January 3, 2014

2014: The Year Ahead

By Marc Esadrian

Happy New Year to all!

2013 saw a lot of growth for Humbled Females. Our forum membership has tripled from last year, our site aesthetic and social features have evolved, and we managed to add more open access articles to the publications section. Overall, things are looking pretty good for the site’s reemergence. But there’s more to do, of course.

I’m hoping 2014 will bring even more quality articles written from new authors. I hope we’ll see first-class membership increase at a faster rate this year than last, and that we continue fostering an atmosphere of learning and productive exchange here. The latter point is particularly important to me. We’ve seen many “adult” networks rise and fall over the years, but when I consider their histories, I’m reminded of a particular thread of wisdom:

“Nothing is more damaging to a new truth than an old error.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It’s hard to know what the old errors are with networks and forums, exactly, but I do know one of the common pitfalls we see within many are the establishments of argument-prone cliques. I think we’ve all done a pretty good job at managing that “creeping crud” thus far. At Humbled Females, things have been done a little differently and I think it’s paying off. We don’t have ads. We aren’t just another “meat market” online. We don’t see jaded young ladies filing in to build monuments to their narcissism and little else. We don’t see the same old vacuous BDSM platitudes being parroted by self-appointed gurus. Our forums, for the most part, are free of the divisiveness and childish insults we see hurled regularly on other networks. Our membership count is not in the hundreds of thousands, so discussion is manageable. The people we do have here, however, are quality personalities with many good things to say.

I hope the trend of quality community, where newcomers are welcome to engage in conversation, ask questions, and explore a deeper shade of submission or dominance, continues strongly in 2014. I want Humbled Females to persevere being the beacon of no-nonsense talk on female submission that it has managed to be since its re-inception in the past few years. With continuing engagement, patience, and thoughtful consideration, I think that’s not only possible but a fairly easy goal.

Aside of that, new features and additions to the site are on the way. The environment is constantly being enhanced and tweaked with the end user in mind. The articles will continue to delve into the wilderness of female submission (and male dominance, for that matter) with clarity, depth, and pragmatism. The Humbled Females primer will be updated and more material will be made available in the pay area.

In closing, I wish everyone peace, fortune, and fulfillment in the new year to come. I have a feeling 2014 will bring more good things for us!


October 10, 2012

D/s and the Digital Cult Of Personality

By Marc Esadrian

The Internet: it’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Especially for those who practice dominant-submissive relationships, the creation of the Internet was a watershed moment for anonymous and remote communication. Pre-Internet, the fear of being stigmatized for one’s prurient interests were walls that kept social exploration of such interests effectively hammered down among all but the most daring. But when the Internet did arrive, it became a means of connecting to others by shared interests without the risk of personal exposure. If you had long been haunted/blessed by strongly submissive or dominant motives and unable to practice these things for lack of finding a willing partner to take the opposite role, the “information superhighway” and all its wonderful anonymity tore down those barriers for minds across the globe that, until the advent of such communication, would have never have had the chance to make union before.

So here we are, all together online in a big melting pot of collective consciousness, all sharing our ideas, all learning and evolving from all the experiences and perceptions we have to share. We’re so much more well-rounded now because of the Internet. Or are we?

As anyone who has even the slightest notion of how news blogs react to scandal before having any solid facts, how libelous mere Tweets can become, or how much anger and argument drives the larger proportion of Internet message boards, one will inevitably concede there’s more to the Internet than merely a superhighway for information. The Internet has a dark side: it’s just as easily a misinformation superhighway, too.

This is the digital age in a content-rich medium of countless sources and opinions. Today, we can easily “choose our news” and preset the spin that suits us best. On the Internet, we can all too easily elect association with personalities and ideas that stroke our world-views and perpetuate comforting half-truths without verifying anything grounded in reality. This monster has a tentacle in the “BDSM” community as well, on message boards and groups that associate with terms such as master and slave, owner and property, or total power exchange. Within these groups the phenomenon of politics and popularity is alive and well and it’s not long before visitors begin learning who the celebrities are. In the virtual world of M/s chat, the cool kids are those who identify as having “a lot of experience.” After all, they’re in relationships that have lasted X amount of years. Their profiles say so. But beyond that, they may seem popular, well-liked, and tend to garner applause from whatever group in which they have their roots firmly settled. This network of users quite often chats behind the scenes, forming alliances and intimate dyads with other users. Beneath the floorboards of public discourse, another current of communication is always buzzing through PM and a network of remote relationships begins to develop. Before long, the group is marbled with these alliances. Suddenly, critical discourse isn’t so much about being critical over the heart of things discussed: it’s about influence, affirmations, and communal back patting. It’s about backing up your buddy at the expense of intellectual honesty. In such places, the fate of group discussions becomes a smarmy strength in numbers game, no matter how ignorant or creatively dishonest those who make up those numbers are.

Ironically, it’s “submissive females” I see doing this quite often online (which reflects, no doubt, the indirect aggression of female cliques in real life). How many times, for instance, have we seen an individual who identifies as a dominant male make an open statement, only to have the “submissive female mafia” descend upon him and tell him how wrong he is in a dog pile that grows increasingly belittling and mocking? Within the course of a few replies, this hapless visitor has somehow managed to personally insult dozens of users who find it perfectly justified to pitch ugly jabs his (or her) way and take his (or her) words completely out of rational context for the sake of snark. Just what exactly is going on in these scenarios? Is it that the newcomer’s ideas are universally abhorrent or is it that such ideas have not properly genuflected and observed the delicate feelings of a tight-knit cyber support group? Things to contemplate, I think.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with liking the personalities people present online and forming friendships that occasionally migrate to the real world. There’s nothing wrong with friends list building and finding yourself among said groups online. But is wanting to be liked and accepted (and continue being accepted) by a group reason enough to forgo critical discourse or keeping a truly open, fair, and balanced discussion? Is it reason enough to ignore basic courtesy? Is it reason enough for a submissive female to forget that no matter wherever she goes in the world, she is a reflection of her master and should thus demonstrate the better angels of her nature? Perhaps for some, it is.

I feel a little differently, however. I like to keep politics and the cult of personality out of good debate and discussion. I think that when we make the discourse at hand about the subject and not about the person and his/her popularity or ability to tow the politically correct line in a group, a chance for the expansion of good discussion (and freedom from from groupthink) comes into play.

Where online discussion board celebrities are concerned, I’d warn to be vigilant of their sociable influence while they quietly murder rational thinking in the other room. Liking someone is not a good enough reason to ignore the validity of their opponent’s points and to do so is tantamount to being an enemy of truth. And while we’re on the subject of truth, I’d like to remind everyone to take what they see and read online with a certain grain of salt. There is no defacto arrangement of words, phrases, or story telling that guarantees someone can be verified as “sincere” in what they’re showing or expressing online, but this often doesn’t keep people from assigning certain online characters more clout in a discussion group, due to their charisma and bold claims of experience.  Online, we can dress up in words in any way we wish with impunity. That is the virtual nature of the Internet. One really needs to keep that in mind when considering expressions of “experience” online and how much we invest in them.

Ultimately, I look at the thought or argument or idea expressed, not the person’s credentials formed of a self-styled resume, their number of years lived “in the lifestyle,” or their popularity level in a group. What I care about is the thread count of their ideas, described experiences, visions, and what can be gleaned from them. And I trust they care about what I have to contribute, in turn. That is the atmosphere I hope Humbled Females continues to contain and project well into the future as our reader membership increases.


August 25, 2012

The Humbled Females Primer and Other Updates

By Marc Esadrian

It has been a long time coming, but the primer is finally here. When I announced it this past May, I had no idea it would take this long to set up credit card processing. The verification and compliance hoops a merchant has to go through and the money one needs to put forward in getting set up for this is a little obscene, but we did it! The Humbled Females Primer On Ethos is at last available for access for a very reasonable cost.

Additionally, the Subscribers area will provide a slowly growing collection of imagery, video, and audio media content. Those who sign up will have access to this material for one full month. The sign-ups are non-recurring for the moment, as the content is pretty sparse. That will change in the future, of course.

To purchase our recently published primer and access our media area, click here.

With all that said, I want to make it very clear to everyone that everything but the private subscribers area will be 100% free. We still have an endless amount of articles to write and a limitless amount of subjects to discuss in the forums. Our site does have to find a way of supporting itself, however, and having a subscription area is the best way to achieve that. When we’ve raised enough money, Humbled Females will be moving to a dedicated server, meaning we’ll have a hosting system in place running strictly for Humbled Females. Things will be faster and more responsive on the site. Download speeds will increase and social functions will be instant.

We are gradually making little improvements to the forums as well and a new profile design is in the works. All things considered, we have been pretty busy behind the scenes to make this site more stable and solid. We’ve slowly been getting more members, too, and that’s always encouraging to see. Please tell your friends (of like-mind) about this community and encourage them to join and participate in the conversations. Unlike many of the popular social pools surrounding the acts of fetish, our site is solely devoted to the subject of authentic female submission and male dominance without the usual hyper-inclusivity and politically correct nonsense one finds in the larger networks. As long as we stay true to that goal—and we plan to—I think we’ve cut out a very unique space on the web for those who take relationships such as these seriously and I hope that your support continues in the years to come!