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Friday, November 9, 2012

Partners in Shame: Jezebel.com and Fetlife


"Sure, you used your safeword, but you didn't say "Mother may I!" Image source: Fucking Dungeon.com.

Jezebel.com is running an article about the community at Fetlife slut-shaming a woman who wrote about being groped on a college campus on the Fetlife website. The student wrote about being accosted by a couple of costumed fellows on Halloween day as she walked across campus. The student tried to defuse the situation by smiling and telling the guys to buzz off in a nice way, but when they grabbed her and groped at her, she got shrill and yelled, and still no one helped her.

She posted about her experiences on Fetlife, expecting support from a kink community that understands, and what she got from a lot of them was a lot of slut-shaming. She was derided for not screaming, for not biting them, for smiling at them initially, etc., as if the attack was her fault for not being unfriendly enough.

The Fetlife response was blaming the victim, classic slut-shaming behavior, and it was a shameful way for any kinky community to behave. Kink is supposed to be all about safewords and informed, enthusiastic consent, and yet when this woman got attacked, she's hearing it was her fault because she did not immediately start biting and screaming when a group of men approached her in a not-particularly-threatening manner.

What next? "Well yeah, you were using the safeword and I still put the anal hook in you, but you weren't SCREAMING the safeword, so how was I to know you were serious?"

The thing is, as I've written in the past, it was the sexual freedom that feminism fought for that makes kink acceptable ... if "No" does not mean "no" then "Yes" does not mean "yes." Without the culture that says sex with informed consent is OK, you really can't have kink as an acceptable part of sexuality. Therefore, kinky folk have a particular responsibility to eschew slut-shaming and to condemn non-consensual sexual activities, not just because it's the morally responsible thing to do, but because it's important to our fucking self-preservation!

The people who slut-shamed the woman on Fetlife were not just morally wrong, but promoting attitudes that are dangerous for the entire kink community. They should be roundly condemned.

However, so should the editors at Jezebel.com.

Why? Because look at the title: "Kink Community Tells Sexual Assault Victims It's All Their Faults."

Here's how it should read: "A Kink Community Tells Sexual Assault Victim It's All Her Fault"

See the difference? The article dealt with only one sexual assault victim, a woman named Dayna. It dealt with only one kinky community, Fetlife. But the editors/writer CHOSE to publish a headline that made it appear that all kinky people were slut shaming sexual assault victims, and that's just not true. It was undoubtedly done in a cheap, sleazy grab for recreational outrage readers. Basically the editors at Jezebel were willing to fuck over the entire kink community via their headline for a little attention-getting.

Readers (other than me) wrote in to let them know their headline was misleading and wrong, and they've shown no interest in changing it. So, it's a considered, deliberate bit of sleaze. I've written about the unwisdom of tarring one group for the actions of a subset of that group, but this is not dumb partisanship, I don't think, it's just sleaze.

Well fuck em both I say. The sexual assaulters need to spend some time in a jail cell. The Fetlife slut shamers need some heavy ostracizing. And the Jezebel editors need to get their asses kicked by readers and everyone who reads the site should be aware that the editors will go for sleazy recreational outrage-baiting at the expense of kinksters. There's plenty of blame to go around for everyone.

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