Respect and Respect

I came across this tumblr post by Abby and it made me think about how some people talk about respect in the scene:

Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority”

and sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”

and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

I’m really suspicious that the doms who keep talking about how respect is so important and they deserve to be respected and how terrible it is that submissives these days have no respect aren’t using the word respect the way I do. The people most likely to be disrespected are submissive or assumed to be submissive. Doms, particularly male doms, have very little to complain about in terms of being respected (younger doms, even male ones, do get a certain amount of shit from ageist dicks, but that’s a separate blog post).

Given that male dominants generally are respected in the scene, I have to assume that when they say respect and I say respect we’re actually talking about different things. What would make the whining I’ve seen make some sort of sense is if these guys (let’s be honest, they’re mostly men, although I have seen female doms pull some ridiculous bullshit too) are actually talking about wanting to be treated like an authority by everyone they run into, whether or not they’ve ever done anything to earn it.

Fuck that. Deciding to call yourself a dom in no way makes you an authority. Literally anyone can do that, no matter how inexperienced or ignorant they are. Treating every dom like an authority would require everyone else in the scene to completely ignore basic common sense and their own ability to judge whether someone is worth taking seriously. Not only is that never going to happen, but that sort of “respect” is worthless. Why would I care whether someone with such terrible judgement that they’ll fawn over every so-called dominant they meet fawns over me too? That’s not even about me as a person, it’s about their fantasy of how they should act around doms. I really don’t care to be used as part of someone’s fantasy without them even asking if I wanted a cameo in the J. Random Sub Show.

Real authority is earned. If you’re that invested in being treated like an authority, get really good at something and share your knowledge. Unless that’s too much work for you, in which case keep whining and crying about how everyone you meet is an asshole because they won’t act like their mission in life is to prop up your oh-so-fragile ego. That will totally make people respect you.

The only respect people in the scene are automatically due is being treated like people. It should but sadly does not go without saying that subs are people too and are entitled to the exact same level of respect that doms are until they’ve specifically negotiated other arrangements with a particular person. We are all just people with an unusual hobby until we make other agreements with someone, calling myself dominant doesn’t make me any more or any less than anyone else in the scene, no matter how they identify. I’m fine with that because I’m a fucking grownup. If you’re not, I recommend taking a long hard look at yourself.

4 thoughts on “Respect and Respect

  1. Excellent post and I agree entirely. The only thing I would add is that respect that has been earned as an authority DOES expire after a period of time. Some folks seem to feel that their contributions to the community or a relationship has earned them the right to stop earning it. Don’t fall into that trap. It’s a never-ending process.

    • Yes! I should’ve mentioned that respect is not a trophy you earn once and keep on your shelf forever afterward. Outside of the scene it irritates the shit out of me when people act like I should care what they were good at 10 years ago, and that behaviour is no more worthy of respect inside the scene.

  2. Funny, I just posted about my distrust of “authorities.” The people, and they could be any part of the scene, who have decided for themselves that they know what it is to be a “true” part of the BDSM world.

    As much as I hate to make any reference to that book, there are a million shades of gray as a dominant or submissive. The only one who can decide if something is right for you, is you.

    And yes, respect is earned, not bestowed upon you because you give yourself a tittle. I will be polite and respectful to a certain degree to everyone in the scene. However, just because your call yourself a Domme doesn’t mean I’m going to kiss your feet anymore than I would just, walk up to a stranger and start making out with her.

    We are all just people with an unusual hobby until we make other agreements with someone, calling myself dominant doesn’t make me any more or any less than anyone else in the scene, no matter how they identify. I’m fine with that because I’m a fucking grownup. If you’re not, I recommend taking a long hard look at yourself.

    Nicely said 🙂

    • However, just because your call yourself a Domme doesn’t mean I’m going to kiss your feet anymore than I would just, walk up to a stranger and start making out with her.

      Exactly! I get really creeped out by the idea that I should act like I’m in a d/s relationship with a total stranger just because he’s submissive and I’m dominant.

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