This is a gentle public service announcement to let you all know that I’m no longer engaging in any more discourse about the kink meme.
This has become a really polarizing topic, I think the fandom’s collective ability to discuss it in a constructive way has eroded quite a bit, and the “callout posts” about it have themselves begun to feed an alarming amount of sensitive or triggering content into public social media spaces, which, quite frankly, runs a far higher risk of landing in front of the eyeballs of someone who needs to avoid it than when it’s safely quarantined in spaces like LiveJournal and Ao3.
It is staying open for at least the next couple weeks, and I intend to keep writing Kabby fic for it and sharing that fic here, as well as on Ao3. I’m a big proponent of people curating their own social media spaces, so if you need to unfollow, block, blacklist, etc. because that is a nope for you, that doesn’t bug me in the least and I don’t take it personally. We all have to know where our boundaries are.
A few last words on this topic and then I’m done.
(P.S. this post contains no potentially triggering references to any of the specific kinks or fics in question. It’s safe for all.)
There are many fics on the kink meme and Ao3 that I can’t and won’t ever read. There are many kinks that squick me out. But if you’re asking me to condemn specific writers or specific fics because they upset you, just know I’m never going to do that. Even if it’s a fic I would never read myself. My position is always going to be that I’m a writer and I stand with writers. Even when I disagree. Even when what they wrote squicks me out.
“But what about this kink? Surely you can’t defend that writer.”
Yes I can.
“Okay, but what about this??? This very upsetting thing involving your favorite character?”
Yeah, even that one.
Free speech is most important when it isn’t convenient. It’s most important when you have to go to bat for the rights of people to say shit that makes you want to die inside. It’s why the ACLU defends Westboro Baptist Church. If I only held to my values when it related to people who agreed with me and did exactly what I approve of, then they’re not values, they’re personal tastes I’m trying to legislate on everyone else.
My best friend and I were discussing this on Twitter yesterday when this cropped up over there. We have very, very different personal tastes. As in, there are rarepairs I write for and kinks I enjoy reading that hit some places of really deep “please don’t discuss that fic while I’m in the room” discomfort for her. And we’ve learned, over the past years, how to be sensitive and respectful to each other about those things. I offered - without her asking - to write a censored version of one of my fics to remove a personal squick of hers so that she could read it and not feel left out of the fun the rest of the group chat was having. She, in turn, never once judged or shamed me for writing the thing that made her uncomfortable in the first place … which is just as important. It’s crucial to our relationship that, just as I don’t judge her for her preferences, she doesn’t judge me for mine. And I don’t judge other people for theirs, even when they’re MILES away from things I would ever consider erotic, or even feel comfortable reading. Because another trigger which is very, very real - which for many of us is deeply lodged within our body and our sense of self - is the trauma of being publicly shamed, outed, maligned, or criminalized for your sexuality.
I am gay, and for eight years I was a youth minister at my church. When I was in my mid-twenties, an anti-gay hate group found a video clip online of a documentary about LGBT Christians that I had been interviewed for, and they emailed it to the entire staff of the church where I worked, the school, and the office of the diocese. Until you have been outed by force, against your will, to your pastor, your coworkers, your middle school health teacher, the school moms whose kids are in your youth group, and the fucking Archbishop, with a letter explaining that young people are in danger from your deviant sexuality; until you have been on the receiving end of a campaign of online harassment that went on for four years; until you have read a complete stranger write on her blog, not three months after your mother’s funeral, that she hopes your mom died without knowing she had a gay child, to spare her that humiliation; then you cannot possibly imagine the sense of sexual shame that I have carried for my entire adult life about the idea that the things I do in private behind closed doors, or even the things I think about in the privacy of my own mind, are fundamentally evil and wrong.
This is why I do not make assumptions or judgments about other people’s sexuality. There is a wide gulf between the things that turn you on in fiction and things that turn you on when done to live human beings (including not just your own sex life, but any other area such as the sex trade, trafficking, the porn industry, etc., where real human beings may potentially experience harm).
If I can make a distinction between you enjoying a television show where people have murdered each other without assuming you are a murderer, I’m not going to come after anyone for what they masturbate to, no matter how squicky I find it, by assuming they would practice or endorse criminal sexual behavior in real life.
If you were in a car accident, it might be really, really traumatic for you to watch movies or TV shows that show graphic depictions of car accidents. That’s 100% legit. It would be fair for you to expect a warning about that content so you know what you’re getting into and can skip that episode, close your eyes and look away during that part of the movie, or say “nope this isn’t for me, that’s not content I’m comfortable with.” And nobody would judge you for that. However, there are other people who have been in car accidents who might be fine with it. It might not land in their body the same way. They might find it cathartic to watch the thing that happened to them from a safe distance in a context which is fictional. They might process the trauma they went through - which is the same as yours - in a way that looks totally different.
None of this is universal. There are no hard-and-fast rules about what sexual fantasies are and aren’t okay. For example, I know at least two fics which I’ve seen alluded to as being content that should not exist because it triggers survivors of _____, which were written by survivors of that exact thing themselves. You have every right to protect your own boundaries, but you cannot assume that everyone else’s boundaries are in the same place.
This blog is and remains a primarily Kabby-only blog which I do care very much about keeping a safe space. I have always, and will continue to, post occasional fic here with Raven or Bellamy OT3s, and am absolutely happy to help you out if there is a way I can be more helpful in tagging that content for you so you can blacklist it and keep your Tumblr safe if that’s something that makes you uncomfortable. It is always, always okay to come to me with “hey can you tag this thing so I can filter it.”
In terms of the kink meme, the fic I’m writing and sharing here is primarily Kabby. I have written for some other pairings, which you can find on my AO3 in my collection of kink meme fills (Doctor Mechanic, etc.) but this is a Kabby blog designed for Kabby shippers, so the kink meme fics I’m writing are largely for them. They are also all labeled very carefully when I share them to AO3 with the specific prompt I was filling, and a plethora of tags, in case the kink they’re about hits a button that is a nope for you.
I am always, always open to helping you guys create safe internet spaces by opening up a conversation about ways I can tag fic more helpfully. But just as I do not police who anyone sleeps with or what gender(s) they’re attracted to - because I remember on a visceral gut level the shame and trauma I felt when that was done to me - I do not police what anyone masturbates to, fantasizes about, is turned on by, writes about, or reads about.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea that my inbox has been flooded with assholes, I should be clear that 99% of all the conversations I’ve had on this topic - whether people love the kink meme, hate it, can only handle parts of it, don’t read smut fic at all, or don’t care what anyone else does behind closed doors and just wants to go back to talking about whether Isaiah’s tweet this afternoon legit means Jaha got killed off??? - have been thoughtful and civil and great. The Kabby fandom is awesome and the majority of the really ugly drama has been swirling around around at a distance from our happy little corner. But I still get occasional anons about this which seem pretty clearly intended to draw me into conflict I have zero interest in, so I wanted to state, one last time, very clearly, that I’m not going to be engaging in any of those from this point forward, and explain as thoughtfully as I can the reasons why.
MOM LOVES Y’ALL A LOT, THANK YOU FOR BEING AWESOME