YANK & the Thunderdome; Do we need another Hero, or just an Answer?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

YANK’ is part on the series on BDSM and sociology

(Definition YANK: Yet another new Kink-Community. Keywords: BDSM community, old age, gender-role, freedom, sex-positivism, postmodern feminism)

Looking for something we can rely on
There's got to be something better out there
Love and compassion, their day is coming
All else are castles built in the air
And I wonder when we are ever gonna change
Living under the fear till nothing else remains
All the children say

We don't need another hero
We don't need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond the Thunderdome

(Partial text of Beyond the Thunderdome; written by T. Britten and G. Lyle)

What was lingering …
It has been a while since my last series of posting in this Blog. The reason is, that Sir Cameron is busy with his Dominion; a virtual realm in which the participants attempt to live a rational BDSM-lifestyle. Even when few of you know about this or are interested in the Dominion of Lord Cameron, it is relevant nevertheless, then as YANK it confronts me with limits, opportunities and many things to consider. Future blog entries will focus on these dynamics and transfer them to your daily life as a kinkster.

So it is today; whether it is the Dominion, your new ‘relationship’ or your Munch-group; we are looking for something … beyond the Thunderdome.

We are the Children, they left behind
The post-apocalyptic atmosphere of the 1985 movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie) sort of suits the struggle and battlefield we find during the coming out of the kinky community; a process that has been going on for over forty years now.

It is obvious; the steel cage known as Thunderdome would fit well into our fantasy play, also the primitive and raw way of clothing and acting in the movie reflects the emotional garbage of primal urges that we aim to live out in full splendor. Yet, so many kinksters I meet lately come, to stay in the wordings of the song, Out of the ruins (of vanilla society) Out from the wreckage (of not functioning relationships) and tensed in the awareness that they Can't make the same mistake this time.

An understandable skepticism is what I meet when introducing the Dominion of Lord Cameron; yes, there is openness, interest and curiosity, but also a kind of disbelief, resignation even. Of course, we give it all, or nothing.

While reading the reflections of two academics (Meg Barker and Rosalind Gill) on the blog Bitchy Jones's Diary, they mentioned a few things that reminded me of the reactions that we meet when speaking about our dreams and life-style as expressed in the Dominion-ethical-philosophy. It is the feeling of lost opportunities as Meg Barker mentions:

“the sadness and almost sense of betrayal that the kink community wasn't better than that when there’s so much potential for it.”

In the next few paragraphs I will grossly follow their thoughts.

Why do we expect kink communities to be better?
A genuine question I think. The answer may be that these are not old communities that carry the scent of the old age with them; they are seen as fresh and exciting so accordingly we expect better of them.

But, as Rosalind Gill states, ‘it seems that there is a lot of covert policing going on, they are steeped in ideas of what is and isn't permissible, gender roles and dress codes’.

Why is that?

During the coming out of the closet of the kinky community, several parallels are to be found with other sexual minority groups, like the bi-sexuals, queers or transgenders. The first thing they have in common is the same old enemy of a society that functions like a Thunderdome that keeps the ‘figthers for sexual liberty’ captive and that, secondly, only let the victims go at great costs: ripped off from their roots, their beliefs, their communities and often alienated from relatives and friends. For those amongst my readers who think this is an exaggeration I suggest they should go out as a cross-dresser and see the nice and tolerant reactions from the ‘enlightened’ people in the streets.

Barker mentions rightly, that – like LGBTQ groups – kink liberation is “formulated on critique of heteronormativity and vanilla sexual practices, so we expect better of them.” The question is – again- why? Why should a movement that is driven by a counter-reaction, a protest, provide a better base for success?

A possible answer would of course be that by taking the critique on former views into account we might come up with a better functioning alternative. When studying the scientific developments - as they slowly deal with the functioning reality of kinky communities - there are indicators that we indeed have established an alternative sexuality and proper ways of expressing it. Encouraging is also the research of Richters in Australia that shows that engagement in BDSM was not significantly related to any sexual difficulties and concluded that BDSM is simply a sexual interest and for most is not a pathological symptom of past abuse or problems with “vanilla” sex. (Richters, et al., 2008)

Something we of course knew all along. And that may also be the core of our ‘problems’; the covert policing, the ideas of what is and isn't permissible with regard to gender roles and dress codes. The resistance culture eventually turned inwards and the orthodox were not orthodox enough (we must all be Mad Max) and the reformers are too feminist, too intellectual, too less old school.

But there is something to say to that; when I see how the ‘fifthy shade tourism’ is affecting my local kinky community, it is easy to see that what once were the ‘hero’s’ in respect to kink, now are regarded as ‘weird’.

As a group we no longer are first generation kinks, I am not, only few in my Dominion are. Yet, we are still struggling against the same biases of Thunderdome and increasingly more inside our ‘own’ BDSM community. Inequality between tops and bottoms is carried beyond the play rooms, as if 24/7 is the only sensible alternative. But even there, equality, love, respect and care between the partners are a mere necessity; it would not function any other way.

So in a sense, indeed the relationship issues are key in how we live together: the issues of respecting gender, sexual orientation and chosen form of relationship, may be more critical as the power exchange based dominance and submission themes.

As I cannot speak on behalf of the entire BDSM community and only for my own Dominion rulings, I will nevertheless advocate a few things that I regard as an assignment of the BDSM scene as a whole:

  1. We definitely need more research on and acceptance of queer, transgender and polyamory BDSM participants.
  2. Accordingly we require a change of mind with regard to the question what rules kink; sexual pleasure based on gender dynamics or dominance/submission based on power exchange.
  3. We definitely need more real representation of female desire when it comes to sexualizing men and not the behavior that ‘sells’ because it mirrors the male and phallus focused sexual desire.
  4. Reflecting on how the meta-narratives of public opinion makers and social institutions still limit our freedom to define our own actions and appearance.

Yes, I know that most of you readers think this sucks big time; and in a way it does, because for Sir Cameron it means more time writing and less time for playing his lovely bottoms. Yet, the alternative is that BDSM is domesticated by the post-modern discourse of the filthy-shades tourist generation: the discussions of multiculturalism and x-th-wave feminism are relevant for our future and therefore we must either engage or loose our freedom of self-expression.

Perhaps the sadness that BDSM has not delivered to many of us what we hoped to gain from it, is caused by the loss of dreams and ideals. This Blog, the Dominion, the ever changing and evolving stream of BDSM activities are perhaps not advocating dreams, but rather work. If we want something, we should go for it, or mourn like the left behind generation.

So, what do we do with our lives
We leave only a mark
Will our story shine like a light
Or end in the dark
Give it all or nothing

Enjoy – Sir Cameron

Literature & Links

- Barker, Meg and Gill, Rosalind (2012). Sexual subjecti´Čücation and Bitchy Jones’s Diary. Psychology and Sexuality, 3(1) pp. 26–40 (Meg Barker is a psychology lecturer at the Open University and a practising therapist. Rosalind Gill is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at King's College London and author.)

- Richters, J., de            Visser, R.O., Rissel, C.E., Grulich, A.E. & Smith, A.M.A. (2008). Demographic and psychosocial features of participants in bondage and discipline, “sadomasochism” or dominance and submission (BDSM): Data from a national survey. Journal of Sexual Medicine, Vol 5(7), Jul 2008, 1660-1668.

- Movie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Max_Beyond_Thunderdome

- Song: http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/WE-DON'T-NEED-ANOTHER-HERO-THUNDERDOME-lyrics-Tina-Turner/B639405FE74C5DF248256918002E909F 

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