Thursday, January 29, 2009

And now for something completely different

My internet BFF Ren has a piece up today called Casual Brutality wherein she defends herself against agency-denying asshats who accuse her of not being able to recognize brutality because she likes rough sex (and ohmigod, actually sometimes gets paid to participate in it! Slut! Slut! WHOOOOORE!!!), the implied "truth" in these claims being that people who don't just have fluffy-bunny lesbian sex with thier unshaven life-partners are compeltely desensitized to every-day violence because they aren't overly sensitive to consensual violence (that's actually none of their damn business). K... what?

Before I go further, Ren is a human being; a woman with agency who happens to be employed in a manner that some people find... distasteful. She, however, does not. With her agency intact, her ability to give consent recognized by her industry (and codified in contract because her model release thingie says what she'll do and what she won't), that tells me that she knows the difference between rough sex and brutality -- also between consent and lack of. But, of course, I'm not the kind of person who judges others by their employment, but rather by their words. Because she is someone who is incredibly well-spoken and genuine (as difficult as that is on the internet), I have no qualms about taking Ren at her word.

So that's my defense. Now for my analysis of this "casual brutality" non sequitur.

First of all, who came up with this term? They ought to be locked in a classroom with 30 of the country's best English professors and forced to learn the definitions of words like "casual" and "brutatlity". There's no such thing as "casual brutality" because the act of being brutal in and of itself is emphatically not casual. Only sociopaths think that they can casually do something brutal. You don't casually kick a puppy until it yelps in pain, then continue kicking it until it bleeds, then toss it up in a tree so no one knows what happened to it. There's nothing casual about that act, and only someone with severe psychological deficits could construe it as such.

Now, this idea of "casual brutality" is not that which is mentioned above, but rather it is defined by the asshats who came up with it as, essentially, something that people might take part in for fun that others might find to be excessively violent. Like rough sex (consensual). Like violent video games (not real). Violent movies (also not real). Angry music (wtf?). And that participation or enjoyment of any and/or all of these things leads a person to be desensitized to things which are truly brutal like rape, actual street violence, actual war, or being screamed at/abused by a partner. The inherent flaw being the conflation of two things which are in no way the same.

Angry and/or rough sex, including BDSM, (whether for a hobby or profession), is not the same as rape -- why? Because consent is inherent. It's also not brutal because if you say "ow" (or use a safeword, or say/do something that is the signal to the Dom to stop because you're gonna freak out or are freaking out, whatever), the Dominant partner will stop. It's not even casually brutal because, at least in BDSM, the entire idea is to keep things safe and sane while exploring and expanding the bond between two people in a way that also explores and expands one (or both) partner's ability to withstand pain -- that's an over-simplification, of course, but the point remains, rough sex is not brutal no matter how far you take it.

Rough sex can become brutal if a safeword is called and no action is taken to heed it. I don't know how often that happens, but when it does, it becomes rape. But of course, how is someone who is so desensitized to "casual brutality" able to tell the difference between violence to which they have consented (rough sex) and that to which they have not (rape)? I mean, silly little women who engage in this sort of behavior can't tell the difference! That's preposterous!

And while we're at it, soldiers don't know the difference between being in theater and playing Halo 3. Chefs don't know the difference between cooking and watching the Food Network. And every boxer who has every lived also beat the crap out of everyone they ever knew.

You see the difference? I sure as fuckin' pancakes do. You cannot conflate actual brutality and actual violence with controlled environments where perceived brutality and perceived violence are just that: a perception. The true "casual brutality" is running around the internet making outlandish statements that deny a person's agency (and in some cases livelihood) because they are engaging in practices you find objectionable. So long as there's consent, there's no brutality. So long as there's consent, it's none of your damn business.

And don't fucking say that a person who enjoys perceived, consensual violence is desensitized to true brutality. That's fucking idiocy.

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