Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Unmasking

xposted from my lj

I left a comment earlier to this post on BDSM; it doesn't show up. I'm not sure if this is aggro-moderation or "I'm home for the Thanksgiving holiday," so I don't want to kick up a fuss. But I will post what I posted there here:

AngryScientist,

Before I say anything else, I’d like to ask you this: You seem to be suggesting that female sadists are totally beside the point, but wanting to know what it is that makes some men have the fantasies they do.

Would you, or would you not, then, be interested in hearing about how I see my own involvement, or am I beside the point because I’m not a man? Personally, I don’t think my fantasies or activities are all that different from the men I know who have similar fantasies and do similar things, so I’d think I could answer your questions too, but you seem to think the mere fact of my being female makes everything… different? Irrelevant?

Personally, I tend to think that discussions that say “Men who have or wield sexual power matter; women who have or wield it are odd plot points” are a bit… off. It seems to me to replicate something very patriarchal: as a woman, you have no power, so you are not worth talking to or thinking about.

But if you feel that my situation or my psyche is so different from a man’s that my saying anything is silly, let me know and I’ll leave you to your discussion. :)

There's another post that hasn't yet made it through moderation here.

The thing that intrigues me particularly about all this is the way that these posters seem to think they're "unmasking sadism," as if they've come across some new fact about SM or those who do it that makes their analysis a good one. When, as far as I can actually tell, the thing at the core of it is basically the same old
  1. refusal to take people who do BDSM at our word when we talk about endorphins, or play, or negotiation, or whether we see D/s as "egalitarian" (some do, I don't) or "fair" (I do); and
  2. anecdote by one poster/about one friend who was duped by someone using extreme, poorly-negotiated D/s to abuse or harm, by making the claim that "serious slavery" or "true love" or "being cool enough for me" involved never being permitted one's own life, interests, or personal growth, with
  3. no discussion at all of how common such a story is, or in what subgroups within BDSM it is common or uncommon, or whether and how we can determine whether it is representative or not.
(okay, okay, in this case there's also "My buddy the dominatrix was a mean drunk, and I didn't believe her when she said she wanted out of sex work." I don't know if I read that right, but is she seriously saying there that because her friend was mean, the friend must have been dominant and therefore enjoyed work she claimed she wanted to leave? That's how I read it, though I hope I'm missing something obvious.)

I'd really like an "unmasking" that tries a little harder, guys gyns guys -- didn't realize he was male.

11 comments:

lalouve said...

"There is nothing better for a man than the passion of a woman in love, in my book."

Heteronormative much, this guy? And isn't it interesting how he makes this discussion one between him and other men about how women should be treated - clearly they need to settle that between them without irreleveant input form women, excpet perhaps the few submissive/masochistic women who are supposed to explain themselves in this imporvised court. Bleah!

BeccaTheCyborg said...

It seems the guy is just looking for people to chime in only if they fit his extremely patriarchal, heteronormative theory. Anyone whose experience differs or doesn't fit with his theory (female sadists, most kinky people) simply either don't count, or don't know what they're talking about.

Hmm, extremely narrow sample, ignoring other theories, emphatically avoiding having the theory tested at all? And this guy has "scientist" in his name? Tsk.

Trinity said...

Becca,

Yes, that's how I felt reading through it too. Didn't strike me as particularly scientific.

(I felt similarly about his "HIV does not cause AIDS" posts; yes, there's much that's mysterious about AIDS, but we know that HIV attacks the immune system, and that people who have HIV tend to develop immune problems... it seems to me that in order to prove the theory that HIV causes AIDS wrong, we'd need a lot better science than his posts suggest.)

BeccaTheCyborg said...

He's one of the HIV denialists, that says enough to me.

He keeps using the word "science", but I don't think it means what he thinks it means.

Trinity said...

"He keeps using the word "science", but I don't think it means what he thinks it means."

Same. I hunted around his blog for his credentials as a scientist, but found nothing. Which of course could just mean he's not interested in telling us where he went to college/grad school and where he works, but could also mean it's a self-chosen appellation.

Trinity said...

"And isn't it interesting how he makes this discussion one between him and other men about how women should be treated - clearly they need to settle that between them"

Agreed. The homosociality of it is really... well, I was about to say "really interesting", except that it's actually pretty boring.

More interesting is his own little profession of cruelty in a comment he made at Heart's place when he made this "Unmasking" post:

"Drat, I will never figure out how to trackback! I posted about this on my blog. I doubt my language would be appropriate here, but basically I am saying to your defensive, combative, aggressive posters you had to moderate, if you dare to try to justify yourselves, sadists, go to my blog. The post Sadism Unmasked is there waiting to shred you. This is the end of my post.

The twisting of consent in the S/M scene is a huge can of worms. This helps men justify their lust for cruelly abusing women. This is what I would like to discuss. How do you justify this form of lust, men? I would also like to discuss why a woman would seek such abuse. I think such women need help, not abuse.

Heart, if you doubt this post is appropriate, feel free to censor it. This subject is so touchy. My techniques of argument are crafty and perhaps unfair. I did not want to say too much upfront. Is that a trap? I think my warning makes it clear, expect harsh scrutiny. I am curious what makes them tick. Maybe they will reveal more than they realize. Maybe none will dare face an angry scientist’s relentless logic. These men are probably not merely fantasizing about this kind of behavior. I hope curiosity does not kill this cat. If any such man jumps in, I expect the thread to get ugly in a hurry, since I really have no sympathy for men taking pleasure in hurting women. I see rape written all over that."

So we have lying about one's own motivations so one can eviscerate people, "trapping" them, being "angry" and "relentless."

And he wants to know why sadism attracts people.

Maybe it's just the "hard dick" bit he's having trouble with?

BeccaTheCyborg said...

I think you've called it, Trinity. All the sadism and none of the fun or honesty. If he's his own example, I could see why he thinks sadistic men are such horrors.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Shorter dude:

"I am so clever and I will lead you wicked people into a trap beyond your capacity to comprehend!"

"... man, why are you standing there waving a sign that says 'TRPA'?"

Dana said...

"He keeps using the word "science", but I don't think it means what he thinks it means."

Inconceivable!

That man is an idiot, and has an entire blog dedicated to trying to convince others he is clever. I've read other people whose views shove them into the "idiot" column but have a hell of a lot more logic and grasp of the English language going for them than this overcompensating fool.

Also, if he were a "hard scientist" as he likes to claim, that would usually mean physicist or the like. How would being a physicist qualify him to analyse social constructs? Not at all, my friends, not at all.

The style and succinctness of the replies from this "side" really highlighted his failings too. I was rather impressed.

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