Being Me

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A few days ago, I saw a really excellent post on Tumblr (here, for those of you who would like to read it), and I thought it deserved a slightly more thoughtful response than just reblogging it. Because it does say, very well, a lot of things that I’d kind of been practicing without discussing, and I wanted to talk a little bit about why I do the things I do without hijacking the thread. And my blog is a perfect place (in my opinion at least) to talk about myself, in the assumption that people coming here want to hear my specific thoughts and ideas about a topic. So here’s what I think about patriarchal fantasies and realities.

First, let’s start with a basic fact. I am, and I don’t at all think this is an original description of the job of an author, a professional liar. It is, in fact, my job to tell you things that I know are not true, and make them sound believable enough that at least temporarily, you do that wonderful thing called “suspending your disbelief” and treat them as if they are in fact true. This is a good and wonderful thing, and I will defend the need for fiction to my dying day, but the important point is, I lie a lot. And specifically, I lie about sex. And more specifically, I lie about the exchange of power in sex in a lot of ways that are emotionally and politically charged. You can’t write about kink without writing about politics, at least not in a small-p interpersonal way.

Second, the kind of lying that writers do is only worthwhile within the context of an accepted set of rules about when it’s okay to lie. That is to say, if I tell you, “In a hole in a ground, there lived a hobbit,” that is the kind of lie that is perfectly fine even though there are no such things as hobbits and the holes in the ground are (hopefully unoccupied). Whereas if I tell you, “I will be at the airport in ten minutes to pick you up,” and I am in reality sitting at home eating popcorn and watching a ‘Forged in Fire’ marathon, that is a very bad kind of lie even though it is significantly closer to the truth than the one about the hobbits. In order for this whole thing to work, you have to know when I am lying and when I am telling the truth.

And third, I cannot trust you to just know. I mean, okay, maybe I can with the hobbit thing, and I’m probably pretty safe if I claim to have inside knowledge on a war fought long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, but I cannot legitimately expect you to know that when I say, “Women are inherently sluts and they just need a good hard fucking to bring it out of them,” I’m speaking in my capacity as a professional liar and not as an honest-but-highly objectionable misogynist. Not without something to signify, one way or the other, which metaphorical hat I am wearing when I say it. (The hat is a lie too. There is no hat. “It’s metaphorical” is just a way of saying, “This is a really cool lie that will help you understand something when I explain it to you.”)

Now, there are some people on Tumblr involved in the “patriarchy” kink (I don’t feel like I need to name any names, I’m sure you can all think of a few) who seem to be very comfortable blurring this line. They will make posts that are explicitly anti-feminism, pro-misogyny, and supportive of the idea that all women everywhere should see as their primary goal earning the approval of men. These are their only posts. There’s nothing in there about big-P Politics, and the only little-p politics you can read from their statements is that women are worthless and men should treat them like property. They do not make a distinction between women who consent to this as their personal kink and women who don’t… although as Hypnovictim pointed out, many of them seem very interested in making distinction between ciswomen and transwomen, and not in positive ways. Consent to a patriarchy kink is assumed to be opt-out, not opt-in.

There are, to be blunt, two kinds of people who do this. The first kind are the people who assume, very incorrectly, that they can expect you to know when they are wearing the professional liar hat and that they shouldn’t have to tell you every time. They may believe (again, they are so wrong) that simply being on Tumblr under that account name and posting under their fictional persona is an obvious signifier that they are writing a fictional account of a kink they enjoy, and that everyone should simply understand that they don’t really believe that women should be treated like shit. They honestly don’t understand why it is that they get tarred with such a broad brush by what they assume are humorless people.

The reason they’re wrong is because of the second kind of person who does this. The second kind of person genuinely believes all this awful shit. They are not wearing a professional liar hat. They are not lying. They are saying, quite truthfully and honestly and horribly, that they believe women to have no inherent worth as human beings and they think it’s okay to abuse them for men’s sexual pleasure. They are very serious, and their words are absolutely indistinguishable from the words the first type uses. There is no way to tell who is wearing the metaphorical hat, here.

And all this goes a long way to explain why I have absolutely no fucks to give for the poor misunderstood Tumblr Dom who posts once in a blue moon with, “Why does everyone just assume I’m like this in real life?” or “Why do all these white supremacists and men’s rights activists keep following me?” or “Why does everyone think I’m transphobic and homophobic?” This is entirely a self-inflicted problem. When you don’t make it sufficiently clear what parts of your kink are real and what parts of it are fantasy, you are responsible for that. You chose to blur that line between fiction and reality, and that means you take on an implicit responsibility for people not knowing where you stand. If you don’t like that, in the immortal words of Tumblr users everywhere, TAG YOUR PORN.

And it’s also why I make my Tumblr blog the way it is. I tag my fiction as fiction not just because it’s easier to find that way, but because I want people to know that the things I write about as kinky fantasies aren’t the things I believe, even if they’re told in the first person. I put big-P Political posts on there so that you, my audience, know that when I write about women being brainwashed, it is an opt-in consensual fantasy and not my stance on feminism. I post silly, goofy little shitposts sometimes, not just because I think they’re funny but because I want you to know that I am a real human being and not a persona. I make my blog real so that when I’m lying, you know it.

And hopefully, you enjoy it.

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