Why must there always be a 'them'?


Nothing so much happened to prompt this particular post today, it's just something I had on my mind.

Intolerance bothers me. When I see people particularly indulging themselves in it, I like to try get them to rethink the situation at hand.

Actually, that got me bitched out a few days ago. Semi-constant stream of almost exclusively intolerant and nasty anti-religious pics reposted on my news feed by one particular person. I tried to point out as gently as possible that calling out religions on being intolerant by being intolerant was, at best, a little hypocritical. There's only so gentle you can make that message, though, when it basically boils down to "Hey, you're making an ass of yourself right now you know". I'm actually anti-organised religion myself, because of the tendency for it to become a breeding ground for mobs. The faith itself has little to do with it though.

Still, I might've been more annoyed at being bitched out if the attempt to do so wasn't so comically sad. The big 'take that' in all of it was that the person in question was no longer going to bother giving me the extra-special congratulations on having a baby (that I haven't actually had yet anyway)... extra-special because usually she doesn't give congratulations on that because "I don't see getting pregnant as an accomplishment". For some strange reason, I don't think that had the effect she was looking for.

What bothers me even more, though, is that some people can absolutely never take that hat off. I do't just mean they have a particular group they can never, ever stop hating on... I mean they must always find someone to single out and point to as bad. Even in places that are specifically meant to remove the factor of 'us' and 'them' so everyone can relax for a while.

I'm a member on FetLife. Not currently active right at this moment... I may get back to checking things there again at some point. Whenever I am active, though, there is a singular common theme at any given time to my contributions... not all the threads I'm posting on, but more a matter of a constant presence. There is always at least one thread I am actively contributing to, trying to push back intolerance.

FetLife is supposed to be a safe place for those in the BDSM community to hang out and talk with each other. You'd think a group which gets attacked so much from those outside of it would know better than to be bullies themselves... but apparently not.

Nor is it a few people, or even all that infrequent. It's mind-boggling. The number of times someone will come along and post a question, and be immediately buried in a downpour of attacks from basically everyone else on the thread. Accusations of abuse start flying, and somehow, not a single one of them even bothers to answer the damned question.

Now, I'll grant it's important to be watchful for abuse in the BDSM community. There are always those who will use the excuse of BDSM to get away with things that are actually just outright abuse. But being watchful and constantly jumping to conclusions are two very different things.

These conclusions are generally (and kind of necessarily) based on the assumption that the OP's partner is not, in fact, into X. On one thread, an attacker tried to defend their position to me by pointing out that the OP never said otherwise in their question.

Now, the kink in question is one of those that will quickly result in the other person leaving if you try spring it on them and they don't share your joy... and the post fairly heavily implied that this was not the first time trying this. All the OP was asking for was a couple ideas for a specific situation within it. I was left staring at this reply, my mind boggling, thinking, why on earth would you assume that his wife doesn't like it? Why is that the first place these people's minds go? There was no evidence that OP's wife would up and leave him over it if he dared, which is what everyone was insisting.

As for not providing the information outright in the first post, why should he have expected to be attacked immediately? He was asking a question. For most people posting on FetLife, this does not need to include the disclaimer "yes, my partner is into this as well so please just give the specific advice I'm looking for", and it should not have been needed now. So no, defending your intolerance and bullying with "well he didn't tell us any different" doesn't cut it. Aside from having been a stupid assumption to begin with, if there's information missing that you need to answer a question, you don't just fill in the blanks yourself however you damn well choose. You ask. Very few people are likely to think to mention every relevant factor immediately from the first post.

That wasn't even the worst instance I saw. Another thread, later down the track, was about CNC (consensual non-consent) and marking - someone just sharing a particularly good time they'd had with their sub.

Hoo boy did that set off a gigantic firestorm of abuse accusations with great speed. CNC is indeed an extreme in the BDSM community... but mostly due to the difficulties in making it work on a practical basis, especially standing-agreement CNC as opposed to single-session CNC. Even then, it's not exactly vanishingly rare. Those that do it are noticeably around, and those that like the idea but can't really make it work make up an even larger group. So I'm really not too sure why this kind of attention around it seems to crop up a lot on FetLife. It's very similar to the more common humiliation-play; if you don't like it yourself you're not really going to understand the appeal, and on the surface of it, it can look abusive. Would be, if not for the fact that it is consensual and even desired by both parties.

In this case, a most baffling cry went up that she said no, so it was abuse. It was enough to make me wonder if everyone had forgotten where we were. The very reason that safewords are so important in BDSM is that no does not always actually mean no - CNC even takes it a step further in that that fact is the entire point. If the tale had included her saying 'pineapple' and OP not stopping, sure. But just 'no'? Especially when the end also included clear indications of the happiness of both parties and aftercare from the Dom?

The reason that this threat was so much worse, though, is that the sub in question actually ended up weighing in herself, pointing out that it was, in fact, consensual. Most of the attackers who hadn't been dissuaded already at least had the decency to look a little shamefaced at this point and stop calling the OP a liar. Two people, however, did not.

One just continued to say it was wrong anyway. Clearly a proponent of the "one twue way", this man seemed to think any way that wasn't his way was the wrong way. This is really more a particular brand of idiocy than anything else.

The woman, however, was far more stunning. She immediately accused the sub of either being a fake puppet account for the Dom (five seconds of glancing at the profiles was enough to fairly thoroughly put that to rest), or otherwise clearly mentally infirm. That's right. She was so thoroughly intolerant to CNC that, as far as she was concerned, anyone who would consent to that is basically just clearly incapable of making their own decisions, and on par with some severe mental disability; to be pitied and helped and kept away from the ebil Dom-man at all costs.

BDSM is a group above all that should know better than to single people out, bully them, and rain down accusations of abuse without looking at the actual situation at all. After all, as a group we get it from everyone else all the time. And yet, even in the one place that is supposed to be a safe refuge from that sort of thing, it's still rampant. So many people are just apparently incapable of helping themselves from turning around and attacking someone in any given situation, even up to and including for much the same things they object to having been unreasonably attacked for. Even "benefit of the doubt" and "innocent until proven guilty" are not just thrown out the window - it's like such concepts never even existed.

I truly and honestly do not understand it... but it definitely makes it hard to maintain one's faith in humanity.

  1. FetLife is a lot like YouTube. There's people who post amazing content there, but most of the people who comment on said content are stupid idiots.

    My rule of thumb for FetLife is "read the original post; ignore the commenters."

  1. Except that, especially in the case of people asking for advice (probably a good 25-75% of the posts, depending on the group), that doesn't work at all, and even for a lot of the discussion it doesn't work well.

    And the difference is, YouTube isn't entirely composed of people who get that kind of crap from everyone else and have joined a place where everyone else is like them too to get away from such idiocy.

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