Bigotry, or Reclaimed Language? Violence, or Acting Out Harm Done to You?
Many words that have been historically used to harm women, LGBTQ and BIPOC by those in power and bigots are beng used by the members to each other to reduce the hurt within the words.
And many people act out the situations and power-dynamics that have been part of their historic abuse to minimize the pain these patterns have caused.
Some people use these as a part of kink play. And like all other elements of kink and bdsm, consent is key.
Because like CNC (rape and abduction play), there are educational and therapeutic ways in which these harmful things can be used, as an individual and in a group or community.
So how does a website differentiate between what a bigot would do or say, and what is a process of healing and reclamation?
Because the words and the roleplaying aren’t enough to make that distinction.
And an outsider may not always be aware of the backstory of each exchange. Their instinct to protect or protest may in fact be doing more harm than good.
As well, people who aren’t involved in the exchange may be harmed just by passing by. Someone who has been harmed may be triggered. And someone who is unaware of the context may consider these exchanges to be acceptable.
I am not a fan of words that are used about women. (You don’t need me to state them, do you?) My friends and I don’t call out to each other using them, my lovers don’t call me those words, and I do not engage in therapeutic roleplaying about abuse I have gone thru. That’s just not in my comfort zone.
But I know people who do that. Not often in public, or mixed company though.
As a site, do you allow kink play that can harm to be public? And at what point do you stop and tell people to walk away if they can’t tolerate something?
And at what point does a site react to changes in the world and decide to make changes, whether or not the members have asked for it? Or is it the better part of valour to give those harmed by site adult exchanges to have a place to discuss these harms away from the harm in question? Would you like a site moderated group where people discuss observing and being hurt by such exchanges? Or should it be kept to posts on individual members’ pages? But then, if the harmful exchanges are allowed free-roam on the site, shouldn’t the people hurt by that roam as well?
Social media is constantly evolving and the generations or iterations they have gone thru are many. But the world is changing as well. Ordinary citizens and institutional heads are taking note and having hard conversations at the moment. And that is to the good.
Do we leave this to time and duck our heads till things get better?
Or do we get involved, get angry, get hurt by the changes? Knowing they’re coming at us hard and heaby right now as the world changes?
Do we let our views be known to the right people, the movers and shakers of politics, religion, social media? Or do we hope they ask the right people for advice? They all have access to psychologists and philosophers from many fields that we don’t.
Where in this do we stand our ground? Or do we, outside our homes? Or off our pages on the web? Outside our groups, whether IRL or on the web?
Do we have the right to ask that our views be made law? That they even be heard? I’m not sure we do. Because the same word or exchange that I find so offensive may not bother the person beside me. That kink might be someone else’s yum. And who are we to try to be the ruler of all our domains?
It’s not just a word or bigoted roleplay though. It has caused much harm. Generations of harm. People have died as a result. So you and I can’t really blame someone who has been abused for being upset when they are truggered, can we? I don’t think so.
But my ears go back when they try to tell me what my thoughts and actions should be when I’m not the one who is hurt. I will respect them enough not to do whatever it is in their house, and I’ll even try my best not to do it in their presence.
But when do I get to live by my beliefs and values? When do I get to heal myself? To reclaim what has caused me harm? Where is my safe place?
Because where we ALL agree is that it’s not a meaningless word or exchange.