Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Why so many hostile casters?

You know, I like to think of myself as a kind person. This is neither arrogance, nor pride speaking, it simply steams from the way that I was raised. From day one we were told that it was better to do right than wrong, to help someone in need and to always treat somebody the way that you wish to be treated. I love these principles, and try very hard to carry them out in my daily life. Yet - and I most certainly do not say this to upset anyone, or contradict what I've just said - there are times when I feel that there is a lot of hostility in the casting world.

Eckgawds, you say - but no one told me of such things! Well, then my friend, you are fortunate, very fortunate. I've been visiting casting (& bracing) sites and occasionally posting in group based discussions online now for several years, and I must say that there just seems like there are times when people are angry, not to mention rude with others in the community for no justifiable reason. (Despite what a certain someone with their own site - who may be reading this - might think, this post is honestly not about you at all, it's a general observation that I've been itching to make for quite some time).

Now to begin with I do realize that I'm not a man - nope, definitely not a man on any level. Why bother to say this, well because it highlights the fact that I don't think like a man when I'm amongst my fellow casting enthusiasts. For me casting can be both purely something of interest (a hobby, if you will) and a sexual turn on, and I can control with which of those two mindsets I choose to approach any casting situation, picture or forum with.

It's a tad ironic, but I do not like bondage. Very little in terms of S&M, BDSM or D&S does even the slightest thing for me. I don't consider myself vanilla, but I'm not exactly dark chocolate either. Perhaps I exist somewhere in a pleasant land of milk chocolate - whose to say. Why do I mention this, because it ties into casting. For me casting (aka, when I am casted or seeing others casted) is not about the idea of restraining one's self or limiting someone's mobility. These would both be byproducts of the act of wearing a cast.

Think of casting as a light bulb; light is the main purpose of the bulb, but it also gives off heat. For me the light is the cast itself, and the fact that I dearly and entirely love pretending that the cast wearer is in a hospital setting, or that they need to be treated as though they were really wounded (nursed, tended to, pampered, etc). The fact that almost all casts from a SAC to a body jacket restrict the wearer in someway is nothing more than heat from a light bulb, for me.

In my experience a lot (not all, just a fair number) of men are automatically aggressive when it comes to sex. Think about it, porn is rarely about depicting a loving, tender, mutual pairing of devoted partners. No, instead it is often about degrading women as much as (is legally) possible. This is why women have 3 penises inside of them at once, why men force girl's heads down during oral sex (if you don't get a handful of hair, it wasn't worth it, right...not!) and for many folks, a big part of the reason why bondage and dominate/submissive sexuality is so appealing. They (the man - at least in his mind) has control over the woman.

Now again, not all men are like this, and I don't wish to paint a picture of every guy as a tyrannic, potentially abuse or violet person; not at all. But let's face it, a lot of men are into being in control of women, and is not one of the best ways to gain physical control over a woman by limiting her mobility in some way, be it chains, leather restraints or even casts. Yes, casts. A woman (or man) who has two long leg casts on isn't about to run away, and a woman in two LACs will have a much harder time struggling with her "captor". I'm not automatically implying that someone who likes either casting as it relates to sexuality or BDSM (et al) is into rape scenarios (something I personally loath to no end). I'm not taking it to that extreme, all I'm trying to point out is that like many S&M related activities casting is both sexually charged and usually focused on restraining somebody in one way or another.

Another reason why I don't find S&M to my sexual liking, is that is usually revolves around the idea of hurting another human or feeling pain myself. I'm a passive person, and given the choice I would never inflict intentional harm on another living being . I've dealt with a lot of genuine physical and emotional pain in my life, and it's atrocious, agonizing and the exact opposite of how I like to feel. While I love to imagine and pretend that my casting situations revolve around hospital settings, everything right down to the casts themselves is make believe. Nobody is actually getting hurt (as in the case of a real medical cast, breaking a bone or other serious injury), and no one is being forced to endure pain. To me casts need to be a like costumes, something that I enjoy wearing and seeing, but which can easily come off ...and just like that, I can slip back into every day life.

When we toss blatant sexuality into any mixture we are bound to encounter a cornucopia of emotional responses, and for some those may come out aggressively, rudely or snidely. If someone is (for whatever reason) ashamed of their sexual preferences (in this cast the fact that casting gets them hot), yet not quite so timid as to never speak of them in public (on line), they may use these hostile feelings to mask their own feelings of guilt, shame and perhaps perversion (though as long as casting is always consensual and done between to people who are have reached the age of legal adulthood in their state/province/country, there is not per se any more perversion involved with casting than with any other fetish or sexually related activity). This is why you might see people who, while if you were to meet them on the street or in your office, would appear to be nice, friendly and easy going, show a different side of their personalities when dealing with what turns them on.

I've touched on this before, but I think that it's worth mentioning again. Wearing a cast for the sole purpose of, well, wearing a cast is not something that the majority of society is a.) aware of, and b.) very keen on. Recreational casting does not have the public awareness, or acceptance, of say people with foot, leather, spanking, bondage, dominate/sub or latex fetishes. While certain night clubs and groups cater to such whims (and a bounty of others), I have never heard of a single time when a casting venue was held in public. Recreational casting does not appear as a subject on TV shows that talk about sex, nor are there books and/or magazines devoted to it, as there are for so many other sexually appealing things. Scan the racks, you'll see everything from mild mannered girl next door covers to stuff so lurid and raunchy it appeals only to a select few, yet Cast Lovers or Cast Fetish Monthly simply does not exist. As humans we need validation, we need to know that we are not alone in our likes and dislikes, and when so little in the way of validation exists for people who enjoy recreational casting (be it on a sexual level or not), this too can compound why they feel that there needs to be shame or embarrassment involved with liking (or getting off on) casting.

I wish that I could personally tell everyone who is into casting, that there is no need to feel ashamed or angry. That it's perfectly normal to have sexual preferences, and that so long as you always keep things legal, and respect and honour the people you engage in sexual acts with, there is no need to feel as though you are doing anything dirty or wrong. It amazes me that when non-casters are told about the world of casting they think it's "gross", "wrong" or "perverted", yet that very same person may go home and spank the monkey to a porno of a woman getting fisted or getting a little to cozy with farm animals. I believe that so long as everything is both legal and consenting, no one has the right to judge what another person finds sexually arousing or enjoyable, or for that matter, what they do as a hobby. Perhaps if casting had more public acceptance (heck and/or even more acceptance and awareness amongst those who are into the kink scene), casters themselves would have less animosity towards their own passion - not to mention others who venture into the casting circle.

Some people have hostile personalities, some people are mean, and some people always seem like they're being unkind, and just as in any other community, you will encounter such folks in the casting world too. But I tend to think that certain people (I hate to say it, but by "people" I do largely mean some men) are unnecessarily cruel or short tempered within the casting community, because they feel like it makes them important - perhaps on some level they think that it will even help to command respect. I don't know about you, but I have a lot harder time respecting someone who is rude or snippy with me, than I do someone who is amicable, polite and respectful.

Fellow casters listen up and listen well, we are not exactly the biggest group ever, and while of course we are all entitled to our opinions and feelings, there is rarely any need at all to not be neighborly and friendly with other people in the community. I know that casting is by and large a male dominated world, yet did you ever stop to consider that perhaps your words and your actions are enough to keep both women and men (especially those who are just discovering the online world of casting) away, or at least shy them off from forums, casting groups and chat rooms.

This post is not directed at any one person, and I've never had my feathers so ruffled by a fellow caster that I swore off casting related activities on the web. It's merely something that over the years, clicking my way from one site to another, I've noticed and become a tad concerned about. In order for more people to accept what recreational casting is all about we must present a healthy, happy, affable world of casting. For if we do not, how are others to know how wonderful, special and - in its own right - meaningful, recreational casting really is. In casting as in life, the lessons that I learned as a child still ring true: do unto other casters, as you would have them do unto you.