The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Consensual acts

How far do we sanction acts between consenting adults and at what point, if any, should legislation kick in to outlaw certain acts? The BDSM community’s general mantra is ‘safe, sane and consensual’, but who decides what’s ‘sane’ or not? If I ask another person to kick and punch me, brand me, put needles through my nipples, cut me until I bleed, those acts may well be considered crazy by others who will accuse me of harbouring self-hatred and unresolved issues. Transsexual people who undergo sex/gender reassignment surgery are still accused by some sectors of society, from Christian fundamentalists to feminists, of being mentally unbalanced by wanting their ‘healthy’ bodies ‘mutilated’. Then there’s amputeeism – the desire by a person to have one or more of their limbs surgically removed.

Let’s go a step further. Consensual euthanasia of a sick and physically suffering person aside, do we have the moral right to kill another person if they ask us to? And do we have the right to eat their dead body afterwards, if they ask us to? These were among the issues that came up when German Arwin Meiwes advertised on a cannibal forum for a willing partner who would agree to be killed, cut up and eaten. He got a reply from a man, Bernd-Jurgen Brandes, who was looking for someone to cut off his dick, eat it, then him.In what is arguably a match made in heaven, they got together, the act was carried out, with both men eating said penis, which was sautéed in salt, pepper and garlic. Meiwes ate the rest of Brandes over a few months, was convicted of manslaughter, then at a retrial with murder, and remains in jail. The story is the basis for the film Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story, which makes its Australian debut during Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival. It is a rather grim story, with the filmmakers attempting to provide an ‘explanation’ of why these two men were drawn to commit what is seen by many people as a heinous act. But, while it’s an intriguing dramatisation of the events, it doesn’t really offer any take on the question I posed at the beginning of this blog.

Ironically, as someone who hasn’t consumed any mammalian flesh for nearly 30 years for ethical reasons, I’m probably less grossed out by this consensual cannibalism than most. Quite frankly I’d prefer to see slaughterhouse workers in jail than Arwin Meiwes. He’s not your average murderer – consent was so important to him that when a previous ‘victim’ apparently ducked out at the last minute, he let him go. The same ‘mentally ill’ arguments that have been thrown at the BDSM community and trans people are being used to portray Meiwes as a murderous monster and Brandes as a victim overwhelmed with self-hatred and unresolved issues. So, in the interests of personal freedom and choice, I’m making a line of ‘Free Armin Meiwes’ T-shirts. Somehow I don’t think I’ll be allowed to sell them at the Mardi Gras Fair Day.

2 Comments:

  • At 8:03 AM, Blogger Salvius said…

    I'd buy one of those shirts. As far as I'm concerned, as long as it was consensual, it wasn't murder, just really extreme kinkiness. As a raving libertarian, I don't think the government has any business interfering with people's consensual acts, no matter how repugnant they may be to the majority. And it's such a perfect "test case", I have to say that if Armin Meiwes didn't exist, libertarians would have to invent him. :-)

     
  • At 2:26 AM, Anonymous allycat said…

    it wasn't murder, just *really extreme* kinkiness.

    Yeah, and war is just really extreme paintball.

    How about this?-

    Dude, you can *totally* cut off my clitoris. Female genital mutliation, the denial of female sexuality across all cultures and the eons-old oppression of women played no role in my decision whatsoever. As long as I consent, s'okay!

    Dunno, Katrina. Not so down with this one.

     

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