Today’s thoughts come from reading of some passages of the Alain Deneault’s book, Mediocracy. It is possible to find it online just for €15.30 or €9.99 in digital format.
I will not talk about the books content, I shall focus on a very simple question: why there is so much mediocrity or superficiality in BDSM community?
There are so many points that I can use as starting that I really don’t know which one to use, so I will restrict the following lines only to five of them.
Let’s start maybe with one of the most used word in this environment: to play. In Italy, we use to give to this word a main meaning, which – according to Collins’ English Dictionary – is:
- To be part of or perform in (a game, etc.)
- To perform in a game with or against someone
- To do something not to be taken seriously (children game, etc.).
In spite of the common belief, this is not the main meaning that English people give to this verb. In fact, first meanings you can find on Collins’ are:
- To portray, enact, act the part of (i.e. to play Lady Macbeth)
- To act the part or character of in real life
There are also other meanings that I’m sure you know, like to play musical instruments etc. but please focus on the fact that the one that we use to give is referred to games.
We usually intend BDSM practices as games, we are convinced that a play party is a place where you can play (adult) games. In this way, it seems that a certain piece of dignity is reduced in the practices we are going to be into, or maybe the role that someone could have in a scene referred to the role that someone else could have, in the most of the chances, it is transformed in a ridiculous thing.
Believe me, I don’t even think that BDSM could be something like you can read or see in literature, like Histoire d’O. or in Justine. In the same time, I think that there is a certain level that could not be overtaken, up or down, in both directions.
Another point which contribute to enlarge the river of mediocrity is emulation. For certain reasons the most of the people which I see doing something, simply do that because they saw that someone else doing that thing can have more opportunities to stay in (sexual) contact with other people! Let’s try to be more detailed. Taking bondage as example, it seems that in the last years the trend of people doing it is increased. Furthermore, a lot of women are interested into this practice, which could be ‘less fierce’ – at least at first sight – than other practices like whipping or maybe clinical and so on. So, maybe they want to try and usually they decide to try with someone who’s into bondage and barely rarely with a newbie of the ropes. In this way, basically, being into a certain “trendy” practice give you more possibilities to be in contact with other people and maybe give you one more chance to succeed in what you want to obtain. So this is why you maybe will attend to some rope courses, learn some basis and then you’ll be accredited by the community like someone-into-bondage. But in the same time, you are going to discredit that practice: what if a lot of people act like this? It happens that the idea of the practice become more inherent to what the most of the people see, losing in quality and sensuality.
One. Ten. One hundred.
Going forward, social networks represent another point of strength in Mediocracy. Everyone has access (and the right to access) to any social network. Let’s say that we can distinguish between two main type of them: standard ones and BDSM dedicated. The first type – if we look at the terms and condition of usage – are not properly used, in fact it is not allowed to have false identities or to post adult contents. Despite this, they are more user friendly and with an higher smartphone compatibility, so they find a large amount of kinky users. In both cases, anyway, they have a common denominator: anyone can create a profile and interact with other users. This allows a lot of people to say what they think, no matter if what they say it’s true or false, no matter if they are right or wrong. At the very end, every opinion is respectable, in a triumph of politically correct behavior. If I say that right now I am writing this article in Greek, no matter if it is true or false: there is a large possibility that some people could say: yeah I don’t know nothing about Greek, but he has the right to express himself in the way he prefers, so if he feels that he’s writing in Greek language, why should other people criticize him?! I know that this point derives directly from daily life, in reality this is associated also to vanillas who normally use social networks, but is not the kinky community a subgroup of the human society?
The more, the better.
This factor is connected to the fact to a lot of the organizers of parties and event (I am referring to Italy) in reality have a primary target which is not the good time that people should have. I don’t even think that the main target is to gain money, because only a very few of the events can move a consistent cash flow. The aim appears to be popularity. It seems that it’s a kind of race where the one with the highest number of likes or follows wins. For sure, some one expects or maybe hopes that some money could be earned when a high level of popularity is reached, but that is not the point. So far, the level of selection of the people to several events goes very low and, despite it’s a quite restricted environment and the mostly of the people are well known, if I organize my event and I know that there is a certain person who can bring to me – let’s say – five or six people, I’ll put two big and thick salami’s slices on my eyes and I’ll invite him/her to my event. From the point of view of this person who is invited, despite he maybe don’t see me as a good one, he’ll come to my event, with his/her people because maybe he can have something in return, maybe, of promotion of himself.
Talk me one more time, Rabbi.
This is my favorite point I think. Our scene has a lot of Gurus. They know everything about BDSM and kinky environment. Usually, they have a curriculum full of play parties, courses, organized events, online groups where they are admin or, at least, moderator. They are usually into every kinky practices or – at least – they have seen it an incredible amount of times by the maximum expert of that. It is not important if a certain discussion (online or in real life) is going in a certain way, they have the moral duty to say their own opinion, which is surely right. Of course, if yours is different from their one, they will present you their curriculum, they will tell you that they have performed in play parties all over the world and they know how things goes. I have to admit that quite often they are stronger online than in real life, because being a keyboard lion is simpler and more effective than have a comparison which involves keeping the eye of the person they are talking with. Unfortunately, it gives a very high contribution to mediocrity: a lot of people follow them because they carry out a kind of tribal power (Taylorism reference) maybe because follow someone who seems expert it’s very simpler than make an opinion by their selves.
So far, what is your own idea? Have you ever faced one or more of the points that I have written about? I am not here to criticize the way people choose to live BDSM. I am not interested into shaming anyone. Please take this post as a picture of the kinky scene that we daily live. I am not a sociologist nor a psychologist, so everything you have read above comes from simply observation of the community in the last two years. Mediocracy actually is the Ariadne’s thread of the scene and maybe it is still empowering, because the most of the people doesn’t notice those behavior or may simply ignore them, believing that they will not affect personal interests. I think that we must face it. It is not something which cannot be healed: starting to think with our own mind, becoming more real than social, studying and reading in order to improve our knowledge, starting to do what you really like and with people you like to spend time.