It’s taken me a while to find these words– I’m sure by the time I get around to actually posting it’ll all be very passé, but a recent social media shitstorm has served as a much-needed catalyst, causing me to reconsider my blog’s stance within the blogger community. I hit my tipping point when it was publically revealed in a viral Vice video (ugh, Vice) that the realistic Adam dildo – by UK dildo-makers Godemiche – was in fact modelled after Adam – the male co-founder of Godemiche himself.
Much of the community revolted; bloggers felt betrayed that this had not been disclosed, with many of them vowing never to use their Adam dildos or support Godemiche again. The more serious accusations came in the form of being labelled a consent violation, with some even accusing Adam of taking pleasure in knowing that his penis was secretly being used by hundreds of men and women. It took over Twitter for quite a while, especially as Godemiche had just started mending fences following a recent Instagram comment that shamed pubic hair, receiving much of the same reaction from the same community. I’ll admit, it didn’t look good, and yet I couldn’t force myself to join the masses in their outrage.
I for one thought this dildo being inspired by Adam’s member was a distinct possibility, if not a general assumption. The way I see it, a lot of hyper-realistic dildos are modelled after someone; yes, many of these are marketed as alongside your favourite porn star, but what about no-name dicks? Surely realistic toys are inspired by real dicks themselves, so I’ve always considered the chance that at some point, I was fucking a dick doppelganger. So while I got the point, this revelation wasn’t an outrage for me personally.
I could see where Adam might have lost his footing when it came to their weekly live chat in response to the Vice video. While I did respect the choice to stand their ground as a business, I could see that the response was delivered with bluntness, bordering on aggression, and it was hard to really hear the words behind the tone. I understood Adam’s frustration with the not-so-light accusations he was facing, and I even understood his frustration with the community, but I knew that this wasn’t the way to reach out to them. The community remained angry and unwavering, and Godemiche’s reputation still sits on thin ice at the time of posting.
The thing is, I’ve been a business owner, and I’ve been a social media manager many times over, so when Godemiche defended themselves and criticized a lack of dialogue between businesses and bloggers… I sort of got it. I’ve been there – I’ve been glared at and accosted and told to apologize but just unable to do it with any sense of real honesty. I tried my best, I made a mistake, I’ll try not to do it again – I can’t be truly sorry a hundred times over just because you want me to be. For someone to stand there and accuse you of taking joy in someone else’s violation is a very hard feeling to take, and I think this showed a certain lack of humanity in the blogger/business relationship. People make mistakes, but they’re still people. What some people will forget is the fact that businesses are created and run by the most flawed and emotional of beings – humans.
So with my business perspective, I stood back and acknowledged both sides of the argument. I understood the side of my peers – fellow sex bloggers – who felt a sense of violation or secrecy. But I also saw a business who tried to do everything right and seems to have fallen into frequent miscommunication with a community who refuses to discuss these faults with the business, let alone forgive them. The community expects perfect apologies, and whether or not they’re given, there seems to be the thirst for further perfection. When Godemiche was faced with backlash regarding the unsavoury pubic hair comment, they did their due diligence to try and correct it, including partnering with many body-positive bloggers (myself included). But for some it was too late; many bloggers had already written them off, despite their very honest public apology that everyone demanded.
Another notable flaw is the assumption that any company who makes a bad judgment call does so with malice, rather than out of ignorance. Rather than bloggers asking why a company has done something a certain way, the dialogue jumps right to being told how it should be done, rather than educate and discuss in a civilized manner. This approach works for some, but it’s just not something with which I can hop on board.
The thing is, I’m scared to say any of this. On here, on Twitter – anywhere. I’ve seen the occasional blogger receive their lashes over having an opinion that was deemed “wrong” and read the riot act on how to be a better person. It’s a frightening chance to take. Differing from your peers is a part of any industry, but it seems difficult to have an open dialogue featuring many different opinions within this niche alone. Since starting My Tickle Trunk, I’ve been trying to please my peers and connect with them by either staying mute or only voicing my opinion when it lined up with the majority, but not only is this against my IRL personality, it’s also gotten me nowhere. I still don’t feel engrained within the community – much like every other aspect of my life, I am not a cool kid. It’s like changing yourself to fit in at school, and still being unpopular. But fuck it – when have I ever been popular? I started to blog to have a voice, yet there seem to be so many walls put up that I’m not able to truly speak for myself anymore. I think my particular disconnect occurs when it comes to being labelled as an open-minded community, but seeing a lot of closed-minded thoughts being thrown around in either direction. It seems that there’s no room for grey area as we all insist on slotting everything into right or wrong and not allowing any room for human error. I want to understand everyone before I make a fair judgment, and it doesn’t always feel like that part of my brain is welcome.
The blogosphere seems aptly named since it truly can be a bubble. It is comprised of many strong figures who all share similar opinions and wish to share those thoughts only with those who are of the same mindset. However, if you aren’t reaching beyond those who share your beliefs, then are you really making a difference? If an actor is only known by other actors, does he even have a career? I personally want to reach beyond our bubble and cater to the heterosexual woman dealing with struggles in her everyday sex life. By reaching beyond the bubble of sex bloggers, I can try my best to make a change for the better in those groups who may not be reading our niche of sex blogs – some women might just be looking for honest sex tips, and they may not be coming to this community (and therefore missing out). I want to reach the average woman.
My Tickle Trunk started as a fun project to discuss sexuality and sex toys, and as I became more immersed within our community, I saw a big focus on gender, orientation, and politics. This is fantastic for those who are involved, but being someone who fits into the general majority of society as a cis-gendered, heterosexual woman, it’s hard to feel like I have a leg to stand on. When I can, I will always use my voice to fight for equal rights – both on and off my blog – however, I feel that I want to keep the general tone of the blog focused on sexuality and catering to the average cis-het woman who may have questions regarding sexuality as it pertains to her life. I want it to be fun again, whether this means I’m putting dildos in my body for better or for worse, or I’m ranting on about the day-to-day life of an intersectional feminist. I want it to be the voice that someone like myself can relate to and hope that this draws them into the more political issues that my colleagues focus on so well. Most mainstream sex resources for woman are atrocious – this is why we’re still stuck with Cosmopolitan – so it’s my goal to educate in an accessible manner for her needs.
This community has changed my views on so many issues and caused me to reconsider my stance on really important matters, both political and personal. I would not be a fraction of the feminist and activist that I am today if it weren’t for the tenacious and dynamic voices that speak up for the issues that matter. I’m happy to say that I will continue to stand by my fellow bloggers in any issue fighting for the oppressed, and that will never change.