Public service announcement: if you really want to understand why someone does what they do or likes what they like, and you’re not just smugly looking to have your own opinion validated…try asking the question in an unbiased way.
A Facebook friend of mine just posted to say that she’s been seeing two guys who are into BDSM, and she’s not into BDSM, and she wanted some insights as to why people like it. Except of course she didn’t just say “please help me understand why people like this,” she took on the pearl-clutching, self-righteous attitude I often see in vanillas: “Well I just don’t understand why there’s any need for people to hurt or humiliate others. It seems like a mental health issue to me. Can someone explain?”
Notice that in one fell swoop, she:
-Demonstrated that she’s horribly biased against BDSM
-Demonstrated that her biases aren’t even grounded in reality (BDSM doesn’t have to involve pain or humiliation)
-Declared, outright, that she thinks people into BDSM literally have something wrong with them/are crazy in the head.
Well I’m sure that won’t put anyone on the defensive.
And remember, this person is friends with me! Albeit just on Facebook, but still. I like(d) and respect(ed) her. I thought she liked and respected me. She knows I’m kinky and when I responded to her post she was like “Oh good, Cowgirl, I was hoping you’d show up.” So WTF?
I told her that BDSM doesn’t necessarily entail pain or humiliation and that even when it does, it’s consensual, which is really damn different from being mean to someone who doesn’t want it. Then – after a short internal struggle – I posted again to say that her phrasing was pretty offensive; if she really wants her question answered she might have asked it in a less biased way, like for instance not accusing kinky people of being sick.
She responded that she didn’t accuse anyone of being sick. Which…okay, I suppose “it seems like a mental health issue to me” is technically different from saying “those people are mentally ill” but come on. Come the fuck on. How is it remotely acceptable to say that to someone? How can she believe that she’s simply requesting information in a neutral way?
This woman works in child care. If I said “I just don’t understand why anyone would want to be around children all day. It seems kind of pedophilic to me. Can someone explain?” do you think that would go over well? What if I said, “but I wasn’t accusing you of being a pedophile. I was only saying that you, and everyone like you, does things that I think a pedophile would do.” Would that fix it?
This woman always seemed open-minded, intelligent, and balanced to me. I was not expecting this streak of passive-aggression from her. I’ve stopped responding to her post (I’m too angry right now and don’t want this to turn into a public bitchfight). I’m hoping others will come along and back me up that she’s behaving badly. So far, though, nobody has.
Goddammit I just woke up and already I’m in a bad mood.