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A recent post in the forums got me to thinking about this. The post was looking for people who were pro-ana, or people who think anorexia is an acceptable lifestyle choice. The responses to that post were swift and unanimous in condemning the pro-ana mindset as being dangerous. This however got me to thinking, there are lots of things in real life which people do that are dangerous, and which we try to oppose in real life, but which seem to be perfectly acceptable lifestyle choices in SL. What determines what activity we think is to far for role play in SL, and what unacceptable real life activity is OK. For example the marketplace is full of devices for torturing your partner, plus tattoos to simulate the cuts and bruises that result from such torture. I however have never heard anyone state that doing this glorifies spousal abuse, something which most of us I am sure would disapprove of if it was going on in our real lives. Why is it unacceptable to starve yourself, but perfectly ok to take a bull whip to your wife's back? I ask this question to myself as well, because I was one of the one's disapproving of the pro-ana thread, yet if my SL husband wanted to whip me I would let him. If my RL husband tries it I am calling 911. There are lots of things we do that are dangerous in RL which seem acceptable in SL because it is safe here, but do we by doing them glorify these things? Prostitution, drug use, casual sex, even smoking, all are examples and this is just the start. So where do we draw the line between acceptable role play fun, and what is unacceptable?

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I think that, in the case of the pro-ana thread, it concerns a disorder that tends to affect more young people than older ones. Those same young people see all around them unrealistic body image portrayals in print media and online, and - by normalising a serious eating disorder - that thread could be seen as encouraging a very damaging mindset for impressionable and vulnerable individuals.

I was the first person to reply to that thread, but I didn't condemn it. I knew that others would come along and do that anyway, and I wanted to focus on the language used by the OP. I could see that she wielded the word 'haters' to separate herself from anyone who was concerned or worried about her. Once people start using defensive words like that, they are at a stage where condemnation can make them dig in their heels and close their ears even more, so I was trying to pry open her mind a little and make her think about why she used that word, even though she said she was posting and running and wouldn't return.

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Personally, I don't see her mindset any more dangerous than some other activities that someone could potentially do in RL and definitely do in SL.  If someone came here and admitted to going out nightly intentionally trying to be attacked, kidnapped, and raped in RL, we'd probably all scream at them about the dangers - even while ignoring the same role playing in SL.  And yes, I know that technically it wouldn't be rape if the person wanted it to happen, but the attacker wouldn't necessarily know that and therefore it would still be a very dangerous RL activity.  If someone came here admitting to extreme RL torture, either self-inflicted or allowed by others, we would likely all be counseling the person to seek help, but we don't think twice about it in SL.  In this case, I think the harsh responses in that thread had more to do with condemming the RL actions as opposed to what we are or are not okay with in SL - though a few did touch on the fact that they also thought even roleplaying in that arena was bad. 

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5 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

Personally, I don't see her mindset any more dangerous than some other activities that someone could potentially do in RL and definitely do in SL.  If someone came here and admitted to going out nightly intentionally trying to be attacked, kidnapped, and raped in RL, we'd probably all scream at them about the dangers - even while ignoring the same role playing in SL.  And yes, I know that technically it wouldn't be rape if the person wanted it to happen, but the attacker wouldn't necessarily know that and therefore it would still be a very dangerous RL activity.  If someone came here admitting to extreme RL torture, either self-inflicted or allowed by others, we would likely all be counseling the person to seek help, but we don't think twice about it in SL.  In this case, I think the harsh responses in that thread had more to do with condemming the RL actions as opposed to what we are or are not okay with in SL - though a few did touch on the fact that they also thought even roleplaying in that arena was bad. 

I've never heard of anyone intentionally attempting to be attacked, other than perhaps as some form of political/social act. I don't think most legal systems would take kindly to that kind of provocation. In many (most?) societies, inciting violence is illegal. Yet, rape is a popular female sexual fantasy. So we look the other way (or make dreadful movies) when consenting adults simulate it, and we hope they're not dulling their sensitivity to the real horror of sexual violence. Most sexual behaviors and fantasies are not destructive and sex is necessary to our survival, so we must make accommodations for sexual behavior.

Non-necessary, potentially destructive behaviors, such as smoking and drinking, have such long histories that we've shaped our societies to make room for them, sometimes at great cost. Enough people derive pleasure from these activities that it's difficult to outlaw them. So we try to handle the edge cases of abuse with varying degrees of success.

And some destructive behaviors are so thoroughly so that we classify them as illnesses. Anorexia is probably the most deadly of all psychological disorders. And it's considered a disorder because of its self destructive nature. As I understand it, while many pro-ana groups operate in support of each other, attempting to survive the disorder (like AA), some actually claim it's a lifestyle choice that should be respected by society. Would we be any more accepting of an alcoholic support group that thought of intoxication as a life choice, to be respected, while helping each other stay drunk? What about a cancer support group where members help each other avoid treatment?

I do not support the treatment of anorexia as a lifestyle choice. Victims of disordered thinking may be unaware, unable to grasp, or unable to cope with the reality that their self destructive behavior also harms others, both near and far. This isn't something I've thought a lot about, so my argument might be a bit fuzzy or blunt. I don't know exactly where to draw the lines on acceptance or rejection of behaviors, but lines are necessary, for our own good and that of society.

All that said, there's mounting evidence that calorie restriction, beyond what's historically been considered healthy, may prolong life.

Ain't nuthin' easy.

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9 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

I've never heard of anyone intentionally attempting to be attacked, other than perhaps as some form of political/social act.

Likely not a very common thing, though I did encounter such as a really sick game a few college kids were playing.  There was some thrill they were getting that I never understood.

14 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

Anorexia is probably the most deadly of all psychological disorders.

Is it? Or is it maybe just easier to specifically tie the action to the likely end? I've had a few friends destroy themselves with bulimicbehavior, causing themselves major health issues, with one passing from said issues. I suppose in that case though, the death was possibly attributed to the resulting health issue rather than the behavior that caused it. What about the people that literally over eat to the point of extreme health issues that also ultimately result in death. There are a few different ways to deal with what one perceives as a weight problem and the outcome of most of them is ultimately the same if taken to extremes.

I think part of why we consider Anorexia so much worse is that it typically affects younger people and it centers on a completely unrealistic view of "the perfect body".  Whereas many other of the very dangerous behaviors are likely not as prevalent among the youth, or have a tendency to take longer to kill you - something like drug abuse.  With some of the more hard-core drugs, if the person does not get help, the outcome is sure death, with a lot of damage done to the body and their personal life beforehand.  What about the poeple that enjoy being strangled during sex?  All that takes is a very slight misjudgement and death is the result -- a very deadly obsession, IMO.  Various versions of choking / asphyxiation even seems to be on the rise amongst teens in some areas.  That has the potential for a far faster death than Anorexia even.

I don't argue that Anorexia is an illness, I just see it fitting into a large category of similar extremely problematic behaviors.

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The things you mentioned are all different in their nature, at least to me. I'll try to explain it, hope it makes sense.

Yes, we do a lot of things in SL, that are considered dangerous. But usually, this does not change how we view them outside of SL. And some are even not possible or as easily done in real life, as they are in the virtual world, where nothing can hurt you. Many things people do here, belong, in some way, to the realm of fantasy and imaginantion. The thread in question however didn't lead me to believe that this was going to be "a fantasy", but that the OP was looking for people to share and encourage her mindset regarding anorexia (from which she therefore is probably affected in RL, too).

The bullwhip-aspect:

The answer to this question depends on what the wife thinks about getting whipped by her husband. Its all about her consent. This applies to all kinds of fetishes that fall under the umbrella of BDSM. People who are active in this kinds of fetish and lifestyle are very clear about that. If you are getting whiped by your husband, thats still abuse, if you don't want it and even if you enjoy it, thats ne free-pass for anyone else to do the same and your "no" still has to be respected, even if you sometimes like to get a little kinky in the bedroom.

So where's the difference to starving yourself? While one may argue, that now the same aspect of consent may apply to the ProAna member, I see a difference here in at least two aspects. The first is about the state of mind. BDSM has the concept of "safe, sane and consensual", which implies that the wife from our example should not only give her consent, but do so from a reasonable, clear and free point.

A person affected by anorexia does not have that reasonable viewpoint anymore. People who suffer from anorexia will consider themself "fat" till the very end. Even when every other person, every scale or every doctor tells them that they are drastically underweight, they will fear to even gain a small amount of weight. Thats why many therapies include trainings, that are supposed to help the patient regain a feeling for their body. Is a mental disorder after all, not a decision you make willingly. They aren't tibetian monks, deciding to starve for a higher sense of being.

The other difference is, that ProAna is about encouraging the problematic behavior. Its a community that welcomes the dangerous behavior patterns of losing weight and glorifies the illness. Instead of giving each other support in fighting destructive thoughts and habits, they encourage them. ProAna is, in essence, against any sort of treatment or thearpy. Of course, they want their behavior to be seen as a lifestyle.

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10 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

 

Likely not a very common thing, though I did encounter such as a really sick game a few college kids were playing.  There was some thrill they were getting that I never understood.

Is it? Or is it maybe just easier to specifically tie the action to the likely end? I've had a few friends destroy themselves with bulimicbehavior, causing themselves major health issues, with one passing from said issues. I suppose in that case though, the death was possibly attributed to the resulting health issue rather than the behavior that caused it. What about the people that literally over eat to the point of extreme health issues that also ultimately result in death. There are a few different ways to deal with what one perceives as a weight problem and the outcome of most of them is ultimately the same if taken to extremes.

I think part of why we consider Anorexia so much worse is that it typically affects younger people and it centers on a completely unrealistic view of "the perfect body".  Whereas many other of the very dangerous behaviors are likely not as prevalent among the youth, or have a tendency to take longer to kill you - something like drug abuse.  With some of the more hard-core drugs, if the person does not get help, the outcome is sure death, with a lot of damage done to the body and their personal life beforehand.  What about the poeple that enjoy being strangled during sex?  All that takes is a very slight misjudgement and death is the result -- a very deadly obsession, IMO.  Various versions of choking / asphyxiation even seems to be on the rise amongst teens in some areas.  That has the potential for a far faster death than Anorexia even.

I don't argue that Anorexia is an illness, I just see it fitting into a large category of similar extremely problematic behaviors.

It was a few years ago that I heard, on an NPR program, that anorexia was the most deadly of mental disorders. I've a cousin who nearly died as a result of her anorexia, and her parents were told the same thing.

Not content to rely on my memory, there's this...

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa/news/20110711/deadliest-psychiatric-disorder-anorexia

I agree that there's no shortage of self destructive behaviors. We probably also agree that there's a difference between supporting people's efforts to avoid those behaviors and supporting people's efforts to engage in them.

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9 minutes ago, Syo Emerald said:

A person affected by anorexia does not have that reasonable viewpoint anymore.

That's it. We can, while rational, enjoy doing things that seem irrational. We depend on our rationality to prevent us from harming ourselves or others, and if we dig deep enough we might even discover the rationale for the behavior and exploit it to our advantage. If you're irrational, you can't do that.

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The pro ana post was more about supporting anorexia in real life. If the pro ana poster were to say they were making a group to pretend being anorexic and living the life style only in SL would that have been met with less disapproval? Granted I have no idea how one pretends to live the life style since most of us don't eat in SL anyways.

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45 minutes ago, Syo Emerald said:

The other difference is, that ProAna is about encouraging the problematic behavior. Its a community that welcomes the dangerous behavior patterns of losing weight and glorifies the illness. Instead of giving each other support in fighting destructive thoughts and habits, they encourage them. ProAna is, in essence, against any sort of treatment or thearpy. Of course, they want their behavior to be seen as a lifestyle.

This I understand - and I'm pretty sure that is the specific reason that the thread in question got such harsh responses.  While I don't personally see anorexia as being any more dangerous than the bulimicbehavior that ultimately caused my friend's death, I definitely see the difference between the destructive behavior and the condoning / supporting of it. While my friend was bulimic, she also acknowledged that her behavior was unhealthy and a problem - she wanted to stop, but just couldn't manage it.

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4 hours ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

This I understand - and I'm pretty sure that is the specific reason that the thread in question got such harsh responses.  While I don't personally see anorexia as being any more dangerous than the bulimicbehavior that ultimately caused my friend's death, I definitely see the difference between the destructive behavior and the condoning / supporting of it. While my friend was bulimic, she also acknowledged that her behavior was unhealthy and a problem - she wanted to stop, but just couldn't manage it.

Eating disorders in general, which would include both anorexia and bulimia, are collectively the most deadly of disorders by a significant margin. Unlike drug abuse, such disorders don't require a willful step onto the slippery slope of addiction. You get dragged in, like it or not. And eating disorders often lead into substance abuse as the victim tries to climb out of the pain. This might explain the harder line we seem to be drawing over calling the disorder a "lifestyle".

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On 6/8/2017 at 6:58 PM, Talligurl said:

A recent post in the forums got me to thinking about this. The post was looking for people who were pro-ana, or people who think anorexia is an acceptable lifestyle choice. The responses to that post were swift and unanimous in condemning the pro-ana mindset as being dangerous. This however got me to thinking, there are lots of things in real life which people do that are dangerous, and which we try to oppose in real life, but which seem to be perfectly acceptable lifestyle choices in SL. What determines what activity we think is to far for role play in SL, and what unacceptable real life activity is OK. For example the marketplace is full of devices for torturing your partner, plus tattoos to simulate the cuts and bruises that result from such torture. I however have never heard anyone state that doing this glorifies spousal abuse, something which most of us I am sure would disapprove of if it was going on in our real lives. Why is it unacceptable to starve yourself, but perfectly ok to take a bull whip to your wife's back? I ask this question to myself as well, because I was one of the one's disapproving of the pro-ana thread, yet if my SL husband wanted to whip me I would let him. If my RL husband tries it I am calling 911. There are lots of things we do that are dangerous in RL which seem acceptable in SL because it is safe here, but do we by doing them glorify these things? Prostitution, drug use, casual sex, even smoking, all are examples and this is just the start. So where do we draw the line between acceptable role play fun, and what is unacceptable?

Talli, I'll tell you the Funny part first.....

My eyes get tired and when I first saw that thread this morning (after working all night), I thought it was Pro-ana(l).  I've been in Sl a while, so I was thinking; "How is that unusual for SL?"

giphy.gif

I may be a little virtually jaded......

On anything that deals with sexuality, it all seems to wheel around Consent.  Flogging your lover = Bad *if* they didn't want it, but if they *asked* you to then "its a consensual affair and sort-of OK"

Where that gets sticky (no pun intended) is in three specific situations;

(1)..The person giving Consent was actually not of the legal age of consent and legally unable to do so.

(2)..The person giving Consent was not mentally capable of actually giving Consent.

(3)..The person giving Consent changed their mind and lied about ever giving Consent in the first place to others who were outside of the Dominant-Submissive relationship. 

So IMO its good to confine that kind of Playtime to people one knows well and with whom there is a clear understanding of Consent (and when it can be withdrawn).

Self-Abuse - including self-starvation, is hard to address unless the person doing it is blatantly not mentally quipped to be making their own decisions.  I have been known in the past to have Conversations with friends who were pushing risky-behavior to lengths that worried me; but I'm strange and believe that being someone's Friend means being willing to make sure they're Ok even when the conversation is uncomfortable.....

giphy.gif

Edited by AmandaKeen
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Of course the whole consent thing in RL can get sketchy when girls consent to things out of fear they will lose the jerk, and never find any other guy who will love them, and he has put that idea in her head to start with by abuseing her.

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29 minutes ago, Talligurl said:

Of course the whole consent thing in RL can get sketchy when girls consent to things out of fear they will lose the jerk, and never find any other guy who will love them, and he has put that idea in her head to start with by abuseing her.

Its an issue for sure!  It took me a while to learn that I needed to have enough respect for myself, NOT to accommodate the immature just to earn their approval.  I got divorced shortly after that :-)

giphy.gif

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Kids today in the BDSM Scene make a big thing out of these clever acronyms, like RACK and SSC, etc., "Safe Sane and Consensual".

Thing is... I know a couple from my local RL Les bar, who are into 'Needle Play', they buy sterile surgical gloves, and sterile hypodermic needles, in bulk packs, and enjoy alone time with each other sticking needles in each other, sterile, used once, with antiseptic afterwards, they are certainly safe, and it's certainly consensual, sane, however is a matter of personal opinion.

Many of the self styled self appointed "Leaders of the International BDSM Community" (that doesn't exist as far as I can tell) will respond in horror to the suggestion that people doing needle play or using razor blades, or doing breath play, etc., are "SSC Compliant" and claim they don't belong in "The Officially Official BDSM Community" because they don't comply with the Officially Official Rules & Reg-U-Lations of Officially Official BDSM...

This is the thing, we, all of us, have our PERSONAL preferences and opinions, and eagerly try to enforce these on others. It's the BACKBONE of just about every committee and group for every type of lifestyle and hobby.

Pick an activity, guaranteed, that somewhere, there is a group of 3 or 4 people, who claim that they have the authority to tell you how to do that activity, and to exclude you from "The Community" if you don't obey.

Anorexia is stupid, but legal. There are plenty of other Stupid But Legal activities out there that are just as dangerous if not more so.

Driving Under The Influence of Toddlers

Mountaineering in T-Shirts, Shorts, and Trainers

Owning a Clot .54 Yank-Pistol for Home Defence

Voting While Under the Influence of Television

The list goes on and on, what people get upto in SL, is trivial by comparison.
 

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5 hours ago, Callum Meriman said:

craigslist is full of people in real life seeking to be hurt, kidnapped, raped, and humuliated in real life.

I don't think you can legally seek either rape or kidnapping. Seeking is consent. Corporal punishment and humiliation are both things done within the BDSM community and are (between rational caring actors) not seen as hurtful by either participant.

Of course people seek and inflict self harm. Sufferers of body dysmorphia have asked physicians to amputate limbs. And the medical community has discussed whether doing so would be harmful or helpful. For the most part, people making such requests are thought to have a mental illness of some sort. I should, I suppose, have been a bit more specific. Do you think the people requesting truly harmful behavior are mentally sound? And yes, "mentally sound" probably isn't specific enough, either.

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4 hours ago, Klytyna said:

 

This is the thing, we, all of us, have our PERSONAL preferences and opinions, and eagerly try to enforce these on others.

 

This is so true, I have never known anyone who died from anorexia, so while I know it is bad I don't tend to get emotional about it. I have known people who have died of lung cancer so when I see someone smoking it is hard to stay quiet, and when it is a simulated cigarette in SL, well I just don't get that at all. Don't we all know that the idea that it looks cool is just a big lie from the tobacco companies?

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I would say,at my house and on my land is where I choose to accept or not accept things..Outside of that zone out in public,if it's legal..That's where I practice my tolerance the best I can..

I assume we are talking about strangers we may encounter along the way?

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1 minute ago, Talligurl said:

Prostitution is not legal in most places, yet widely accepted in SL. 

Sorry ,I was talking RL..I guess I should have put that in there..hehehe

For SL,if it's allowed..More power to them.. Because I am a big believer in that saying of ,Your world ,Your Imagination..

A lot of people might not like what someone does with their own SL.. It's a big world with plenty of room and things for just about everyone..I'm not really a fan of backseat drivers myself..

hehehe

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44 minutes ago, Talligurl said:

Prostitution is not legal in most places, yet widely accepted in SL. 

There can't be prostitution in SL, as that's a physical activity. The closest analog, cyber sex, is legal.

Along similar lines, I incinerate people, push them over railings, fire them from cannons and drop heavy objects on them. These practices are illegal in most places, yet have been accepted by everyone I've done them to here... some more than once. And such virtual depictions have been around forever...

Lascaux.jpg.e8b811b1fbbb3e76b11612e965e16e14.jpg

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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On 6/9/2017 at 11:18 AM, Bree Giffen said:

The pro ana post was more about supporting anorexia in real life. If the pro ana poster were to say they were making a group to pretend being anorexic and living the life style only in SL would that have been met with less disapproval? Granted I have no idea how one pretends to live the life style since most of us don't eat in SL anyways.

I've seen a few anorexic-looking women in SL and I hate them. They make me look fat.

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31 minutes ago, BilliJo Aldrin said:

I've seen a few anorexic-looking women in SL and I hate them. They make me look fat.

* frantically looks for something loose fitting *

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