Monday, February 14, 2011

All Fleaed out.

Whoof. Tired, sore, did not get any writing done, and soooo happy. I was hypnotized, beaten, flogged, tied up, fucked, fisted, scratched, dragged around by the hair, and at one point had blood suction-cupped out of my body via the holes made by a stapler. I also got to see just about every kinky person I've ever met, watch the most fucking hilarious BDSM comedy show imaginable, and attend some fascinatingly informative classes on everything from "Mind Play 101" to "The History Of Torture." And the shopping. My left forearm will take weeks to recover.

(Stupid inside joke explanation: when you shop for hitty-toys, you test out their precise level of hittyness by hitting yourself or your shopping buddy on the forearm. When you're shopping through thousands of hitty-toys, the damage adds up.)

Oh, and some tidbits for the ever-simmering "BDSM and feminism" cauldron: I've never been in a more gender-comfortable space. All sorts of people were presenting all sorts of ways and very few assumptions were made--including the assumptions often made of ciswomen presenting as traditionally feminine. The Flea intro booklet had an entire page on transgender etiquette. Bathrooms were open to all genders, which I was way too into--"I'M PEEING IN THE BOYS' ROOM!" The general skeeve factor was admirably low, frankly much lower than at your average non-sexual nerd convention. Everything in the classes was phrased in the language of inclusion, respect, and the right to be and feel safe while doing bizarre shit to each other's bodies and minds. The word "consent," taken extremely seriously, came up probably eighty times a day.

I felt safer letting someone flog me at the Flea than I feel just talking to some people outside it. I don't know if that's "feminism" exactly, but it's awesome.


  1. I'd say it's better than "feminism", it's an example of TRUE gender equality. My best friend just got back from Flea, and I can't wait to hear his stories :)

  2. Feminism is true gender equality!

    Or rather, it's an umbrella term for way too many conflicting philosophies, which includes my personal favorite of true gender equality, but also sometimes includes other things I don't agree with, but on the whole it's a decent umbrella term.

  3. I've always felt that the focus of the word 'feminism' on a single gender means that it is inevitably bound for obsolescence: if the goal is gender equality and not just the propping up of one gender, then surely there is a better term than this rather antiquated one?

  4. Awesomeness. I too have found the most respectful, inclusive, and fun groups of people in the BDSM community. Guys who will listen when you say no! And who do not assume that because you like [being tickled/hit/scratched with a knife] that you also want their penis in your vagina!

  5. Anon - Saying that women are seen and treated differently and usually worse than men in current society is not antiquated yet.

    Anyway, women aren't "propped up" at men's expense--in fact it's usually to their benefit. Very few feminist issues are zero-sum. So I don't feel like saying "feminism" is exactly ignoring men, because while it focuses on women, it's more about integrating men into a gender-accepting society than it is about making men lesser than women.

  6. I didn't argue that saying that women are seen and treated differently and usually worse than men in current society is antiquated - I argued that the term 'feminism' probably misrepresents the aims and desires of most people who describe themselves as 'feminists'. We shouldn't call a belief in gender equality 'feminism' for the same reasons we shouldn't call a belief in racial equality 'blackism', or whatever other imaginary term you might want to concoct. While I wouldn't really describe myself as a 'feminist', I am definitely an anti-sexist: right now, women certainly have it worse than men (to put it bluntly), but the term 'feminism' ostensibly carries with it the inherent presumption that the way men are treated by society is fine as it is. It might not be used or intended in that way, but those are the connotations which it carries, at least for me.

    I'm afraid that the other half of your post was a bit of a straw-man argument: I know the point I'm trying to make is the sort of point often made by pigs and bigots, but by no means do I suggest that the term 'feminism' means furthering women at the expense of men - that's just silly.

  7. Okay, I don't think we fundamentally disagree except on terms. I say "feminism" because I feel like "equalism" and "humanism" et al. have been taken over by anti-feminists, and because explaining my entire gender philosophy every time would take way more than three syllables.

    So yeah, I'm really an equalist or whatever, but to say "I'm not a feminist, I'm an equalist" would carry connotations I want no part of.

  8. I can appreciate that you don't want to be mistaken for one of /those/ people; it's a risk I always take.

    (The word I was looking for was 'egalitarian'. I'm an egalitarian!)

  9. I'm so glad you had a good time. I mean, gladder than I probably should be, given that I wasn't there for the festivities. Your joy tends to be a tad contagious, Holly :)

    -- CoronerCountess

  10. @Anon

    Regarding feminism; if you look at it on a global (or even wider regional) level, it takes on a very different meaning. Some communities are very progressive (and some use language differently) so unless you've dealt with feminists from very different cultures, it's a bit hasty to retire the world.

    Though ethnocentrism reigns strongly in the prejudice of all cultures, I find that Americans in particular are susceptible to believing that they are more isolated and do not affect (or feel affect of) the world around them. This is quite unfortunate, as spending a few weeks outside, even in someplace first-world like Japan, will give you a radically different perspective.

    However, I encourage you to take a brief visit to South Africa, India, China, or Saudi Arabia before making judgments on its applicability. I have visited all (save China), and can say that any and all incorporation of women's rights on North America's part does help spread the concept there.

  11. Edit myself: "retire the word"

  12. Dude, I'm so fucking jealous. Glad you had fun, though. The unisex bathrooms sound awesome, for a very strange reason.

  13. "I felt safer letting someone flog me at the Flea than I feel just talking to some people outside it. I don't know if that's "feminism" exactly, but it's awesome."


  14. @RoboCop Try Germany/Eastern Europe; unisex shower rooms are pretty common. In decline though.

  15. I've been reading this blog for a little while, and while I've often felt informed, entertained and hell— pretty damn encouraged by your writing, I didn't feel the need to comment until today.

    I dunno, I guess it was almost like, "I'm reading a sex blog, whee sexy stories!" and feeling like I was somehow more scandalous and exciting in a strange vicarious manner but...

    Peeing in the boys bathroom is something I can totally get excited for. I technically know what they do in there but what do they do in there?

    also: "you test out their precise level of hittyness"

    "Hittyness" is the best word. Thank you for giving it to us.

  16. M4gaston: I'm not American, I'm British, and I wasn't trying to suggest that women's rights issues are irrelevant today either - maybe you didn't catch my second post? I clarified a few things there.

  17. Try Germany/Eastern Europe; unisex shower rooms are pretty common. In decline though.

    What magical land of Germany/Eastern Europe are you talking about? Because it sure isn't the one I've lived my life in...

  18. @Ice

    Ah, pardon, I didn't mean that it was some kind of majority, but in many hostels and such group facilities, there are unisex bathroom/showers. I've encountered them in France as well. Didn't find them at all erotic, but they're definitely easy to come by if it's what you're looking for...

    Was using a reply to springboard into an open point, I meant no indictment of your intention. I suppose I should have left off the "@" altogether though, true.

  19. @M4gast0n,

    I thought "it's a bit hasty to retire the world" was kind of an awesome typo, though!

    And i'm going to one of those kink events this weekend, where i feel "safer letting someone flog me...than I feel just talking to some people outside it." Yes! That is SO awesome. Still, i'm not quite ready to retire the world.


  20. @M4gast0n

    What you've probably encountered was someone either forgetting to tell you what gender these facilities are for, or being too lazy to bother.

    Being someone who's lived in student dorms that get turned into hostels over summer, I've seen that happen numerous times. And no, those bathrooms weren't unisex, they were gender specific per floor because each floor of the dorm was gender specific (so there's no point in putting a girl or boy sign on the door). I just guess when they squeezed tourists in, they didn't bother with floor separation.

    (On the other hand, true that, many guys would sometimes visit girls' floors because they had cleaner facilities and nobody ever did anything about it. Or was bothered, really.)

    The thing with dorms and hostels is that they're generally planned as a family house so to speak (or hell, a hotel room with an outside bathroom, kind of), and you don't have a separate bathroom for men and women in your house. On the other hand, walk to the next building where the kitchen is, and the bathroom there is split. So this is a simple not-thinking-ahead situation, and has nothing even remotely to do with gender equality.

  21. Holly -

    Glad you had a blast - the Who's Kink is it Anyway presentation was indeed awesome!!!