Saturday, 6 February 2010

Reflections on Sexual Slavery in Second Life,a case study


Here is a narrative of self enslavement by Darscenii on Flickr, her photos and her words. Comments in bold.

Just passing the time in Siba

In Gorean Myth she has assumed the role of a Panther, an outlaw female who elects to live away from slavery and fight the male dominated world. Gor is strange in that the radical opposition of female to male domination is given a role for players to inscribe themselves into: outlaw, panther living in nature.

What fate awaits me? Am I to be fed to sleen or enslaved? Do I want to be enslaved? Or do I treasure my freedom more? The freedom to be cold, to be distant and unloved...? Such is the dilemma a free woman faces ...

The text speaks for itself. Freedom presents conflicts to the individual, and always has. Modern life offers the individual the greatest levels of freedoms and rights in history, but at a cost of stress and emotional distance. This leads to a fantasy desire to escape freedom, but it is key that we keep in mind that this is imaginary slavery.

Whipped and chained. Am I destined to become a kajira?!

The image shows Lacan's concept of the pre-identity phase. The woman unable to form a stable identity is cut, bloody and broken. The conflict of the state of life without a clear identity to follow is clearly illustrated.

Sometimes I just want to tear away my robes of concealment and run naked in the forest. Doesn't everyone feel this way? :)

Gor position of women is telling. In the cities (Culture), women are either naked kajira slaves or modest well dressed free women. Freedom in the cities is an escape, in my analysis from sexuality, and only in nature outside of Culture can the female experience pleasure without slavery. Oddly that the male is not conflicted, he is everywhere in all ways a Master, in cities, in the country he has one identity. Having one identity there is not difference that therefore no meaning. The Man, the dominate Master Father of Gorean Culture, is non-existent.

Gorean RP is all about women. What attracts men to stay in these impoverished roles for any long period is beyond me. Perhaps they form real attachments to their slaves behind this kind of silly play, or perhaps they are just really mentally unbalanced. As for women Gor offers a dynamic game to test and stress Identity.
I traveled to Tyros. Searching for old friends from Treve I was yet startled when I found one: Trenzos.

This narrative section or RP opens like so many nursery stroies, with the girl going for adventure her skin remains a rich surface of fabric.

The truth is that I was searching for something else entirely. Trenzos saw straight through me. When he asked me if I would submit, I replied flippantly in the affirmative. Before I knew what was going on, he had me stripped and at his feet. My efforts to resist were laughable - I still couldn't really believe it was happening to me. Though forced into a position of submission, I could not yet utter the words that would seal my fate. He still had some work to do on me. ;)

What the truth means in this situation is difficult to know, is it a RP truth or a truth about herself as an AV or as a woman in RL? Such confusion about the truth of Identity, as Lacan showed, is part of the nature of identity. Notice that the male is almost inorganic, as a master he is removed of all meaning. Notice that not only is she stripped of clothing but also of tattoos, she has entered nature thus turning her back on identity of Culture to take on the identity of a slave finally.

It was the strangest experience of my life. It wasn't that I desired slavery, for I had resisted the collars of other men. No, it was rather that I had found my master.

Where was my defiance? Where was my will!? I thought a panther's heart still beat in my breast. Or at least, that of a Free Woman.

And yet, when I searched for it, I found it missing. Where had it gone? Someone had stolen it... my heart.

It did not take 15 lashes to bring me to heel. It took six. And in truth, he didn't need more than one....

When I understood what the whip had done to me, I felt like a veil had been lifted from my eyes. It was not pain that bound me. The whip had given me permission to let my walls down, to give up my pride, to submit. And in surrender, I had found the courage to free myself from the chains of freedom. A strange paradox...

This slave identity frees the player of unique free identity and many people who do BDSM will tell you it results in a great deal of psychological release. But in VR the difference between play and real is even harder than in RL. This truth of which she speaks of finding in abuse and slavery may be a play truth or is this an expression of some felt desire? Is she really now enslaving herself or her AV or her AV playing a roll in Second Life or is it just a game for the Flickr audience to consume? It is impossible to tell from the outside. And the entire structure of Gorean slave culture played out in the VR of Second Life confronts the legal and social scholar with vagueness. Assertions are made and patterns are established, but are they real or imagined? Is she really a slave finding her hearts desire of is she playing out a bit of porn.

And in the end as more and more people enter VR, as VR merges more with our culture and as the experience becomes richer what will be the fate of millions of humans who are slaves today?

For the purpose of reflection here is a picture of real sex slaves:

Ugandan children

The story is from the BBC,
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which has earned a terrifying reputation for its brutality against the people of northern Uganda, has abducted an estimated 20,000 children over the years.

This is the social reality that the global village and network society is faced with. The reality of these children taken to be sex slaves will some day merge with the VR experience and the slave play in Gorean Second Life, unless slavery is abolished in RL. This seems highly unlikely and as long as their is slavery in RL the Friends of Flesher as reflection about slavery in SL. This is not a politically correct call to outlaw slavery in Second Life, but rather just reflection upon what may happen in the future.

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