I’ve received a few emails from readers (but surprisingly few visible comments…) about my posts, but my last post on The Feminist Dom seems to have gathered more attention than average.
I suspect that this is due to the current and ongoing focus on the #yesallwomen hashtag and discussion, but since I have neither a facebook nor twitter account, I’m not privy to a great deal of that information. What I do hear is either picked up by the mainstream media, relayed through friends, or things that I see on fetlife (which is the one ‘social network’ of which I am, nominally, a part.)
The comments to my post have been universally positive, but there was at least one call to action – a reader (I don’t know what gender this person chooses to identify with, so I’ll use the colloquial ‘their’ despite it being grammatically incorrect – forgive me) has stated that in their opinion, I do not go far enough. I make a bold statement about my beliefs and why I hold them, but it falls short of the force of Will that normally accompanies one of my Rants, and it is not explicit enough to be a call to action. I have a duty to do more than that, and in my life in meat-space I do, but I can still do more here (and on fetlife as well) so I shall.
I am a Dom. In my case this works for me because I have certain personality traits that facilitate me taking on that role – it is those traits that make me successful and that allow my submissive partner to feel willing to submit to me. I have never taken the title of Alpha, or even claimed to be a ‘Type-A’ personality, but the truth of the matter is that I have many of the qualities that people look for in a leader. If you are being true to your own nature and that leads you to take on the role of Dominant, then you do too, and it is directly to you that I am speaking now.
We are almost all the leaders of our peer groups – perhaps in both vanilla and BDSM worlds.
Some of us are the leaders of our communities.
Some of us are leaders in professional organizations.
Some of us are leaders in the workplace.
Some of us are parents.
Some of us are leaders in other contexts as well, but one truth remains even if none of these apply.
All of us, regardless of roles, regardless of gender identification, regardless of personal power – all of us are a role model to someone and there are people who will observe our behavior and incorporate it into what is and is not acceptable in their own minds.
The perpetrators of the vast majority of violence against women or against transgendered people or against any non-dominant group are men. They’re not all Dominant men, and they’re not all social outliers, most of them are normal in almost every way. In fact, this is part of the problem. It is because society as a whole has divorced gender – specifically the male gender – from the problems of repression and gender violence (not all of which is physically violent) that we are in such a state. It is because we don’t hold men accountable for our own actions. We laugh things like catcalling off as isolated incidents by ‘other men’ but I’ve met self-proclaimed feminist men who will still ogle women and may even go so far as to say something stupid like ‘Daaayumm’ when they see a woman they find particularly attractive.
There are men who are now trying to ‘opt out’ of the #yesallwomen discussion by saying that it’s is #notallmen who perpetrate these things. To a certain extent that is true, but like my original Feminist Dom post, it does not go far enough, and to make matters worse, it shifts the blame to the women making the claims.
Victim blaming is evil.
There is more that I could say on that particular trend, but the above line is succinct and sufficient for anyone who is actually rationally part of this discussion.
Sure, I have personally never catcalled at a woman. I have never groped someone who I wasn’t very sure wanted me to. I routinely turn down sex when I feel like the person I’m with is not able to give consent. And yet, I know that in my past I’ve let comments like the illustration above slide without comment, and I need to stop doing that. Comments like that, those types of actions, they are all hurtful behavior and they need to stop.
That behavior is part of the problem.
Glossing over that behavior is a much larger part of the problem.
One of my favorite movies is The Boondock Saints. There is a great line at the beginning of the film, when the monsignor is giving his invocation at the beginning of mass and he says, “…we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.”
This is where I get personal.
You. Whoever it is that is reading this right now. If you are a male Dom, I am specifically calling you out, but you if you identify as a sub or a switch or something else entirely, you are not immune to this either. This is not because I do not think that women are capable of fighting their own fight, but because for too long we have made it their fight to carry, it never should have been their fight to begin with. We men are responsible for our own behavior, but I am calling on you to act and to go even further than that.
Do not be a bystander.
Do not perpetuate the oppression that is holding down more than half of our society and making them feel unsafe, unloved, or unwelcome.
If you are playing poker and one of your buddies makes a comment like, “Dayum.. did you see Kim Kardashian’s ass in that dress? I’d tap that.” do not let it stand. Do not laugh it off, do not agree, do not just let it slide. That is an inappropriate thing to say and you know it. What if he was making that comment about your sister, or your daughter? I omit wife here because I know that would actually turn some of you kinky fuckers on, but that’s not the point and you know it – so don’t do that either. Don’t dodge an important issue and attempt to deflect with humor. Yes – that is why humor works – it allows us the ability to talk about things that are otherwise socially unacceptable and it has filled a very important role in its ability to do that since the dawn of civilization but we are on the cusp now. We can now take this back and actually make a difference.
If we, the leaders in the male community, take this cause up and act with integrity and mindfulness we can change things.
#yesallwomen is not solely a women’s issue. It’s not even really a people’s issue; it’s a men’s issue. It is us, the men, who need to step up and make the asinine comments that our brothers have been making since the dawn of time unacceptable. These are status-raising comments now and that is totally upside down and backwards. A bigot should not be rewarded for his bigotry. If we, men, leaders, Doms, stand up and make it known that this type of bullshit will not stand, if we remove and reverse the status-raising effects of these comments that put others down, if we instead make it so that everybody knows that those types of comments are unacceptable and that they lower your status, then we have the power to change this behavior.
We are the leaders of our community and now is the time to act.
The iron is hot and we have the opportunity.
This is a first for me in this blog or any forum at all.
This is a call to action.
This is a call for Leadership.
I am Rant.
Lead with me.