Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Con and Consent

I have a big, philosphical post coming up about some things that got brought up on Twitter, and as I write the printer is churning out CD labels and cover art! But first, some more stuff from Dragon*Con.

One of the most entertaining things about going to events - whether on the scale of Dragon*Con or not - is meeting new people who are interested in hypnosis but uncertain about it. One of the downsides of Dragon*con in specific is a specific cosplayer. There's no point in naming her or her character. The locals all know who she is and are already nodding. Everyone else can just take our word for it, seriously... she really takes character a bit too far. Bear in mind that this is coming from a woman who thinks that roleplay within hypnosis is one of the most entertaining and even fulfilling things one can do with it recreationally.

One of the points I make repeatedly when speaking about hypnotic roleplay is that scenes need to have a firmly defined beginning and ending. Another is the use of safewords to make sure that every scene is consensual. This becomes even more important when dealing with people who may not be involved with or aware that roleplay is taking place - and that applies to all roleplay, whether hypnotic or not. Billions of electrons have been used to make posts on this topic when it comes to LARPs (live-action roleplays), and there's a lot of discussion in the D/s community about public play and whether it is safe, sane, and consensual if people unaware of the scene are involved.

Into this comes this cosplayer. She comes to the panel which is essentially a Hypno 101 panel, meant to dispel myths and falsehoods about hypnosis for a general audience. Right off the bat, she starts in on the panelists about her vulnerability to hypnosis and how it affects her crimefighting superpowers. She was shut down pretty darn quickly, but when one of the panelists asked the assembled group to close their eyes and take a deep breath, she promptly went into trance and stayed there for the whole rest of the panel. Everyone else in the room understood this to be a demonstration of how trance sometimes feels so normal because we experience it so much. She just stayed that way. (The guy with her, who I assume is either her boyfriend or her caretaker, asked some good questions and contributed a lot.)

Now, as a Domme I'm very used to people IMing me and promptly talking about how my words are putting them into hypnosis. I ask if they've ever listened to my word, even my free stuff. No. Have I ever talked to them under another ID? No. I'm a HypnoDomme, and so therefore every word I say is by definition hypnotic. While there are some people who are probably that easy, for the vast majority of these people I'm really a sentient sex toy. They want to go into hypnosis, therefore they're going to do it... whether I take any real action or not. Most of the time, this is amusing. Sometimes, it's annoying. I know very well people like this are not going to contribute to my well-being in any meaningful way, be it by buying session time, buying CDs, or even admitting "I'm broke, let's just be friends and talk." I'm a masturbatory object, and I really wish they'd just whack off and go away. I did not consent to hypnotizing them, therefore it's not really D/s.

(Note this is not applicable to the whole giant class of people who approach me for honest conversation and friendship. Bless you. You keep right on messaging!)

The people at the panel, panelists and audience alike, did not consent to be in on this woman's roleplay. They did not consent to her game. Watching the audience's reaction, it became clear that most of them considered her at best clueless, most likely rude, and at worst actually possibly mentally ill. It was also evident, given that she chose to sit in the front row right on the aisle ("front and center"), that she was coming in with the intention of being noticed.

I don't know whether the cosplayer enjoyed her "fun." What fun there may have been, though, was at the expense of other people who didn't ask or give their OK to be props in her game or even just bystanders. My friends, that just isn't cool at all. Please, when you roleplay or cosplay, consider the people around you. That panel room emptied a lot faster than it normally did, and people didn't get to ask questions of one of the panelists because of this. As I left, a total stranger was commenting on how creepy the woman in the front row had been. That's just sad.

In a D/s situation, whether you practice RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink) or SSC (Safe, Sane, and Consensual), the word consensual is in there. Please apply consent, not simply or only to your partners, but to others who might be involved - whether it's D/s or not.


  1. Sounds like she was just wanting attention. I wish I was there to observe the panel.

  2. Um. Wow. *shakes head in sad lack of disbelief*

  3. Ah this post has it all
    The Dumb
    The Dreary and
    The Deluded :3

    Sorry you have to deal with them

  4. That would have driven me insane. While I know that at a gaming/sci-fi con, you will always have people RPing around you, that doesn't mean they get to be rude with it or interfere with other people enjoying the con in their own way.

  5. Some people just have fun at watching other people react when they do stupid stuff. I mean look at the fellas from Jackass, they do a great job of it, and they never ask anyone to "be in the video" until it is shot. Am I condoning what this chicky did, no it was pretty stupid. Are you in the video... I hope not. It sucks that your panel suffered because of this chick. Next time ask all the "superheros" to gtfo, this is a panel for villains.

    Oh and btw I am person about honest conversation and friendship, not one of those other people you mentioned ;p

  6. "... takes her character a *bit* too far."

    I'd say that was an understatement. I've met a couple of people who were in that category, but she apparently took the whole process way too far.

    Not much you can do about it except shake your hear and try to keep the damage as minimal as possible.

  7. as someone else who was there, yeah.. the lady did throw the whole vibe of the panel off.. i like RP'ing but if people around aren't involved then don't try to force them.

  8. ... Yeah.

    My sympathies for having to deal with that. I've normally associated that kind of invasive behavior with men, but I've been steadily broken of the idea that there is any kind of mental wall preventing women from doing the same thing.

    Wish I could have been there to lend whatever support I could. I can lend my voice in support now, though. It sounds as though you handled that in the most graceful way possible.

  9. I didn't mean to double post, but you know? I'm reminded, suddenly, of Alan Moore Hair Guy from CONvergence. Not really interested in anybody else's comfort or in what anybody else had to think about anything, just in getting attention. I didn't see him at any other panels, but most of the panels I went to, other than the hypnosis ones, were costuming and MST3K panels.

  10. I'm of a mixed mind about this woman. On the first hand she has been a part of Atlanta cons for 20+ years and I have heard from many including a con director that she is mentally slow and because of that is treated a little special because of that.

    On the next hand Nobody and I mean nobody should be allowed to be that disruptive in a panel. The least someone should do is ask the permission of the people running the panel members for her to attend.

  11. Semi-random aside: your post title reminded me of the episode titles from the third Blackadder series. Things like "Sense and Senility" and "Amy and Amiability." Given that the behavior you are describing sounds remarkably thick just like the Prince Regent, I was doubly amused.

    Seriously, you have my sympathies for folks who want to use you as their fetish object without you getting anything from it.

  12. I was watching a video about DragonCon and the guy doing interviews interviewed the same lady that did that. From one of the comments, it seems she is both Autistic and Schizophrenic. So, what she did was not good regardless, but at least it may make a bit more sense. There may have been a problem with her meds or something.