A Titleholders Crash CourseNovember 25, 2019
Over the course of the past few years, I have been interviewing many titleholders from over the past three decades of puppy play competitions to pick their minds, see how they have seen the community evolve and change but also find out what advice they wish to give to newcomer titleholders. If you think this is going to be a rule-book, i recommend you close this article. While some things on here may sound like common sense, these are in no way rules, if you feel this helps you personally or helps you articulate issues in our community, then this can be a success. I hope you all enjoy!
Your A Public Figure Now
So you have won a title, you have had your support group around you through event drop and now your ready to move forward and represent and support your community, but what do you do?
Some Basic Etiquette to remember
- If your representing a group or community, you need to put aside your personal differences. Your actions now reflect what the community is like and because you have an issue with one individual does not mean this is your chance to show off the drama in a moreso public setting.
- Its not up to any of us to enforce definitions. If you feel you have to explain your actions by defending only your selected definition without consideration of the other person, your just being a bully.
- Avoid Absolutes and Generalisations, all they encourage is misinformation (see below)
- You don’t have to be friends with everyone. If someone is being toxic or abusive to you personally, remove them from your life. Removing someone that hurts you from social media does not make you a hypocrite when your fighting for inclusivity.
- Free-speech is only there to stop the government arresting you from sharing your opinion. It doesn’t shield you consequences or from group or online service moderators when you decide you are above the rules set out before you. If you truly think a service is hindering you, use a different one. If the number of users on a platform are more important, stay and change your content to fit within that service’s rules.
- The community will support you with their feet. If what your trying to do in the community is what the community wants, they will volunteer, they will rally behind you.
- “You will always be the villain in someone else’s story” – You cant please everyone, and that’s okay, were all human after all. But helping someone is more important than pleasing everyone.
Things To Encourage
Inclusivity of our Diversity
What a wonderful community we live in where a vast majority of its members will stand up and protect those marginalised in our community when someone spouts hate. Our community houses many types of marginalised demographics and in the 21st century this has been a cornerstone.
Inclusivity is having an open door for all who are willing to play nice. Being all-inclusive in an active act where you make sure all are welcome even if the person or group aren’t present.
Some Example to Keep in Mind:
- Not everyone uses your local version of English, just because they aren’t using US or British English with you use the other, doesn’t mean they are wrong. Sometimes Favourite Colours are spelt differently and that’s okay. Grammar and Spelling Nazis are never fun.
- Including marginalised groups and demographics into the discussion? Fetish safety workshops for sex worker support groups? Is your mosh spaces safe for those with neuro-divergence or physical disabilities? Inclusivity goes beyond genders and sexuality.
- Are you making content online and having visual content closed captioned for the members in the community who are blind or deaf etc?
You Decide How You Want to Help The Community
Helping your local social group moshes versus helping run an international event is a huge achievement and important role in the community, irrespective of how many people you help, there isn’t a high-score list, helping one person is just as important as helping one hundred. Our community is made of many kinds of safe spaces, some almost never touch and some are so intertwined its becoming part of our communities identity. Here are some spaces you can help get involved.
- Local Spaces: Local PAH’s, Mixed Fetish Events, Local Titleholder Events, Workshops
- Regional Spaces: Pup Play Themed Camps, Workshops at Major Fetish Events
- International Spaces: Major Events (Volunteering in Logistics or Education) Vlogging/Videography (For Physical learners) Podcasts (For Auditory learners) Photography (for visual learners) blogs (for text-based learners)
Its your choice how you channel your energy into the community, just because someone says you are not focusing on X enough, doesn’t mean your not doing the best you can.
Not everything you do in the community has to be factual and serious, it can be fun too. Before the 2010’s a majority of the creative content online on puppy play was erotica themed stories. Now there are cartoon artists, serious amateur and professional fetish photography, full-time artisan gear makers and t.
- If your making money from making content. Be transparent about it, no one likes a project that’s for making you money if its pretending to be a non-profit for the community. There’s nothing wrong with making money either, as long as its for the right reasons, then people will support your work.
- Creative content is that… creative! Explore the boundaries, limits of what the fetish is to you in the way you want.
- People are going to complain. A good example is an artists who makes cartoons about fetish without consent. While its fun to see and look at. No ones looking at a cartoon and think its a reflection of real life but there will always be a small minority who will play SJW. Just like extreme written erotica online, creative content is here to stay and strangers complaining it doesn’t uphold their own set of values will be a constant small voice in the back but don’t worry about them, be creative!!
- On the flipside of the previous advice, creativity breeds evolution. If we weren’t creative, we would all be using original pup play gear like coats, pants and tails made of faux fur as was sold by BDSM companies as pup play gear in the 1800’s. Some of the most memorable creative content I’ve seen online is not what follows a trend, but when someone is willing to buck that trend to do something new that they like.
Things To Avoid
Generalisations and Absolutes
We have all fallen for these and as have I. When I joined the community, I was quickly told the myth of pup play coming from the gay leather scene but also had people try to convince me pup play is less than a decade old.
Some Examples of Toxic Generalisations and Absolutes
- I was the first one to <insert claim here> (All is takes is an older photo than the date you claim to disprove)
- I was the only one in my area to <insert claim here> (all it takes is meeting someone else in your area to disprove)
- <Insert Business Here> was the first to invent/sell <insert pup gear here> (companies are built on paperwork, this is usually the easiest to disprove)
- Puppy play is only done by <insert gender here> (all it takes is to meet someone of a different gender thats a pup or handler to disprove)
A Good Rule of Thumb: If your making a claim, be prepared to verify and/or defend it. Our community history does not end at the aids epidemic. Research does not end after asking a few people you know.
- “I was around before pup play became popular” – Most people who use this only use it to belittle others or to add an air of authority to what they tell people but ask yourself this. Is their definition of when it became popular set to the stereotypical 6-9 months before they joined, or when the community statistically verifiable became popular in the modern sense in the mid 90’s?
Thing to Never Ever Do
-phobia & -ism talk (In comedy or Seriousness)
I’ve had people try to convince me that pups with mental health issues aren’t strong enough to be real pups. I’ve had people try to push the whole “men are dogs, girls are cats” myth and the long list to B####HIT crazy claims. These kinds of comments have a negative dominoes effect beyond the time you are a titleholder. Its best to avoid these at all costs.
Does this need explaining. Consent is sexy!