Humiliation vs. Humility

A prominent, self-proclaimed Domestic Discipline (DD) "expert" has recently published a book in which he claims that humiliation is an essential element of DD. (*see link at end of this article)

And while it's true that this expert has a lot of value to say about DD, his view on humilation in DD is dangerous, abusive and ignorant. It's also a fundamental misunderstanding of what DD is about.

LDD is about humilty, not humiliation. This same "expert" claims the difference between the two words is just "semantic." Well, okay... given that "semantic" means, er... what a word means, that would be about the most accurate thing he's said on this subject so far. Humiliation and humility mean different things. One is appropriate to DD, the other is not.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines "humiliate" as: "to lower the pride, dignity, or self-respect of." (from: www.Dictionary.com)

But DD is not and should never be about lowering a woman's pride, dignity or self-respect. As soon as DD becomes about any of those things, it's no longer DD, but an abusive relationship. If a woman (or a man) is in a relationship in which she feels humiliated in ANY way, this is not healthy, this is not empowered, and this is most certainly not DD.

Some would argue that DD is about lowering a woman's pride, but there is a fundamental difference between false pride or arrogance, and pride. DD is often about stripping away a woman's false pride, or arrogance, which is unhealthy and usually covers up insecurities that can't be addressed until the false pride is removed.

But pride, true pride in who we are, is essential to our dignity as human beings, and learning to make choices we're proud of and to act in ways we can be proud of is one of the most powerful benefits of DD for a woman. Those of us who practice DD from a feminist, progressive standpoint -- and I think a case can be made that this is the only healthy way in which it can be practiced -- know firsthand that when DD works, it creates a heightened sense of power, self-respect and pride in one's choices.

When I submit to discipline for my misbehavior, I am proud. I'm proud of having stepped up and taken responsiblity for my actions. I'm proud of having been vulernable and soft enough to accept change and to learn lessons that help me become a better, more productive, empowered human being. And I'm proud of being able to work through an issue with my partner in a safe, sane and loving way that benefits our relationship (and therefore my life as a whole).

Yes, submitting to discipline is embarrassing, especially for a grown woman, "embarrass" meaning primarily
"to cause to feel self-conscious" (www.dictionary.com) Being spanked and put in a corner, being "grounded" or made to write lines definitely causes me to feel self-conscious -- of my misbehavior and the consequences of it.

And that's the point ofLDD -- to provide a safe, sane way of processing through our natural, healthy guilt at our misbehaviors with a loving partner who wants to help us to grow as human beings. Intentionally doing anything to a woman that erodes her self-respect is never healthy or appropriate, particularly when the very purpose of discipline is to teach us greater self-respect.

Humiliation is an abuse of power. A good teacher, parent, mentor or professor might teach an errant (or arrogant) student lessons in humility, but show me a teacher, parent, mentor or professor who relies on humiliation to teach his lessons and I'll show you a man in authority abusing his power for the sake of his own ego -- a man who should be summarily removed from power.

DD is not about humiliation. Abuse is about humiliation. DD is about
humility -- or the state of being humble, defined as "not arrogant or prideful." (www.dictionary.com). Humility is a good thing. Humility is a lack of arrogance, an empathy with our fellow man, and an acknowledgement of our fallibility as human beings. Humility is about learning to treat those around us respectfully, to honor their boundaries, and to pay a just and reasonable price for our mistakes. Humility is about not believing that we are too good to pay for our mistakes. Humility is about understanding that we are not above or better than any of our fellow human beings, and that it is therefore never appropriate to disrespect, hurt or offend another.

DD teaches us humility by providing a safe framework for learning these lessons -- the same lessons taught by enlightened spiritual leaders throughout the world.

Virtually every true spiritual tradition (meaning not manipulative cults or extremist distortions of established religious traditions) sets forth the practice of humility as a cornerstone of enlightenment and spiritual awakening. To my knowledge, there are no legitimate spiritual traditions that suggests that humiliation is the way to spiritual growth.

The blog in question can be found at http://lovingdd.blogspot.com. The article on "Humiliation" appears not on blog, but in his book "Advanced Loving DD," and can be accessed by clicking on the link to purchase the book and reading the first chapter.

Word of warning:
As I said earlier, there is much good in the thoughts and writings on the "Loving DD" blog. It's definitely worth reading and I personally have found many useful insights there (I found his posts on male/female energies to be particularly insightful). That said, there are some warning flags that bear considering when reading his blog -- please read my article "Cautions about the Loving DD Blog" for more details.

3 comments:

  1. Louise11:53

    Personally, I am not a fan of the LovingDD blog as I find his attitude towards women somewhat patronising, also i dislike the idea that DD is all about helping me to become a better person etc. For my husband and I, it is more a way for us to get along better, it helps him to get over any annoyance he feels with me to be able to 'take it out on your bottom' as he puts it, and it makes me feel more compliant and eager to please, but I don't find it all humiliating or embarrassing, i have always had a strong craving to be spanked and I still do. I much prefer being spanked for real reasons rather than just for 'fun', and I find nothing humiliating about it at all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, there's a big difference between humility and humiliation. If humility is the quality of being humble, then the right word for inducing this state is the verb "humble" instead of "humiliate." Some domination or control tactics can be felt to be very humbling without being humiliating. Then again, humiliation is a very subjective thing.

    I'm not easily humiliated, and some specific activities that others may regard as "humiliation" are things that I regard only as humbling, and that I find thrilling and fulfilling as a clear demonstration and reinforcement of the man's power and dominance. But then, I'm not really into "discipline" for its own sake, or for making me be a "better" person, etc. Mainly I'm into in the romantic fires kindled by the forceful control imposed by a strong, dominant man.

    I regard some "humbling" tactics as being at the far end of forcefulness, domination and creativity, and I can find that exciting as it brings out my own deep erotic surrender and spiritual adoration of the man. Spanking is okay too, but there are other things that seem much more dominating to me, or even humbling. That's where my desires pull me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous00:10

    Whom ever it is that writes the Lovingdd blog appears to have personal issues that has clouded their approach to the topic. The writing on the lovingdd blog, whilst once insightful to a small degree, has over time become tired and redundant. obviously the need for the author to remain incognito has coloured the articles with a detachment that appears as arrogance and borderline ridiculousness. How often can the same material be recycled and still claim to be relevant? NEXT!

    ReplyDelete