There's really a lot
to touch on here.
The first thing I'd like to say is that the entertainment industry does not (and really should not) accurately represent niche communities of individuals such as ourselves. So, just because Melanie Martinez has childlike themes in her videos and her overall presentation does not mean she represents the community or is even involved in our community in any way. A lot of these sorts of things are chosen by a team who works together to determine how to develop a character out of a particular "famous" individual. So, when we talk about our community it's completely unrelated to tie in celebrities and the themes or images they portray while working, establishing or maintaining their career image (which may not actually reflect them as a person at all
). I suggest you remove the idea that some celebrity is secretly advocating for us and that's why we should be accepted.
We should become socially accepted because we are rational people with morals, goals, drives, dreams, personalities, needs, responsibilities, lives, and families. We are humans just like other community groups of humans who have come together in recognizing their atypical qualities and work to support one another. We genuinely are not doing anything harmful, morally or legally wrong, or bad by regressing or taking care of an adult who is regressing. We may be atypical but we aren't bad just because we have a different personality type than expected.
With that out of the way, I want to just quickly touch on a few thoughts I'm having right now about this particular topic:
What is the stigma you are hard referencing here and why is it on your mind at this time? Is it that people gain sexual gratification from parts of the typical Caregiver and/or little interests? Is it the general stigma that we are sexual predators? Is it the stigma that we are mindless, one-tracked sexual deviants just wanting to roleplay weird fantasies? Is it that we are all excessively lonely and desperate, have Daddy issues, or cannot biologically reproduce so we're seeking out some way to externalize these desires in an adult/adult relationship?
Everything will mostly boil back down to the lack of reliable educational material about the actual community (and community individuals
) itself. Educational material is made by expert, long-term existing individuals who are confident in their knowledge within the community. Educational material is read, reviewed, discussed, and even updated by corrections when information has become outdated or needs to be extended. If nobody is working on creating this educational material because they are not being encouraged to do so then it simply isn't going to exist.
That's going to be your short, quick answer to all of what you've potentially asked in your post.
So, let's say that plenty of accurate educational material exists, but it's only being cycled throughout the community itself, and the community members are being told very firmly and consistently to fear revealing this part about themselves?
Without someone advocating for us and making this become more public by pushing for it to be accepted then there is no reason for society to recognize us as anything other than a group of people who have odd behaviors (or something
). If everyone is too afraid to make a public stand then nothing will ever progress towards acceptance.
I'm not talking about just coming out to friends and family, but putting our voices out there to spread information and encourage other people to embrace us.
That is a fact that we have to face at some point if we want to be socially understood and accepted. At some point we must stop fearing and start facing.
Regression is inherently nonconforming to social expectations, standards, or norms and psychologically that is something the “human herd” naturally recognizes as a vulnerability. Humans naturally encourage other humans to conform to what their community group has established as safe. It's a part of our natural defense and is psychologically based so does also tie into things like physical appearances and externalized demeanor. It's why we look at someone and say, "Wow, s/he looks like a real creep!" or, "Gah, I wouldn't let my kids around someone who looks like that!"
So, there is a part of us being not mass accepted yet because we are still seen as atypical, nonconformist people. Our definitions have not been solidified yet, and we have sort-of bounced around with some identification terms and definitions so it's difficult to expect society to accept us when we lack the capability to effectively educate.
Human psychology can really be fascinating, both complex and not so much at the same time. Education is really important, but a part of that means that we, as an entire community, have to stick with certain language and definitions to explain actually provide solid information that stands alone on it's own.
Sexual Deviance and BDSM Misconceptions:
The community is pretty firmly tied to the notion of having BDSM roots even though this is a misconception due to language we once shared that is used in particular BDSM scenes. BDSM is inherently sexually based, as it is directly related to sexual kinks and adult interests--things that motivate a person to seek out, fulfill, or achieve some sort of sexual gratification.
Children are socially and morally unacceptable to sexualize. So, when you tie BDSM (sexual) to children (nonsexual) then there can be some knee-jerk reactions.
"I like to be similar to a child! Also, I'm involved in BDSM!" is a confusing statement to be boasting when also saying this is a "lifestyle" but also not
a choice. It's no wonder outsiders become confused and, at times, even enraged at the notion that children are interested in deviant sexual situations and that we are choosing to play into it by acting it out for our own amusement.
CGL is not sexually based, is not comprised mostly of "scenes", and doesn't even have to involve partnerships to be "acted out". We are individuals who think, feel, and sometimes even act a bit differently than the typical expectations of other adults. Even if this bleeds into our individual sexualities and interests it doesn't mean we are just sexual play.
Unfortunately, our community hasn't moved toward complete separation from the BDSM misconception.
I, personally, have been trying to really encourage the community to see that we are separate from the BDSM community and do not fall under it's umbrella of adult interests. While many of our members may also be involved in BDSM partnerships, scenes, roleplays, or even structures it does not mean that CGL is encompassed by BDSM. One absolutely can, and do, exist without the other.
We also don't encourage and promote terminology standards throughout our communication. It's extremely difficult to introduce someone into learning about the community when it's bare bones on communication exchanges and the exchanges that do exist make it difficult to understand what is tangible reality and what is psychological, personality, fantasy, or otherwise intangible.
I have some real issues with allowing our community to make statements claiming they are actually underage when they biologically are not because it can seriously confused an outsider who is trying to learn more about the community. It's important we consistently state our ages appropriately.
Posted content (photos; copy/paste generic stories):
A lot of our growth has been in the adult industry. This is both good and bad but absolutely does feed into the idea that all of us only see items such as diaper as erotic components. It's also difficult to overcome this notion when a lot of the media posted by community participates are overwhelmingly erotic, overly fantasized, or with them appearing in their undergarments (diapers
). At some point we have to have more to our community existence or that is all we become to onlookers.
General lack of in-depth, thought-provoking conversations:
I think most people can see by the forum here, as well as other areas, that conversations are often lacking, unfulfilling, or not as engaging as most well-established communities have on their forums. I believe this ties into the encouragement to hide our identities to extremes though, but sharing knowledge is so worth the (unlikely
) potential that we reveal our first names or the state in which we live when exchanging what we've learned about ourselves or the thoughts we have to discuss and flesh out in formulating solid answers.
Roleplay vs Lifestyle vs Personality Traits
This is a massive thing also tied to the language we choose to use within the community. It's massively harmful to us though when you pair this with the misconception of being connected to BDSM, which is a community that uses "lifestyle" as "choice in the way one chooses to live". The alternative to this within that community is sexual "scenes"--basically short-term roleplay sessions.
When we talk about littles we talk about a personality trait, which is not a choice nor just a roleplay. It's very important that we use the definition of personality to describe ourselves to others so that this is extended past the notion of fantasy or choice and into the reality in which we individually live.
So, as it is for many people, if you come out to a friend, family member, or partner and then encourage them to explore the community they may believe what you are doing is just a choice. A choice would imply that you can stop whenever and that you are choosing to simply be different because you must think it feels good in some way. In reality, littles don't have a choice in being a little or not, and their regression fluctuates throughout daily life whether they want it to or not.
Unnecessary Excuses, Reasonings, and Upfront Explanations:
Being preemptively defensive can do the exact opposite of your goal when telling others about your personality. It can absolutely give the wrong impression upfront and make the person quietly believe you are nervous and defensive because you know what you're doing is wrong or are actively hiding something very seriously bad.
Unfortunately, it is perpetuated in our community that we should immediately say, "But it doesn't have anything to do with children!" "But it isn't sexual for me!" as if we have reason to believe an outsider would logically immediately jump to these assumptions. We seem to lack the realization that most people we would confide in would not immediately think the worst of us, and would question more of our general interests in these things.
Also, just to toss it in here since it sort-of does coincide, there are serious reasons why we should not boasting regression as the cure-all in being a "coping mechanism".
While I believe we should absolutely answer uncomfortable questions about ourselves and our community when prompted, I do feel it's detrimental to bring up these unpleasant potential accusations before being directly questioned about them.
Magical, Mythical, and Illogical Regression
Making regression experiences and feelings into fantastical moments harms our community and gives the impression that we are only online roleplayers. We have to remember, accept, and even embrace that we are all biological adults and that it's a very, very
good thing. There are serious reasons why we should not be boasting that we magically "become" a mental child again despite biological aging, social maturation, and educational achievements.
Excessive Fear and the Shame of "Being Sexual"
There is a huge notion in the community that if any sexual gratification occurs while regression is present in any form then the little must just be sexual and that is all there is to who they are as a community individual.
I talk about this topic pretty thoroughly here so I won't repost all of my thoughts on it: viewtopic.php?p=53030#p53030
Ultimately, we should be able to talk about these moments without them being as dirty, wrong, or overall bad of us to be engage in. Because we are humans. We are adults. And we do have needs and desires that we can talk about without going overboard, without becoming just that one single topic, or without becoming bad because we did something we "shouldn't have" despite biologically being inclined to do.
Hiding does very similar things as making unprompted reasonsings as to why you are the way you naturally just are as a person. Keeping things hidden and secretive means you may eventually "come out" to another person, who can very well logically jump to the idea that you must have hidden this revelation because you believe it to be bad in some way. I feel like this video for the LGBTQ+/GRSM community really helps to explain it very simply:
Ultimately the situation becomes the question of: Why are you hiding if there is nothing to hide, and why are you afraid when you're supposedly not doing anything wrong? Why would others not approve of who you are and why haven't you felt the need to educate and change that potential so that you can be freely yourself?
Pressure to Partner and Our Lack of Focus on Personal Growth:
A lot of people fall into the belief that CGL is just romantic partnerships and that is as far as it's definition can go. It's difficult to break this down further to the individual level, identifying how a person can be a happy and healthy little or Caregiver without a partner involved. This ties back into the language we choose, when we are choosing to say "lifestyle" versus "personality".
Personal growth is also something that we struggle with and it also ties into dating. Even when someone just generally does want to seek out a partner a lot of littles have a very, very difficult time seeing that it is not all about them and their regression. Sometimes it's a struggle to educate them on understanding that people are not just roles, and not just suppliers of care when they want it. This is a difficult topic to address overall because one can easily step on the toes of people seeking partnerships--which is absolutely okay--but we are so much more than partnerships and roles, and when we break down these barriers and are able to see one another as individuals with extended interests, goals, desires, and values then we can really, truly connect together and find fulfillment not only with someone else but in ourselves.
Stagnation will kill communities, and when we no longer reflect on ourselves as individuals and boil everything down to feeling good
then we're headed for hardship.
I would encourage you to:
- Step away from using degrading language to describe some minor choices within our community (such as using a diaper for sexual relief) as nasty.
- Modify your way of thinking in "justifying" a regressor's acceptance based on their sexual expressions (or lack of) when those moments arise for individuals.
- Minimize your participation in spreading misinformation, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about who we are by modifying your language and encompassing "personality" over "lifestyle" wording.
- Work toward educating not only the CGL community but your local general community.
- Uplift those who are producing accurate online educational material, and share it with others at every opportunity you find fit.