Friday, October 24, 2014

Privacy is "Elementary"

TV shows continue to present kink lovers as freaks. TV show elementary nicely sums up everything that is wrong with modern day morals. Or the immorality of a moral clause in a CEO's contract. Never normal once again.

"Sometimes I discuss ancient torture techniques with Sherlock."

Elementary is an American television show loosely based on the character of Sherlock Holmes. In the episode Poison Pen a dominatrix finds her client dead in his house. The victim is the CEO of a large company who is about to retire. His contract has a “morality clause”. As it turns out his successor staged the whole scene when he found out his boss was dead so the company does not have to pay a 125 million dollar bonus upon retirement.

The immorality of the morality clause triggered me. What is generally acceptable and what not differs per country but to label BDSM as questionable morale is more than just unsettling. Privacy is always a touchy subject for kinksters. Many of us wish they could be more open about their preferences. Contrary to what some kinksters believe I do not think BDSM has become more accepted and the need for privacy remains paramount.


Privacy Is Over?

Everybody is telling me privacy is over and I better get used to it. Unless you have been locked up in your mistress’ dungeon for the past couple of years, you heard of Edward Snowden. His revelations showed how governments collect information on us in far larger quantities than we ever imagined. This massive surveillance is justified by referring to the four horsemen of the infocalypse: terrorists, drug dealers, paedophiles, and organized crime. You cannot be against it because if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. Or so they say.

Companies collect ever more information on us, which may or may not be shared with government. Of course this info is only used for advertising purposes, or so they say. Even if it is that innocent there is good reason not to be happy about it. The movie Fight Club uses the phrase “white collar slaves”, men looking for an outlet in a world where:

“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.”

Its very nature makes BDSM hard to understand for outsiders. How can you enjoy pain? Why do you want to hurt the one you love? I will never tell my loved ones I am into femdom. Not because they wouldn't accept or support me but I do not want them to worry about me because they will never be able to understand that I actually like it.
People in general react with surprise or disgust and will look at you differently once they find out. Personally I do not feel the need to share what happens in the bedroom with the world so why would it be any different when it comes to kink?


But Privacy Matters!

Daniel Solove lists ten reasons why privacy matters. Maintaining privacy is a limit on the power of governments and corporations. It gives us freedom of social and political activities. Privacy enables us not to having to justify or explain ourselves. This is especially important where people claim moral superiority. Even if the dead CEO is a bondage enthusiast he should be judged solely on his ability to manage a company and not on a little legitimate and consensual fun in his spare time. If you think this is just fiction just search Fetlife or Google for people who lost their job because of their love of kink. Privacy is tool to manage your reputation. According to Solove:

“Knowing private details about people’s lives doesn’t necessarily lead to more accurate judgement about people. People judge badly, they judge in haste, they judge out of context, they judge without hearing the whole story, and they judge with hypocrisy. Privacy helps people protect themselves from these troublesome judgements.”

Once your secret is out there is no way back. Even if right now you feel you have nothing to hide and want to share with the world how much you love your kink, don't tell unless you have to. You might come to regret it. Not convinced? The first few minutes of Elementary subtly reinforce the idea that BDSM is morally reprehensible. Don't believe the hype. There is no Fifty Shades revolution. Stay calm and protect your privacy.

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