The public, consent and you!

So, this is gonna be a fun post. (This post has been updated - 11-1-16 16:00)

EDIT: A tweet giving more context to the original was posted. In this case, the pup in question is NOT violating public consent, give that they are at Folsom Berlin.

This image has been floating around on Twitter for a few days and has been the topic of some spirited debate. I have my own opinions (shocking, I know) that I wanted to put in a format that's a bit easier to read than Twitter.

Near as I can tell, there are two sets of circumstances that might have led to this picture being possible:

  1. This was a private, closed event that suffered a complete lapse in security and allowed a family with children to enter the event site
  2. It's a street fair such as Folsom
  3. Or, more likely, this pup and their handler were partaking in some public play*

On the first and second set of circumstances, there isn't a whole lot to say. The parents may  have stumbled into the event by accident or they're comfortable exposing their children to alternative forms of sexual expression. That's not what this post is about.

However, In the case of the third circumstance, the picture becomes exceptionally problematic (and thusly the excuse to write this post) because it violates consent.

Here's the ugly truth: public play* is a kink that revolves around the lack of consent. You are subjecting unwilling participants to your kinks without their permission.

There's a bunch of 'what ifs' on this topic, so I put together a handy list for you:

"But it's just someone dressed like a dog!" Yes, but the difference here is that the gear in the picture is explicitly designed for puppy play, which is a form of sexual expression, regardless of the circumstances. It is inappropriate.

"But furries do the same thing" And in my experience, they are aware of that and will go to great lengths to maintain an appropriate public-facing image [citation needed].

"What about dominatrixes and such?" Also inappropriate.

"What about at a bar or something?" Did you noticed the asterisks on public play above? When I say "public play" I mean public play as in someone going out in a public space and doing whatever it is they're doing. A bar (such as The Eagle) or an event (MIR, MAL, IML etc etc) are "semi-public" in that someone has to opt-in to those spaces (consent) in order to see something. If they're uncomfortable, they have the option to leave (revoke their consent). A passerby on the street does not have this option available to them.

"Bound in Public does it!" Do I really need to explain that porn isn't real life?

"Pride though!" In my opinion, these circumstances fall under the same category as a semi-public space. Don't wanna see it? Don't go.

"Come on. People do shit like this in the woods all the time!" and they typically go to great lengths to make sure no one else is around. That's why they're in the woods.

"I'm just trying to change public perceptions of alternative lifestyles!" Then host an optional forum or something at your local bar, don't expose unwilling participants to your kinks.

"Maybe the parents knew what they were getting into!" Whoa whoa, this isn't about how people choose to raise their kids. This post is about public play and the lack of consent. Go re-read what I wrote above!

"So you're saying no public anything?" Pretty much, yeah. If you're unsure, err on the side of caution and don't do it.