DomConAtlanta2013It’s been two weeks since I flew to Atlanta for the 10 year anniversary of DomCon – which has been busy with catching up on work, then moving to my permanent home in the Bay Area, and now catching up on work again! Some of this I wrote while at DomCon, up late the last night thinking about the event. Plus I’ve added other thoughts, now here you go, my wrap up of DomCon Atlanta 2013!

The 10 year anniversary of DomCon Atlanta was unique for me, for many reasons. There was a smaller attendance than usual, which may not have been the best for new comers, but for me it allowed the time and space to connect more deeply with women I’ve known for years.  I’ve been going to the DomCon events since the very first with just a few missed in the last decade. It’s a very special event, the only one geared mostly towards professionals AS WELL AS including lifestyle players.

After LA earlier this year I joined the board of advisors (which I’m very proud of!) which gave me yet another perspective on how this event runs and what it’s future is. Since there were a few struggles at this event, I’m particularly glad to have this extra view so that I can offer a more informed opinion on what went on.

In Atlanta, for the first time in the history of the event, a group of self identified ‘internet dommes’ attended, which I think is a great move forward in the evolution of the industry. But it wasn’t without some tensions, all changes include growing pains.

First of all I’d like to mention terminology. Because this event gave me a chance to take a good hard look at how semantics influences my own biases, and the words we use make a difference in how we experience each other.

“Internet Domme” is someone who primarily works online; through video clips, phone sessions and sites like Niteflirt or TalkSugar. There’s the possibility that ‘real time’ sessions also occur, but it isn’t necessarily the focus or is limited to a very specific few clients or personal submissives. Because most of the interaction is online, physical skills aren’t as required, the domination tends to be more psychological, if only by available logistics.

“Real Time Domme” refers to someone who does in-person sessions as the main component of their professional career. Typically using a personal or house dungeon the dominatrix sees clients face to face with the possibility of online interactions as well, including ‘homework’ and other communication.

But these terms are no longer entirely useful, relevant or accurate. ALL pro domes are required to have an online presence these days, and revenue streams such as videos or phone sessions can also be helpful for booking in-person clients. Also, internet domination IS ‘real time’ domination, or at least it is more often than I think it’s given credit for. Just because two people are not physically in the same room doesn’t make the domination/submission any less ‘real’.

Here’s the thing, we’re working in this weird dichotomy, in fact multiple dichotomies all trying to exist as once. We are lifestyle. We are professional. We are online. We are in person. We are trying to run businesses that are to a certain extent about balancing the need for customer retention with the reality of being a dominant woman making a career by being dominant.

Let’s face it, when you get a sizeable number of dominant-identifying women together there’s bound to be some drama (or as @Mistress_Emily so cleverly put it ‘twama’ since it was twitter based). But we don’t have to live with that. We don’t have to resign ourselves to it. That doesn’t mean that we all have to get together and love one another, kumbaya and all of that, but it CAN mean that we, as an industry of intelligent women decide that we’re going to have a basic level of respect for one another. If you attended the Mistress Tea on Sunday then you heard me say a little something along these lines and I hope you took it (and/or this) to heart.

There was a time when I was seen as a possible ‘pop-up domme’. When I discovered professional domination I threw myself into it full force. I was one of the less-than-a-dozen pro dommes who had websites (an internet domme from a decade ago J ) and the women that had already been playing at working for 5, 10, 20 years before I found the Scene weren’t sure what to make of me.

Even though ‘Old Guard’ is more of a myth than a reality, it becomes a reality when people believe in it hard enough. No matter how you want to contextualize it though, the industry is going through changes.

Please notice that I’m using the word industry. Community is a concept, industry is a fact.

I remember coming into the Scene and feeling like a new-comer, and yet also knowing that this was something I had been naturally doing all of my life.

This year, DomCon Atlanta felt particularly reunion like. It was the 10 year anniversary, and a great many attendees, myself included, have being involved since the beginning. I can absolutely see how that could be exclusionary, and that is unfortunate. While many of us were having a really connected time, our colleagues were experiencing that as feeling like outsiders. One of the best things about DomCon events is its ability to bring professionals of all kinky kinds together to network, learn, share and bond. That doesn’t mean that anyone is automatically entitled to be led by the hand through the event. It’s a two way street. It’s human nature to attempt to put a hierarchy in place, we literally all do it. So make a conscious effort to be the person that rises above that to reach out in equality. Maybe not entitled equality, but benefit-of-the-doubt equality.

We, individually and collectively are the ones who will determine what this event, and what our industry evolves into. Whether we like it or not, the internet is here to stay, and it’s been a kinky conduit in in many ways, both positive and negative.

We claim superiority, so let’s act like it.

DomCon LA 2014 is going to bigger, better & more organized than ever. There is an incredibly passionate & revitalized board intent on making that true. We want to hear what you have to say. Take initiative. Get involved. Have fun!

 

Thoughts about DomCon Atlanta 2013
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