Tag Archives: life

A Call For Leadership

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.

 

The Zen Dom

Over the weekend I ran across this – Letting Go of Attachment – and I recognized in it a philosophy that I have been trying, not always with the greatest of success, to implement for my own life.

I have to wonder how Lori Deschene and Leo Babauta would feel about being linked to a site run by a BDSM Dom who named himself Rant and started this blog as a place to complain about what he saw as problems in a community that he had turned his back on, returned to, and found lacking… but the truth is that I find them to be inspiring, and in the very short time that I’ve been writing I’ve changed my outlook on so many things, just from putting the words out there and listening to the thoughts of others.

You may have some questions about how it’s possible that I, admittedly a Dom, possibly a control freak, could possibly hope to live without attachment.  It seems antithetical to the very mantle which I’ve just taken up, does it not?  I mean, the essence of Domination is control, and my own personal road to happiness was rocky and uncertain until I embraced that mindset for myself again and accepted my Dominant nature.  How could those two things possibly coexist in the same person?

Perhaps they are not as incompatible as they might at first seem…

Ever since I first read Leaves of Grass in high school, this has been a favorite passage of mine, from Song of Myself, by Walt Whitman.

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then, I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Even as a teenager, I understood and related to those words as part of the complex structure that makes up me and I have used them as a balm over the years to quiet my worried mind.

My personal journey to get to where I am in life now has been interesting, but I am finally and quite possibly for the first time in my life, happy.

I’ve studied many religions, practiced several, sought wisdom in self-help books and the writings of others.  I have been through individual therapy, group therapy, couples’ therapy, and psychiatric assistance.  I have used drugs, both natural and synthetic, prescribed for me or found through illicit channels.  I have done yoga, exercise, meditation, hypnosis, and attempted to express myself in art.  I have retreated into virtual worlds and even made my own.  I have worked as a video game programmer, for a private investigator, and even as a sex worker.  I have cleaved to my family and ostracized myself from them.  I have told the fortunes of others and cast rods to divine my own future.  I have been married, twice.  I have had several intimate relationships and lots and lots of sex.  I have driven fast cars and ridden running horses.  I have tried almost everything that anyone has ever suggested to me as a way to become enlightened, to lift my dark spirit and to try to find happiness.  It does not surprise me at all, today, that none of those things worked for me.

I am a Dominant.  I am an atheist.  I am a pacifist.  I am a father and a guide and a feminist.  I am worthy of being loved and I love myself.  I am calm.

Throughout all of those experiences that I detail above I fought my inner self.  I denied my feelings and persecuted myself, borrowing the Catholic guilt that I was raised with to hold my own desires at bay… I told myself that the me who desired to Dominate was wrong.  That each person is his own individual and it was wrong for me to want to have that authority over another.  I found myself submitting to others, not in the BDSM sense, but in a very real-world sense, all of the time.  I did not have the confidence to stand up for my feelings because they were wrong.  I hated myself for these horrible thoughts that I had about what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.

How did I resolve that with letting go?

I stepped away from myself and looked at the dynamic.

I let go of my self hatred.  I let go of the assumed societal restrictions on permitted thoughts and desires and I accepted myself and my ‘dark’ side.  I have no desire to hurt anyone, quite the opposite, actually.  I have no desire to injure anyone, I have no desire to inflict unwanted pain, but there is also the pain that reminds you that you are alive and the pain the brings with it the intense emotional release that I got when I submitted to Simone.  There is such a thing as an embrace of pain that frees you from other pains.

I was molested as a young man.  It was no one in my family, and indeed, they still don’t know that it occurred and if this ever gets linked back to me and placed in front of them a great many uncomfortable discussions will likely result, but it happened and it turned me into a brooding, angry, anti-social young man for a long time.  Simone’s compassionate brutality helped me to face my demons and reclaim for me the things that were taken from me.  Some of them, anyway.

I Dominate those that give themselves to me willingly.  I will not accept submission from someone who is incapable of understanding what they are doing and I will not attempt to hold anyone who does not wish to be with me any longer or even those who can no longer benefit from doing so, whether they choose to see it or not.

This is a very scary thing.

Strong is the impulse to hold on, to claim a lover as mine and mine alone, but I know that I cannot be all things to all people, and no one person can be all things to me.  To truly open my heart, I must accept that now, in this time, at this place, this person is trusting me with herself and the joy that brings me is incomprehensible.  The joy that I feel when given that trust and that submission cannot be measured, and there is nothing wrong with me for feeling that way, just as there is nothing wrong with her for wanting to give herself to me in such a way.  These are maladaptive behaviors, perhaps.  They may be remnants of a primitive psychology, or they may simply be facets of a larger gem, I don’t know, but I want to know, and I will never give up exploring, and yet for now, right now, accepting is good enough.

Yes, I get off on having a pretty girl sit at my feet and lean on my leg and look up at me through long eyelashes with doe eyes and say, “yes, Sir.”  If I believed in any gods, I would invoke them now to prove the conviction behind my thought.  Once I thought that this made me a monster.  Once I thought that this meant that there is something wrong with me, but there is not.

I am a kind Master, and a brutal lover, and a king of my own domain, and the confidence that I have to be those things, and to love myself for them comes from letting go of everything, even those lovers and that domain itself, because wherever I am, it is with me, and whoever they be, I am loved.  And I am happy.

I am Rant.