In my interactions with other age players I sometimes run across folks who get really agitated at the idea that being little is a kink or fetish. They protest that that somehow taints or cheapens their existence.
They protest loudly that unlike sexual ageplayers, this isn't something they DO, instead it's how they ARE, a function of their being.
Consequently, these protestations have a way of making people who read them REALLY ANGRY. Heck, I've been one of the people irritated by these "do-bees."
I got to thinking about this recently. Just what is it that makes this posture so aggravating?
I think it's several, separate things:
1) There's a sort of presumptuousness in the evaluation, "I *am* this, unlike you, who *do* this."
Statements like this say that the speaker knows and understands the other person to a level of intimacy that's frankly impossible, or at least patently offensive. "You who do this, do it for these reasons, in these ways."
It's a bit like someone bursting into your home, to judge how you have decorated it, and tell you why you chose what you did. It's rude to even attempt to do so, and a valueless proposition at best.
Unwittingly, they turn a statement meant to be about themselves, into a statement about ME. No thanks.
2) It encourages a needless, and reductive tribalism. "So are you one of my people, or the other kind?"
First, people are immensely complex. Plus, we evolve over time.
My wife, for example, never tried sushi before we were together. It's still not her favorite thing. But, at my request, she has tried it and even found a few things she really likes. Now if we happen to go to a place that ONLY has sushi, she knows she can eat something.
Having said that, she still vastly prefers almost anything to sushi. But that's up to her to define, not me or anyone else.
It's not that my wife ISN'T a sushi person, and I AM, so we cannot peaceably coexist. We're each responsible for who and what we are and how we co-exist.
We CAN go get sushi, or just as easily go do something we like equally. She loves Peruvian chicken, so I'm happy to go eat that with her sometimes too.
Tribal binaries imply that's not possible. Either you're A or B, period. All A's are alike, as are all B's. Forever.
The truth is, I'm NOT a sexual ageplayer vs a nonsexual one. I reject the very binary. I'm myself.
Some of what I do is very sexual. Some isn't. Even those things change situationally. A spanking can be foreplay, outright sex, punishment, or even just cathartic release for me.
Being told I'm part of a faction I don't even acknowledge exists drives me crazy. The message it drives home to me is that the other person saying it has reduced me to a stereotype.
It's somewhat like saying all Italian people have the same complexion, or that people from New Jersey are all fast talkers with a grating accent.
I find it grating to be stereotyped, and even for people to stereotype themselves. It sort of gives a big giant middle finger to the possibility that people can, and often do, change over time.
3) It stinks of privilege.
When someone says they ARE something versus that they DO something, they also imply that in order to interact with them, YOU are required to know about it, and to act accordingly.
"Here are the rules that keep me happy, and from being offended. Please study them, so that you don't cause me any trouble."
There's a certain social contract in place between adults members of society. We agree to give each other respect in our shared spaces. We cross at crosswalks. We wait in lines. Generally we don't talk during movies at the cinema. We know to chew with our mouths closed.
There's a kind of humility to it. "I, who am no less nor more than you, will do what is needed to coexist with you, peacefully."
But these other folks, the ones who ARE something, instead of DO something, perhaps send a different message. "You must interact with me in this way I say I am."
To be fair, they're welcome to do so. But I'm just as welcome then to choose not to interact with them.
Now to be fair, this isn't a simple binary. Remember, I'm not a fan of them, right?
I know some folks who consider their kink identity a significant part of their identity in general. I have this one friend, who's a brilliant professor, a gifted writer, and is also the slave of another woman. She eats, speaks, sleeps, and generally acts the way her owner tells her to.
I see this friend fairly often. We're good friends. We move in the same circles. The fact that she's owned by her owner is never something that's shoved in my face. I'm not told that I'm weird for not being owned by someone. The particular conditions of her identity which require her to act mindfully about it never get in my way. She might not have ice cream when we get lunch together, and maybe will say she isn't allowed. Sometimes we discuss my writing, which can be spectacularly filthy. In the context of saying that a particular phrase or word works well, or could be better, she will use language she's not otherwise allowed to use. It can make for some funny, blush-worthy situations.
My friend LIVES what she DOES. But I'll have to ask her if she thinks that it IS what she is, and how that compares.
Having said all this, is this little essay of mine a rant? Am I asking the do-bees to do differently? No, that's not my purpose at all. I just think it's fascinating to contemplate why that position is so inciting of anger, and response. I've recently had a run in with a particularly passionate "do-bee", and it left me wondering how I might deal with those sorts of situations in the future. I think my best option is to respectfully, firmly, and compassionately state my disagreement, and my desire to not continue any sort of debate about it.