So I wrote a post about that episode of "Bones" with the pony play and the murder and stuff, and I mentioned at the end how completely enraged I was and how Jack kept saying he didn't understand why I took it so personally. I always take stuff like that personally, and I'm trying to figure out why.
I used to be really, really goth. I was a clove-smoking, Cure-listening, dressed-like-Stevie-Nicks goth girl...and then Columbine happened. And being a goth kid in high school in a post-Columbine environment was really scary sometimes. Because of the rumors, the media information that said the Columbine shooters were goths themselves, (rumors that have since been refuted) you got the feeling people viewed you with suspicion, that people were scared. And not in a superficial way, in a way that made me think of witch hunts and the House Unamerican Activities Committee.
I got yelled at by the principal for wearing my long black raincoat to school on a day when it was raining. Kids who didn't fit in, like the one cool punk guy, or me and my asshole then-boyfriend, got singled out for punishment for things that the "normal" kids got away with. Eventually, there would be mandatory five-day suspensions and the police showing up to search your house if you made an offhand comment at school that contained the word "kill." One dude got this treatment for saying "I'd kill for a lollipop right now."
I know now that, being a cis, white, mostly-het (perceived as het, anyway) chick, that my life has really been pretty full of privilege and free from oppression, but at the time, I felt pretty persecuted. 15 and 16 year old goth girls are not exactly known for a lack of dramatic reactions to things. I wrote research papers about bullying and school violence, about McCarthyism and in defense of media that's been blamed for various violent incidents. Eventually, I got the hell out of high school and went to a liberal college where no one even noticed when I wore a cape to class. It was a huge improvement.
But what I took away from that whole mess was that news stories and dumb movies and poorly-researched TV shows affect people's perception. It may be just a silly TV show, but if that's all someone sees of goth kids or kinky folks or sex workers or furries or whoever, then that will affect their perception. If your only frame of reference for bondage porn is how frequently it turns up as evidence on Law & Order: SVU, then you're probably not going to have a very high opinion of consumers of bondage porn.
It's one of the things that I was trying to get at when I was angsting about coming out a while back--if people only see portrayals of kinksters as freaks and murderers and rapists, or as pathetic targets of humor, as something damaged and twisted and abnormal, then that's what the perception of us will continue to be. How could I not take it personally when it seems to me that the writers who penned that speech at the end of that episode of "Bones" were saying to me "This is what we, the normal people, think of you and your friends and your relationships."
3 months ago