Recently I read a statement by a pup player-
"Be part of the solution, not part of the problem..... You want to see change happen? You want new and different things to happen? Volunteer to make it happen."
and I immediately thought how if I had followed this line of thinking Sirius pups wouldn't exist. We would have been told to fit in with what suited the establishment, the "community". We would have been patronisingly placed on a low rung of the established pecking order of leatherati - the people who are carrying on tradition and history.
History is important, but so is context. What was relevant two decades, four decades, twenty decades ago is frequently under review or changing now. The impassioned plea to remember fetish history is to remember a "version" of it - a narrative truly based on experience of some in their culture. And that is fine, but it is not wholly necessary. Our experience at Sirius pups has been to be reasoned, and not simply subscribe to a practice. We examined human pup play, we chose to redefine it for ourselves and put a lot of effort into making sense of it all. Three years later we are trying hard to not be part of any problem in the pup community, nor do we seek to be a solution to community problems in every way. But we aren't volunteering to follow anyone either.
As kindly meant that the exhortation "volunteer" above is, it is deeply flawed. It commands the reader to sign up to established order. This asking for volunteers is met with "here is the way we do things". And this is not just pay attention to history. In the community of human pup play I am witnessing "franchising" - where a style and format of "organising pups" is being exported as a supposed standard. Once again, kindly meant I am certain it is, but it's a one size fits all that Sirius pups does not fit into without being diminished. Our pack is different and new, and we make things happen. We don't seek to be in contrast at all to anyone else in human pup play, we are seeking to be diverse and different, to be our own thing - not part of the establishment. My reply to that quote above-
"You don't have to agree, you can do new and different things in human pup play and add to the community without needing permission. Don't volunteer to serve anyone but your creative vision if you have one. If you don't, that's cool - plenty of established practices for you. But if you do have a vision - explore it. Research it. Build it. Develop it. And don't kowtow to the format others try to press upon you"
The opening sentence "be part of the solution..." asks us to be one or the other. I am reasonably certain this is an extreme statement brought on by exasperation. Many in the fetish community are frustrated by armchair critics who do little but comment on forums. We can't fault anyone for getting the shits with the whining critics and trolls, it's enough to drive anyone to extremes.
Yet a significant problem is the extremes. Presenting binary choices means a lack of nuance, and probably an unintended lack of respect for difference driving this "With us or against us, all or nothing, freedom or tyranny - you pick your poles" approach. A lot of creative solutions are found in the gap in between, when players have freedom to think outside the boundaries and consider possibilities. The dreadful disease of polarisation, so gripping politic in many parts of the world is infectious.
Resist - be an individual in your community.
Any pack of pups is part of the community, but the established order doesn't always want us. We have suffered deceitful behaviour, theft, defamation and villification. Yet, we are still doing fine.
Mostly because we try to take a nuanced approach. We simply go out and make our path. We create content, we share, we put it in context wherever we can. We aren't perfect (my grammar is awful, my prose turgid at times, and we honestly have the worlds slowest replies to emails). But we are here. Not being moulded. You shouldn't be either.
In the places between all or nothing we can find new and different ways to express our pleasure, to explore human pup play. You don't have to agree with anything I have said - and I like that :)