Is it a marketing gimmick? Is it yet another of the hundreds of flags and ideologies and families? Is it just another philosophy, stated by another would-be-FetlifeKing, pending approval-and-then abandonment.
Well, no. Not quite.
You see, it begins -- as many things do, especially good stories - a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
It starts a few years after Creative Kink began in 2002, started up in the basement of Kenova's apartment in Frankford, after moving to Philadelphia to follow his (now ex) wife's dreams of graduating UPenn with Honors in Pre-Med, and then with a Doctorate.
Of course, UPenn doesn't have a Pre-Med undergrad, or a direct medical Doctorate... we call that a plot hole. Or the stupidity of youth. The ex-wife planned to "pioneer" one. But that...is another story. (we're trying SO hard to keep Kenova on task, here...)
So, Kenova was working as a copy editor and copy writer on contract with a company that pimped him out regularly to insurance groups, aerospace companies and engineering firms to use his English BS/BA degree to do the work of editing and updating their manuals in the type of work that is now done by AI's and chimpanzees with keyboards.
His degree was a BS/BA, by the way, because it was a dual degree in Gender Studies -- although he hadn't yet used that second half to do anything other than serve french fries and pick up boys, bois, sorority girls, two professors and a few politically-active feminist college moms.
Back to the point of the story.
Needless to say, our protagonist had free time, so he also ran a small lifestyle self improvement group rather arrogantly named (being rather arrogant at the time) "Master's Temple". Not that it was gender specific mind you -- a third of the members were minus the third leg, and at least one was an early-to-mid-2000's representative of what is now known as "genderqueer". Wonderful fellow. Deserves his own story, for some other day.
Master's Temple was all about improving the Modern Dominant. Keeping the violence, rough sex and body fluids, while re-integrating the discipline of leather, and hetero lifestyle M/s.
Savage Leather, as a concept, began in those arguments as the same idea was tossed around, over and over.... -- "Can a sexual predator live up to the Leather principles, and still be a real predator?"
Aside from horrible phrasing (the phrase sexual predator at the time hadn't yet become quite so popular as a Megan's-Law-flavored-nasty-word-grouping) -- the question was valid.
The answer at the time, and the answer if you have ever watched any single episode of Zoo-related television (or the Crocodile Hunter, crikey!) - is, of course, NO. A real predator is defined by hunger. A predator is desperate hunger and feeding at any cost to fill an empty belly -- because scoring isn't a game, it's survival. And a predator, in BDSM play - has to express that.
And so, as life went on, and "Master's Temple" splintered into a dozen other groups, and the phrase "sexual predator" became taboo, the discussion faded. But it stayed in the back of the minds of the CK family. Because our style of play, in the CK house has always been... primal. Violent. Possessive. But we demand an unrealistic level of honor, discipline and responsibility from our family. So it clashes. It causes problems. It's emotionally draining.
Something had to give. To wear smooth, meld together, blend into a melting po-- (...look, the thesaurus is running dry. The two ideas clashed, and they eventually found a way to fit. )
So, back to Savage Leather. What is, Savage Leather? Why is the Leather Flag hanging up there, with bloody red claw marks, with white bone slivers showing through the wounds?
We came to realize -- humans are the one animal that can live the life of Leather, while remaining a Predator. Because we can take the things that make Leather, things like consent, and honor, and value, and gentleness, and decency -- and we can decide when they will the stuff of civilized armoring stretched across our bones, and when they will be part of our claws, sharp things used to tear and rend.
That's what Savage Leather is. The Predator, and the Leatherman. The bleeding claws hidden in the lap of the lovely bespectacled young secretary in a proper business suit. The rough, scarred, unshaven and ill kempt old biker with blood stains on his vest and tears in his oil stained denims who speaks with the diction of a scholar. Humans embody contradiction, and make their weapons - and their armor, out of the contradiction itself.
Savage Leather is gentleman Jack, who smiles and tips his cap to the police as they walk by, and offers to buy them a cuppa. Polite British upper crust accents, clean clothes, honorable and even gentlemanly treatment of the ladies and brotherly treatment of the gentleman -- and a gleaming cold razor in the lining of his belt.
The other side of Savage Leather is the Ronin -- the human predator who has been shaped by their skills, be it with a sword or a whip. Many grew old without masters, relying on their own skill, Ill shaven, smelling of old Saki and horse leathers, looking at passing women as if they were a feast, and at others as prey. Yet never raped, never broke the law, not because of falling under the rules of a Lord -- no Ronin did (that's what made them Ronin - failure to have one) -- but because they still have that core of discipline from the training as roninsei or kanendosei.
Savage Leather is contradiction. It's Honor, and Savagery. It's making weapons out of civility, and playing the rules with the intelligence of an advanced, quality human being and with the hunger of a starving animal. It's walking the line between gentleman Jack, and the wonderfully polite image (and disgusting sadisms underneath) -- and a perverse, grizzled old swindler and pervert (with a core of honor harder than any coin ever paid).