Near the top of page 79, Nany Kayo comments again:
Most people are able to detect the fundamental values of the society they live in without a formula. Rules and laws are enacted for the ones who lack that ability, the ones who can't tell the difference between what is appropriate and what is not.
It must be very freeing, in a sense, to live in such a rigid, constrained, monochromatic world. No ethical issues, no complications, just "YOU'RE WRONG" and "I'M RIGHT" and "DO WHAT I SAY". It would be enviable, in a way, if I didn't have the firm understanding that life is not black or white, bad or good, but multi-hued, multi-spectrum, and possessed of an endless variety of shades of grey--and all the other colors, tastes, sounds, sights and sensations out there.
And I have to pick up on Professor Milos' tip for Xeromag's wonderful definition page for BDSM. I've been in love with Xeromag's site for years because of the polyamorous articles (which, by the way, are a must-read, as essential as breathing, if you're dealing with a poly person--or happen to be a poly person dealing with a monogamous person, and you want them to understand you--just flip that page link up and let Xeromag do the rest). That may help as we balance on that fine line between BDSM, and abuse and violence.
And I had to quote Katheryne Helandale's entire forum post, because I felt it was just that important:
The problem is, contrary to Ms. Kayo's opinion, what one person finds offensive, others might not; and vice versa.
I will not attempt to speak for anybody else here. What do *I* consider offensive? Vocal minorities pushing their social and moral agendas on the population at large. I also find discrimination and segregation offensive. Beyond that, there is very little that actually offends me, particularly if I have the power to simply walk away if I do not like what I am seeing.
Your proposed method of segregating everything generally considered offensive is fundamentally flawed. While it addresses the issue of protecting people who choose not to associate with "adult" content from encountering it, it does absolutely nothing to protect individuals who DO choose to participate in *specific* adult activities but find *other specific* adult activities offensive.
What part of your plan allows ME, a professional strip-dancer, from encountering, say, Gorean activities? What protects ME if my activities require me to locate to the adult continent, if I find my neighbors openly practicing bestiality in their front lawn offensive? Once everything that can be deemed offensive by somebody has all been relegated to Pornodelphia, what is to protect them from each other?
And that is the heart and soul of a lot of the objections on this, and the general feeling that not only are the Lindens shooting their own feet with this, but they're loading the guns and painting targets on each toe. All adult activities are not the same; moreover, they can't just broadly equate adult with unwanted and expect that it will solve all the problems of the grid: happy corporations on one side, pouring funds into the Labs, and happy adult deviants on Pornotopia, arm in cuffed arm singing "Kumbayah" around the balefire.
Sexuality, especially fetishized sexuality (which for many on the grid, is a large component of their SL experience), is tricky, uneven terrain. There are subcultures of subcultures. There are those who embrace their natures willingly; there are those who are embarrassed, afraid, wary of even the breath of agreement. Add into this toxic blend socialization against most sexual expression (at least in America), and our cultural tendency to become hysterical at the slightest glimpse of skin (witness Nipplegate some few years back; or the current hysteria over one of the American Idol contestants kissing another man).
To one culture, two men wearing matching shirts is the height of scandal. To others, women fully covered in burka are scandalous for entirely separate reason. Skirt hems have been debated for centuries--too high, too low, bustle, sheer, and then there's the whole question of pants...and that's just the tip of the obstacle over attire; what happens when the physical self becomes involved?
I'm pulling Katheryne Helandale's comment to further illustrate the point:
I am curious how slavery, in the conventional sense, can even exist in Second Life. Aren't the very acts of creating an account, logging in, and role-playing a specific lifestyle therein entirely *voluntary*? Where is the slavery? Suggesting that slavery by the standards Ms. Kayo is expressing exists in SL is a lot like saying there is [non-consensual] sex among the consenting. It just makes no logical sense!
It doesn't. It purely doesn't. And I have to go back to that point--even in Gor, of all places, in the highly structured male-dominated rigidity of that fantasy realm/lifestyle/relationship choice, there are still choices--one must accept before one becomes anything there. And there are freer strata now and again--the female scribes, the healers, essential city workers and town caretakers that enjoy more freedom of dress and expression, than their kajirae sisters and kajiru brothers generally do.
So where is the slavery on SL? Is slavery objectionable? Is it a violation of human rights? Yes. Is there slavery on the grid, though, is the question I keep circling back to.
I say no. I say by the legal definitions, by the understood standards, there is no slavery, as we know it in RL, on the grid. So. What are Blondin and Nany really worried about? What has them both equating some level of slavery with extreme violence?
I think--and to date, I haven't been proven wrong, that I know--they're both edging into talking about BDSM. In terms of actual human slavery. And that, I have to add as well, I find extremely offensive.
Gavin Herd and Deltango Vale had an interesting point/counterpoint near the top of page 80.
You throw around the term 'slavery' without any consideration of how it may be used by other people. Even within the BDSM community, 'slavery' can mean many things. You really must avoid dogmatic statements about lifestyles you really don't understand. I'm sorry for being so direct, but you represent the whole problem with LL's hopeless attempt to classify the wide range of human social relationships into a rigid legal formula.
Yes, but don't push the BDSM community in front of you on this because most people even in the BDSM community have the sensitivity to not push shackled, collared, forced to sit postured, strutting chastiy devices, gasmasks or whatever in front of everyone.
And I have to answer: Gavin, you'd be surprised. And this, you see, may well be the so-called "slavery" that Nany Kayo so objects to. Collared submissives led on glittering particle chains. People forced into kneeling poses and kept there. Clubs that have thrones and floor cushions. And all the people who shop in silks, or go anywhere with the coiled whip on their belt.
To be fair? Walk around in most large cities now, in the real world, and you find collars--not quite as prevalent, true, but there. Walk close to gay districts, club districts, in those cities and the number of leather daddies and club bois you see will rise. People into BDSM--just as people heavily into other subcultures, sexualized or not (submissives; dominants; transgendered women; all the way to the other side of the spectrum with Amish, Hutterites and certain Mormon cults)--will dress the way they feel comfortable, the way that makes them feel confident, and they will go out into the world like that.
I'm going to tie this up with a comment from Lindal Kidd:
I have a completely non-sexual toy, called "Collider Death". If you wear it and someone bumps you, your avatar falls down and appears to strike her head. A pool of blood spreads out around your "corpse".
Is this "extreme violence"? Is it still extreme, given the fact that I can still talk? Or that if I move my av, she immediately stands up again, ready for the next round?
Blondin, we wore these attachments while ice skating last winter. We had a hilarious time playing "bumper cars" with our avatars.
And I've done the same thing; in fact, I have a copy of this in my inventory as I type. I count it as a fun av toy; we bump into each other, giggle like mad, get up and do it again. At times, it's the one scripted attachment we'll wear going through haunted houses, so at times we can just fall down and blend in with the scenery.
But is that "extreme violence"? Is it cartoon violence, is it just fun, and would it be fun for everyone? Would anyone be offended by it?
This might, weirdly enough, be a core question: who would be offended by such a toy? And are they the majority?