Home > Rayne > So let’s talk about “true” slavery…

So let’s talk about “true” slavery…

February 11th, 2014

Every once in a while, I see one of the kinky elite blathering on about the definition of “true” slavery. This person isn’t really a slave because they won’t let their owner control their money. That person isn’t really a slave because they’ve got a safe word. This person isn’t really a slave because they don’t have to listen to any dominants except their own (wut?). That person isn’t really a slave because they’re allowed to leave the house alone.

It’s the most fun when people who purport themselves as mentors make snide comments on fetish forums about beginners and people who don’t define slavery the way they do.

Cuz see, here’s the thing: everyone defines consensual slavery differently. And while Brennan’s (unisex name snatched out of the ether—and probably heavily influenced by our recent interest in Bones—and used for the sake of clarity going forward…forget about Brennan. There is no Brennan.) definition might not match ours, or be what works for us, that doesn’t mean Brennan’s commitment to their owner is any less valid or slavelike than our commitment to our owners. It literally only means that Brennan’s owner has different expectations for them than our owners have for us…or that Brennan went into the relationship with stipulations, and their owner saw fit to allow them. Ultimately, it’s none of our business, since we’re not Brennan or Brennan’s owner. And as human fucking beings lacking magic label wands, we don’t get to tell Brennan or Brennan’s owner what to call their dynamic.

That being said, I make no secret of the fact that I used to be one of the “one true wayists” (you think you’re snarky? Check out some of my older Fetlife forum participation) and I absolutely have my own definition of “true slavery”. But these days, my definition only extends to myself because I try not to make assertions about what an owner I don’t know should expect or want from their slave.

That isn’t some epiphany I came to on my own. It’s just part of being slave to my master. He, too, has his own definition of what a slave is, and a part of that is understanding that I’m beneath “free” people, and I’m not allowed to tell them what they should and shouldn’t want (outside of giving them advice they expressly ask for based solely on my own experience and the details they give me); especially considering I have no concept of what they want unless they tell me. Shouldn’t masters decide for themselves what they want from their slaves? How, exactly, is letting a subgroup of a community that is an even smaller subgroup of society tell you how to conduct yourself in your relationships a “dominant” or “alpha” personality trait?

This is true, though, for all people in all walks of life. Outside of general human decency, we don’t get to tell people how to live their lives. We can’t know what someone wants without their input. We can make guesses based on their outward appearance, but that old adage about not judging a book by its cover isn’t just something we say. In all my thirty-three and three-quarters years of people watching, people still surprise me on the regular.

When it comes right down to it, though, what makes this argument of “true slavery” especially deplorable is the fact that there are still true, honest-to-goodness slaves out there. There are an estimated twenty-seven million people currently enslaved against their will today. These people are men, women, and children who did not consent to being taken captive, and cannot do anything about their situation. When you’re in this situation, and you want to point fingers about what a “true” slave is, then I might attribute some merit to your definition. Until then? Shut the fuck up, and let people be who they want to be.

And in the meantime, may I submit, for your approval, a definition of “true consensual slavery” that I think we can all agree on? My version goes a little something like this:

an arrangement in which one person (the slave) agrees to submit themselves wholly to the will of another (the owner), and commits themselves to actively ensuring their owner is pleased

Yeah…I like that definition a lot. Leaves all of the details involved in consensual slavery open to the couple’s interpretation. That suits me just fine.

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