thoughts on Disrupting Rape Culture (Fanghanel, 2019)30 Jun 2020
On kink as a war machine, and the problems of it
Following some interrogations I had about BDSM as a practice that could leave us closer to the emancipation from the patriarchy, I decided to look up in the academia what has already been said on the matter. I’ve read two chapters on this book by Fanghanel, about out to disrupt rape culture (which is, in my opinion, similar to this idea of emancipation from the patriarchy), namely the one specifically about kink and the kink-community and the other one about her overall opinion on this disruption matter.
I’ve come across some interesting ideas, which some confirmed some intuitions I had and some others brought new questions to the table. The main question revolves around the idea of community itself. Fanghanel, just like the others scholars before them, interviewed kink practitioners who would often state as ‘‘being part of a BDSM community’’. This doesn’t involve necessarily sharing a physical space, as nowadays the online world allows us to be connected with everywhere in the world. But since those were sharing commons specific practices and felt like they were all together in this learning journey, a feeling of community was there.
The idea of feeling like a part of community has nothing bad in itself. Nonetheless, when the author accused the kink culture as somehow perpetuates the rape culture, she would blame it on the community, how they organize and the culture inherent of it. Because many of the prominent BDSM community of the world namely group together people that already comes from a place of privilege, the culture in it is very individualist. The emphasis on self-sufficiency, self-realization and status are namely problematic. For say, if ones breaks the consent of another, the status of the violator can bring him some immunity towards their acts. Also, the idea of self-sufficiency and self-realization (and the idea of freedom intrinsic to them) leads to a lack of organization around those bad behaviors. And when some actions are taken towards those, it is nothing close to efficient, since it is normally some kind of punitive justice that no real superior authority is able to apply (I don’t know why but it reminds me of International Law). Therefore, this element of silencing of rape culture is very present in the BDSM community, and the fact that the people who are usually the ‘‘winner’’ in those situations are usually white charismatic people, often male, also suggest that the BDSM community is perpetuating the status quo.
After reading about that situation, I immediately thought ‘‘let’s just inject some anarchy in there’’ (become anarchy is a way or organizing a community, not pure chaos). Nonetheless, this is not the direction I want to explore. As I am not myself a member of a BDSM community (well, not one that I can reorganize, that’s for sure), I will leave this thought experiment for another time.
The interrogations that still plane in the here look more like this:
-It is assumed that people in BDSM community are somehow ‘‘kink-driven’’ instead of ‘‘people-driven’’, aka the object of their desire is a practice and not necessarily a person. Well, first I wonder if I understood this assumption correctly. If it is right, then I could understand the need for this community where you can find potential people-tool-for-practice, and since it is necessary, it is interesting to rethink those communities to make them, if not safer, at least not perpetuating (the bad) status quo.
-Nonetheless, I consider myself a kinky person (I swore to myself that I would only have kinky sex from now on at the beginning of the year), but it is true that I am into the ‘‘charmed kink circle’’, as my kinks are ‘‘normal ones’’, since I am a switch into bondage and role-play. Also, I am a cute intelligent privileged young relationship anarchist witch. Therefore, I never felt like I wouldn’t be able to find a partner with whom I can ‘‘practice’’ my kink in my personal circle of people that I already know and appreciate dearly. I don’t think it would be crazy to state that this is an ideal situation that everybody should be able to enjoy. This also goes along with my belief that sexuality, and namely sexuality involving BDSM, is a spiritual experience that should lead to some healing.
-So I am somehow wondering in the idea of a BDSM community itself just perpetuate this idea of ‘‘spectacularisation’’ of sexuality, which might or might not be a necessary step towards a world where desire and sex are somewhat more understood and accepted as something ‘‘not so special’’. Especially since I still have this hypothesis that there is no true 100% vanilla people because we live in a broken society, which has been broken for generations now, and ancestral traumas are real. Mmmh.
I still need to read more about the psychology behind BDSM (and power-play in general) and sexual alchemy.