Consent is a common topic among just about anybody, as a rule we all have conversations about consent of the people that we play with as well as the consent or non consent of the vanilla crowd we are surrounded by.
But-- what about the consent of us? What I mean is what about having consent for our actions from other players?
There are all types of play and edge play that have significant historical, cultural, and social significance. Some of the obvious ones include race play, religious play, and age play.
The question isn’t whether or not these types of play happen, or that they bring relief, release and peace to those that play with those concepts.
The question here is whether or not it is responsible to play with these concepts in public, were perhaps the consent of each other comes into question.
Ultimately what I am asking is- what is the responsibility of the players that play publicly with scenes that are socially, culturally and historically inflammatory and subversive? Although the intent for the players may be play, it cannot be ignored that when those types of play occur in a public space, that others will be affected as well. Not just affected, but deeply disturbed and possibly triggered by what they have witnessed.
Now I suppose the argument could be made that all play can be a trigger for just about anyone, and that we are only responsible for being safe with ourselves and those that we play with since there is little that we can do about the triggers of others outside of our scene.
However, as much as we talk about the consent of those we play with, we almost never talk about the consent of those that may be around us.
On one hand I deserve to be able to walk into a dungeon and be able to have a certain amount of emotional and physical safety. On the other hand, it is a dungeon; it is where people invoke and dance with the dangerous things in life.
So if I walk into a dungeon and there is a scene going on between a group of men saying faggot, dyke, and bull dagger as they beat a butch woman, is it their job to be more responsive to my sensitivities, or is it my job to recognize that I will not be emotionally safe in this space and then leave?
What if we walk into a dungeon and a group of white men are yelling the n word to a black submissive as she is tied up? Being a white Master of a black slave, I realize that I may not have a lot of room to move here, as I know that many people are uncomfortable with our dynamic, but I also realize that seeing that type of play publicly could really trigger and disturb my slave. … Not because we don’t do race play, but because it is being done publicly, and she walked into this without being properly prepped and warmed.
A friend of mine wand I was talking several years ago, she was at a public dungeon very turned on and ready for play. She was walking around looking for a spot to begin when she walked onto a scene involving a Jewish submissive and a group of Nazi dominants. It shook her so badly she left the dungeon immediately, that scene still get to her.
So I am asking at what point are these scenes questionable even for a dungeon, and at what point is it just “their scene”.
And what is our responsibility to each other?
I am not saying that people can’t do whatever they want in private in whatever way they see those fantasies playing out as long as they are safe to themselves and those that they play with. But at what point does “your scene” become more than that?
How much do you have a right to engage in public play that you know there is a good potential will trigger and offend others?
Some will say “not my job man- not my responsibility, if you are offended by what I am doing, then it is your job to leave."
But ---- what does it say about us as a whole when we don’t hold each other accountable for those things that are in question?
For me personally I believe that there are some types of play that just should not be done a public play space.
I know that this is a slippery slope; after all one type of play banned could easily lead to another and another and another….
So I don’t think that these types of play should be actively prohibited in a public space.
I do think however that we owe it to each other to really think about what we have a right to and a responsibility for when we bring these types of sensitive play into the public arena.
So I wanted to toss a few questions out there:
What types of play would make you so uncomfortable that you would leave a dungeon?
What types of play offend you and why?
What if you were the organizer of the event or the on duty DM and someone in your dungeon was playing in a manner that you felt was racially, socially, or historically borderline enough to cause concern?
I am not saying that these questions have answers, but what I am saying is that these are questions that we owe it to each other to ask.