Friday, July 8, 2011

Leather Bear Tails: The historical evolution of Master/ slave relationships


From historical non consensual slavery to modern day consensual Master/ slave relationships

Six years ago when we had our collaring ceremony and I officially took the title of Master and she officially took the title of slave, I can’t say that the cultural ramifications of what we did even crossed my mind. They didn’t. The concept that I had a word to identify how I felt and how I wanted to feel inside my home was what drove me. The fact that I had this amazing woman who loved me and wanted to do it with me drove me further.

Over the years I have thought heavily over the use of the words Master and slave. I know that I as a Caucasian person will never completely understand the emotion and history that embodies the word slave. I also know that my slave, a woman of color, has had to come to terms with who she is, her race, and her identity. Not just as a slave and a lesbian, but also a woman of color owned by a white Master.

As a current consensual Master/slave couple I believe that it is my responsibility to be aware of the heavy weight of the words that we have chosen to identify as.

The depth of violence that non consensual slaves faced was brought home to me by a recent series of books that my slave was reading and a set of biographies that we stumbled upon by accident. The reality that the women, children, and sometimes the men were pure sexual fodder for their Master was explained in more depth than the traditional way of the telling of these old stories. If the Master wanted sexual rights to the slave’s children, no matter what the age of the children were, they were taken by force. There was also the clear knowledge that the child may never be seen again. If the wife of the Master was upset or jealous of the attention that the husband gave the slave, no matter how unwanted this attention was by the slave themselves. It was the slave that received her anger, however the Masters wife wanted to dole it out. Children produced from the husbands sexual exploits with the slave were often killed or sold, unless he decided otherwise.

With this history in mind, how can I as a sentient human being and my slave as a woman of color use the words Master and slave?

Isn’t the hubris that we take disrespecting the pain and atrocities of our past?

How can we be so arrogant?

How can we be so forgetful and mindless?

How can we be so entitled?

These are all good questions. Valid questions.

To these questions I say that my slave and I have taken the concept of power and powerlessness from the past and have reinvented it in our own terms.

The expression of our Master/slave relationship is based in love, trust, desire and a genuine sense of wanting for the others well being.

Just as the meanings of concepts and words change over time, so can this. Remember when a fag was a cigarette, and gay meant happy? Remember when dogs and horses had their tails cut or docked to symbolize that these animals were working animals and not to be taxed instead of a fashion statement?

I am not bold enough to believe that one relationship can wipe out centuries of bigotry, hurt and pain. I am however hopeful that when the history books write of us and the words Master and slave are defined this is what they will say:

What started out as the one of America's, deepest and darkest years of inhumane and unheard of violence in later years became reclaimed by American society. This time the words Master and slave came to mean something very different, the love, devotion and care that the modern day Master has for their slave goes beyond the depths of love and into the depth of eternity.
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Group Name:
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