I’ve had a bit of pushback regarding my story In Training. “Pushback” may not be the appropriate word. Perhaps “concern” is a better one. Either way, some folks have come to me expressing dismay about the use of “master” and “slave” in the story. Those who have done so are often people of color.
First and foremost I must say that I, in no way, created those tags. They are used often in the BDSM word. And when I went exploring, journeying through those landscapes, I too stumbled over the word. We, in the United States, don’t romanticize that concept. Simply: not done.
Second, I emphatically state that I understand the concerns brought forth by those words. I understand them. Me, ripe with my white, female privilege, would never would I say “I know what you mean,” “I hear you,” or brush off those concerns with a dismissive wave of one hand. I do, however, understand the issue, both intellectually and emotionally.
I do so because I walk a similar path.
Apparently some people of color use “daddy” and “baby girl” to refer to their power exchange dynamics. I was told that they do so because the word “slave” has so many ugly connotations, and because the words “daddy” and “baby girl” engender emotions of protectiveness and caring and security. This is not true for me.
A survivor of incest, the idea of calling the man “daddy” who sexually uses my body is bone-chilling, revolting, and outright horrifying. So, yes, I can understand the shock and immediate rejecting of what I portray inside In Training as natural, loving, and wholesome.
I understand the rejection of “slave” by people of color. I cannot empathize, since I have no real experience in the ongoing abuses and discrimination against those of a darker skin tone than mine, but I sympathize. I understand pain. I understand the ghosts of yesterday crashing into the now.
For those who have trusted me with their pain and have reached out to me, I appreciate you. We will cry together for the horrors of past that continue to affect the now, if you will allow me in. Pain has no skin tone; it hurts us all.
For those who have found love and safety in a Daddy/baby girl dynamic or in a Master/slave dynamic, I praise your courage. It isn’t easy to come from behind the wall, to go outside “the wire” and face the dragons of yesterday. Like pain, courage has no skin tone. It’s a question of character.
And I say “bravo.”