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Friday, August 07, 2009

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Lanna

Thanks for the link, Hamlet.

Following my conversation with Sheraka, I learned a good deal more than I anticipated about the Gorean community. In short, my interview with Sheraka showed the perspective of a free woman and some of the other groups in Gor believed that their view didn't come across. Some posted additional comments on my blog and there was a lively discussion on the Gorean forums. The experience left me feeling that some people were very passionate about Gor and their chosen roles. Moreover, I've come to believe that Gor has more dimensions to it than I would have thought. (And it also cemented the feeling that Gor is not for me).

Sioban McMahon

From the interview:
"Yes, another foundation of Gorean culture is the concept of slavery. The concept of slavery has a purpose; it takes “lower gens” out of the process of evolution. The survival of the fittest as in Darwin’s theories. The weak end up serving the strong and do not take part in reproduction as such other then slave breeding. They get what is called slave wine which prevents pregnancy. But are used a lot for sexual pleasures."


That's not Darwinian evolution, it's eugenics.

I'm speechless.

Doreen Garrigus

Hmmm. The Gor novels seem written to expound on the author's personal philosophy and sexual proclivities. Unfortunately, they were born in the late sixties at the start of the second wave of feminism, when women were entering the job force in greater and greater numbers, so the whole thing is saturated with deeply threatened manhood and reactionary misogyny.

In a sane world, they argue, women are true to their naturally submissive nature and don't try to take roles that are authentically assigned only to men. "Slavery, of course, is the surest path by means of which a woman can discover her femininity," the author pontificates, and even free women are sometime shown to hurl themselves at a man's feet and beg to be collared, revealing their "instinctive" wish to be enslaved. "Own us, dominate us! Enslave us, properly, so that we may love you as women are meant to love, wholly and unreservedly, totally, without a thought for ourselves!"

"Every organism has its place in nature. That of woman is at the foot of man," is the germ of Mr. Norman's philosophy, and everything else follows from that. The world was changing, there in the tumult of the sixties. Our roles, as men and women, were changing in some fundamental, very personal ways, and it affected every aspect of our lives. Many men, like Mr. Norman, were unsettled and afraid. Most of them adapted and moved on.

In the twenty-first century, our roles are more complex and variable than they were in the sixties, negotiated on a case-by-case basis, and the possibilities are practically infinite. Dominance is not necessarily masculine, submission is not necessarily feminine, and there are very few activities that are restricted to one gender.

The truth is, though, that the black-and-white, all-or-nothing gender roles of Gor never existed in the whole history of humanity, not in that decade nor in any other. We are too variable, too adaptive, too individual. Even where clear-cut roles did exist, there were always those people who ran counter to expectation. Those roles exist only in imagination, offering a certainty and unambiguity designed to comfort troubled souls in changing times.


Valentina Kendal

1) Charlanna Beresford: So all slaves are women?
Sheraka Sirnah: No, but most.

2) Sheraka Sirnah: A Gorean woman feels HONORED when men protect her and the man has the physical strength to do so. Again a matter of honor.

3) Sheraka Sirnah: Lots. “For a man a woman is a riddle, to which the answer is the collar.”

Oh I had it all wrong! Gor is actually a well thought out world philosophy in which slavery is acceptable and most women are submissive to men and/or sexual slaves! Well, that makes all the difference!

Dylan Rickenbacker

I can't claim to understand Gor, but I understand slavery, which, contrary to a popular misconception in the West, is by no means a thing of the past. There are more human beings - women, children, men - kept in slavery today than at any other time in history. There's nothing romantic or philosophical about their suffering. Against that background, thoughtlessly romanticizing slavery in the context of a novel, a game or a roleplaying activity seems to me a supreme form of inhumanity.

Arcadia Codesmith

I have no beef with anybody participating in whatever consensual fantasy they find appealing, and I fully appreciate the appeal of dom/sub play. But it's important to keep in mind that it IS play -- it's an interaction based on consent, and further, consent that may be withdrawn at any time.

Which is the great thing about Second Life... at any time, a "slave" can stand up, look "master" in the eye, say, "Get a life, loser", and port out. And make no mistake, anybody who thinks Norman has any applicability to real life deserves that "loser" label, as well as a solid thumping by a female martial-arts expert. If you think men are inherently better at melee, for example, I know an SCA swordswoman I want you to meet...

Doreen's analysis is spot-on.

Ross Daniels

I read this a few weeks ago and cringed. This social darwinist rubbish she mentions is nothing to do with the books. It's her own interpretation and for the life of me I can't see how it's in any way relevant to what Norman wrote.

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