Thursday, November 09, 2006

So what does it mean to be a slave?

If you asked a dozen different peole what being a slave meant, you'd get a dozen different answers.
The dictionary definition for slave as a noun is as follows:

slave  /sle…™v/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[sleyv] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, slaved, slav‧ing.
1. a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another; a bond servant.
2. a person entirely under the domination of some influence or person: a slave to a drug.
3. a drudge: a housekeeping slave.
4. a slave ant.
5. Photography. a subsidiary flash lamp actuated through its photoelectric cell when the principal flash lamp is discharged.
6. Machinery. a mechanism under control of and repeating the actions of a similar mechanism. Compare master (def. 19). –verb (used without object)
7. to work like a slave; drudge.
8. to engage in the slave trade; procure, transport, or sell slaves. –verb (used with object)
9. to connect (a machine) to a master as its slave.
10. Archaic. to enslave.

I am struck most as a submissive woman, that among these definitions, that the ones pertaining to human beings are derogatory in nature. It just isn't right or sane that a human being would want to be a slave to another person. That is what I see here, that is what I was raised to believe.

I'm not going to go into the history of slaves as a being subjected to cruelties and hardships. We all know these things existed and exist today. It happened to every race and every generation has suffered in some way, either directly or by way of the trickle down effect. This sort of slavery has nothing to do with a woman or man who calls himself slave in the BDSM style.

Within the parameters of BDSM there is also a lot of debate about what constitutes a slave. Some will say a slave is a person who has given one final answer and that answer is yes. By answering yes, she or he as released thier personal power in whole to their chose dominant or Master. Usually those that view slaves in this definition are very by the book. You would be surprised that in a liberated lifestyle like BDSM, many have very narrow views about who a slave can be and the levels of submission you must have passed to achieve this very rare and glorified title.

Now, personally, I believe voluntary slavery to be an individualized state of mind. Who is to say if a person feels enslaved to another, that they are not? Who are we, in a lifestyle that remains mostly misunderstood and mostly in the shadows, to judge another person on what they feel themselves to be or not be?

For me, just me, I never had an agenda to achieve the famed uber-submission that the word slave seems to
encapsulate. However, to one person I have become a slave. It is often frightening as much as it is a wild sense of freedom. Perhaps I struggle against the knowledge that one person has come to represent so much to me. I feel vulnerable knowing that I find my most complete and utter happiness when it is under his thumb. I never had it in the back of my mind to attain status as a 24/7 slave or as a 24/7 submissive in a TPE relationship - because - I just understood that need inside myself was already something that was 24/7 and that any relationship I entered into again would be one of 24/7 simply because in my mind you cannot take the submissive out of the girl. If I'm showering, shoe shopping, reading, sleeping, working, or on my knees - I am a submissive, I am living TPE because that is simply who I am, how I exist.

But, slavery? I never envisioned myself as a slave, mostly because early on, I believed all the specific sets of definitions I was given by the welcome committee. You are not a slave if you do this, don't do that, if you are at all this way or that way and don't completely give up all pieces and parts of yourself lock, stock and barrel. You had to be a certain type of submissive and for a long time, years, in fact, I assumed that rare horse would never have any thing to do with me. I have learned now, there are many ways to live your life in the BDSM lifestyle. I've since learned that there are numerous shapes and sizes of both submissives and dominants. I can be a slave. I am a slave. I know this because I feel this. I've not had to have myself officially labelled by some set of people considered to be the epitome of all that his holy in D/s. The only thing that matters is that I know it, I feel it, it lives and breathes within me. He knows it. That is what matters.

You are no more for being a slave, nor are you less for being a submissive. You are still something spectacular no matter where you fall in the spectrum as long as whatever you do, you're doing it with 100% belief in yourself and your desire to submit and that you're doing this of your own will.

In closing, I'll just say this is but the beginning, I have so many thoughts on slavery in BDSM, submission, domination, every thing. But, for now--



kyuuri said...


I wanted to tell you that I came across your site when searching for, "what is a 24/7 submissive" and I am so happy that I did.

Your observations and experience are truly heartwarming and I thank you.

No matter where one is in their submissive lives, there are always questions, or at least uncertainties.

I am always grateful for blogs as honest as yours.

Thanks again!

irbluebutterfly said...

Perhaps I am making the mistake you did in terms of believing the black and white definitions of a submissive and a slave, but I am wondering what your definition is.

At the moment, I am afraid of the term "slave" because I view it as a loss of one's self. However, I also think I understand what you mean in saying you are a slave to your Dom in that you have found the balance of power, love, trust, affection and respect that suits you. You have found what I believe everyone is ultimately looking for - a supremely understanding arrangement - and you would be willing to do anything to please your Dom because he is the one that completes you. Am I correct in this?

Yet, I have a hard time calling that arrangement one of Master and slave. How did you get beyond the trappings of the traditional definitions?

I am not a slave, nor do I want to be a slave, but I do want to achieve what you've found. How did you get there?

Unknown said...

I have been seeing a man who describes himself as submissive. I have been very hurt by him lately from what I perceive as inexplicable cowardice and spineless behavior. I told him that he wasn't a man. Perhaps I don't truly understand what it means to be submissive. Please can you help me understand what is going on with him? Do I just not understand what it means to be submissive?

Lord Zephyr said...

There is a line from the last of the Matrix trilogy concerning "Love"....

Neo: I just have never...
Rama-Kandra: ...heard a program speak of love?
Neo: It's a... human emotion.
Rama-Kandra: No, it is a word. What matters is the connection the word implies. I see that you are in love. Can you tell me what you would give to hold on to that connection?

Let go the need for labels and semantics.....define what you will and live according to that.