Dec 182014
 

So some interview with an actor I don’t know, from a movie I won’t watch, based on a book I haven’t read, published yesterday in a magazine I don’t read.

As reported by European academic journal ElleUK, in doing “research” for his 50 Shades of Grey role as gazillionare Twue Master Dom McDommersons, actor Jamie Dornan visited a “dungeon” and observed some goings on.

Dornan’s reflections on his visit has leather panties in a twist all over Kinkville:

The inference here, as I read it, is that he felt “dirty” after watching people play, or perhaps that he felt “dirty” after being in a “dungeon,” or maybe he felt dirty for having been a voyeur to other peoples’ play.

…and that’s to be expected, right? I mean, while the reality is that most play spaces are clean and safe, and the reality is that BDSM is a perfectly healthy expression of sexuality… the reality is ALSO that dungeons are supposed to make people feel dirty, and sometimes kinky people enjoy feeling dirty.

Kinky people often describe themselves and their play as “dirty” — being dirty, feeling dirty, doing dirty things, having dirty sex with dirty boys and dirty girls — so is it really such a big deal that Dornan inferred similar things?

I don’t think so, but I might be in the minority. The responses on Twitter weren’t nearly as sarcastic or layered as Carolyn Cox’s response over at The Mary Sue, but she seemed to read Dornan’s statements as insulting, too:

“Hahahah, how hilarious! Sexual preferences that deviate from the norm are repulsive, even when all parties involved are consenting! Unless, of course, you can exploit and chronically misrepresent those preferences in a highly problematic film, in which case deviancy is hot, hot, hot!
I know I’m being harsh on poor hapless Dornan [. . .], but the ease with which he dehumanizes BDSM participants is yet another indicator that the 50 Shades‘ creative team doesn’t understand or respect the very lifestyle it’s ostensibly showcasing. Considering the movie already promotes an essentially abusive relationship, further lack of nuance or appreciation is a genuinely scary prospect.”

Of course, Cox makes a larger point by juxtaposing the idea that consensual BDSM is “dirty” against a film/novel that appears to use BDSM as a means (a gimmick? a sleight of hand? a misrepresentation?) to glorify an abusive relationship. I mean, even though the larger point is true, and important, I’m just not sure what Dornan said about wanting to take a shower translates to finding BDSM replusive or dehumanizing its participants.

I guess I just find the outrage a bit overzealous.[1]

I mean, if you are (or you want to be) sensitive to people calling you (or what you do) “dirty,” then you maybe should stop calling yourself “dirty” and stop calling what you do “dirty.” Right? Otherwise, maybe just loosen up those twisted leather knickers.

Now… let’s get to the real controversy, shall we?

I was far more offended by Defamer‘s outrageous, egregious, and insulting error…

I am outraged, offended, incensed, and insulted — all of those. ALL OF THEM. (dominant is an adjective, and sometimes a noun; dominate is a verb)

As for 50SoG, I won’t read it — not on some moral grounds, but on the grounds that I just don’t read fiction (and if/when I do, it isn’t erotica).

As for ElleUK magazine, Jamie Dornan, and the rest of it, I’ll continue not giving 50 Shades of Fucks.

In fact, I give negative 50 fucks.

 


1. Maybe it’s an “outside looking in” thing? Perhaps kinky people are more sensitive to the language because of the speaker and the context–to my knowledge, Dornan doesn’t identify himself as kinky, and his comments appear in a “mainstream” publication (for the record, if you think BDSM isn’t more mainstream than it is underground, you’re mistaken). I mean… I can say “Gee, I look terrible today” because I’m talking about myself (and I don’t really believe it–I never look terrible). But if you say, “Gee, D, you look terrible today” I’ll fashion you a new asshole where an asshole doesn’t typically belong.

  19 Responses to “bdsm is dirty?: 50 shades of I don’t give a fuck”

  1. Hi DD! I am one of those shouty twats who is offended by his comments, so thought I’d have a crack at explaining why.

    I describe what I do as ‘dirty’ all the time – not just that but also ‘filthy’ ‘gross’ ‘sticky’ ‘deviant’, bloody LOADS of words that essentially mean ‘eww’. But the difference is in the context and the way they’re used. I’d hope from my context that when I say ‘dirty’ I don’t actually mean ‘unhygienic’ but something more like ‘transgressive’ or ‘not gentle or like what you’d expect.’ I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because a few people on twitter have been saying ‘hey maybe we should stop describing what we do as ‘filthy’ because it’s a negative word.’ I sort of think, sod that, I use lots of negative words in a sexual context which I wouldn’t use *outside* that context – slut, bitch, etc. Not everyone wants to use those words, but I do, and I think in context they’re horny and excellent.

    So… that’s the context in which I’m using ‘dirty.’

    Jamie Whatshisface on the other hand, is using it in a pretty literal way: I must shower because these people are disgusting. It’s reminiscent of schoolyard ‘cooties’, like you may be able to *actually catch* kink if you spend too long with kinky people. It’s all well and good saying ‘hey I showered after joining in a group sex scene in a club because I wanted to ensure that I didn’t smell of sex juices’ and quite another to say ‘I had to shower for a long time before I touched my wife/child even after having not participated in the scene.’ As if there’s some kind of kinky miasma that adheres to the skin and might corrupt his family. It’s probably pretty offensive for kinky people who have families too, this implication that their kids might be tainted by their association with sex clubs and all that.

    Blimey, I’ve banged on for ages up there. Sorry. I don’t actually give that much of a shit, but I find it interesting that the guy is so happy to profit from kink, yet at the same time feels the need to distance himself from it. It happens a lot, with people going ‘oh yeah I’m really open minded except OBVIOUSLY I wouldn’t do it myself because it’s DISGUSTING.’

    Also he’s not as sexy as Charlie Hunnam, who was originally going to get the part, and who I suspect is utterly filth himself (IN A GOOD AND SEXY WAY).

    • I am one of those shouty twats who is offended by his comments, so thought I’d have a crack at explaining why.

      I don’t doubt you taking offense, but I strongly disagree about your shouty twatiness. :) You are neither shouty, nor a twat. If you’d like to be a shouty twat, you’re going to have to shout louder, or more frequently… or more twatily…

      But the difference is in the context and the way they’re used.

      Yeah, I can see that. My footnote was intended to make some allowances for that–for speaker, audience, and context–without distracting from my otherwise eye-rolly attitude.

      I must shower because these people are disgusting. It’s reminiscent of schoolyard ‘cooties’, like you may be able to *actually catch* kink if you spend too long with kinky people.

      I can see that, and it is insulting. I guess I just put it in my own context where I have taken a shower before going out in public after raunchy sex–not because I’m particularly sticky or disheveled (my partner carried more of that burden)–but because I felt… well… dirty. And I mean “dirty,” in a good way, but in the good way where I don’t want to go to the Catholic church to buy the jars of homemade marinara from the elderly nuns at Our Lady of Whateverthefuck without a good scrubbing first.

      Also he’s not as sexy as Charlie Hunnam, who was originally going to get the part, and who I suspect is utterly filth himself (IN A GOOD AND SEXY WAY).

      I’m so out of the loop… every time I’ve read his name, I think it’s “Charlie Human,” and that makes me think of the Greendale Human Being (from the TV show Community… I sort of doubt it’s on in the UK)…

      My head’s a mess, isn’t it?

      Sincerely,
      Your Sister in Moderate Shouty-Twatiness

      • Oooh we do have Community (although I’m not sure if we have it on any network, only that maybe some bad people have pirated it on the internet). It’s utterly amazing =)

        Also, this? “Our Lady of Whateverthefuck” – I would like to meet her. She sounds more chilled than most Catholic saints…

    • I couldn’t agree more about the cooties comparison. That dude didn’t seem at all to be using it in a transgressive way like we all do, but in a derisive, distancing way.

      As for reading that piece of shit book, DD you’ve done well to spare yourself. I read it out of pure curiosity and couldn’t finish the last book. It’s 7th grade level work, insulting to all sexual adults (all of them, not just the kinky ones), and preposterous in general.

      I’m actually glad I’ve read it because it helps me identify very quickly those people at a party whom I must never speak to again when they claim to “just loooooove it!”

  2. EDITED TO ADD: Very importantly, I couldn’t agree more on the ‘dominate’/’dominant’ thing. I mean, you literally do not even need to know anything about kink to know that ‘dominate’ is the verb. Pah.

  3. So some interview with an actor I don’t know, from a movie I won’t watch, based on a book I haven’t read, published yesterday in a magazine I don’t read.

    This hits the interent pundit trifecta, and makes you eminently qualified to offer up an opinion. In fact, you’re probably now qualified to write a small book on this… or at least, be interviewed for an American morning news program.

    As for me, when I realized what you were writing about, I had to wash my eyes because I hate this kind of moralistic posturing, too. :-)

    • In fact, you’re probably now qualified to write a small book on this… or at least, be interviewed for an American morning news program.

      You can expect my hastily conceived and poorly edited e-book to hit Amazon sometime next week. :)

  4. Hollywood rubbish…

  5. The cooties comparison? Bang on for me, too. I very much interpreted that shower comment as “kink = contagious disease”. Not, cool. I’m not going to get my knickers in an unholy twist over it – Jamie Dornan’s not even a footnote on my ‘people whose opinions I care about’ list – but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t upset me at least a little.

    Oh, and the ‘show’ reference? Yeah, that also made me wince. I am all for voyeurism/exhibitionism in a kink context (I wrote a bloody book about about it, for God’s sake!) but the way he positioned his observation of those he watched playing was distasteful. “Perform for my pleasure, kinky people [monkeys]! PEFORM!”

    Jane
    xxx

  6. So a crap writer is getting loads of money off a crap book series and now has a crap movie out that will make them loads more money. Just goes to show how lucrative bedroom porn can be. I do have a copy of the trilogy available for sale for anyone interested. Just ignore the drool marks in the first book, it literally put me to sleep.

  7. Whenever the idea of being dirty vis-a-vis sex, et al, comes up I’m reminded of the rave scene from the second Matrix movie. That scene got a lot of flack for being gratuitous and too long and overly sexual and yada-yada, but it was an amazing scene about life and humanity and the dirt and passion and sex and celebration all wound together because those are life. If we are dirty at all, it is the dirt of life and embracing life and accepting our humanity and living it.

    Not everyone embraces life the same way. Some find their ‘dirt’ in other passions, other choices. But I can only feel sorry for someone who can only respond to our or anyone else’s “dirty” passion for life with the desire to wash that dirt away.

  8. In-group vs. out-group. I mean, you call yourself “dumb” right in the title of your blog but if a stranger left a comment on here saying, “Oh my god, you’re right, you really are dumb,” I don’t think you’d be particularly thrilled…

    • That comparison doesn’t work for me.

      I don’t run around reveling in my “dumbness,” nor is there any “in group” who thinks I’m generally unintelligent or ignorant (at least not a visible one). So, for the purposes of potential comparison, there is no “in group” in the case of my readership or colleagues-in-blog.

      In the case of BDSM, however, there is an in-group who embraces the language at issue.

      • You yourself are the in group here. Sure, it’s a small group, but it still applies. You’re the one who felt positively predisposed to label yourself publicly and at least semi-permanently as “dumb.” Which is not to say you think you’re generally unintelligent or ignorant. That’s my entire point: when we’re part of the in-group, we tend to see nuances in whatever term we’re using, even if it’s an insult on the surface. When you say “dumb,” you mean all the things you say in your about me page: that sometimes you screw up, that you acknowledge you have things to learn, etc. Similarly when someone who’s kinky says they feel dirty, they can mean a myriad of things.

        But when a stranger e-mails you and goes, “Hey, dumb!” all that nuance drops away.

        • Very good point I had not even thought of Andy. Well said

        • Andy —

          While I admit there are good comparisons that could be made (see my allowance in the allowance in the footnote), this isn’t one of them.

          1. The BDSM in-group means “dirty” as a positive thing — they often embrace it. I don’t mean “dumb” as a positive thing — it’s negative. I’ve never been proud of being dumb, never bragged about being dumb, and never aspired to be dumb.

          2. My “dumb” assignation is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and often, it’s deployed as humor. BDSM’s “dirty” is not, nor is it deployed (or employed) as humor.

          3. In BDSM circles, “dirty” has a particular exchange value — it has generally agreed upon meaning. “Dumb” does not. If I walked up to someone and said “Hello, I’m dumb,” my tongue-in-cheek, humorous intention would not be communicated.

          And for the record, if someone left me a comment saying “Gee, you’re dumb,” of course I wouldn’t be particularly thrilled. I didn’t suggest BDSM practitioners should be thrilled — I suggested the response might have been overzealous.

          • I think you’re missing my point somewhat. I wasn’t trying to say you call yourself dumb for the exact same reason BDSM people call themselves dirty. Obviously not. My point is that the idea of in-groups (whether they consist of a global network of people or just a single person) being able to call themselves things that out-groups can’t is really not revolutionary. I tried to pick an example I thought would hit close to home to you–you call yourself dumb and it doesn’t bother you; strangers call you dumb and it’s insulting; kinksters call themselves dirty and it doesn’t bother them; strangers call kinksters dirty and it’s insulting–but apparently I missed my target. Still, to address your points more specifically:

            1) You say you ascribe no positive meaning to the word “dumb” but you also say (in your about me) that you chose the word “dumb” to contrast yourself with the full-of-themselves, all-knowing doms you were finding in your local scene. So even though the word “dumb” isn’t positive if you want to be entirely literal about it, the image you were trying to evoke was: the image of someone willing to learn, willing to poke fun at themselves. Both good things you are proud of. As I said: this is contradictory. It’s nuanced. That’s the point. The in-group (you) understands all the layers of meaning behind whatever word they’re using, be it dirty or dumb or queer or slut or whatever. The out-group does not.

            2) See above. The fact that one label may be tongue-in-cheek (dumb) while another is erotic (dirty) or political (queer) or proud (slut) or whatever isn’t important. What’s important is that in the mouths of the in-group, those words can be tongue-in-cheek/erotic/political/proud and many other positive and negative things besides, all at the same time, while in the mouths of the out-group they lose whatever their individual implications are and become straight-up insults.

            3) Right…because the in-group for “dirty” is kinksters and people who are sympathetic to them and the in-group for “dumb” in this example is you. So of course “dumb” has no currency among kinksters at large.

            And–for the record–I was using “not particularly thrilled” as poetic understatement. In your own words, you’d actually be “sick of [the] fuck sticks.” And those are fuck sticks who are just random internet trolls. Think how you’d feel if those fuck sticks had the power to influence the opinion of millions of people.

  9. I think you’re missing my point somewhat.

    I wrote something similar to your point before you ever commented. (see the footnote… seriously, read it)

    I understand what you’re saying — I understand AND I think some of the reactions were somewhat overblown, AND I still think your comparison doesn’t work. All of those things are true.

    Think how you’d feel if those fuck sticks had the power to influence the opinion of millions of people.

    I’m in the “BDSM in-group” and I don’t give a fuck. Granted, BDSM isn’t as integral to my identity/community as it is to others, and I get that the comment may have been an insult (and may have been insulting), but (broken record here), I still think various reactions were overblown and melodramatic.

    I’m going to stomp away stubbornly, okay? :)

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