Dissassociation, Identity and Fetish

One of the problems when it comes to kink, sexuality and gender seems to be two quite different views of the world. For some, the image of it defines the person. For others, these are two separate things.

Interpret this.

This is the difference between slut shaming, and slut walks. We see it in BDSM, where some can walk out of a humiliation session with their head held high whilst others would run a mile. In public discourse, we argue whether people can play violent videogames wihout being violent themselves.

It seems to me this is linked to people’s ability to disassociate the image (or words, or even act) from the identity of a person. Some are happy to borrow an image, or explore a role and not feel it defines who they are, shrugging it off as the mood of the moment. Those who associate the one with the other though feel the link as a constant.

That causes problems when one group can play with styles and behaviours that the other link with a specific sexuality, or see as misogynistic or demeaning. Not that this is an argument that one side is more ‘liberal’ than the other. Some very happy and confident perverts are ‘literalists’, who make the straightforward association that if you want to act like a slut, you should just go ahead and look like a slut. The ability to disassociate (or not) defines how you express yourself, not the things you wish to express.

Given the incredibly visual nature of our modern society, and the ‘bite sized chunks’ of identity we share through social media, these two different approaches seem to be at the root of a lot of arguments. Each post is a slice of someone saying “look at me”, and the viewer can either interpret that as “this is what I am”, or “this is an act of expression”.

When things like fetish, gender, drag and sexuality are fought over, it’s perhaps worth acknowledging we each express ourselves with very personal expectations of how the rest of the world will interpret that expression. Without understanding those intentions, we’re applying our own predjudices, and could well be very wrong.



Gender warrior, so long as the fight involves staying at home and comfortable undies.

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Claudia Tyler-Mae

Gender warrior, so long as the fight involves staying at home and comfortable undies.