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Suggesting a safeword for teasing - Input Junkie
March 16th, 2011
03:13 am

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Suggesting a safeword for teasing
http://tithenai.livejournal.com/321948.html

Because it's genius. Part of my problem is that sometimes the teasing's fine, and it takes trouble and energy to figure out when it's fine, and even if I do figure it out it's not easy to communicate, and would probably be all but impossible for someone to actually practice, because it would be something like "it's okay to tease me if I feel completely secure in the knowledge that you love me and aren't mocking me or seeing in me a deficiency that is beyond my power to fix, and also the teasing must be about something I am not presently tying myself in knots about and further must only occur on Tuesdays when the moon is full and three crows are in sight but one is in flight while two are at rest."

Essentially, it's out of the teaser's control.

So to cement and acknowledge that fact by having an easy, non-conversation-disrupting way of saying "please stop, this isn't fun for me," is wonderful. It frees me from feeling like the oversensitive killjoy who can't take a joke or is too foreign to appreciate good humour at her own expense. It gives me the ability to refer, with a single word, to a conversation that took place in all thoughtfulness and sincerity and security, in which I felt cared for and appreciated. And since the word Andy came up with is itself wrapped up in an inside joke, it's something I feel that much better about – like I WILL have successfully used humour to take the humour in teasing.


I don't have people who tease me (or at least not much, and not enough to bother me) in my life these days, but I really appreciate the idea.

And I'm thinking about how much it cost me to hear "They just tease you because you react. If you ignore them, they'll stop". It was basically telling me that I could never expect kindness once the teasing started. (And it was my fault that I couldn't use my involuntary reactions to control other people's behavior, but I think I've already written about that.)

Link thanks to ellen_kushner.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/475479.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:heron61
Date:March 16th, 2011 07:43 am (UTC)
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Definitely an excellent idea.
From:whc
Date:March 16th, 2011 12:27 pm (UTC)
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I don't think a safeword would help if the person doing the teasing doesn't already understand the meaning of "stop".
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From:vvalkyri
Date:March 16th, 2011 04:30 pm (UTC)
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If you read the linked post it seems more in terms of good natured and friendly teasing among friends, where sometimes it might be okay and sometimes it goes awry.
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From:orawnzva
Date:March 17th, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC)
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Also, if the idea becomes widespread, it becomes an excellent way to distinguish "good natured and friendly teasing among friends" from the other kind. A world where nobody can tease anyone ever would be very hard to enforce, and I don't think anyone would really be safer there, but a world where the idea of consent in teasing is one of those things everyone learns in kindergarten will make the nonconsensual teasing a lot easier to spot and deal with.
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From:nosebeepbear
Date:March 16th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
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what vval said. plus, I know for me asking someone to stop requires thought, and I end up feeling like I need to be able to explain *why* this particular thing is upsetting when some similar things might not have been (this is about me, not about the teaser). It's easier, and I'm more likely to say something sooner, if there's an agreed-upon signal that doesn't trigger "I have to justify myself." I'm not sure that makes any sense, but there it is.
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