When Respect Is Objectifying

digitalswitchgamine:

I am a female Tumblr user with a porn blog that features femdom content. There are almost 2,000 people that follow my blog, and occasionally followers reach out to say hi, or to tell me they enjoy my blog. I’m glad people engage with me and the content I put out into in the tumblrverse. More than that, I’m glad there are people out there that share my interests in hypnosis, femdom, and kink.

There is one thing that bothers me about many of these interactions, and I feel like a broken record setting this boundary over and over again with such a large portion of the folks who message me. So here it is, for all to see: Please don’t refer to me as miss, ma’am, goddess, or any other honorific you can think of. 

In some parts of the United States, it is a cultural norm to refer to strangers using honorifics, but here on Tumblr, I have to make assumptions to keep myself safe. This is my porn blog, not a coffee shop in Knoxville, therefore I have no context to tell me whether you’re upholding your regional vernacular, or projecting your sexual fantasy on me. I will assume it’s the latter. 

I also understand that BDSM culture is shifting. At one time, it may have been common practice to refer to all dominant-identifying people using honorifics. A learning curve is expected when culture changes, especially for those who have been around a long time. Again, I have no way of knowing which mores you adhere to. 

When I point out that I don’t like being referred to with an honorific, the most common response I get is, “I was just trying to be respectful.” It is not respectful to call a stranger by a term with sexual connotation, it is objectifying, and therefore inherently disrespectful. Another way to look at it is a passive catcall to someone you’ve identified as a potential sexual partner. I am not the ma’am of a stranger that just messaged me on the internet. I have not consented to be part of a scene with them. 

The second most common response I get? “I didn’t know what to call you.” Asking someone what they like to be called is a good way to begin a conversation with someone you respect. I recommend this as your starting place. 

Seriously!  It’s not the 1940s, or 1970s, or even the early 2000s where BDSM for most people was limited to a handful of mainstream books “Story of O,” maybe Roquelaure’s Sleeping Beauty trilogy, old Leatherman’s Protocols and… a bunch of really stupid movies. (Rosie O’Donnell in Exit to Eden, anybody?)

By now most people really ought to get that there’s a big fricking difference between a Dom, Daddy, Little, Sub, etc., and your Dom, Daddy, Little, Sub, etc!

Actually, let’s put this in terms everybody ought to get:

There’s a huge difference between “a wife” and “your wife.”  And outside of, like, the weirdest old cult religions in the weirdest backwaters somewhere in America you don’t see people walking up to someone and saying “Hi wife!” messaging someone and saying “Greetings, Husband.”  Right?

Unless maybe it’s their husband or wife!

You don’t say that even if you wish they were your husband or wife, or hope they’d become your someday.

In fact, doing that would probably roll your chances of marrying them down to right around zero.

So…

Same with messaging someone and calling them “Mistress.”  Or “Daddy.”  Or “Little One.”  Just…

Yeah, don’t do that.  It’s not polite.