This is a live blog of KinkForAll Providence 2! I’ll be updating this post throughout the day with notes and comments from the presentations I see, as I hop from room to room. You can also follow the large room at live.kinkontap.com, or see other people chattering away on Twitter under the hashtag #KFAPVD2.
11:20: xMech and Aida have rocked their opening comms. We are all bageled and caffeinated, and getting ready to listen to xMech talk about relative definitions of privacy.
11:25: xMech is talking about something close to my heart: how the different spaces in his life demand different levels of privacy. Different groups have different definitions of an insult, a secret, an inappropriate question. “A lot of this has to do not even with what’s private, but with what’s appropriate. What’s the difference?”
xMech posits that privacy encompasses things that are personal across spaces, whereas appropriateness is a situational type of privacy depending upon participants, physical space, and activity. He runs into issues moving from space to space with other people, because it’s difficult for everyone to carry the right level of appropriateness across very different conversations. For example: A friend who hears one of his family members call him by his birth name then uses that name in front of other friends.
11:34: Quill posits: Is it appropriate to make other people uncomfortable in order to further conversation or force more radical forms of thought upon a group? Sometimes being “very out and in your face” about holding an identity like trans or queer is a great screening mechanism for potential partners and friends. Sometimes it’s a danger, like when putting a job in jeopardy. Everyone decides where their line is, and all lines are different.
11:45: Zac is going to speak about ritual, theater and kink: “the things that we do.” He’s giving a series of readings from the book From Ritual to Theater, by Victor Turner, and Public Sex, by Pat Califia.
All rituals have the same three phases: Separation (a rite which changes the quality of time and detaches the subjects from their typical cultural roles), transition/limination (a period of ambiguity in which everything is done within the social construct of the ritual instead of following the participant’s typical roles and status), and reaggregation (symbolic movement of subjects to their reestablished, previously determined cultural roles). This matches to a scene: think introduction, scene and aftercare.
In essence: Kink requires you to be in touch with your own needs and desires, to create and define the roles that we find important instead of following the roles assigned to us. It requires that you describe these roles to someone else in order to have them met. Interesting: does an alternate sexuality *force* communication and self awareness? You’re forced to think hard and critically about your presentation and space within a broader context.
12:00: Adrian s speaking about erotic fan fiction as a response to the male gaze. If the interesting and engaging characters of most media are male, It would follow for some that more exciting pairings can be written about male characters.
Apparently Joss Whedon stated, in canon, that Spike and Angel have had sex. “Word of God,” Adrian says. xMech and I both cheer.
There’s no traditional “doorkeeper” to online writing, no editor that you need to get through to publish something. That means there’s a lot of crap out there. However, we sometimes lose sight of the idea that all of the same tests of quality and patterns of popularity are present, in some form, online: editor groups, peer feedback, familiarity with the author, recommendations of your friends, quality of writing. To think of all slash or online writing as noise, or of the search for good slash as a needle in a haystack is incorrect. Signposts do exist.
The next presentation is on respect and boundaries, but I think I’m going to hide while I work on my presentation…
1:09: That was intense! I always end up chattering away longer than I mean to. Now I’ve popped over to see Megara talk about how to be a sex educator, in a professional sense. She teaches sex education in schools. She says that conservative parents love it when she teaches their children, because she never teaches values, only information. She has one small set of values that she falls back on for all questions related to values and morality:
Curiously, she says she gets many more value-based questions when she teaches 9th graders than when she teaches 11th graders. An example of an 11th grade question would be something like, “Is it okay to have sex many times in one hour?” She laughs. “Yeeea, good luck with that!”
1:25: Maymay: claiming that Fetlife is “safe” is like breaking in through someone’s back door and then selling them a better lock for their front door. Just blocking search engines is not actually effective.
On the other hand, blocking search engines means creating a walled garden. Where is our generation’s vanguard? When so much community evolution takes place within a single closed system, we muffle critical voices and make it impossible for others to find and connect with those around us.
2:40: Lunch was tasty. Now Emma is talking about gender, body, and clothes. Three questions: Who here has trouble finding clothes that fit them? (Almost all.) Who here identifies as some form of gender variant? (Most.) Who here thinks that they have trouble finding clothes because of something to do with their gender? (A few.) She’s speaking about the Genderplayful Marketplace! The audience is invited to give perspectives on what’s difficult for them to manage when buying clothes. Common issues: expense, shoes, cut and figure, size standardization and deviance across genders and brands.
3:20: Aida is talking about how to protect your privacy online. One basic step is obfuscation; hiding your data in places that don’t make sense to others. (i.e. keeping racy pictures on the “accounts and billing” folder.) Another is passwords, for your phone, your folders, your computer. Yet another is the willingness to delete things. When surfing online, use a proxy like hidemyass.com or the Tor Project. Since we’re not “private information abstinent,” practice risk aware information sharing. And (personal favorite) set up Google alerts for your name, your websites, your handles. Use the Depersonalizer to compare what Google shows you and what it shows someone else. If you use Firefox or Chrome, install HTTPS Everywhere. (There were many more tools. I could not type fast enough.)
4:08: xMech is doing a talk he has described as “Something! About! Gender!” It’s turned into a discussion of safe internet spaces, and how to find more variant images of people of other races, classes, etc. in places like, for example, Genderfork. What happens when a group designed to showcase diversity is run by people with youth/class/race privilege? Maybe there’s something to be gained by partnering with other sites, like Queer Eye Candy or some Tumblr feeds. Oh hey! And taking photographs at KinkForAlls!
I’m signing off from the liveblog for now, because my computer’s giving up the ghost. Thanks for the awesome KinkForAll, Aida and xMech! Good things, all good things.