Kinkshaming

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Synonyms: Kink shaming
See also: kink, YKINMK, squick
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Kinkshaming is the practice of passing a negative opinion on someone's favoured kink.

It can occur in discussions about fanworks and has been the subject of much meta and wank.

Many kink memes and other prompt communities include provisions not to kink-shame in their rules. Although kinkshaming other fen's preferences is generally frowned upon in fandom, there is still discussion as to what constitutes kinkshaming and when, if ever, it is appropriate or even necessary.

In order to avoid kinkshaming, fen are often encouraged to adopt a Your Kink Is Not My Kink or Don't Like, Don't Read attitude. The appropriate use of tags and warnings by authors is also encouraged.

Kinkshaming is also sometimes found in fanworks as a kink itself: in that case, characters shame or humiliate others for having a certain kink.

What Is Kinkshaming?

Kinkshaming has a relatively wide and sometimes controversial definition, which is why there is a lot of meta about what is, and isn't, kinkshaming.

Kinkshaming seems to range from offhand, backhanded compliments to explicit moral judgements about how "disgusting" certain kinks are, which kinks should be allowed in certain spaces (or ever), and how wrong/evil people who like certain kinks/tropes/setups must be.

For example:

  • From the Sherlock BBC Prompting Meme LJ community:

What is kinkshaming?
Telling someone that a kink is gross or wrong is kinkshaming.
Implying there’s something morally wrong with the contents of a prompt or a fill is kinkshaming.
Saying that a prompt or a fill would be better if it didn’t contain a certain kink is kinkshaming.


Asking for clarification of a prompt is fine; asking why someone would want to read a fic containing certain elements is kinkshaming.[1]

Discussions of kinkshaming sometimes contend that some of the things people enjoy to creat/consume fanworks about are not "real" kinks, implying that they can or even should be denounced. This applies particularly to incest (causing much discussion in fandoms such as wincest, waycest etc.), non-con (often linked to rape apology and rape fantasies), underage (sometimes linked to accusation of paedophilia, child abuse apology) etc.

Lets take a second to talk about what kink shaming really is.
Kink shaming is trying to degrade someone who enjoying a kink that turns them on. Like biting or BDSM.
However, I have see people use this excuse when people point out harmful kinks such a pedophila, race play, incest and others. Here’s the thing. Pedophila is not a kink. It’s abuse. Same with incest. And by trying to make these things sexy, you’re telling abusers that what they are doing is okay. You’re also telling victims of abuse that they don’t matter either. There is also zero reason to sexualize a child or siblings. (...)

Other forms of kinkshaming can include calling a story shockfic even when it was not created as one (see: Milk).

Kinkshaming vs Calling Out

Some fen have argued that certain discussions/criticism of problematic behaviour (for example misogyny or racism appearing in pairing or trope preferences) was akin to kinkshaming. For example, in her meta piece "Why Isn't Stormpilot Staying Popular?", Franzeska discussed Stormpilot fandom's reactions to prompts involving size kink on a kink meme, writing:

Three main theories have been advanced:
  • Racism scared people away.
  • Kinkshaming scared people away.
  • Boring fic chased people into Kylux's dirtybadwrong arms.

Personally, I think two and three are much more likely than one, but all are hard to substantiate beyond an individual person explaining why they personally lost interest. [...]

I have observed a number of complaints about Stormpilot fans having racist porn tastes. I do not think that most of them are justified. There are some kinks that are going to be upsetting to some readers when they involve characters of color, no matter how the kink is treated in the story. This is a distinct problem from kinks being written in a racist manner. Conflating the two just makes it less likely that people will write about characters of color.[3]

The difference between the two has been discussed on several occasions:

I just want people to stop feeling like they can't judge the porn someone's writing because "kink shaming is not OK" and that trumps everything else. I agree that kink shaming is never OK. Perpetuating racism and misogyny and other forms of oppression is also never OK, though. We can ask for better from ourselves and from the media we're consuming.

I don’t know if F is a fan of color. I don’t know anything about her aside from the fact that this is not a person I would want to interact with because of how they reduce legitimate complaints to kink shaming, blame people of color for racism they/characters of color face in fandom, and use the word bullies to describe us.

A few days into the discussion, stitchmediamix tweeted:

Dear fandom, Kinkshaming will never be a legitimate form of systematic oppression. It's not on part [sic] with racism. Please stop. No love, Z[6]

Kinkshaming vs Preference

A lot of kinky fic gets comments and recs that go "I don't normally like X/am normally squicked by X, but this story had such great worldbuilding/characterization/writing that I liked the story anyway!" This is a construction that makes many people, including me, very uncomfortable. When someone (like me) expresses that discomfort, someone else will often say, "I don't see what's so wrong with saying you don't like some aspect of a story when you're commenting on it or reccing it." [...]


Now, this kind of comment definitely exists on a continuum; I've seen stories get comments like "furries are DISGUSTING but..." and "lol this kink is super gross but..." and I think (or hope) we can all agree that those comments are beyond the pale and should be condemned. (You may think that I'm exaggerating. I'm not. People really leave comments exactly like that. I have received comments like that.) Those kinds of comments, especially when applied to a kink, are shaming and unkind and explicitly excluding people from that space. Those kinds of comments explicitly function as an aggressive and shaming effort to police boundaries about what's normal, what's healthy, what's bad for you, what's shameful. They function that way whether the commenters intend them to do so or not, because we all reenact and reinforce these strong cultural narratives about normativity in sex and relationships all the time, even when we wish we didn't.[7]

See discussion in comments.

One of the common threads in thoughtless no-kink requests is writers asking for "normal" sex or erotic content that isn't "unusual" or "heavy" or "extreme." There are two problems here. First, calling one kind of sex "normal" implies that anything else is weird and deviant. (It also implies that not being interested in certain acts is weird and deviant, which sucks doubly for someone like me who both likes kinky stuff and doesn't like some normative stuff).

See discussion in comments.[9]

Ironic Uses

"Don't kinkshame me!" or "kinkshaming is my kink" are sometimes used as ironic commentary/to make fun of the discussions around kinkshaming.

See for example:

Shame/Humiliation Kink

The term "kinkshaming kink" is sometimes used to describe a love for situations where a character is humiliated or shamed for having a certain kink. For example:

Kankri has two kinks: incredibly vanilla sex (or whatever passes as such for trolls), and kink shaming. Despite being as tame in bed as can be possible while still having The Full Sex©, he absolutely craves being treated like a dirty, shameful, perverted deviant wretch by his partner.[11]

Okay, whenever I see something along the lines of "you can't tell me not to kinkshame because kinkshaming is my kink and therefore that's kinkshaming!" I crack up because kinkshaming is totally a kink for me.


So give me a Dorian who's kinky (into spanking, d/s, the idea and/or act being gangbanged, and whatever else not too extreme) and most importantly enjoys humiliation and degradation. So part of their play is his partner telling him that what he's into is disgusting and wrong and fucked up, that he must be slutty and desperate to even want it, that what happened with his dad must have screwed him up really badly. He tells him how pathetic he is for wanting to be turned over someone's knee like a little boy and how lucky he is that he's found someone willing to indulge his ridiculous fantasies. Dorian is utterly mortified and completely aroused by this.[12]

Meta/Further Reading

References

  1. FAQ - Sherlock BBC Prompting Meme, Archived version Sherlock BBC Prompting Meme LJ community, posted Oct 1, 2012, accessed May 5, 2016.
  2. [1], Archived version
  3. Why Isn't Stormpilot Staying Popular? by Franzeska, posted (publicly) to AO3 2016-04-27, accessed May 12, 2016.
  4. marina: on the difference between kink shaming and calling out faily behavior, Archived version
  5. Stitch's Media Mix - Your Vagina is a Bigot; My Vagina is a Saint (Franzeska), Archived version
  6. stitchomancery (aka stitchmediamix), Archived version, May 11 2016.
  7. I Don't Like X But: A Meta Post, Archived version by thingswithwings, posted to Dreamwidth Feb 3, 2015, accessed May 5, 2016.
  8. eruthros: I like everything but the non-traditional, non-normative, gross and icky stuff!, Archived version
  9. implicated2 post, Archived version
  10. "don't kinkshame me" - Twitter Search, Archived version
  11. Homestuck Kink Meme XVII, Archived version. Posted to DW by anon, 2012-08-31, accessed May 5, 2016.
  12. Dragon Age: Inquisition, Part 12: Closed for Prompts, Open for Fills, Archived version . Posted to LJ by anon, 2015-08-14, accessed May 5, 2016.
  13. Kink Shaming - Know Your Meme, Archived version