You Are Full of It.

This is a lightly edited reposting of a “thing” I posted on FetLife.

Coercive power structures.

Lots of things in life just don’t translate. I would hope that most can recognize the dangers of a group pressuring an individual to conform to group standards, but I won’t hold my breath. I’m not into that kind of breath play.

Today on Fet, there has been a number of interesting posts about handling criticism, from group to individual level. My ax is totally ground on the group level.

I’ll make this super simple. So you’re the group leader and you want to ban someone. I hope you have some sort of rules, bylaws, something to reference so when you inform the person of their ban, you then cite the problem issue.

That’s it. Done. Don’t drag it out. You don’t want that person around anyway. That’s what banning is. But that’s not how I see it being used.

What I am seeing is this; Group says…if you don’t do this x, y and z then we will exclude you for x amount of time or until you change and comply with x, y, and z and by the way, none of this is covered in the bylaws, rules or anywhere. That sends a clear ass message-submit or leave. Well, Fuck You.

And organizers wonder why some people get seriously ticked the fuck off?
Fix your rules and bylaws. Stay on target. Don’t flinch.

But wait, that’s not the real issue here, is it? That action is like ban-lite or even a pre-ban, isn’t it? It’s the, you broke a rule and get slapped on the wrist, say your sorry and come get hugs. But that’s not the issue, not really.

It’s deeper than that. Much deeper. Some things are clear cut. I don’t want a known rapist attending a munch I organize. I won’t invite a stalker to my house for an event. And I’m a dick. I won’t let the drama brigade cross my threshold. That’s all me, an individual dealing with other individuals. But groups are a creature weird, different and strange and already screwed up.

Small Group Dynamics aka. “the local community”

The larger the group structure, the greater the power plays it contains.

Humans are weird. There is a general lack of consense for social norms, for traditions, for values: group or individual, for any number of things. But they form groups to set a standard in the things the group finds important. And then they enforce their own values and rules upon its members. Most of the time, this is agreed upon. Sometimes, someone takes exception. And this leads to a second factor dealing with bans.

You are a Heretic. Shame! Shame! Shame!

Ah, so you’re the one facing a group ban. You stepped on someone’s toes. You threaten to upset the power structure and naturally, you were removed from the group. Sorry, but your lack of foresight led to this. Really, does anyone believe that when Martin Luther nailed his points on the church door, that the church wouldn’t strike back and strike back hard? It was just the hill he felt was worth dying on.

And it split the group. Welcome to the next level of group evolution. Congratulations, you just birthed a splinter group. If you fail to act fast and with love and humility you just might lose any control of your ideological child. Eh, well, groups rarely make good parents. It can happen. Maybe it can happen to you. Worth a shot? Make a friend now so you don’t have an enemy later, hmm?

The Takeaway

You can only do so much. You can’t stop peoples’ dickish behavior. You can set boundaries, ie. rules. You can hold those boundaries, ie. enforce the rules. Too often, anything more than that or less than that creates the dreaded drama monster. That drama monster can eat the entire community for breakfast.

TL/DR

It takes a Dick to herd cats. It takes a Dick with rules to run a community.
And some Dick’s just aren’t worth dealing with.

Yup. No advice here, none given. Just commentary.

Found Wisdom

Found this story in an unusual place and it was credited to Facebook. It is too good to keep to myself. With current events and the news cycle reacting instead of investigating and then reporting, we need to be mindful of that which divides us as members of the human race. We need to calm our minds and thoughts before acting. Often, reacting is the wrong action to take. Stop. Breathe. Wait.

~ Are you a witch? ~

One of my friends told me about a powerful lesson in her daughter’s high school class this winter. They’re learning about the Salem Witch Trials, and their teacher told them they were going to play a game.

“I’m going to come around and whisper to each of you whether you’re a witch or a normal person. Your goal is to build the largest group possible that does NOT have a witch in it. At the end, any group found to include a witch gets a failing grade.”

The teens dove into grilling each other. One fairly large group formed, but most of the students broke into small, exclusive groups, turning away anyone they thought gave off even a hint of guilt.

“Okay,” the teacher said. “You’ve got your groups. Time to find out which ones fail. All witches, please raise your hands.”

No one raised a hand.

The kids were confused and told him he’d messed up the game.

“Did I? Was anyone in Salem an actual witch? Or did everyone just believe what they’d been told?”

And that is how you teach kids how easy it is to divide a community.

Keep being welcoming, beautiful people. Shunning, scapegoating and dividing destroy far more than they protect. We’re all in this together.

Left of Center

It’s strange that I’m not used to it yet. I am almost always the oddball, the extreme line, the other viewpoint, the devils advocate; I am often the one not expected to be in the room. I’ve gotten used to ignoring personal bias in favor of believing that such thoughtlessness could not be malevolent. Just how off left of center am I?

Well, I carry a lot of labels at anyone time. Female, mother, sister, daughter, wife. Bisexual, Polyamorous, open marriage, multiple partners. Kinkster, submissive, slave, switch, Domme, online, real life. Religious, liberal, UU, Pagan, Eclectic spirituality, convert, humanist, agnostic, mystic.

I could keep going on with the labels but it’s like this in most areas of my life. I always seem to be quite a bit over to the far ends of things on what it feels like most subjects. So I am perhaps a bit more aware of everyone’s personal bias and assumptions. It’s natural to think everyone else around is like you, even if they are not. I even fall into that trap myself.

Especially over polyamory.

And where does polyamory get the short end of the stick? The kink community.

I attended an online discussion the other night and as insightful as it was, I walked away quietly seething. I was once again sitting on the far left of everything. And because words are powerful, I listened and recognised that everyone was speaking from inside their own bubble of biases and viewpoints and assumptions. But it’s those biases and assumptions that have me seething.

Single, heterosexual, monogamous kinkster is not and should not be viewed as the mainstream in BDSM community, either on-line or not. People make up such wonderful varieties of personal expression, that to speak with the assumptions that everyone is that flavor of cookie is incredibly rude.

For all that the community does in trying to be open and accepting, sometimes it falls down to how much the individuals of the community are willing to be open and accepting.

I’m Poly and married. Any idea how much I get to hear in discussions how married people are cheaters? Any idea how much I hear married listed as a red flag of danger? Any idea how much I hear scorn spoken because some Dom/me has more than one submissive? And if poly is mentioned, it’s quickly given a nod but the words and attitudes remains unchanged?

What ever happened to your kink isn’t my kink? What happened to all that acceptance that community has touted about? Human nature has again stepped in. Let’s be honest, we want to hang around folks that are like us. So, why do I constantly find myself on the far side of center almost every time?

Facilitators, speakers, presenters; words can hurt. A careless thought, an unquestioned assumption can do damage unexpectedly. The world has more variety, more variations than just the standard sugar cookie. If your words and assumptions only apply to one variation, are you aware of it; do you state that, are you willing to own that?

I am that person you could be accidentally insulting, degenerating, harming.
I am that far left off center but I look just like you too.
I am a part of the community but I don’t feel welcome to be me.