Lady in silks comes up, Miss ravenmuse Rexen. Above her head was one of those "I am Master's girl" tags, you've seen the type--usually because she's in that particular Master's house group or RP group.
Owned by Master Zalain Sterling
I am not a Gorean slave @)~
This one caught my eye. Not a Gorean slave; but later on, it lists what she can do in Gorean spaces, including serving, bathing, and massage.
I take only commands/orders from My Master
Only My Master is Allowed to discipline me
Another standard clause, and in the right hands, a good one: in other words, the only discipline of slave Whomever comes from one set of hands, one mind; there is no confusion. I tend to be somewhat jaded when I see this particular clause, not because it doesn't have meaning for that particular person--or her dominant--but because it can so easily be misused.
Any questions or issues with me are be to taken up with Him I have been told to not to answer offensive or abusive IM's/openchat
by speaking with me You're consenting to IM/chat logging.
And I have to admit...this used to hit me as the most incredible form of blind arrogance, but four years into life on SL...this is basic survival, here. Whether or not Miss Rexen's master is good or bad, in this, he is absolutely right:
The chat logging thing is new, it's just started popping up in profiles this year. Most people keep the chat log button checked most of the time, anyway, whether or not they ever check the logs. I'd love to know how that one started.* If someone is offensive to you, and you have no good reason to continue talking to them: do not answer them. This is not RL; you can do this.
* If they persist, and you have no good reason to continue listening to them: mute them. This is not RL. YOU CAN DO THIS.
* And, if for some reason you cannot do this, for whatever reason, and you have a dominant: they can tell you to do this. And what you wouldn't do on your own for self-preservation, you will let them do for you, because you've given them the power to tell you what to do. This is pure genius, in a sense.
At that point I was hooked, and just started reading bits from her profile at random.
A good woman, any good woman, will challenge a man. She will test her boundaries, push and nudge. Sometimes she is obvious, sometimes she is subtle. But she is ALWAYS tugging at her leash. She needs to feel the resistance, to know that the leash is held, because it makes her feel safe. If you let the leash go slack, she will slip away. If you yank it too hard, she will choke and die. It is a simple, constant tension, that defines a man as a Master. It is not empty vapid threats and stomping off like a child. It is the passing of a look of disapproval, a subtle graceful thing that a Master does as an act of love. When she yanks hard, he does not yank back as hard as he can. If anything he shows her in his calm grasp that he is merciful and could do worse. If he punishes her, it is not out of revenge, but out of love. Desire not to see her suffering, but her learning. To comfort her with his strength, with her boundaries. That she will feel safe and become the caregiver she is bred to be.
I like this. I like this a lot. I don't think it holds true for every relationship, but I think it's a very powerful statement.
Just as there are several different fetishes on the grid, and several different species if it comes right down to it, there are also several different choices in the BDSM community. And I'm not going to say this happens with every submissive and dominant pairing out there--honestly, if there's any common thread in SL, it's the descent chain--where a dominant owns a submissive; then that submissive is Master or Mistress over a submissive of their own--but this, also, is a good paradigm.
I would say the only always true bit of that statement is in the first line--that any good woman will challenge a man. I believe this is true: at least, for those men in whom she has interest. In point of fact, a woman, good or otherwise, will challenge anyone she's interested in, man or woman; and anyone she perceives as being in her way, regardless of gender.
But in this, in this specific setting...in that relationship between a dominant and a submissive...Put specific genders aside for a moment. What most people looking in from outside see as a D/s relationship, Dominant/submissive, is sex, and if they're of the mindset where sex for sex' sake is a bad thing, humiliation. And while I will grant that at times, these things come into play (for some pairings more than others), that is not the core.
The core is, the core always is, power exchange. If one is submissive and one hands power over and then complains that bad things happen...I will not play the card of 'she should have known better', or 'well, that's his fault, innit?' But I will say that if a submissive hands over their power to a dominant who does not honor it; to a dominant who will use that as an excuse to harm and abuse; ultimately, if xie hands zir power over to a dominant xie does not know...then if xie does not stand up and take hir power back then xie is culpable, on some level, for what follows. If what follows is bad, which whatever happened is the fault of the dominant, xie gave away zir power and xie must own that that act was the start of things going wrong.
(Brief explanation of xie/zir/hir as terms can be found here. Mostly using them for personal convenience, not precisely stylistic integrity.)
Conversely, if the dominant and submissive talk things out in the beginning; if they move from a place of safety into further explorations as a pair, and always function with the knowledge that that place of safety remains; if, ultimately, the dominant knows and understands that their actions take place within the framework of their submissive's granted consent...then the pairing is strong and unshakable. This, then, is the dominant Miss Rexen speaks of: the dominant who knows xie has a seeking, alive mind and heart at the end of the leash, and that xie is allowed to leash that heart and mind because that heart and mind need to learn things one can only learn in this type of relationship.
To put it another way: for certain people, in other situations, this would be termed Mentor and Apprentice. Or Teacher and Student. And that testing would be to prove the strength of the bond, to prove what restrictions there are, what restrictions there need to be. Education is a process. Training requires discipline, after all.
To be a true Master,One must be able to Master themselves before they Master the life of another.
A true Master does not hide behind words, but enforces his words through actions.
Masters do not take submission lightly. They treasure the gift, as they treasure the one giving it.
This one, for all it's somewhat poorly phrased, is also true. And I'd say it's the one thing on her profile that extends fully beyond BDSM. To be a true dominant, is to know one's own strengths and limitations, to know and trust them, where that person shines and where that person falters. It takes an honest appraisal of self, without ego, to gain this understanding, and it's invaluable for anyone, in or out of a BDSM perspective.
What are our strengths and weaknesses? Where are our tender spots? Can we point the searchlights of our souls inward, and honestly, truthfully look at who we are? Who will we find when we do?
The second part of that is also true, in my opinion. If one considers themselves a dominant of any stripe, and they do not understand the gift of submission that is offered them--they do not deserve to be in charge of any submissive. Period.
Dominants, are people who are born naturally to this predisposition and who grow in their natural dominance to become Masters/Mistresses. Not just through their own self importance, but through experience, dedication, love, & determination, to be the ruling hand. Do not mistake this for a gate to become a Tyrant or someone so full of themselves that they forget the ones at their feet who make them who they are & who they continue to evolve & become.
I don't necessarily disagree with her conclusion that dominance is inborn, not nurtured. Myself, I do tend to think it's actually closer to both--that strong determined spark that starts the quest for dominance, but having to tend it, keep it from raging out of control, training it, tempering it. Letting that natural drive teach us, listening to what it says. Reminding ourselves that it is within us, and of us, but not all of us.
In Gor it is said that a slave must always speak the truth to his/her Master/Mistress. Well in Life, this is true but also in the opposite respect. A Master/Mistress/Dominant must always be truthful, first to themselves but to their slaves/subs as well. To not is to lose their trust & respect.
And I believe in this, as well, through a non-Gorean filter. On SL or in RL, a dominant must find their own path. And while it is essential, even vital to the survival of the D/s relationship to be truthful to one's dominant--for how else will they know the hearts and minds of those in their control?--it is also essential and vital for the dominant to speak truth to the submissive. Truth strengthens the bond. Deception weakens it. It's a simple thing.
Of course, none of this I said to her, you see. Which is part of why I'm saying it here. It stayed with me, while I was waiting for the lucky boards to cycle around, and reading various and sundry things on the web. I found more truth in it than subterfuge, which believe me, is rare in SL.
This, also, for the confused, is part of what draws women to Gor in SL. Not the male domination, not the tilt towards male power over female will. One thing that is emphasized, over and over again, throughout Gor, is never the line one expects to see, the line from Norman where he said that women simply were weaker, and could never have power of their own; that they were designed to serve under men, and had no other purpose. To me and to other women, that is and remains offensive as hell.
No, what draws women in is a sideline: the line that states the ultimate responsibility for any kajira is to be beautiful in all things. Beautifully dressed, beautifully coiffed, beautifully polished. To be perfect in Gorean society is to be admired--to have mastered the arts of proper service, the arts of dance and sensuous, sinuous motion, the arts of conversation and the arts of the bedchamber.
In this end, silks serve a defining purpose: simple for 'common' girls, moving towards ornate fabrics and ornamentations for those who have been selected to serve one master. And in and amongst all the other scrawls on the culture--Norman created a pervasive world but he was not, if you'll forgive me, a good writer--he came back to this point time and time again. Everyday working women, city slaves, slaves to certain castes, all were dressed in common colors and simple fabrics. The dancers, the highly trained kajirae, they wore better, finer silks.
And in SL, the silks can get very, very fine indeed.
Just as an everyday woman's working kimono is of simple fabrics, stripes or solids, simple construction, so too an oiran's working kimono will be a fantastic, embroidered, brocaded thing. Flowers will drip from her carefully coiffed and pinned hair; her feet will bear geta that will raise her six inches to a foot from the ground. (Some oiran went up to three feet, with attendants, one on each arm, to guide her carefully down the streets.) Her neck will be painted and carefully perfumed; the back of her kimono will be constructed so that dipping down over her shoulders, revealing the demarcation line of paint into skin, is actually what it's been designed to do.
And even women out shopping, who will sneer at the pampered creature, thinking she is likely moving from some dissolute man in a teahouse behind her, to a perverse man in a pleasure house in front--they will stop, and some small bit of marveling will go on. Because the oiran is so beautiful. Because the artifice is so precise. Because never in a million years of working and saving and toiling could buy them that rich a kimono, nor would they have a use for it. Envy and desire both follow the oiran through the city streets, and not just mens' eyes follow her.
So too the Gorean kajirae, if they have pride of place, of service; if they hold to these ideals. And so to the women that are drawn to it. For women will put up with oh, so very much to feel special, to feel unique, and beautiful, in the eyes of the ones they love.
I'm not saying I could not have had this conversation with Miss Rexen. She seemed intelligent, and she's obviously thought these things out. I'm just saying I didn't. And I still haven't won the Rust dress in the Wonderland set!