Thursday, January 6, 2011

Should I Know Better?

I read a post by Sarah Sloane this morning. It made me think about my own behavior with my own Wanker and whether or not my posting of the Wanker of the Week was indeed “bullying”. It's a very good post, with a point of view that frankly hadn't occurred to me before.

So I wondered, was I one of those people "who should know better"?

My Wanker was not one of those “newbies” to kink. He was an admitted master (small ‘M’, intentionally) who had, since 1967 owned more than one slave. His own behavior, even after the caretakers got involved in our own dispute, continues to this day and is directed not just towards myself, but towards many other people, mostly young women. He’s continued with his clueless and boorishness. If he isn’t a wanker, he’s certainly not putting forth an effort not to appear to be one. To me, he was someone, by his own admittance, “should know better”.

If he HAD been a newbie (and believe me, I get a LOT of those), I’d have done what I usually do. When I cruise Fet and see someone who “just doesn’t get it” , or I get “those messages”, I take a look at the profile. I see if the person doing it is new, rather young, or if there is any sort of attempt to at least want to be involved in kink and not just wanking. I usually take the time to explain privately the error of their ways; informing them that what they’ve said perhaps wasn’t the best way to attain their goals; provide references to local groups and people who could provide information and experience; and help them with their profiles. I’ve done this many, many times. In all of them, I’ve never put their names on any social media site as a “wanker to be”. I’ve tried never to embarrass them publicly, and I’ve done my best to be a voice in their own confusion. I’ve become friends with many of these “clueless newbies”; many of whom now are actively involved in our “community” (with apologies to AliceSinAerie).

But there is a huge difference to me with the behavior exhibited by the Wanker and that of the unsure, clueless, newly discovering kinkster. And that is that there is that the latter is indeed just ignorant of the mores and behaviors expected; the former just stupidly ignores them for his own douchenozzlery. I have an obligation, I think, to help those that I can, how I can, and where I can. I question whether I am under the same obligation to those that won’t be bothered to even try to be anything except a wanker. As a very good friends says all the time "you can't fix stupid".

You know the kind I’m talking about- the guys who comment on pictures saying things that imply non-consensual ownership or rights. The ones (and forgive me, but it’s always been in my experience men) who think that Fetlife is porn and that kinky girls are there solely for their own personal gratification. The ones that send the same messages to hundreds of girls, hoping that ONE is influenced by his apparent interest. The ones that subject me, and other women to being non-consensually involved in their fantasies. Simply because we have a profile on Fetlife, we’re somehow less than deserving of respect, courtesy, or even the basic kindness given to complete strangers when first meeting them. Simply by having a profile there, many of these guys believe we’re whores, ready to accept every vile and disgusting thing that they spout, and who get wet at the thought of serving such “masters”. The worst part is, that they usually prey on those that are themselves new. Who do I help by not calling attention to this behavior? The wanker? Or his prey? This is far different from thoughtlessness or inconsideration. This is behavior designed for one purpose alone: to make the people they do it to feel powerless.

So I thought about it. I read Sarah’s post again. and realized that the question is not if I’m a bully by posting the Wanker of the Week, but whether or not those wankers are bullying me, and everyone else that they do this to. If my posting the Wanker of the Week or bringing these jerks out into the open is bullying, then so be it. Calling attention to this behavior is not bullying. Especially when the bully has already thrown the first punch.

But my new question is why is it OK for those wankers to do this? Why does it become acceptable for THEM to do this, while I have to just put up with it? Why is their non-consensual asshattery on MY profile acceptable? And why shouldn’t they be called to task for their egregious behavior?

Are we at a point when well meaning people protect the bully, in the guise of “mastery” on a kink site, because the people calling attention to it should know better? Or is calling attention to the most egregious offenders as an example of what NOT to do, actually fighting against bullying?

I wish I knew better.

1 comment:

Cuttlefish said...

There's a difference between mocking someone for their bad behavior and bullying. To use a high school analogy: It's bullying to bash a gay kid for being gay. It's not bullying to shame the bully for bashing the gay kid.

One is going after someone for who they are, this is why newbies should be treated with a little more compassion (such as privately contacting them about behavior rather than public shaming). The other is shining a light on truly bad behavior.

We HAVE to call out bad behavior. To not do so allows it to continue and become more acceptable.