There is a particular behaviour that I’ve witnessed—and experienced myself—in the kink scene online. It may happen out in the analogue world, too, but I don’t spend much time out there at play parties or dungeons so I can’t speak to that.
From what I’ve experienced, it primarily happens from male-socialised individuals (MSI) towards female-presenting humans (FPH).
Male-socialised individuals are people who were brought up to behave like men—no matter how they identify when they behave in this particular way. It’s difficult to unlearn those behaviours.
Female-presenting humans are people who appear to be female, no matter their specific sex or gender.
The best way I can describe the behaviour is projecting your kink.
A female-presenting human posts a photo or piece of writing because she’s proud of it or she felt good about herself or her art or because she’s free to do so as an autonomous human being.
Nowhere does she say: Tell me what you want to do to me. Or: Tell me how you’d change this to fit your fantasy.
Yet, some male-socialised individuals take it as an invitation to offer ‘improvements’, enact their own fantasy or project their own desires onto the other person without their consent.
It’s certainly not all male-socialised individuals. If every MSI behaved that way, female-presenting humans would have left the internet entirely. Except for the two percent of lady-people who enjoy that type of attention. (It’s totally cool if you do, but the vast majority of lady-people don’t.)
So, you post a photo of a neat item you’ve purchased and maybe you’re nervous about using it, ever. You’re just excited about getting up the nerve to buy it and have a place to show other people without those people shaming you. Then someone comes in and says, ‘Now we just need to get you attached to something with those.’ [This is based on one of the first things that I posted on Fet.]
Hokay! You don’t know my desires, kinks, hard limits, what words I never want to hear (hint, all of those, especially from strangers), or literally anything else about me. Except that I have that item in the photo in my possession.
Also, and this is key. I don’t know you.
That last bit is what changes a great deal. If I know you and we have a history of flirting and playing then okey doke then.
There was a video on street harassment—I think it was on Facebook last year—they interviewed guys who catcalled women. The guys were blaming the women (of course they were)—for wearing the kind of clothes women wear when it’s hot.
One sparkling gem of humanity said something like, ‘When I see these women in shorts and t-shirts, looking good, what am I supposed to do?’
I thought, ‘How about nothing?’
He understood you weren’t supposed to touch people—thank god—but the idea that he could keep his thoughts inside his face holes was beyond him.
He actually asked, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ I remember that very clearly because the entitlement and sheer confusion on his face nearly burned my eyebrows off.
‘If I see someone who looks attractive I have to make that person uncomfortable.’
No, you really don’t.
Online, it’s even easier to not do anything, because it takes more steps between thinking the thing and putting it out there.
Seeing this behaviour in the kink scene surprised me because you’d think kinky people would understand consent.
How would these front-runners for the Mr Presumptuous Pageant feel if guys started commenting on their photos and writings the same way?
‘You need another dude in this photo.’
‘That’s a hot tie—I’d wrap it around your dick until you cried then make choke on my cock.’
We don’t need vanilla kink shamers—we have plenty on the inside—who have this attitude of, ‘Well, she’s into all this hard stuff so she’ll love it if I talk to her that way.’
I don’t know exactly how much you want to die today, but submissives and masochists tend to be pretty hardcore, independent humans. The women are feminists who, radically, believe their bodies belong to them.
Hell, most of the men are feminists who believe the same thing. It’s just this one group that makes you want to take a Silkwood shower.
What’s the thinking? That the FPH is just going to play along?
I’ve been pondering this and it must be confusing for both sides of the equation, so I thought I’d try to explain things to both sides as best I could:
Why Do Female-Presenting Humans Post Evocative Photos If They Don’t Want My Thoughts?
- Female-presenting humans feel good about themselves on occasion—despite media and our culture and society’s every effort to tell us we’re too fat/thin, tall/short, wearing too much/little make up, dressing too slutty/conservatively, are too dark complected/too pale, are too loud/quiet, too flirty/withdrawn, too sexually repressed/sexually available, etc. Every now and again, a female-presenting human being manages to find a scrap of self-esteem and wants to share it in a piece of writing or a photo. Crazy! This has nothing to do with you. It is not for your approval. It is perfect as it is. If you think she’s attractive or her work is great, say so. But there’s an enormous difference between, ‘You look like you’re enjoying life,’ and, ‘I want to come on your face.’
- Sometimes, female-presenting human beings work really hard on something—a piece of writing or a photo or even make up. (If you don’t think make up is art you do a full face of make up and don’t end up looking like Bozo the Clown.) They want to share that with the world. When someone works on something they’re proud of sharing it is a natural inclination. Tearing it down or projecting your own desires on it or, worse, making it about the fact that it was created by a woman you’d like to fuck, makes that person never want to share anything ever again. And what purpose does that serve? Good humans raise people up and help them realise their potential, they don’t tear them down.
- Sometimes female-presenting humans are sexual beings (gasp! I know!) and they’re tired of being told they’re not supposed to be by society. When they find a place they’re allowed to be more open—to own more of their own sexuality—they embrace it. They post photos of things they enjoy doing, clothes they feel sexy wearing (or not wearing), implements they enjoying using or having used on them. It’s a relief to be able to just be who they are. But then they find out it’s not really any different and people in this new place that is supposed to be more aware also treat them like objects. (If you want to keep seeing those amazing photos of the happily sexually free FPH, be polite. Or else you’re only going to be looking at dicks everywhere. I personally have some photos I’d like to post where I feel good about myself and my body, but I’m not interested in comments that will make me feel gross. So no one gets those.)
Why Do Male-Socialised Individuals Say Gross Things When I Just Want to Share Something That Makes Me Feel Good?
- Some men like making people feel uncomfortable—they think they’ll be rejected so they opt for blarfing their desires out there. I don’t think this is the majority, but it probably accounts for some.
- They genuinely believe it’s a compliment. The MSI is expressing how he feels. Our culture tells us the ultimate compliment a male can pay a female is to say he finds her sexually desirable. Also, we don’t put a great deal of import on the woman’s pleasure so it’s understandable for less enlightened MSIs to respond to something they find arousing with ‘I want to do this thing I find pleasurable, you may not enjoy it, but I don’t have to take that into consideration’ rather than, ‘That is very attractive—it makes me want to make sure you’re satisfied sexually.’
- Male-socialised individuals would like it if women (they found attractive, this is key) were to randomly say lewd things on their posts. So they don’t understand why FPH aren’t flattered. Meanwhile, female-socialised humans have been told not to share their sexual desires and certainly not to push them onto others so of course they’re not going to say what they think on someone else’s post.
- They have a life-time subscription to Rape Culture Weekly and believe if a woman posts anything having to do with sex or her sexuality, whether it’s photography, art, erotica or anything else, then he’s allowed to say anything he’d like because, clearly, she doesn’t respect herself. The human equivalent of a garbage fire.
Oops, I’ve Behaved In This Way! How Can I Avoid It In Future?
- Before commenting on a stranger’s photo (rules are different if it’s someone you’re in a relationship with) ask yourself this:
‘Would I be all right with a stranger of intimidating build shouting that at me across a darkened street when I was alone?’
- If someone says: Hey, I took this today—tell me what you’d like to do/How would you improve this.
Fucking go for it. Here’s your chance.
- If they say, ‘Feeling cute today!’ ‘Bought this last week—looking forward to using it.’ ‘Finally got my eyeliner like I like it!’ ‘This is my first TK!’
Appropriate responses include:
‘You have beautiful eyes/hair/hands!’ (If you’re female: Your boobs look cute in that top! My boobs would look like pancakes.)
‘Wow! That is a well-made crop/flogger/whip—where’d you get it? Have fun!’
‘You have such a steady hand—I’d poke my own eye out. Is that liquid?’
‘Hey, that’s great! Rope is so much fun. Keep at it!’
Responses that get you blocked include:
‘Your face would look cuter on my dick.’
‘I’d teach you how to use that crop/whip/flogger. You wouldn’t be able to sit for a week.’
‘Girls wear too much make up.’
‘It’s not symmetrical. Meet up with me and I’ll tie you so you can see how it’s supposed to be done.’
I mentioned the almighty block just then. Yes, people can block someone who’s being offensive, but saying, ‘Just block those people,’ is the equivalent of teaching women how not to get raped rather than teaching men how not to rape. Learning to communicate in a way that doesn’t threaten FPHs is more productive for everyone involved than wasting time blocking the people who, most likely, just don’t know any better.