Community [kuh-myoo-ni-tee] -noun

 Posted by on December 22, 2010
Dec 222010

By AliceSin Aerie

Community [kuh-myoo-ni-tee] -noun

1. a social, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists

I’m dropping the word “community” from my lingo in reference to the kink/sexuality based social strata. I’ve been unsettled with the term for awhile and though it doesn’t chafe me with a cheese grater like “lifestyle” it’s really getting up there in irritation factor. The network of individuals we typically refer to as “the community” fails to be one. It’s not “distinct from society at large” in very fundamental aspects. Most notably it’s exactly the same sort of survivalist social environment one would find in a school sand box. (You know the one that the neighborhood cats pee in, but the bullies still make the other kids eat the sand? Yeah that one.)

Apart from the technical definition it is the spirit of community at which we also fail. There is little of the implied network of support available. The number of individuals looking to exercise their demons rather than exorcise them multiplies by the day. Individuals creating situations that cause events & organizations to shutter their doors are on the rise. As are the number of individuals who wish to resolve their repeated personal crises via pleas to their peers for money.

Blame the internet, blame the “next generation,” the “old guard” or our culture producing more sociopaths – blame whoever the fuck you want, these are human failings. These are failings which we are all apt to commit. For every one person looking to feed their need for drama or nurture assorted other vices there are many more who are in genuine need of support.

If you think back to Psych 101, you’ll remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. Right after we need to be fed, sheltered & safe from danger, we need to belong. If we can’t belong we can’t progress any further no matter what talent or aspirations live in us. The “It Gets Better” campaign exists for LGBT youth because we have seen time and time again that these young people who feel they do not belong need to belong in order to survive. It’s that that important. For many, finding a sense of belonging is no harder than stepping onto a curb, for others it seems like they are standing at the foot of a mountain.

I took a very casual poll on Twitter recently by throwing out my theory that there isn’t one person in this “community” who hasn’t felt victimized, abused or wrongly accused. Two people replied and told me they felt otherwise. Two.

You may be questioning how this fits into a column about etiquette. Quite well – it’s our behavior creating hostile situations & behavior we can change. We need to start asking ourselves who we are impacting & why before we speak/write/act. Are we making an effort to contribute constructively or are we feeding the drama monster? Are we supporting a cause we believe in because we have done our homework or are we being manipulated? Are we telling someone off because they need to learn they’ve overstepped our boundaries or because we are having a knee-jerk reaction to a personal trigger? Are we triaging situations appropriately so that others do not suffer as we carry out a personal agenda?

I look at public forums & organizations and we’re not choosing to act as if we want to contribute, believe in one another, accept or protect one another. We are not a community, but we could be.

  One Response to “Community [kuh-myoo-ni-tee] -noun”

  1. You’re right. As I see my local ‘community’ it’s more of a clique or a club. They don’t focus on a broad range of topics and the support really isn’t there as it could be.