A Love Letter to Bratting: Reflections on Playful Rebellion

Anna R.
May 18, 2024

I don’t typically like to make a public display of affection for metrics, but I’m making an exception because I think in moments like this, it could actually be worthwhile. Perhaps one of the best things I've learned throughout my vanilla career is how to read metrics and create a story with the findings. Since starting this blog, my most popular article by far is "12 Ways to Twist Your Brat's Brain." It’s the most visited page, even over the homepage. It has the most unique visits and the longest duration of time spent on a page. And not by just a little; it’s nearly 4x as much as my second most popular article, "Fat Fetishism Destroyed My Relationship With Fatness: Leather Saved It." Like, thank you, I’m glad you love my perverted suffering, but PLEASE also read my tech stuff. After all, a bitch is trying to make a name for herself in the industry (shameless unabashed plug).

So what does that mean? It means y’all are thirsty af for brat content, and babes I can’t blame you. That type of content is sparse. I get it, it’s not as flashy as blood play, no offense to blood play freaks.  I’m not saying there isn’t brat content out there; there just isn’t enough of it. And if I’m being real, a lot of it is scattered throughout social media or the internet, making it even harder to find. With love and light, a lot of it is not search engine optimized, making it even harder for people to find online. Lastly, perhaps there’s even less of it from a brat's perspective. And while I love to explore new roles (mommy era loading), I am by far most comfortable bratting, and I’m really good at it. Perhaps it’s my hours of idolizing 00s bitchy “it girls”; the Lindsay Lohan VS Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie’s humor, and Kelly Osborne have been particularly impactful on my personality, unfortunately.

Candidly, sometimes I feel like there is a lack of knowledge and great misunderstanding of brats. I think to some extent some people have a very one-sided view of what submission should look like, and often times it’s a bit antiquated, if not downright unrealistic. So many times I’ve been made to feel that I’m a bad sub because of my tendency to brat. That because my submission doesn’t come easily, that I must be bad at it. But I’m not naturally submissive, in literally any avenue in my life. I’m embarrassed to say I used to let a lot of this really get to me, so much so that I really tried to distance myself from that part of my identity, despite it being so affirming. In retrospect, a lot of that “feedback” has been from doms that weren’t the most experienced or perhaps comfortable in their skills. Misery loves company, I suppose.

Of course, I would handle some of that feedback much differently today. But the fact is, for a long time I held too much shame for what brought me joy, and at some points, I believed what these inexperienced doms said. I believed that I was a bad sub, and by extension of that, I felt like I was undeserving of community. So I cut myself off from a lot of community, telling myself I could return when I learned to be “better.” Better at what? Unconditional submission, which was so counter to who I am as a person. To some my dominance was the real reason I was bad, just like I had heard from everyone in my biological family, and just like the world tells powerful femmes.

Photo: Brittany Sowacke

Eventually, through a lot of therapy, conversations with beloved partners and friends, some research, deep reflection, and playing mommy with other brats, I realized I was actually catastrophizing. I was shutting myself down and denying myself pleasure based on people who didn’t get it. They didn’t understand the complexity of bratting. And listen, I’m not perfect; I could have done better at communicating my needs and the magnitude of this identity. And so while I’m embarrassed I wasn’t perfect (I have a toxic relationship with perfectionism), part of life is evolving is learning to get better at things, including communication.

Bratting isn’t for the faint of heart. In my opinion, it’s for the creative visionaries (lol, can you tell I’m a failed creative director?) with only the most sadistic brains. It requires so much more intimacy and trust. It’s an incredibly heightened version of power exchange. While I do think it can be casual, it’s not as casual as other forms of play. I think it also requires both parties to be explicitly clear of their limits, perhaps even more than other forms of play, because signs of exhaustion or other limits aren’t necessarily always physical, so they could be harder to read. Bratting can expand across so many forms of play and can be scene-enhancing for the right players.

For me, bratting has been really healing. Without getting into the timeline of my childhood trauma, a common theme has been my “difficultness.” I was always labeled a difficult child; I talked too much, I pushed back too much, I demanded too much. I was always too much, yet deeply lacking in other areas. For what it’s worth, much of that perception of me being difficult wasn’t actually me being difficult; it was begging for some morsel of affection from an emotionally neglectful mother. If I asked for more, acted in a way that was considered inappropriate, or slightly messed up in any manner, I would instantly be iced out from my family. 

So for me, bratting has always been tied to this part of my past. I’m being hard to handle, I’m pushing boundaries, but I’m not being iced out or neglected for it. Something that I have never quite been able to experience in my biological family. Bratting gives me the ability to feel safe with pushing on those boundaries, and perhaps being a bit of a playful pest. I know that the partner I’m playing with won’t hate me; it provides me a sense of security and stability I never had in my childhood.

I suppose to some extent, bratting also just comes naturally to me. As mentioned, I’m not very submissive. And it’s always been my opinion that someone should work for my submission; after all, isn’t that what makes a power exchange fun? Why would I ever just hand over my power to someone without making them work for it, or if I’m really in a mood, beg for it? What makes you deserving of my power or trust? How do I know you could possibly hold all of my power if you don’t want to work for it? People who demand submission instantly clearly aren’t very creative, nor as good at their craft as they might think. I suppose in a way for some people it’s easier to push that inferiority onto someone else instead of having to actually build their skills.

Photo: Brittany Sowacke

I suppose, in some sense, my thick-skinned nature comes from my childhood, from having to constantly care for my own emotions, and for my mother's. That energy has carried into a lot of how I navigate the world. While at times it’s quite rewarding, like in corporate spaces, other times it’s exhausting. And so to some extent, bratting and submission allow me to have some type of relief from that hardened wall. It gives me a space to just exist, to not have to worry about how I’m being perceived by frivolous things like my facial expressions or level of vocal fry. A lot of times it gives me a chance to get my brain torn the fuck up, in the best way, of course, only to be rebuilt even freakier.

I really love what bratting has been able to give me. It’s given me the ability to tie (literally and figuratively) harmed parts of my past to my present being. It gives me the space to be an absolute fucking menace, and for that to be totally welcomed. It makes me feel a deeper connection with whoever I’m playing with, giving me a sense of security.

So to wrap up this report, bratting is trending up across all demographics. So if you're a brat that’s been made to feel as if you're inferior because of your refusal to instantly submit, I’m sorry, and I’m here with you. I think it might be worthwhile exploring things with other brats. Not a brat but want to entertain one? Well, babe, time to get fucking witty; you're going to have to have a brain and personality now. I promise it’s more fun here though. Life is better with challenge and power exchanges turned up to 100.

References & Readings 

My Brat Anthems Playlist

Brat BDSM: What It Means To Be A Brat And How To Explore It Safely


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