Thursday, March 6, 2014

Brats and SAMs

This is definitely one topic that gets my feathers all ruffled when it comes up. Growing up, my dad and I wrestled and picked on each other constantly, so he called me brat a lot. It was always said playfully as a term of affection. So, I never attached negative feelings to the word. Sure, I understood that it could be used in a derogatory way, but that was the association I made because it was never used that way toward me.

Once I got on FetLife, it became an insult to throw at subs who basically did anything undesirable. Of course, there is also the other side of the equation of s-types that proudly identify as brats or SAMs (Smart-Assed Masochists). Now, I’ve been called a SAM and I do identify with the label of brat, but I don’t identify with it in the terms in the way most people mean them.

Brat to me, means playfully resistant and teasing in order to provoke a certain reaction from my owner. I operate within acceptable parameters that do not violate my core set of rules. It is a method of communication for me, which I explain up front. Despite my love of writing, I’m not always fantastic at verbal communication. I’m horrible at asking for things, because I’m always afraid of either being rejected or being harassed before getting an answer. It’s something I developed over the years dealing with a particularly passive aggressive parent. So brat play is how I ask for S&M or rough play from my Daddy. It’s something he enjoys as well, and it doesn’t go over that line. If he says stop, I stop.

I think this pretty much covers it. 

So, I don’t like people who think of brat in the context of “spoiled brat” or a misbehaving child attaching their definitions to me when I say I’m a brat. I think it’s unfair that they attach their own baggage to labels I choose for myself. It’s unfair to other brat types as well who do so with their masters’ blessings. I see a lot of disdain coming from others when someone IDs as a brat. But, there’s a difference between a brat and a disobedient bitch/asshole in my mind. They are not the same thing.

With the way I define brat, a SAM is essentially the same thing to me. However, I see more acceptance for the term SAM than the term brat. “You might be a redneck” type lists float around for SAMs and brats and they are often the same lists for both labels, but those who ID as a SAM will often resist being labeled as a brat.

I think this is probably an age thing. I see a lot of disdain for diminutive terms like “subbie,” I suppose because it gives the connotation of childishness. I think the fact that brat is often something that is used to describe a child makes it more distasteful to people. I see a bit of an age break between those who identify as SAMs and those who identify as brats. Older s-types typically prefer SAM over brat and younger s-types tend to go for brat over SAM. Now, this is not an absolute by any means, just a trend I’ve noticed in the time I’ve been active in the lifestyle.

I don’t think being a brat or a SAM is a bad thing. I actually think it can be a safe way to get out all the rebellious feelings sometimes if your owner/dom/master/whatever is into that kind of play or is willing to play with it. I don’t think one is better than the other. I will say, if you identify with the brat label, don’t let others bully you into dropping it because they see it as a bad thing. I would advise finding someone who is comfortable with and enjoys brat play so you aren’t trying to suppress that part of yourself because it annoys them.

If you have a negative view of the term brat, that’s okay, but don’t apply your definitions to someone else’s label. They may not define it the way you do. So before you judge them based on that label, ask them what they mean. I can pretty much guarantee that someone who identifies as a brat probably doesn’t mean they’re mean-spirited and deliberately disobedient. That kind of contradicts the whole submissive thing, after all. 

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