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The Price of Pleasure 3

Well, I saw the SM bit of The Price of Pleasure.

I should probably be more pissed off than I am at it, but I'm really quite burnt out on other people's SM hate.

For those of you who don't know, the worst part of its depictions of SM: Images of dunking bound women in water, juxtaposed with images of torture from Pinochet's regime.

Time was, I'd be really angry at that.

Now, I'm just sad. If people want to think, and say, and profit on, the idea that I'm an inhuman monster, I can't stop them. The Goddess knows I've tried.

And I'm getting tired of it, and don't feel like engaging with anyone like that any more. If you presume I'm a bad person -- or hasten to tell me that you think I'm a lovely person but the Patriarchy made me get off on something that wasn't very nice, but you give me your holy permission to continue using whips -- I'm just done with you. Done until we meet and talk and you walk away shocked.

But I'm not throwing in any towels, here. I've got something to say. I've always got something to say.

And that is that I envy, with every fiber of my soul, people whose lives are so damn safe that they can actually, with a straight face, have the same terror of consensual sex that they have of actual torture.

Before I go on, I want to note that I do understand that some people have experienced intense violence and are triggered by SM. My beef isn't with them at all, as long as they understand that my triggers and their triggers may not be the same things. And that, hey, even if they are the same things, some people actually deal with things that are serious for them by working them out in controlled environments.

Risky? You bet.

Wrong and bad? Only if you think that you know better than some other individual person how she should deal with her trauma.

My beef? Is with whiny academics like Jensen and Dines and Whisnant and the makers of this film, for whom conflating these things is lucrative. People for whom pearl-clutching and sympathy are a profit machine: Money, attention, tenure when your arguments are shot full of holes.

My problem is them. Because they're as far removed from the reality of Pinochet's regime as they are from the reality of sadomasochists like me. Jensen doesn't know what torture is. Maybe he knows what guilt is. But all he knows is what it's like to feel bad about himself, and get attention as riveted and intense from his fans as a porn star gets from hers. And he profits from not knowing the difference.

My issue is not that he doesn't like SM. I don't give a fuck about that. My issue is that when he says shit like that, he trivializes torture.

He teaches people who have a visceral squick at SM -- and there are many such people, and I'm fine with them -- that that reaction, that revulsion, is just the same as what it means to recoil from the violent tactics of a State committing war crimes. (Why mention Pinochet's crimes and not our country's? Because someone else already did that?)

And young college girls -- who I again have nothing against, I was one myself ten years ago, and it feels like not so long ago at all -- eat it up. Because, with rare exceptions, they're not people with a passion for ending torture. They're nervous kids who don't want pressure from a boy. And they get to feel totally vindicated, because that's just like torture, OMG.

I envy people who know so little about real pain that they can make that parallel without retching. It's got to be nice to have lived such a safe little life that you have no idea what the difference is.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 23rd, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Yep, I'm serious.

I'm actually kind of relieved they said it outright. It gets really annoying to do the weavey "Oh, I don't have anything against you and I'm glad that your boy loves you, it's just what you DO that's warped, sick, and indicative that society broke you."

I'd honestly rather be compared to Pinochet. It's just plain less crazymaking than "I love women, so therefore I can't be mad at you, but damn do I hate them there sadopatriarchs!"

It's also blatantly obvious it's bullshit.
Oct. 23rd, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
And thank you so much for that post. I hadn't seen it. But yes.

THAT is what a real sadist looks like. And... that one, at least, don't look like no boy.
Oct. 23rd, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
So, so revolting, that anyone can think *any* consensual, and worse, any *mutually desired* sexual activity, is morally equivalent to state-sponsored torture. I just...don't even know what else to say about it. It's like not understanding that participating in a murder mystery dinner theater isn't the same as killing someone, and protesting the former while just using news of actual murders to "prove" how horrible it is that some people get OMG, PLEASURE, out of (pretending they're, but that's not important, because pretending and reality are really the same thing) KILLING PEOPLE!
Oct. 24th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
Yes, pretty much. Pretending to do something is just the same as doing it, apparently.

Never mind that most SM tops *aren't* pretending to be Pinochet, anyway.
Oct. 23rd, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
And that, hey, even if they are the same things, some people actually deal with things that are serious for them by working them out in controlled environments.

One of the most intense things I've done with my liege was a partial reenactment of my sexual assault experience.
Oct. 24th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
*nods* I've done a very loose reenactment of my own trauma as well. It was a very positive experience for me.

This is actually where I part ways with a lot of people in the Scene too, who will insist that "BDSM is not therapy" and exhort people not to play with triggers. I never liked that dismissive wave -- as if someone who wants to do this kind of thing is explicitly hoping she won't have to get health care, or something. It just strikes me as such a silly thing to assume. I really don't get it.

I do think it's not the sort of thing to enter into lightly, and I can think of scenarios and individuals I would emphatically turn down because I don't think that particular scene would be healthy or that that particular person could handle it.

But the "don't do it" warnings? They just strike me as infantilizing people with PTSD in the name of this weird sort of "protection", and I just... "wait, what? so you'll fuck her and choke her and spit on her but you won't do the rape scene she asked for, not because you're squicked and not OK with it (because we all know domlydoms can never admit anything bothers them), but because NOW... she needs therapy?"
Oct. 25th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
It's all strange alchemy, neh?

I might say "Don't play with triggers lightly", but the sort of edge that goes around triggery shit is a big part of what I kink on in the first place -- finding the edges, pushing those boundaries.
Oct. 25th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
Agreeing Trin is Agreeing.
I might say "Don't play with triggers lightly", but the sort of edge that goes around triggery shit is a big part of what I kink on in the first place -- finding the edges, pushing those boundaries.

I say this so often people make fun of me for it, but there's nothing I can say to that besides "Yeah. THAT."
Oct. 24th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)

That is all.
Oct. 24th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Oct. 24th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
Word Trinity...


I mean, yeah...actual human agony and suffering....humm, know some people (both of us included) who have been there, done that, have the scars and all...

likening sex acts and activities people get squicked on to honest real human agony and fear?

It's a cheap fucking side show tactic. I will have none.
Oct. 24th, 2008 02:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, and the thing is... I don't consider myself tough at all, I wear my emotions on my sleeve and it doesn't take much to upset me, really...

but actual trauma? It toughened me up, in ways... and one of those ways was that violent themes and such stopped bothering me. It just became really silly to be bothered about some of the sorts of things that used to bother me.

I don't mean I turned into a mercenary, I still wondered what was really acceptable... but it just, all the things that I saw as necessary for social order? I stopped caring. I don't really *care* about a social order that feels good to everyone all the time.

I care about real injustices. I care when someone uses porn as a tool in a rape -- I don't care what the people who made it were thinking, ffs, any more than I care what the Beatles were thinking when they made an album that *ahembullshit* incited Charles Manson to violence *ahemyehrite*.
Oct. 24th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC)
well, i am a mercenary, but...

indeed, more focus on actual monsters, and less on consenting people doing what they don't approve of.

as they say (ahem) in the NRA...guns don't kill people- people kill people
Oct. 24th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
indeed, more focus on actual monsters, and less on consenting people doing what they don't approve of.

Yeah, I mean, actually having a job trying to work for social justice... you know what? It's boring. It's a pile of work that will never get done. It's not sexy like going to a college and having all the fun of staring at dirty pictures AND the fun of condemning your enemies all at once.

It's "okay, now how DO we get these people health care? And how do we convince the government, in the middle of economic downturn from hell, not to abandon these people over here, and those over there, and to realize they're not adequately serving those over there?"

It's not slick.

It's more worthwhile than any slick thing I ever did.

And I'm the sparklepony and not Dines? Because I dress sexier (within a subculture) than she does?

Because I wear suits rather than dress business casual because it makes me feel sexy to see myself in a suit jacket and think about the awed look my boy gives me when I see him after work, before I've changed clothes?

Yeah, tell me another one.
Oct. 24th, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC)
Um, yeah, the kidnapping, torture, 'disappearing' and murder of thousands of innocent civilians by a totalitarian regime is exactly the same as SM. Um, or maybe it isn't - maybe it's completely different. Yeah, that's right, COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Duh, you can see how they made the mistake though, eh? :/
Oct. 24th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah. Bondage : Bondage. Water : Water. Consent : being one of the "disappeared."

Two out of three, y'know, that makes it really hard to tell which is which!

Like I said... I understand that SM viscerally bothers people. Hell, for a time it viscerally bothered *me* despite the attraction always being there. But I don't understand why it is that people can't leave it at "wow, that bothers me." It has to either be "consensual Abu Ghraib" (which it makes me feel slimy to even type next to one another), or "the hidden agenda of the Patriarchy," or "how they broke women's libidos," or heaven knows what-all.

I really don't get what's so wrong with "Hey, you know? I don't like that, so I won't do it. And thanks for cutting your LJ posts about your dates with Monkey." Why make a tempest in a teapot about SM, or even SM pornography, when there's real torture happening today, right now, this second?
Oct. 24th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
I'm feelin' you, Trin.
And your last paragraph gave me goosebumps.
So true.
Oct. 24th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Kim.
Nov. 8th, 2008 01:02 am (UTC)
The fact that SM sex is compared to Pinochet (or any other dictator-torturer regime) by antis shows their inexcusable ignorance of what Pinochet did and their lack of respect for the victims. Shit, I've met people who fled their home because of Pinochet and sorry, BDSM is nothing like it. Great post, Trinity.
Nov. 8th, 2008 01:17 am (UTC)
Thanks, La Libertine. It just blows my mind how when you ask these people for concrete evidence for the views they hold, they simply don't have any. They resort to completely absurd "comparisons" because they just don't have anything else to say.

Some people in the anti-porn blogiverse keep saying "Let's rebut these people's critiques of TPOP/Jensen/Dines/whatever" and then the rebuttal never quite shows up. I really do think they don't have anything but these very flimsy comparisons, along with a thirty-year-old body of theory that wasn't even all that sound back then...
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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