Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Why Do People Believe In This? - Urban Dictionary and Kink-Negativity

So I’m a big Dan Savage fan and this week he’s gotten himself in an ill-advised, cold-induced internet battle about—of all things—blumpkins.


It’d started all so innocuously with a pearl-clutchingly shocked question:

“What is the deal with a ‘blumkin’? Like, honestly, why? Why? WHY? They freak me out and confuse me.”

To which he responds: “blumkins aren’t for real, and they’re not really about sex. As you can see from the UD definition, it’s not about sex or kink, it’s about misogyny and implied violence.” Calm down, vanilla person, this is not a real kink; it’s a joke. Not even a funny one. It is someone doing their damnedest to shock you and you’ve just obliged them. Congratulations, Urban Dictionary. I’m sure you’re very proud.

Which really should have been the end of it.

Unfortunately, it was not.

For some reason, people—who, if they are Dan Savage fans, really ought to have known better—flipped out and began defending the term. Taking issue with Dan calling this term “sexist bullshit.” Accusing him of kink-shaming.

Are you kidding me?!

As a kinky person, I suppose, I’m glad that people are trying so hard to live by the “live and let live so long as no one’s getting hurt” mentality we’ve been asking for for so long. But, really, guys, there is such a thing as taking YKINMKBYKIOK too far. And, defending these kinds of urban legend, Urban Dictionary terms, yeah, I’m okay with that being my line.

Because, while under normal circumstances—while dealing with real kinks that real people have—I would agree with you, but I don’t think this is that case. If a person is into this particular act and they’ve properly thought about it and negotiated with a consenting adult partner, go for it, guilt-free. Because you’ll have done your due diligence.

But I agree with Dan’s opinions in his initial response. I don’t think this is something that people really do. Or at least not enough people for it to deserve the popularity the term on UD gets in popular culture. I’d bet this is a term that people made up for shock value. Chances are really good that the term was made up by some vanilla person—most likely male—who wanted to come up with the grossest, most degrading thing he could think of to do to a woman.

If there is a community of people who do this, who embrace the term, and do do the due diligence to make this SSC, I would be surprised and I will apologize. In that case, YKINMKBYKIOK.

But I doubt it. 

Cause look at that Urban Dictionary definition for a minute. Look at the user-submitted definitions and examples:

  • “That New Jersey hooker gave me a blumpkin and a scorching case of genital warts for $3.62”

  • “then yes you die. If you dont believe me try and find someone who has. There are no examples for a Blumpkin. Everyones dead.”

  • “guy- give me blumpkins now BITCH! 
  • crackwhore- as long as i get paid for this shit....”

  • “After I knocked the crack whore’s teeth out, I made her give me a toothless blumpkin.”

These are not the words of someone who finds these acts arousing. These are the words of someone who doesn’t realize that they’re just not that funny. Whose quality of humor is that of a sixth grader who’s just discovering the kinetics of sex but still thinks the opposite sex’s no-no parts are gross. These are the words of someone who is not having sex. And who is, very likely, bitter about it.

Which makes the defense of this term—particularly in terms of kink-shaming—ridiculous. Because look at that definition! In one of them, the kinksters involved inevitably die for their kink. In the rest, the kinksters are johns and whores in the worst, most offensive stereotypes.

And this is what you want to defend?

The definition of the term is kink-negative in and of itself. It deliberately attempts to portray kinky people in the worst possible way. And far too often this is the kind of thing that vanilla people bring up when they find out a person is kinky. This is where their minds go when they hear a person has a fetish. Everyone wants to know if—wants to imagine that—the kinky person does all the boogyman-esque “weird stuff” other vanilla people whisper about to freak each other out like flashlight-wielding children at a sleepover. It allows some smartass vanilla snot, trying to shock people, to be the one in charge of telling everyone else what kink is. And, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being defined by this kind of crap.

And, sure, given the vastness of the world, there very likely are people who are legitimately turned on by this act. Rule 34 exists for a reason. However:

1 ) that in no way necessarily makes it not sexist. There are quite a lot of misogynistic—as well as racist and homophobic and bigoted—things that turn some people on. Being turned on by something does not suddenly exclude it from being subject to ethics. BDSM, as a subculture, in particular can attest to that. It’s why kink culture has embraced terms like SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) and RACK (Risk-Aware, Consensual Kink) and PRICK (Personal Responsibility, Informed, Consensual Kink). It’s why we stress things like consent-culture and proper care and ethics, because we are aware that what we do could be misconstrued as—and, if we’re honest, can be used as a cover for—unethical behavior. Ethical kink seeks to not be misogynistic, homophobic, bigoted, or hateful in their play, whatever the scene may look like to an outsider. And one can do that by thinking about what drives their kink and how they can consensually explore that. Kink culture does that in a way—is introspectively and socially consciously aware in a way—that I highly doubt the creators and most of the users of the term “blumpkin” do.

2 ) again, I’m sure there is some small percentage of people out there who are legitimately turned on by this act, but I highly doubt that most of the people using the term are. It is a term that exists in our popular culture as a joke, not a kink. It, like “dirty sanchez” and “donkey punch,” are terms that are significantly more often used by people who do not and would never do those acts. By people who are titillatingly horrified by those acts. They are most often vanilla people laughing at what they think those crazy kinky people do. More often than not, they are men laughing at what they think would be funny to do to women. Whether they actually, physically do that act or are aroused by it doesn’t matter so much.  Regardless of the small percentage of people who may be turned on by this act, their usage of—if not the very existence of—the term is sexist. As well as extremely and offensively kink-negative.

Because this isn’t about whether it’s real or not. It is the context in which the term exists and is used; that is what makes it offensive. Stop using it offensively and use it only and specifically for actual people who actually are into this act and do so ethically, and I no longer have a problem with the term. 

But, really, how often do you think the term gets used in a non-offensive context?

So can we stop pretending these terms have anything to do with kink or sex in any kind of significant or real way?

These terms are meant to be jokes.

One whose punchline, more often than not, is how much wasted time vanilla people spend coming up with them and spend willfully suspending their disbelief to flip out over how people could find them sexy.

They’re not sexy.

They’re not real. 

They’re not funny. 

Let’s move on.

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