Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Portrayal in the media

Hello folks.  I saw an old Wire in the Blood last night (Robson Green), which is usually a good story and written with originality and thought.  However, the episode I watched last night fell into some of the traps the media fall into all too often.  They gave the impression that people who look at pornography are likely to commit violent crime and then of course the crimes themselves were committed featuring BDSM and a version of the Slaves of Gor.  Now I am not a fan of Gorean slavery (having done it and found it bordering on abusive), but I am a fan of BDSM, and the story made it look evil personified.  The tone taken by the police when they interviewed ANYONE with a pornography collection was one of disgust, and the character played by Robson Green took just as closed a view when he began his online research of the BDSM community.

Violent crime is not just associated to porn.  It has been associated to most things in human life, including alcohol, cigarettes, drugs an of course the most popular of all; Money.  Also, the proportion of people who watch porn and then go on to commit violent crime against women or men (particularly serial crime) is very low indeed.  Finally, there is still no conclusive link to the viewing of 'specialist' material and violent sex crime.  Porn and BDSM have their bad sides, just like most things created by the human mind, but neither deserves to be treated quite so poorly by the media.

In the case of BDSM, I wonder if the secrecy of our scene does not help.  People are frightened of what they don't know.  For instance, the Freemasons can get bad press, despite their charity work, because they are a secret society shrouded in a degree of mystery.  Maybe it is a vicious circle.  The media vilify us so we go underground, giving off this air of secrecy, so we are further vilified.  I am not sure; tis just  thought.  Please do leave me yours if you have one...


Brett said...

Interesting, Leia. Not sure what to say beyond, I'm not surprised, and I don't see the situation changing very fast. It's why it's important to protect the freedoms of minorities who are not understood or accepted by mainstream society. I think too many people don't want to understand BDSM as something positive, and you can't teach anything to closed ears and minds. What I like, though, is the secret. BDSM practices are just naughtier and more humiliating by their dark and covert nature. :)

slipperwell said...

I think this is probably the first time I've known Freemasonry and BDSM tto have been linked in the same sentence - thought provoking to say the least!
People will always mock and vilify things that they do not understand and it may be that among the most vociferous are those that dare not admit to a sneaking interest in something that their friends and peers would not approve of.
I must point out however, that Freemasonry, although "shrouded in mystery" to an extent, is not in fact a secret society. Did we not touch on this point breifly yesterday afternoon?!

Redhead said...

Leia-Ann wrote:
“In the case of BDSM, I wonder if the secrecy of our scene does not help.”

I think you are definitely right.

Accepting all the usual caveats (RACK etc.), how we ‘do’ SM should never need be secret, but be as private as we want it to be.

I wonder if those who find distinguishing a legitimate private expression of their irrational fantasies from day-to-day life risk confusing, leave themselves wide open to exploitation. If that confusion becomes wider part of a group mentality it might well underpin an unnecessary vulnerability, which can also be exploited to the detriment of the group. Sadly, and I find this utterly repulsive, I have come across some in the scene who have exploited this vulnerability in their associates.

While respecting everyone’s personal preferences, I’m totally against the secrecy of what we do, but for 100% privacy with whom and where we do it.

I look upon SM as just another life-style expression or artistic expression. Like much art, its appreciation is subjective, but I have never been able to understand why taste should ever be the arbiter of whether an idea or action should be expressed or not.

I wish I could express this more succinctly.


slipperwell said...

On the subject of media portrayal, I have just been reminded of a couple of episodes of CSI in which featured BDSM.
It wasn't really treared in the same way. Despite the sensatoinalist story-line, the central character did not exhibit the usual moral high-ground stance and at one point, made the assertion that "the submissive is always in control"!
Much as I am loathe to suggest such a thing, could it be that out American cousins have a more grown up attitude toward alternative lifestyles than ourselves?!

Kaelah said...

Leia-Ann, I completely agree with you about the usually very negative depiction of BDSM and porn in the mainstream media. And I'm sure that this often shapes the image of BDSM especially of those people who don't have any personal connection to the scene. Unfortunately, I don't think we can easily change those people's point of view by anonymously taking part in the discussion about BDSM on the mainstream media. Coming out to the public to my mind isn't a real alternative either, not only because of possible negative personal consequences - it's such an intimate topic that I at last don't want every stranger who meets me for the first time to know about it.

What I try to do, though, is to be quite open and honest about my kink to my vanilla friends. Many of them know that I'm a spanko. They've usually reacted with openness and curiosity and asked me questions about spanking, how it “works” and what it means to me. And I hope that when my friends hear or read something about BDSM today they aren't that likely to believe all the negative things the mainstream media says about BDSM any more because they personally know someone who is part of the scene, perfectly normal otherwise ;-) and one of their friends. That might not change a lot, but maybe it can spread from there...

Leia-Ann Woods said...

Brett - yes I was speaking with a friend recently on how interested she would be if the kinky life was less taboo!

Slipperwell - No I know the Freemasons are not a secret society, but there is an air of mystery, which as you said the other day, has backfired.

Redhead - great comment! You put it very succinctly indeed!

Keelah - a great idea that I started to do after I was forcibly outed (to a degree)

Thank you folks for your informed opinions so far. xxx


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