[personal profile] scallan
Recently, I had a conversation on twitter, which went :

Them : Can't believe I'm sharing details of bikini line maintenance with someone I've met once, in a public forum. Such is the magic of Twitter.

Me: At least you have [people] saying that while I may be a perv, I'm not the *wrong* sort of perv :)

Them: that is presumably defined by others being harmed?

Me: Maybe. My default test is"informed consent". If all those involved know and agree, it's probably OK. If not, think further

This is a bit of a follow up, to add more thinking to the above, to explain things and possibly to justify my choices. It's incomplete, and posted mainly to get it out there


First of all, let me talk about myself. When I called myself a perv, I was sort of joking, at least in the word used, which was really a bit of short hand for"non standard sexuality", which in my case consists of a certain amount of crossdressing, BDSM (bondage, D/s [if it ever came down to it, I'd probably be submissive, rather than domme], fetish clothing), all complicated by a much lower than normal sex drive (I'm not suitable for catching unicorns, but it's close). I also have lustful thoughts about women I pass in the streets, and often desire their clothes.

The wrong sort of perv is rather hard to define."Others being harmed" is, I suppose, a good starting point, but it has a few difficulties. What do you mean by harmed? What hurts some people won't hurt others and what actually hurts is a very subjective matter. Plus there are the people who want to be hurt, physically and mentally.

My personal definition of right / wrong takes the wording, if not the idea itself, from the BDSM community -"informed consent". To me this seems a more flexible and appropriate response to the wide variety of good / bad, right / wrong decisions that we have to make.

Naturally, there are problems with this option. There are many things that are "right", but once a group gets large, it becomes almost impossible to get unanimity, and there are many "wrong" things that are believed to be right. Such is life, and you just have to do your best with what you're given.

Date: 2010-11-14 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] widgetfox.livejournal.com
I'd distinguish hurt from harm, I think. Hurt doesn't have to harm, and one can harm or be harmed without hurting, physically anyway. And sometimes we hurt or cause harm to others in circumstances that no-one would label perverse - by breaking up with them, for example.

I think there are going to be problems with any kind of definition. I do prefer 'informed consent' to 'people being harmed', though, because it's measuring input rather than output. We can't be expected to be responsible for what harms others - they are bringing too much of their own business to the interaction. But we are responsible for making sure that we are being clean, and giving people enough information to consent is a standard to which one can realistically hold oneself.

Date: 2010-11-15 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nallac.livejournal.com
I agree that hurt and harm are separate but related things. Sometimes it's necessary to hurt someone to avoid harming them (vaccination of kids,etc), though I prefer to avoid both, if only to avoid the feeling of guilt.

Arguably, 'informed consent' is a way of avoiding responsibility. Once they know everything, and can make a valid decision, it's not your problem, it's theirs, even if they make the wrong decision.

Date: 2010-11-16 09:59 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
But what are you responsible for? Your choices, your behaviour, yes, but not others' choices and not the consequences of your behaviour for someone else, because you can't know what that's going to be. I think that if they make the wrong decision that *is* their problem. We should strive to be empathic and thoughtful about the impact of our behaviour, but we can't take ultimate responsibility for how it will affect someone else. Similarly, I wouldn't expect someone else to take responsibility for how their behaviour affects me.

Date: 2010-11-16 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nallac.livejournal.com
I think you have some responsibility for a situation, if you were the person that brought the idea up. It may not be a large amount of responsibility, but it is still there. After all, if you hadn't mentioned it, it probably wouldn't have happened.

I also think that you do have some responsibility for how your behaviour affects someone else, if your behaviour is "unreasonable", or if you knew that your behaviour would evoke that particular response. On the other hand, I do feel responsible for my behaviour, no matter what other people do to me. Contradictory I know, but we cannot go through life without contradiction.

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Simon Callan

September 2014

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