind is an important part of friendship. If someone feels offended just because I say my opinion in a respectful manner and isn't able to honestly talk about it with me, that's their problem. I expect eductated adults to be able to deal with these things, especially given the fact that I always try very hard not to become in any way personal or offensive in discussions (except when some moron tells lies about me... ;-) ). The discussion with Mija, Indy and Paul showed that this is possible and I'm sure that for example the two of us wouldn't ever get into personal trouble just because of having different opinions in a discussion, either! :-)

@ Pandora:
Thanks a lot for your supportive words! :-) I have to admit that I don't know how you manage to have enough energy for all your activism in addition to your „normal“ work. Chosing one's battles carefully and according to one's energy levels definitely is a good idea. I'll try to become better at this with experience.