Oct 162012
 

Brian: What are you playing?
Tim: Tomb Raider 3.
Brian: She’s drowning.
Tim: Yeah.
Brian: Is that the point of the game?
Tim: Depends what mood you’re in really.
Brian: What sort of mood are you in then?
Tim: Well, I got a letter from my ex-girlfriend this morning, 3 months too late, explaining why she dumped me. It was full of ‘you’ll always be special’ and ‘I’ll always love you’ platitudes designed to make me feel better whilst simultaneously appeasing her deep seated sense of guilt for dumping me, running off with a slimy little city boy called Duane and destroying my faith in everything which is good and pure.
Brian: So it didn’t really work then.
Tim: No, it made me wanna drown things!
Spaced, episode “Battles”, series 1, episode 4

Videogames are a relatively new art form, but they are as deserving of discussion as any other. Likewise, videogames do say things about sexuality and gender, and in extreme cases this revolves around rape. Recently, the owners of the Tomb Raider franchise set off controversy when they said they would include a sexual assault in heroine Lara Croft’s background.Things get even dicier when you factor in the interactive nature of videogames, and giving players the opportunity to put their characters in sexual relationships, sometimes non-consensual ones.

Clarisse Thorn and Julian Dibbell have edited and published an  anthology (ebook and print) about this thorny area, titled Violation: Rape in Gaming.

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Jul 292012
 

While the fifteen-minutes of this story have apparently passed, I want to bring up an editorial post on Canadian alternative news site Rabble.ca about the RCMP case: Private fantasy, public reality: The RCMP, BDSM and violence against women, by Meghan Murphy.

How could a man who so clearly enjoys degrading women fairly assess a case that is explicitly about violence against women, about dehumanizing women, and that played out as it did (in that the disappearances of women from the Downtown Eastside were ignored by the police for years) because the women who were going missing were viewed as worthless?

Continue reading »

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May 252006
 

Frankly this spooks me a bit. There are conservative Christians advocating corporal punishment, and even sell specialized implements for the “training up” of children.

“Select your instrument according to the child’s size,” writes Pearl. “For the under one year old, a little, ten to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (stripped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch diameter is sufficient. Sometimes alternatives have to be sought. A one-foot ruler, or its equivalent in a paddle, is a sufficient alternative. For the larger child, a belt or larger tree branch is effective.” Additional advice from their Web site: Switching with a length of quarter-inch plumbing supply line is a “real attention-getter.”

As one blogger wrote (conflating Catholic and Protestant traditions):

…all the theological stuff, from an outsider’s perspective, is nothing but a pathetic excuse to repeatedly assert patriarchal authority. The church has an elaborate bullying system in place to extract obedience–the church over men, men over women, women over children, and the children get to grow up to have wives or children of their own to bully. Everyone is dominated but rewarded for obedience by having someone of their very own to dominate.

In this system, women and of course children are in a very precarious spot, locked up in the house together acting out these rituals of domination and submission without much contact with the outside world to inject a bit of levity and common sense into it.

Corporal punishment in a Protestant setting doesn’t seem to figure in BDSM as much as it does in an Anglican or Catholic setting. It might have something to do with this kind of corporal punishment occuring in a domestic context instead of an instutional setting (school or church), or that it happens at a younger age than the cusp of adolesence.

The relationship between desiring erotic impact play as an adult and experiencing corporal punishment as a child is still a mystery to me. I have a suspicion that the kink subculture was born among the first generation in human history that mostly was not spanked, the Boomers.

For the record, I oppose the corporal punishment of children. The tens of thousands of boys who were “swished” at Eton and other colleges across centuries certainly contributed to the evolution of kink, but it was pointless and cruel.

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May 202006
 

I figured something like this would happen sooner or later. The BBC has a spot on the police raiding a Gorean community.

Durham Police discovered the bizarre sect after raiding a home in the area, after receiving complaints that a woman was being held against her will.

But a spokesman said the Canadian was a willing participant and the other people involved were consenting adults.

The group, called Kaotians, follow the Chronicles of Gor novels which depict a society where women are dominated.

The 29-year-old woman is said to have voluntarily attended the sect after finding out about it over the internet.

“It’s one thing that everyone’s missed out on so far is, even in our organisation, if that’s what you want to call it, women can be free and they can be dominant, we don’t stop that,” [Lee Thompson, age 31] added.

“But the majority of women in our organisation are obviously slaves because women have a submissive streak in them.”

Most of the stories I’ve read on this incident have been pretty even-handed. The police also went away when they didn’t find anything criminal. This is a lot better than some other encounters between the police/legal system and kinksters.

For instance, look at the Mark IV raid in 1976 for how it could have gone. In that case, the police treatment included “handcuffing the defendants, forcing them to kneel or lie face down, then carting them in a crowded bus to jail for processing, denying them the opportunity to use the toilet, and taunting and photographing them at the police station.”

I’m not a Gor fan, although I remember reading some of those books raptly as a young perv. I even had a copy of John Norman’s Imaginative Sex for a while (copies sell for US$50 and up these days), which in hindsight most impressed me with just how narrow Norman’s sexual imagination was. Nearly all of the scenarios are just variations of the same old maledom-femsub theme. Norman’s god-awful prose didn’t help any. I seem to recall a footnote than ran on for three solid pages of a single run-on sentence, divided by dozens of semi-colons.

I think a lot of newbies find those books and imprint on them, attaching themselves to an image that’s really a pastiche of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard and other Orientalist/colonialist 19th/early 20th century story, just with the latent sadomasochism turned up to 11.

Gor will definitely get a mention in the book, to show how the fantasies that drove Arthur Munby and Hannah Cullwick in the 1850s are still operating today.

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