Note that Norman's non-fictional sex manual Imaginative Sex presents a series of elaborate fantasy scenarios to be acted out (rather than advocating for a real-world "24/7" lifestyle), and recommends that symbolic substitutes (such as the sound of claps) should be used instead of actual physical chastisements (such as whippings). Most of the scenarios are maledom / femsub, but a few portray men as the slaves of women, and anticipate the eroticized first-person male slave narratives of some of the Gorean novels.
The Gorean self-identity
The Gorean identity is founded on home, job, and social order. The 'Three Pillars' of Gorean society are described as "Homestone, Caste System, and Slavery" , but they deserve a wider explanation.
The home is prime of importance to the Gorean, and this applies as much to the city-state of origin to the current residence or camp. 'A man's home in his castle' is translated in Gor to 'Every man is an Ubar within the circle of his sword.' (The Ubar is a war-leader, a General who takes power at a time of crisis, and whose rule is tantamount to tyrant until the crisis is resolved.) The Homestone is held sacred by every city and settlement, and is displayed under guard. Any praise or insult to a Homestone is taken personally by those who live in the city it symbolizes. The theft of a Homestone is the gravest crime, and paradoxically the most honorable enterprise, that any Warrior could undertake.
The Gorean's occupation is formed and informed by their caste. The Caste system establishes the Gorean identity as strongly as homeland. Because of the Gorean's work ethic and pride in caste, all castes are essentially equal. There is little social mobility because of this caste pride and identity; even the Peasant caste uphold their caste codes and firmly believe in their superiority to all other castes. But in actuality a few castes are more equal than the others. Those of High Caste, including Scribes, Warriors, Physicians, Builders and Initiates (holy men) have access to privileged education and opportunities to leadership. The social order is further consolidated by social edict: "A man who refuses to practice his livelihood or strives to alter status without consent of the Council of High Castes is by definition an outlaw." A Gorean regards the welfare of their caste higher than their own, but in return, the caste provides welfare and charity when a caste member is in need.
The third pillar, 'Slavery': [To be written. This deserves a breadth of treatment to describe, from biological predispositions to the cultural platform cultivated by the Priest-Kings, from the intimate dynamic between Master and Slave to the overall hierarchy and meritocracy of Gorean society, and correlations to be made to historical and contemporary Western culture.]
Distinctive Gorean symbols include various artistic renditions of the "kef" symbol (Kef being the initial letter of kajira in the Gorean language), the floral "dina" mark, and to a lesser extent other brands mentioned in Norman's Gor books.
Some Goreans also use symbols not derived from Norman's books, most prominently the Chinese character for "slave" ? (Unicode U5974), which contains the character for "woman" ? as its left half and an old character for "right hand" as its right half, and so can be given the interpretation "woman under master's hand". (However, the main function of the "woman" character ? here is technically as a "phonetic" element indicating pronunciation, and the composite character ? is not always female-referring.)
One version of the Kef, the most common kajira brand on Gor
A rendering of the dina mark, sometimes called 'the slave flower'
Chinese character U5974 in an ancient form (top, showing kneeling woman and right hand) and one modern version (bottom)
Goreans on the Internet
For years there has been an active fan base on the net, particularly on IRC channels. Many of the virtual Goreans have only online knowledge and have not actually read the books, which can be difficult to obtain, instead relying on potted summaries on web sites which are often inaccurate or which fail to properly convey the complexity of the original text. For this and other reasons, various idiosyncrasies have crept into the Gorean role-player subculture that are not supported in the original text, for example, the requirement that slaves always speak in the third person or the lower-casing of slaves' first names (a practice borrowed from online BDSM).
Rules for my slave girls:
1. Because most people on this world do not understand that women should be slaves, and men should love them and master them, my slaves may act as though they were free women when people who do not understand this are about. However, my commands must always be obeyed and my slaves must always defer to a Master, no matter the circumstance. The only honor a slave girl has is serving an honorable Master who knows what is best for her.
2. The paramount duty of a slave to her master is honesty. If she is tied in such a way as to cause physical pain he might not anticipate, she should say so. If she does not understand why something is being done to her, she should say so. If she is feeling uncertain about an aspect of her slavery, she should say so. A respectful question or observation will never bring punishment. My slaves are to constantly inform me of their thoughts and feelings, which belong to me no less than their lovely necks and are treasured just as much.
3. If a slave behaves honorably and obeys well, she should be proud. There is nothing honorable in cringing like a dog, fearing the Master's least word or glance. Slaves who are well disciplined are vital, intelligent, and bright of eye, quick to answer and quick to take pride in their service, and these things are pleasing to me. A slave may offer an opinion when asked, may speak and ask questions unless bidden to be silent, and may respectfully correct me when I am mistaken.
4. My slave girls must always remember that they are valuable property which belongs to me. They must at all times take good care of themselves medically, physically, and mentally. They must never, ever provoke confrontations in unknown environments or endanger themselves unnecessarily. If anything threatens their well-being, in whatever aspect, they are to tell me about it at once.
5. My slave girls are owned utterly by me, down to the last strand of hair on their heads. If I choose to use them, they must show their appreciation and give all their passion in exchange for the smallest touch. A slave may never resist my advances, or anything else I choose to do to her. She may inform me if she is unwell, or if there is some other reason my desires might best be temporarily delayed, but the decision is for me alone.
6. Slave girls sometimes disobey or are insolent and must be punished. This, of course, is the Master's privilege and his duty, for if a slave is not corrected, she will not improve. Slave girls are punished if, when, and as I please. When I desire to punish a slave, I will tell her why she is to be punished and how. If instructed to bring a lash or paddle, she must do so quickly and obediently. Her hands must never touch it, or any weapon, so she must bring it in her teeth, and when she reaches me she must be on her hands and knees. I will then inform her which position to take, and they must obey instantly.
7. I will punish my slaves in any way I see fit, naturally. They may be bound to remind them of their helplessness before me, or they may be ordered to hold a position to teach them to obey. When a slave knows she is being punished, she must obey instantly and without thought or question, unless she does not understand what she is to do.
8. Specific duties and "standing orders" for my slave girls include:
A. Slave girls must never speak the name of a Master unbidden, unless this would appear unseemly when others are about. The only time it should ever be spoken above a whisper is to call for immediate assistance with some urgent matter.
B. Slave girls must remember that they are property, and should not refer to themselves as "I," "me," or to objects as "my" or "mine" in my presence. They instead should say "this girl," "your slave," and similar phrases.
C. I prefer to be addressed as "Master" or "my Master" by slave girls. "Sir" is also acceptable for variety. "My lord" is not to be used unless some fantasy or scene is being played out where it would be appropriate. A slave girl who wishes to indicate me in particular when other masters are about should refer to me as "my Master." Of course, this does not indicate her possession of me, but rather singles me out: She must respect all men, but I am her one true Master.
D. My girls are required to know how to dance for me. I will provide instruction as to the type of dance I wish them to learn, and they will then practice as directed by me.
E. My slaves are to shave under their arms, their legs, and the pubic region. This is to be done not less than twice a week unless some physical reason for delaying it exists, and then only with permission. They are also, of course, to be clean and washed at all times.
F. My slaves are required to keep a journal in electronic and/or physical form. Not less than 100 words per week must be entered and given to me to review. Any thought, from the trivial to the sublime, may be journalled, but the emphasis should be on slavery and submission and how it affects the slave's worldview.
G. My slaves are allowed to speak to others without prior permission, even other Masters, so long as they are respectful. However, they are always to identify themselves as my slaves immediately upon beginning any conversation in a setting where this is appropriate.
H. My slaves, when approaching me and I am sitting or standing still, are required to kneel in the position known as "nadu:" sitting on heels, legs open, hands on thighs, unless for social reasons this would be inappropriate. After I see them do this, they may then sit comfortably at my feet unless I tell them otherwise. They are not to sit on chairs or furniture in my presence without permission unless in a mundane social situation.
I. My slaves may come and go as they please unless they have been ordered otherwise. The only exception to this is as follows: If I have specifically summoned a girl for any reason, she is not to leave my presence without being dismissed, either explicitly or implicitly, as when she is told to go and do something. Slaves may ask to be dismissed, but they are to give a reason for the request.
Ro apply this to slaves more specifically, let's look at the principles at work here:
1. People should do what's right and not expect to be rewarded for it.
What is right for slaves is to serve, and to the best of their capacity. The master should indicate what level of service he expects and then enforce it. Service above and beyond *should* be rewarded. An analogy: It's wrong to commit arson. It's right to call the fire department if you see a building on fire. It's above and beyond to enter a burning building to help evacuate people (unless you're a fireman, that's what we pay them for.) Refraining from the first or doing the second are not worthy of praise (although the second might be pointed to as an example of how to behave.) Doing the third, however, is worthy of praise and honor, simply because it requires a person to do what they need not do, at risk to themselves. I can admire a karateka for his skill. I can respect him for using that skill to defend the helpless in the face of danger.
Similarly, it's wrong for a slave not to be pleasing. It's right for her to be pleasing as best she can. It's above and beyond for her to exceed the master's requirements and for that she should be praised. For instance, my slave makes dinner every night when I get home. I don't require fancy food: I'm quite happy with frozen pizza. But if she goes to a lot of extra trouble to make nice food from scratch, I praise her. Some masters might simply say, "I require perfection." Well, human beings aren't perfect and if you hold them to that standard you will simply get a girl who feels that nothing she does is ever good enough. If that's what you want, fine, but I submit to you that without being able to feel good about themselves, ever, you will get a timid, withdrawn, and depressed slave. I like happy slaves myself, but that's just me.
On a larger scale, slaves shouldn't expect to be praised for their inner strength, conviction, devotion, and so forth. Yes, it's hard for a Western woman to submit the way slaves do. I know that. That, however, is the sort of woman I want. I might admire how well she does it, just like I might admire her pretty brown eyes. I might even tell her once in a while, "You have pretty eyes," to make her smile. (I like to see them smile.) Or I might tell her, "You serve well." That doesn't mean I respect her for it. If she is a slave and acts like she's not, I would disrespect her for it, because that's a lie. Both to herself, and to the rest of the world. That is not acceptable
2. People should refrain from doing what's wrong and not expect to be rewarded for refraining from doing it.
The other side of the coin. Slaves shouldn't be disrespectful. I don't want to hear a slave expecting praise for being respectful any more than I want to hear her expecting praise for not poisoning my food. Lying about what you are is wrong. Lying about what you need is wrong. (This is different from not knowing what you need, which is very common in new submissives/slaves.)
3. People should be punished for doing what they shouldn't, regardless of why they did it.
If I set my slave a task and she does not do it, she will be punished. The punishment might be a lecture about budgeting her time better, or it might be a rather severe whipping. It's up to me. If she does not do it because she COULD not do it, say because our daughter was sick and needed tending, then the punishment will be a token... perhaps a lecture on telling me she's busy so I know what I can expect from her. Out and out emergencies, of course, are a good reason to not follow orders, but it had better be a real one.
A very common thing I see (which none of my slaves do, happily) is for a slave to be disrespectful in the guise of "speaking her mind," as don't Gorean masters always say they want intelligent slaves?
I don't care if a slave tells me to my face I'm an idiot. However, she will do so respectfully. She will not scream. She will not curse. She will remember the appropriate formalities. (Actually using the word "idiot" would be right out, but a reasonably clever slave could make it clear that's what she thought without using perjoratives.) If I were to go into court and scream at the judge, no matter how stupid he was being, I would be thrown in jail for contempt of court. This is not because I disrespected the judge as a person, but because I did not behave with the required formality towards the institution of the court. Similarly, there are two people, in a way, two entities, living in the master's skin. One of them is an ordinary fallible human being, who makes math mistakes and forgets things. That person can be corrected, and should be. The other is the idea of the Master, the compliment of the slave. That person must be respected at ALL times, and failure to remember that he is always there no matter how childish, ignorant, stubborn or cruel he is being, should meet with severe discipline.
This is sort of a sub-field of another topic I've thought about: what is the appropriate modality for slaves to interact with each other?
There seems to be a custom that slaves are rather giggly and sisterly at each other. If they're friends, fine. However, slaves do not desire the attention of other slaves, they desire the attention of masters. When slaves are alone, you might get much the same interaction as between Elinor and Ute (well part of the time) where they do become friends. But even then there is an element of superiority/inferiority.
Slaves may be animals, but there is a pecking order among animals just like there is among humans. The most dominant slave girl (or the one who is made dominant by the power of the master) is first girl: all the others call her mistress. The next most is referred to as mistress by all the others, save the first, and right on down the line. (Not universally, but often enough that Cabot notes it.) Goreans are big on a place for everyone and everyone in their places: that's one of the main functions of the caste system.
Two of the things that slave girls use to distinguish themselves are their beauty and their willingness and ability to please. Well, beauty doesn't count for squat around here, obviously. Willingness and ability to please are key. To use your original question for an example, say slave A is doing something displeasing, serving incorrectly or some such. Slave B knows the "right" way to do it. If slave B says something, she is implicitly stating, "I am a superior slave to you, and you should listen to what I say." To modern Westerners that's pushy and rude. I say that for Goreans, that is a reasonable statement. When you want to make a garden wall, you get laborers. When you want to build an arboreum, you get a Builder. When you want a bowl of kal-da, you can have any old pot girl dip it out. When you want a fantastically prepared and presented meal, you get a highly trained pleasure slave. Just as the Builder feels superior to the laborers, the pleasure slave feels superior to the pot girl.
While I don't think slave B should interfere while slave A is interacting with the free (serving, conversing, whatever) I don't think she should have any particular qualms about demonstrating her superiority in public: that is how slaves get attention and notice, and establish their relative position in the hierarchy.
Notice that I have not said anything about being rude. I don't care for rudeness, or perhaps "coarseness" is a better term. To a Westerner displaying superiority in a social situation is considered rude at times. (I've been told I'm rude because when I play Trivial Pursuit I always win in about three turns.) That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about coming up to slave A and saying, "You ugly bitch, you did that all wrong, what are you, retarded?" Unacceptable. However, "We in this tavern don't rub glasses on our 'dripping petals' before giving them to masters" is perfectly acceptable, even in public. To an extreme, you get the tavern slaves arguing about who can please a master better, which occurs several times in the books, especially between Tupita and Tuka (Doreen) in "Dancer." I would be OVERJOYED to see two slaves acting like that in a tavern. Not because I like cat-fights (do you suppose on Gor they call them sleen-fights?) but because it would show me that at least two girls give a damn about anything other than describing their wiggly bits while they are trying to serve a man.
I've had slaves tell me that they don't do that because it makes the masters uncomfortable. Tarn droppings. I can't conceive of anything a slave could do which would make me uncomfortable in a Gorean setting. If my slave comes out wearing her silks and collar while my (Terran) mother is visiting, that's one thing. But if one is sitting in a virtual room ostensibly on Gor, what in the world could a slave do that would make me uncomfortable? It's not logical. If a man can't get past his Western distaste for such activities, he's still got some learning to do about the Gorean environment. So do I, I freely admit, but I try to at least recognize and acknowledge when my Terran upbringing is getting in the way and deal with the problem logically.
I think the reason that this allegedly and sometimes actually makes masters uncomfortable is that Western society, especially American society, has as its major premise the idea that while some may be better at one thing than another, everyone is really equal. Rubbish. Everyone must be equal BEFORE THE LAW. This has nothing to do with whether one person is better than another. A productive member of society has every right to feel superior to a parasite, but that doesn't mean he can go around shooting them. Likewise, it's in the productive member's best interest to provide, via taxation, a certain minimum level of subsistence to those who cannot support themselves to avoid social disruption. That doesn't make it right, just necessary, and it doesn't make it any less immoral to be a parasite.