“...for all you THIRSTY gamer boys,”
July 3, 2019 5:59 PM   Subscribe

It’s a troll and performance art, all at once. [Polygon] ““GamerGirl Bath Water” is exactly what it sounds like: the remains of what [cosplayer Belle] Delphine uses to clean herself. Delphine is selling it for $30, though she warns people to be careful with the liquid. “This water is not for drinking and should only be used for sentimental purposes,” the page reads. Delphine did not respond to a request for comment, so we don’t know how many people are actually purchasing the bottled water.”
posted by Fizz (89 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite


 
Straight dudes are weird.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:15 PM on July 3, 2019 [31 favorites]


Sometimes I just don't know what feminism is.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:19 PM on July 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


<blink>SATIRE</blink>

Bet it still tastes better than those officially licenced Square Potions though!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:25 PM on July 3, 2019


Been seeing her pop up again and again the past few months, she's like an interactive gamer version of whatever Poppy was trying to be and it cracks me right the fuck up. The last line of the article match my sentiments: I am all for people making money off of shitty dudes.
posted by Snacks at 6:26 PM on July 3, 2019 [14 favorites]


I will always respect her for that pornhub stunt
posted by cendawanita at 6:29 PM on July 3, 2019 [25 favorites]


Troll? She's an absolute goddamn genius.
posted by Sangermaine at 6:42 PM on July 3, 2019 [17 favorites]


Can you get ironically findom'd?
posted by Reyturner at 6:53 PM on July 3, 2019 [21 favorites]


I went out with someone once who, when she needed money, dabbled in findom. Which meant she’d set her profile to view men on tinder, say explicitly she was only into findom, and then she’d match with a bunch of dudes who were willing to pay her to be mean to them, remotely. Only once did she meet up with one of them, and she kept him waiting at a Starbucks for like 30 min before waltzing in, spitting in his coffee, and leaving without saying a word. He paid handsomely.

Straight men are, indeed, weird, but honestly: take it where you can get it.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:58 PM on July 3, 2019 [77 favorites]


That is to say: I too think she should charge more than $30.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:02 PM on July 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


Gotta switch from showers to baths. And also find a community that fetishizes me.
posted by jordemort at 7:05 PM on July 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


This site doesn't handle BDSM well.
posted by bootlegpop at 7:28 PM on July 3, 2019 [13 favorites]


That may or may not be the case, but... is this even BDSM? It's just fetish play, I guess.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:51 PM on July 3, 2019


Yes, I would put femdom and related fetishes in that category. Though, the sentence above with the word kink replacing BDSM would also be accurate.
posted by bootlegpop at 7:56 PM on July 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


It’s an intersection of BDSM (or at least BDSM flavored kink), gamer culture and whatever “paid ‘premium’ Snapchat” is.

I find it fascinating, personally. It has exactly that feeling of a questionable cyberpunk plotline becoming reality.

And also if MeFi has trouble with BDSM generally, it’s going to be So Much Worse with anything ‘DD/lg’ flavored. For valid reasons without kink, but maybe not within kink.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:27 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


This sounds hilarious.
posted by Quackles at 8:40 PM on July 3, 2019


and now I need a shower, ironically, enough.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:45 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


And then there is someone whose bent is people who pay money for used shower water and so on and so on. It’s the Circle of Kink.
posted by fallingbadgers at 10:21 PM on July 3, 2019


gg
posted by M-x shell at 10:22 PM on July 3, 2019


Can you get ironically findom'd?

Ladies and gentleman and/or both or neither, meet 2016-2020!

I hope.
posted by loquacious at 10:38 PM on July 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


I am all for people making money off of shitty dudes

This is a bunch of people willing to pay 30 bucks for a bottle of water that a conventionally attractive person (supposedly) bathed in. They sound lonely, horny and gullible, but calling them "shitty" is gross and mean.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:52 PM on July 3, 2019 [27 favorites]


And yeah MeFi doesn't really handle kink very well. This is some super weird culture jamming and I don't know what.

I have a really good friend that has made some money with really weird art on PornHub, as some kind of official PornHub sponsored artist. I'm not entirely sure how that works but they were sponsored or commissioned in some way and then given a cut of views and whatnot.

And what they created and presented was effectively feminist witchcraft and ritual and what was really anti-patriarchy hexes. Practically a Trojan Horse sigil in intention, like, effectively: "If you're a toxic, fragile patriarchal misogynist dudebro, this will fuck you up and make you question yourself if you think you can get off to this and use me without consent." kind of sigils and hexes.

Still have no idea how they pulled that off.
posted by loquacious at 10:57 PM on July 3, 2019 [20 favorites]


You can say straight dudes are weird, but most humans are super "weird" meaning we're pretty normal in being different. This ain't localized. It is in this case hilariously framed, sure. And yeah, MetaFilter doesn't seem to do this well. I'm friends with a professional (extremely successful and loves her job!) FinDom, and I've thought about linking to the large magazine article she's featured in on the blue but that just doesn't seem like it would go well.

The recent episode of Euphoria actually showed what her job is like. There was a FPP today about the whole real fan fiction thing from that same episode.

Anyway, saying straight dudes are weird is a lame thing to say. This isn't even lame. Let people have fetishes that don't hurt you. I won't judge if you need 500 dolls to watch you while you have sex or whatever you got going on.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:00 AM on July 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


Anyway, saying straight dudes are weird is a lame thing to say.

Using "lame" like that is an ableist thing to say.
posted by Dysk at 12:51 AM on July 4, 2019 [17 favorites]


Cringing intensifies.
posted by acb at 2:02 AM on July 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


The issue I have with this is that stoking a bunch of dudes' anger is likely to lead to blowback or consequences that won't land on Delphine, but on other women/girls in these pissed off gamerbros' lives.
posted by Dysk at 2:07 AM on July 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


Not sure why this would stoke their anger, particularly - it's just an extension ad absurdum of what she's been doing up til now.

Also, this is such a genius idea I couldn't believe it hadn't been done before, and lo... $900 a bottle! Belle Delphine needs to stop undercutting the market.
posted by inire at 2:11 AM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Not sure why this would stoke their anger, particularly

I'm talking about the pornhub stunt, not the bathwater. The bathwater seems entirely harmless.

(And does this mean that I'm holding Delphine responsible for the actions of these reprobates? No, of course not. They are responsible for their own actions. But going out of her way just to piss them off for no good reason is a dick move, as indeed trolling always is. Being an asshole is being an asshole, even if people on the receiving end deserve it.)
posted by Dysk at 2:12 AM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also, this is such a genius idea I couldn't believe it hadn't been done before

I can't imagine why y'all are calling this fetish when it's a well-established form of conceptual art.
posted by sukeban at 2:34 AM on July 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


This is a bunch of people...

Is it, though? I might be missing it, but I can’t see any sign that anyone at all has actually bought the stuff.
posted by Segundus at 3:35 AM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


If no-one has bought it, the price is too low.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:48 AM on July 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


Given her previous exploits, it seems obvious that she's not a good faith kink... service provider (? is it just "sex worker" regardless of the type of service provided? I'm behind on my terminology), so a discussion about kinks and how badly MeFi deals with them—even if true—is missing the point a bit, maybe? Honestly, I'm surprised there isn't more of a backlash from people in the kink scene about how she's co-opting the methods of findom into a troll performance aimed at rage baiting a bunch of shitty gamer dudes. These easily angered dudes seem to be the intended targets (with the rest of us being the intended audience), and them being so deserving of being trolled helps sell it, but still.

As far as the word "shitty" goes, I'm aiming it at the angry manbaby misogynists that are so prevalent in the gaming community, no doubt including a lot of her followers (hate followers?). I think it's appropriate in this context. If she were a good faith operator in the kink scene and had actually built an audience based on that, it would definitely be inappropriate. (Obviously, shitty gamer dudes can be into kinks, too, but that wouldn't redeem them here.)

It's likely that there are actual or potential findom subs in any set of millions of people, but if any bottles are actually bought by her current audience, it would appear to be a nice small bonus for a successfull troll stunt rather than being her actual goal.
posted by jklaiho at 4:05 AM on July 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


She should sell tiny bottles of sand. She could post a video of herself strolling barefoot on the beach, taking a pinch of sand from one of her footprints, dropping it into a miniature bottle, and saying, "You aren't fit to kiss the ground I walk on... or are you?"
posted by pracowity at 4:10 AM on July 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


This...doesn't have anything much to do with kink. She's trolling dudes who fetishize gamer girls. Maybe, upon being trolled, they'll experience a epiphany and go, "Wow, I have been terribly bad. In fetishizing gamer girls it was, at last, truly I who had come to be seen as less than human. Perhaps I...am ready to live...a new life." And if so, maybe she's actually a force for good in the world? The mind boggles.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:15 AM on July 4, 2019 [11 favorites]


If you really want the full picture, so to speak, go check the “fan” subreddits.The primary one appears to be https://www.reddit.com/r/belledelphinepatreon . There are a couple others which seem even saltier at a glance.

Be warned, it’s both NSFW and pretty toxic. The primary activities there seem involve arguing over who got played, and trying to “remove” the strategically placed stars from her snaps (i.e. fake full nudity).
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:25 AM on July 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm learning several new terms from the kink community, thanks for that! But I don't think "videogaems" is one of them, so someone oughtta fix the tags.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:26 AM on July 4, 2019


The article talked about how her stuff seems to shift back and forth from performance art to more straightforward marketing. It's sort of all a joke, but sort of not, and the part that is a joke has a serious bent.

I'm always a bit surprised what people will pay for, but nothing about this seems problematic, whether you think of it as performance art or straightforward sex work.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:27 AM on July 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


I feel like there's a lot of ways you could interact with this:
  1. Sincere memorabilia for lovestruck fans
  2. A cynical scam to steal money from lovestruck fans
  3. A prank mocking lovestruck fans for the amusement of the rest of the internet
  4. Sincere jerkoff material for fetishists
  5. A scam to steal money from fetishists
  6. A prank mocking fetishists
  7. Conceptual art glorifying celebrity worship and/or kink
  8. Conceptual art mocking celebrity worship and/or kink
  9. Cynical clickbait that exploits people's confusion over 1–8 to get attention
  10. Conceptual art playing with the juxtaposition of any or all of 1–9
  11. A sort of meta-prank mocking people who get riled up about which of 1–10 she intends
And there's probably other things I'm missing. And regardless of which of these is her primary intention, she's no doubt aware that there will be people who interact with it in other ways.

All of which is very cool! But all of which makes this more complicated than "This is pro/anti-kink" or "This is pro/anti-feminist."
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:30 AM on July 4, 2019 [46 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not really getting why people are seeing this as precisely one thing and reacting to it categorically. It seems like doing so obscures her work itself as itself, which is pretty interesting.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:23 AM on July 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


I mean...is it? I feel like this is ironic ogling as opposed to just ogling. From the perspective of people looking on from an "artistic" POV, it's like checking out a cute girl in a way that you can feel cool about instead of pervy: "I get her!" And of course for people checking her out in a way that's just pervy, it seems like it would be terribly frustrating. Look, our society is horrible and I hope she makes a lot of money because fuck this world anyway, but I don't know that she's a brilliant artist.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:31 AM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's like some kind of restorative justice.
posted by theora55 at 8:50 AM on July 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


A lot of weird online circles are slowly moving from "haha look at these losers into girls feet" to "omg they have a whole wiki devoted to feet that's hilarious" to "oh look Marianne Williamson is on WikiFeet now, nice". (I don't know if she is or not, but I bet she'd be cool with it.)
posted by Space Coyote at 8:55 AM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah, I'm not saying nobody will use this stuff as porn, or — like you say — as a way to ironically justify to themselves that they're watching something that's basically porn. (And that means if you object to porn you'll probably object to this, and if you find porn annoying you'll probably be annoyed by this, and that's reasonable.)

And I'm not saying it's good art, or especially clever. Like, she is clearly not the first person in the world to notice that "cock" is ambiguous in English.

But there's a lot in this thread of "Clearly people will only ever engage with this in the one way I have in mind," and I don't think that's true at all. People are engaging with it in lots of different ways, and that seems to be part of the point.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:58 AM on July 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


Could we be... overthinking this?
posted by Segundus at 9:23 AM on July 4, 2019 [11 favorites]


...on Metafilter? No, never!
posted by Dysk at 9:29 AM on July 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


Overthinking a Belle of Delphines
posted by nathan_teske at 9:40 AM on July 4, 2019 [16 favorites]


This is the sort of stuff that makes this dark timeline at least be funny enough to stick around for. When I was a teen I do not think I could have comprehended a future where a living anime girl sells her nudes through a tiny computer app and people could buy her bathwater through the internet and it arrive in a under a week. Everything she is doing seems like the logical conclusion of lots of weird little quirks of humanity and our runaway sexuality.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:42 AM on July 4, 2019 [19 favorites]


Since all MetaFilter discussion lags behind Twitter by 24-48 hours it's now time to move the focus to whether Gamer Girl Bathwater is technically classifiable as a type of soup or a tea and if she has to be in the tub at the time of collection for it to be one or the other.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:02 PM on July 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


And we may want to focus at least a bit on the guy who got a bottle and immediately livetweeted boiling a hot dog in it.

Maybe a lot of people are engaging with the fact that she's doing this a lot of ways, but her skeevy customers are engaging with it in exactly the way we, and she, all actually knew they would. This isn't sexuality, this is about male obsession and possessiveness, and being able to exploit the male tendency to try to claim ownership of women.

“I am all for people making money off of shitty dudes,” Alptraum says.

And rightly so.
posted by kafziel at 6:07 PM on July 4, 2019 [8 favorites]


Remember that thread about people saying "I just want Tom Hiddleston to run me over with a truck" or "Anne Hathaway so adorable I wish she would just burn my house down and dump the ashes on her garden"?

I thought "I would drink her bathwater" was the same sort of figure of speech.
posted by straight at 9:15 PM on July 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


“I am all for people making money off of shitty dudes,” Alptraum says.

That's the attitude of the people who are shitty about BDSM. There are three obvious parties here:

The woman selling the water: I'm not sure why anyone would have a problem with that.

The people buying the water: Why would anyone have a problem with this?

The people who likely inspired her by asking about stuff like this and thus exposed her to their kink without consent (unless she found this stuff on her own, in which case, that's cool): This can be properly judged, and whatever extent the people in the second group also belong to this group, those people can be properly judged also.

---

This being a troll or conceptual art doesn't really change the sexual aspects of it. Findom fans often get off on being ignored. The addition of yet another level of distance probably increases the turn on for many. It's not that she's providing a sexual service or being artistic. She's providing a sexual service and being artistic. Having written scripts for Niteflirt recordings for exes doing this kind of thing, and having listened in on their end of many calls, I would argue that everyday non-abstract findom is pretty artistic.

Basically, the distance between this and Manzoni is merely one of context and price. Though, ironically, even though it's shitty, pardon the pun, people clowning the dudes involved will likely increase the excitement of some and add another layer.
posted by bootlegpop at 10:54 PM on July 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


I thought "I would drink her bathwater" was the same sort of figure of speech.

YES. Thank you. That was swimming around my brain looking for something to connect with. I have definitely heard it used in that way before.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:07 AM on July 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


or valid reasons without kink, but maybe not within kink.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:27 PM on July 3 [1 favorite +] [!]


Something being a kink doesn't magically absolve it of criticism.
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:32 AM on July 5, 2019 [5 favorites]


i shouldn't have clicked on the embedded video in the article on the train though, was pretty, uh, well, it's not completely sfw. then again, i don't know what i was expecting.

"I looked at the gamer bathwater girl’s 4 million follower Instagram and it’s like I’ve been teleported 80 years into the future and no longer have the slightest grip on the culture"


kittens for breakfast put it best, really. Something you have to keep at the forefront of your mind when you think about everything that's going on here, because otherwise you're gonna get bogged down in ... well, all the desperate "but maybe it's a kink and that means nothing about it or anyone involved could ever be wrong" handwringing that's been going on in this thread.

This...doesn't have anything much to do with kink. She's trolling dudes who fetishize gamer girls. Maybe, upon being trolled, they'll experience a epiphany and go, "Wow, I have been terribly bad. In fetishizing gamer girls it was, at last, truly I who had come to be seen as less than human. Perhaps I...am ready to live...a new life." And if so, maybe she's actually a force for good in the world? The mind boggles.
posted by kafziel at 9:32 AM on July 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


Maybe, upon being trolled, they'll experience a epiphany and go, "Wow, I have been terribly bad. In fetishizing gamer girls it was, at last, truly I who had come to be seen as less than human. Perhaps I...am ready to live...a new life."

This seems... hopelessly optimistic, to put it lightly.
posted by Dysk at 9:46 AM on July 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


If a kink doesn't harm either party, it is not deserving of criticism.
posted by bootlegpop at 10:31 AM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


If a kink doesn't harm either party, it is not deserving of criticism.
posted by bootlegpop at 1:31 PM on July 5 [+]


Kink seems to be the only area of society that people make this assertion. I wouldn't mind the assertion if people really stuck to the "if it does no harm" qualifier, but it typically seems that the reverence that causes people to be so defensive in the first place bleeds over to tarnish people's ability to decide what is and isn't harm
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:19 AM on July 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


If a kink doesn't harm either party, it is not deserving of criticism.

Performed publicly like this, it's culture and open to cultural critique, same as anything else.
posted by Dysk at 11:22 AM on July 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


the insta feed of belle delphine does creep me out though, less for what she's doing and more for the sense i can't shake that she's utilizing a sort of lolita thing.

She is absolutely feeding into pedo culture. I understand the people who are praising her for trolling misogynists, I too think that is a fun game. But satire has to have clear intent in order for it to be effective. And it's not clear at all what her intent is. Most of the men will look at this, feel their right to objectify women and infantilize sex be bolstered, and not take anything else away from it.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:28 AM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


Kink isn't the only thing that makes people say this. Sexuality is. Kink is just the last bit of legal sexuality that people, who would otherwise be considered open-minded, are still allowed to criticize and shit on. It's an accepted form of bigotry.

They may be shitty for other reasons, but guys aren't shitty for buying seemingly silly stuff, and women aren't shitty for selling it. Like more vanilla relationships, kinky relationships can become shitty, both in similar and entirely different ways, hence the disclaimer regarding harm and the importance of consent.

Personally, even when assisting exes with fulfilling finance based requests of that nature, I used to judge any type of sexuality that didn't involve meeting in person eventually, and I still personally have a hard time understanding that type of situation, but it's obviously becoming more popular. There are interesting cultural and sociological things to discuss regarding that, both within and outside of kink, before even getting into the public element of this particular instance. A blanket statement that people who are, for whatever reasons, into something are shitty or bad people (or whatever) is not that conversation.
posted by bootlegpop at 12:00 PM on July 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


Calling kink "bigotry" and phrasing it as something "metafilter doesn't do well" - a direct quote about metafilter's relationship with racism and white supremacy, and before that sexism and misogyny, is just. Wow. Really wish we wouldn't.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:28 PM on July 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


Agreed, but I also wish "we" wouldn't describe ageplay between consenting adults as "pedo culture."
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:48 PM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


Most of the men will look at this, feel their right to objectify women and infantilize sex be bolstered, and not take anything else away from it.

Most of these men cannot be salvaged. At least they can be invoiced.
posted by kafziel at 1:11 PM on July 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


I don't understand that statement. I didn't call kink bigotry. Instead, I said that it is the last thing that people who are otherwise open-minded seem to feel fine about being bigoted towards. It is a sexual inclination like any other, and I have personally suffered humiliation, castigation, and physical violence as a result of people finding out who I am and what I like. I left my hometown because, among other reasons, elements of femdom that I enjoyed with exes, when judged by others in the light of day, brought such utterly gleeful wrath down upon me. What then should I call it?

Metafilter does incredibly well with anti-racism and feminism. It has improved by leaps and bounds with both issues since the early 00's. Metafilter's attitude towards kink has also improved, but not to the same extent that it has with other issues. I think this thread is fairly demonstrative of that.

I admit that the ability to move to a new city, be very guarded about who I am, remain in the closet, and not have anyone know anything about me is a privilege. Other people do not have that privilege. At the same time, the fact that it is wiser to be in the closet, and the fact that I have to worry that anyone I am open with may spread the word later on, is indicative of bigotry on the part of those who judge people for their sexuality.

Based upon how things have gone here, I reiterate and rephrase, Metafilter does not do well on the topic of BDSM.
posted by bootlegpop at 4:27 PM on July 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


PS. BDSM, like most sexual topics, does have inherently funny elements. In that spirit, and to lighten the mood after being a downer, I will make the most obvious joke:

"I have personally suffered humiliation, castigation, and physical violence as a result of people finding out who I am and what I like."

...and those were the ones who were into it.

Rimshot

I kid. I kid. Please tip your waiters.
posted by bootlegpop at 5:08 PM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


Metafilter does incredibly well with anti-racism and feminism. It has improved by leaps and bounds with both issues since the early 00's. Metafilter's attitude towards kink has also improved, but not to the same extent that it has with other issues. I think this thread is fairly demonstrative of that.

This is extremely tone deaf considering what's going on with the people of color on metafilter right now, taking the time to congregate about this site and it's perpetuation of white supremacy.
Also, and I can't believe I have to say this, but people who engage in kink aren't oppressed, aren't a minority, aren't a protected class. Good fucking god my right to exist away from harm as a female is nothing like you're right to engage in whatever sex preference you have. You don't have to engage in your kinks to live. To survive. This is such a bonkers statement.
Also that position is so presumptuous. It's not that "metafilter doesnt do kink well", its that people have different opinions than you in regards to sex. Unlike racism and misogyny, there is no one inherent correct way to feel about kinks. I'm not "doing it wrong" when I say that fulfilling men's fantasies about underage girls is harmful.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:22 PM on July 5, 2019 [16 favorites]


I've said that I have faced violence for who I am. I've said that I have it better than most because I can play my cards close to the vest, hide who I am, and avoid things like that. We are a sexual minority. Some people do hate us for who we are. That most certainly is a form of bigotry.

Men aren't the only one with kinks. In fact, I'm not sure why you're assuming that I identify as male. People of all sexes and sexual orientations are stigmatized because of their kinks.

If someone is forcefully inflicting their kinks on someone, that is immoral of them and, in many cases, illegal. Those people deserved to be judged, not for being kinky, but for being sexual predators. There are sexual predators of every stripe.

My impression had been that this site vastly improved regarding racial matters. I don't read every post, though. If there are discussions going on (on the site) about areas in which people on the site are not doing well with this, I would very much appreciate being linked to it, so that I can understand and potentially educate myself. I don't read MT threads regularly. So the conversation may be going on in places that I don't see it, unfortunately.

If I ever forcefully involved anyone in anything sexual that they didn't want to be involved in, I would hope that people would humiliate, ostracize, and be violent towards me. However, when I participate with willing and enthusiastic partners, people who talk shit about it are bigots, and it is immoral of them to do so.

In addition, it is not anyone else's place to say what I need to live a happy and full life. I tried the self-repression thing, both with my interests in men and with my interests in kink. It made me a miserable and suicidal person. No one technically physically needs to have any kind of sexual contact, but to assume that I need the type that I enjoy any less than anyone else is deeply wrong. I am not a lesser person with lesser rights to consensually pursue what I enjoy. I'm amazed that I even have to say that.

(As far as the loli thing goes, I mentioned that I support fetishes that don't harm people. It's not my thing, but if two consensual adults participate in an activity, they are harming no one. However, I would argue that the "barely legal" trope harms society, so there is a large degree of ambiguity there.)

My partners and I have the right to be who we are. My partners and I have the right not to be judged and condemned for who we are. That is a form of bigotry, even if it is not the most damaging or largest one in society.

I did not bring up racism or sexism. I responded to someone else bringing it up. The notion that Metafilter does not do well with BDSM is not one that I came up with. It apparently still does not deal well with other things. That sucks, and hopefully all of this can be improved.
posted by bootlegpop at 9:23 PM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


-I have consistently said that the fact that I can hide my identity is a privilege that many others do not have.

-I've been swung on for liking men and I've been swung on for something as dorky and bougie as liking feet. The punches didn't feel any different.

-Never have I said that bigotry against kinky people is as pervasive as or as much of a societal problem as many other forms of bigotry.

-I have simply said that it's the last thing that people on the left can be openly disdainful of and not get called out for it.

-I only read threads with topics that deeply interest me, so I probably read less than 10% of the site. I had heard people say that things had gotten much better, and I hadn't seen anything galling as of late. Clearly, I was very misinformed, and I appreciate the fact that people have taken the time to dispel my illusions.

-I don't want to undersell the impact of any type of negativity that other people face. I don't want to say that the stigma against kink is as bad or the same. I simply want to say that it is bad.
posted by bootlegpop at 9:52 PM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


As a queer kinky PoC with femdom leanings who also doesn't necessarily have that big of a problem with ageplay, findom, or kink in general (which has gotten me in trouble with some people who have attacked me being a survivor of sexual violence - which happened in a kink setting!!! - because I wasn't interested in disavowing kink altogether) I support anem0ne in that trying to say kink is treated worse here than race is, at the very least, not a great road to go down. It is true that Metafilter doesn't do kink or sex work well (and in Mefi's case I think the two attitudes are linked) but trying to place it on a hierarchy of Who Gets Done Better Here/In Society is a non-starter, esp since intersectionality is A Thing and minorities within kink/SW face extra challenges on top of their sexual interactions.

I am curious about the Sex Work As Artistic Statement thing, as someone who has contemplated it in the past (I was working on a writing project exploring dominatrix lessons, but it stalled due to financial limitations and other factors). I agree that there are situations where it seems that artists use sex work as a frame or trope without being respectful to actual sex workers. For example, there's a regular poetry club event that uses a brothel as a metaphor (you can pay for "private time" with a poet and they play up the whole brothel thing a LOT) and many sex workers have spoken up about the organisers not really supporting sex workers. There used to be a performance space here in town set upstairs from an actual brothel, but the workers were not happy with how the performance space owner was treating them, and then he was outed as both a sexual predator and financially exploitative of the artists he books. Belle turning out to have stolen nudes from sex workers is a direct example of this. So definitely there's this issue of exploitation and appropriation that happens with the "mystique" of sex work (including variations on findom, like this) without any care or consideration being given to sex workers at all.

The question is, are there ways to explore the intersections of commerce, gender, objectification, and/or sexuality in ways that don't throw sex workers under the bus? Are there ways to incorporate ideas behind kink and sex work into a different context without then making a mockery of those worlds? It's not going to be an exact analogue for appropriation on other axes (like race or disability), and yes kinksters aren't facing nearly as much structural oppression for being kinky, but at the same time sex workers ARE an oppressed class and thus there's some strong connections there.
posted by divabat at 12:20 AM on July 6, 2019 [11 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Bootlegpop, you've pretty much taken over and derailed this entire thread and made offensive statements about kink being the "last thing that people who are otherwise open-minded seem to feel fine about being bigoted towards," and suggested that sexism and racism don't remain problems among left leaning people. You were brought up on that, but continue to seem to argue that point while conceding you were wrong. "Okay, BUT" isn't a good way to continue to interact on this topic. You've made your opinions known, and now you need to stop posting in this thread. In the future, if you want to discuss kink-shaming, please keep your arguments focused and don't make comparisons to victims of historic and systemic oppression, violence, and social and economic inequality. Your points can be argued on their own without minimizing the experiences of other marginalized groups at all, which just leads to anger and confusion.]
posted by taz (staff) at 12:49 AM on July 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


I appreciate your comment, divabat, because I'm super-uncomfortable with the direction this discussion has gone. (I added this first paragraph upon preview and seeing your comment.)

The correct response to someone foolishly comparing the severities of various bigotries is to note that such comparisons are problematic and provocative and best avoided, not to double-down and argue about which is worse or whether it's bigotry at all.

Over many years here, I've observed that the "no, you're wrong, X is objectively gross and only awful people think otherwise" comments always come across as belligerent and dogmatic and are embarrassing when looked back upon later. It's those comments that someone links to six years later in a MetaTalk thread and everyone expresses their amazement at how ugly this place used to be.

Comparing the social stigma against kink to racism was a spectacularly dumb thing to do and it's no surprise that it's pissed many people off, justifiably.

But this recent trend of insisting that the harm of bigotry is only possible against a "protected class" -- as if the idiosyncrasy of any given country's laws is objectively ethically determinative of this, which they're not -- and then limiting the notion of "protected class" to inherent identity at birth precluding choice, which (for example) US law does not (given its inclusion of creed and religion as protected class), is fallacious, ahistorical, and a form of special pleading.

Kink is not a part of my identity and so I don't have any skin in this game -- in fact, I was a bit put-off by the early-in-the-thread exclusive and definitive claim that this bathwater thing is necessarily all about kink. Even so, there are few things in human psychology as deeply linked to notions of identity as the experience of one's sexuality, and historically the stigma and sanctions against various expressions of sexuality and sexual activity have been murderously extreme. Objecting to the stigmatization of kink and especially objecting to explicit public expressions of disgust regarding kink are entirely reasonable. Generally so, but also particularly given how much "kink" correlates to the sexual practices among those a society sees as "other".

As you can infer from my language, I believe that who we should include among the "protected classes" is closely tied to historical institutionalized stigmatization and disempowerment with regard to traits that are closely related to how identity is socially and individually experienced. Identity is not set at birth, it is the result of a complex interaction between nature, nurture, and self-direction and is no less intense and singular than if it were exclusively a genetic inheritance. I think it's pretty damn important that we be expansive about this and err on the side of inclusion and tolerance.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:15 AM on July 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


Even so, there are few things in human psychology as deeply linked to notions of identity as the experience of one's sexuality, and historically the stigma and sanctions against various expressions of sexuality and sexual activity have been murderously extreme. Objecting to the stigmatization of kink and especially objecting to explicit public expressions of disgust regarding kink are entirely reasonable. Generally so, but also particularly given how much "kink" correlates to the sexual practices among those a society sees as "other".

Yeah for sure, especially since anti-kink sentiment has been used as a tool for homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. I get really antsy about this recent wave of "there shouldn't be kink floats in Pride because THE CHILDREN" sentiment, especially when it gets gussied up with "it's just adding to the sexualisation of LGBTQ people which is BAD". It's respectability politics, it harkens back to the time where just being queer was a crime (which is still the case in many other places, like where I'm from), and it's an overly convenient cover for "there's something else about your identity I don't like but it'd give me away if I was more explicit about it".
posted by divabat at 1:24 AM on July 6, 2019 [10 favorites]


"Yeah for sure, especially since anti-kink sentiment has been used as a tool for homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia."

This brings to mind that fiasco some years back where the UK defined unacceptable pornographic obscenity which just happened to include a number of kinks, which, in turn, just happened to be more prevalent among non-heterosexuals.× Funny how that works.

×Not exclusively, of course. And some were only explicable by a kind of sheltered prudishness, such as the prohibition against "face-sitting". But the mild correlation to practices more common among LGBTQ folk was noticeable.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:37 AM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Mefi not doing kink well is at least as much because of inflexible dogmatic kinksters as anything else. People get beaten up or bullied for all sorts of preferences - the way they dress, their music taste, perceived subculture membership - but at does not put any of those things on the same level as racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, etc. Being a goth isn't and shouldn't be a protected characteristic, even as it obviously isn't something you should be beaten up or shunned for. The same goes for kink.
posted by Dysk at 2:53 AM on July 6, 2019 [12 favorites]


Also, I'm trans. That doesn't mean you cannot criticise anything I do, that all such criticism is transphobic. Maybe the bathwater or pornhub stunt is kink for some of the parties involved. That doesn't absolve it of all criticism either. If in broadcasting stuff on social media, criticism of that stuff is fair game. Same applies here: the fact that kink may be involved (because let's be honest, that isn't explicit from Delphine or the vast majority of the dudes involved, if any, people are assuming and protecting) does not mean that it suddenly isn't okay to criticise. If "Lolita" culture (which is such a euphemism for simulated - hopefully - pedophilia) is problematic, it doesn't stop being problematic or become sacrosanct just because somebody got a boner.
posted by Dysk at 2:59 AM on July 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


I'm not saying kink or anything sex-related should be absolved from criticism (oh hell no). What I'm wary about though is this strand of "criticism" I've seen growing in some places where the sheer fact that it's not totally WholesomeTM means It's Forever Problematic And Bad And You Are A Bad Person For Being Into It. That's what got told to me when I talked about being a survivor but also not being anti-kink. That's what I've heard from many other places too. It's like the whole purity-culture-fanfic thing going around right now, or even things like women being into makeup & other feminine stuff. If you ever engage in the taboo, profane, or problematic, even if it's within a contained consented-to constructed experience (whether that's writing about it or playing with it in kink or even just deciding to do your face up), that in itself is Forever Bad And You Should Not Be Allowed Around Anyone Ever Because Clearly You Endorse The Bad Things By Making Them Exist!

Like, nuanced conversations exist. They've existed for a long time. Too many people take "well it's not free from criticism" to mean "the only correct way to engage with this is to criticise because any possible positive or non-negative takes are bad".
posted by divabat at 5:43 AM on July 6, 2019 [9 favorites]


It has been interesting within my lifetime to see the window shift with regards to what's considered kink or transgressive sexuality; there are lots of things (admittedly, things favored by straight, white people, mostly) that were a lot more transgressive 20 years ago than they are now. It's been interesting to watch that needle move. And it's one of the few things that, even when everything else in our society seems to be moving in the wrong direction, hasn't backslid too significantly—at least that I have noticed. (Obviously there may be parts of the situation that I'm not seeing from where I stand.)

In the same way that justice can be intersectional, I think bigotry can be intersectional as well; it's the same visceral feeling of disgust that I've seen underlie deep-seated homophobia (especially homophobia that manifests itself as "well, I don't care if they're gay, I just don't want to see it" etc.) that gets applied to kink. That's not to say that the issues are equivalently serious, or have equivalent impact—I'm not qualified to judge that, at any rate—but I think the anti-* sentiment comes from the same place. (For a very public example, see: basically any opinion Justice Scalia ever wrote that touches on homosexuality; it's plainly obvious his arguments are a thin veneer of rationality stretched over a deep well of visceral disgust with the idea of two dudes boning. And that same disgust filters through in his opinions on sex toys and a bunch of other issues. Different windows into the same bigotry castle.)

Trying to talk people out of that sense of disgust is hard, and laborious, and really nobody's job. Smacking people upside the head, metaphorically or literally, and underlining that it's not acceptable to form political opinions on the basis of "this squicks me out" is, at least that I've seen it, somewhat easier and more effective. And, pleasantly if not as primarily important, I think it also makes life easier for less-marginalized people who just have sexual or lifestyle interests that are outside the norm.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:10 AM on July 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


I really appreciate the above exchange; and just want to add that for those active in kink circles—and especially on Fetlife—some of the exasperation likely comes from the constant work that has to be done in those spaces to remind people that their kink is not like being gay, trans or disabled and that however well-meaning the comparison, it is not apt, erases the most important things relevant to all of life that doesn't have to so with sexual behavior (which is itself obviously different than sexual orientation, as gay people can be vanilla) and is often advanced by those who don't want to recognize their privilege along other axes.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:27 PM on July 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


I also feel like I should note for the record that "Lolita culture" exists aside from its fetishization, which is a big thing for Lolita fashion bloggers who dislike their content being retweeted/reblogged etc by kinky people.

And even for Lolita fetishists, who dislike their content, which for them is focused on an "aesthetic" being shared by ageplayers.

There is a more complex discussion to be had about whether transgressive kink is really trying to "simulate" the transgression in some socially problematic and harmful way but that thread is not this thread. At least, I don't think it is. And there is some history of MeFi not being a...suitable place to have those discussions.

One interesting thing about the whole Belle situation is the way she played upon the structural expectations that this is now how pseudo-amateur (peer to peer? social?) porn is transacted: teasers on tumblr or twitter or pornhub, and then a campaign using some payment app to crowdfund more content, and selling direct access to a "premium" Snapchat feed, which is usually marketed as both more explicit and more live, and more personal.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:41 PM on July 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


The never ending assertion that the only problem that could possibly ever be raised about kink is that "ew it's icky" is probably why people don't try to engage in good-faith conversations about it.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:08 PM on July 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


The never ending assertion that the only problem that could possibly ever be raised about kink is that "ew it's icky" is probably why people don't try to engage in good-faith conversations about it.

Or it could be straw men like this. But feel free to excuse yourself from "good faith conversations" based on the observation that people disagree with the only point you think matters.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:15 PM on July 8, 2019 [2 favorites]


My admittedly limited experience with the kink "community" (which isn't really singular but is more like a lot of hyperlocal communities) is that there are lots of people endlessly debating basically everything about it.

But the community—and people with non-stereotypically-conforming sexual interests generally—get a lot of shit from people on the outside, looking in, whose major point seems to be "ew, gross". And not just commentary, but actual legislation (there are states where sex toys are still de jure illegal; Walmart won't be selling vibrators in Virginia and Alabama, for instance, because they're illegal there... and neither state is likely or even capable of having a discussion about that anytime soon, much less BDSM).

There are a lot of people out there who are actively, militantly hostile to kink for no reason other than they're threatened by anything other than hetero missionary procreative sex. Some of them are even able to construct very complex, seemingly-nuanced arguments to support their position, but—mysteriously—the argument always ends up collapsing down to "because I think it's gross" when it's examined thoroughly enough. (See aforementioned Justice Scalia opinions, or even some classic William F. Buckley stuff, although he also has Catholicism mixed in.) After a while, it becomes really tiring to pick through these arguments to get at the meat of them; it's a sort of asymmetric warfare where they take much more effort to respond to than they do to make.

The onus is therefore on the person making the critique to make a point that's not reducible to "yuck", or be very quickly ignored as one more in the yammering crowd of ignorance. Unfortunately, there's not enough time left before the heat death of the Universe to assume good faith whenever someone makes a point that seems suspiciously similar to what you'd arrive at through bigotry or ignorance or blind appeals to tradition.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:00 AM on July 9, 2019 [3 favorites]


Walmart won't be selling vibrators in Virginia and Alabama, for instance, because they're illegal there... and neither state is likely or even capable of having a discussion about that anytime soon, much less BDSM).

This has more to do with misogyny than it does with kink. I have no doubt that people in kink are harmed by this legislation, but i'd bet my life that they're not the target.

The onus is therefore on the person making the critique to make a point that's not reducible to "yuck", or be very quickly ignored as one more in the yammering crowd of ignorance. Unfortunately, there's not enough time left before the heat death of the Universe to assume good faith

Well, besides the point that a rule of metafilter is always to assume good faith, you won't have to do much "assuming" if you read the comments made by me and others here in the thread. Let me make it easy for you:
  • i mean, ffs, belle delphine's loli shit makes me feel very uncomfortable because of how women's youth is used as a weapon by men and targeted by men.
  • The issue I have with this is that stoking a bunch of dudes' anger is likely to lead to blowback or consequences that won't land on Delphine, but on other women/girls in these pissed off gamerbros' lives.
  • Performed publicly like this, it's culture and open to cultural critique, same as anything else.
  • However, I would argue that the "barely legal" trope harms society, so there is a large degree of ambiguity there.
  • do you know how people's kinks interact with race? how black men are seen, how asian women are seen? how is that not harmful? how safe men seem to feel to ask me if, as an asian woman, it's true that other asian women love facials?
  • fulfilling men's fantasies about underage girls is harmful.
  • or kinks interacting with gender? chasers might love trans women, but 46 states still let the trans panic defense fly. trans women are still viewed as deviants, to be fetishized and to fetishize themselves, and monsters that trick men and turn them "gay", if porn is to be believed, and you don't think that trope is harmful?
  • If "Lolita" culture (which is such a euphemism for simulated - hopefully - pedophilia) is problematic, it doesn't stop being problematic or become sacrosanct just because somebody got a boner.
  • I don't believe any status or community membership in and of itself should absolve or protect us from criticism, though I do believe in the principal of time and place
As you can see, there's an entire gamut of reasons that people of metafilter think criticisms of kink are okay, ranging from "criticisms of everything is okay" to "kinks are a hiding place for rapists and racists to act out their grossness with a layer of protection from criticism".
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:06 PM on July 9, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also, and I'm genuinely sorry to double post, but no one in this thread has stated that they're blanket anti-kink, only that kink isn't absolved from criticism, and yet the response is much as if someone had said kink was straight up never okay. This kind of defensiveness is one of the reasons that people have a problem with kink culture in the first place.
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:12 PM on July 9, 2019 [1 favorite]


That all seems rather irrelevant to the topic at hand. It is not clear that any of what is happening with Delphine is kink. There is certainly nothing like 'using a safe word and making good choices' or other discussion of the best practices for the supposed kink. There is just someone trolling a bunch of gamer dudes by most-of-the-way playing into problematic gamer bro ideas about sex and women.
posted by Dysk at 3:06 AM on July 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Lolita fashion has nothing to do with the Nabokov book and wasn't named from it - from what I understand, those in the subculture really resent them being lumped together with implications of paedophilia.
posted by divabat at 4:38 AM on July 10, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm not super pleased with the dismissive hand-waveyness here, Dysk. I'm adequately well trained with 2nd wave feminist ideology and tropes that FirstMateKate has been promoting here, and my comment from yesterday was in response to those.
posted by kalessin at 7:18 AM on July 10 [+] [!]


Correct me if I' wrong, but this weirdly comes off as "I know the language of the enemy and how to defeat them", and I'm not interested in a conversation that's built on that basis
posted by FirstMateKate at 3:58 PM on July 10, 2019


"That all seems rather irrelevant to the topic at hand. It is not clear that any of what is happening with Delphine is kink."

Yeah, but nevertheless this thread has become a battleground between two opposing camps who seem to have a lot invested in saying the same categorical statements over and over again condemning or defending this thing that it's not even clear has much to do with the post at all.

"...and I'm not interested in a conversation that's built on that basis"

Well, then let it go. I would have thought your earlier admission that it's difficult for you to engage in this argument in good faith due to the purported dishonesty of your opponents might have been a clue that whatever are the faults of others here, you're doing your own part to make this whole unnecessary digression unpleasant and basically a waste of everyone's time. When you find yourself writing things like "let me make it easy for you..." and "ffs" and "I'm genuinely sorry to" that's a good time to rethink why and how you're engaged in a "discussion".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:12 PM on July 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Guardian has a short piece with quotes from Belle Delphine and some of her fans on this.
“I’m lucky. I can do crazy things and get to see the world react to it, and there’s definitely enjoyment in that, even if it’s sometimes a little scary. I get a bigger reaction to my weirder content but I think that’s only possible because I also make risqué content.”

Delphine’s actions may seem dubious or nonsensical, but her porn-lite style exists on the cusp of an adult industry foundering in the face of freely available content. Her tongue-in-cheek approach to the world of NSFW content has allowed her to carve out a niche and collect a colossal social media following. And all without going outside the parameters she’s comfortable with.

“I think for most the appeal is that she’s so out there,” one of Delphine’s Instagram followers said. “Her stuff is really kooky with lots of gimmicks. You’re just waiting to see what crazy stuff she’ll do next.”
posted by bitteschoen at 7:58 AM on July 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ooops, looks like Belle Delphine had her Instagram account suspended because it was reported for nudity and pornography.
posted by bitteschoen at 10:25 AM on July 19, 2019


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