in their simplistic fashion, often contend, categorically, that
man is naturally free and woman is naturally slave. But even for
them the issues are far more complex than these simple formulations
would suggest. For example, there is no higher person, nor one more
respected, than the Gorean free woman. ...Goreans do believe, however,
that every woman has a natural master or set of masters, with respect
to whom she could not help but be a complete and passionate slave
girl. These men occur in her dreams and fantasies. She lives in
terror that she might meet one in real life. ...
---Hunters of Gor, 22:311
Traditionally she would be
born free, to free persons joined in free companionship. She would
have been raised as a member of her father's caste although not
necessarily expected to take part in its trade. Indeed she may never
practice the crafts of her caste, especially if this caste engages
in typically male activities such as war or the working of raw materials.
The amount of involvement in the daily home activity would have
much to do, not too unlike earth, with income and social standing.
of a given caste, it should be noted, often do not engage in caste
work. For example, a woman in the Metalworkers does not, commonly,
work at the forge, nor is a woman of the Builders likely to be found
supervising the construction of fortifications. Caste membership,
for Goreans, is generally a simple matter of birth; it is not connected
necessarily with the performance of certain skills, nor the attainment
of a given level of proficiency in such skills.
--Fighting Slave of Gor, 16:209
The high borne daughters
of upper caste Goreans will spend their youth in high-walled gardens,
protected from much of the Gorean reality, draped in veils and robes
of concealment, learning to read and write as well as the arts of
walking, standing with grace, free maiden dances, the service of
warm wine and the arrangement of veils. Commonly, the Gorean free
woman is taught of things which prepare her for her role in society.
This upbringing then, will largely depend on her family's caste
She will know to kneel as
free women do and never to sit cross legged like a man. She will
learn to eat and drink in small delicate bites and sips, sometimes
while holding up a veil but only as high as it is necessary for
her lips to find the food or drink. She will learn to take pride
in being frigid and almost void of sexual awareness; whether this
is actual fact or not, she will be careful to let it be how it appears.
The free woman's role does not require her to be sexual or even
is one of the titles and permissions implicated in the lofty status
of a free woman. For many, it is in effect their proudest possession.
It distinguishes them from the lowly slave girl. It proves to themselves
and others that they are free. ...
---Beasts of Gor, 15:243
The Gorean free woman will
be taught to behave in ways that will be dramatically different
from what is expected behavior in collared females. This perhaps
is one of the most puzzling paradoxes of the Gorean world. Indeed
it is difficult to combine the claim that the Gorean refuses to
have his nature stifled, that the Gorean world is one in which biotruths
are celebrated and in perfect harmony with nature, and the repeated
lengthy descriptions of what constitutes true feminine nature with
this rather strict code of behavior to which free women are held.
The following passage was
spoken about women of Earth in one of the many comparisons between
them and the joyful 'free to be a woman' Gorean slave girl, and
although it is difficult not to find the meaning in this statement
of the Earth woman's imprisoned nature, one could easily wonder
if the Gorean free woman, draped in heavy concealing clothes, veiled
and forbidden to behave as women are said to behave when their nature
is set free, does not also at least partially fit this somewhat
thought then, too, sadly, of the women of Earth, so many of them
so confused, so miserable, so unhappy, women not knowing what they
were, or what they might be, women trapped in a maze of ultimately
barren artifices, women subjected to inconsistent directives and
standards, women subjected to social coercions, women subjected
to antibiological constraints, women forced to deny themselves and
their depth natures in the name of freedom, women trying to be men,
not knowing how to be women, women torturing themselves and others
with their confusions, their inhibitions, their pain, their frustrations.
But I did not blame them for they were the victims of pathological
conditioning programs. Any beautiful, natural creature can be clipped
and cut, and formed into monstrous shapes, torn from nature, and
then instructed to rejoice in its mutilations and mishapenness.
It was little wonder that so many of the women of Earth were so
inhibited, so frigid, so inert, so anesthetic. ...
--Magicians of Gor, 3:54-55
If indeed the Gorean celebrates
the beauty of females and their nature, why is the Gorean free woman
commanded to hide any sign of such? Is it that the Gorean refuses
her the right to actually be a female? What then is the Gorean free
woman? How do we reconcile the need for Gor to embrace natural order
and the refusal to allow most women to display what is stated repeatedly
as being their true nature unless they are imbonded?
girl, a free woman, thus, can never experience her full sexuality.
...Passion, it is thought, deprives the free woman to some extent
of her freedom and important self-control; it is frowned upon because
it makes her behave, to some extent, like a degraded female slave;
free women, thus, to protect their honor and dignity, their freedom
and personhood, their individuality, must fight passion; the free
woman must remain cool and in control of herself, even in the arms
of her companion, to avoid being truly 'had,'...
---Tribesmen of Gor, 1:17
One could venture that the
Gorean free woman is a symbol of the butterfly to be, the unfinished
beauty wrapped still in its protective cocoon, not yet capable of
surviving outside its shielding. Indeed beyond the forbidding of
female behavior which is imposed upon the free woman of Gor, there
is also both a forbidding of female feelings and female appearance.
Although not a universal custom, the principles which dictate the
face veiling and the wearing of robes of concealment are pretty
much intact even in cities or areas where women do not wear these
garments. The displaying of a woman's physical attributes for purposes
other than practical is highly reprehensible and a dangerous game
for free women to play.
This particular expectation
varies from culture to culture and of course is almost absent from
slave-free cultures such as the rence as we first encounter it for
example. Within the city-state culture though, under one form or
another, there is limitation on how much of a woman can be seen
before it is considered improper.
In fact, a number of customs,
traditions and even laws exist that will prevent the woman from
being seen as a woman or thought to be feminine enough to be treated
as Goreans believe the true feminine nature needs to be treated.
cities an unveiled free woman is susceptible to being taken into
custody by guardsmen, veiled, by force if necessary, and publicly
conducted back to her home. ...Repeated offenses in such a city
usually result in the enslavement of the female. ....
--Players of Gor, 6:125
Women are not habitually
permitted to leave the safety of their home without escort and when
they do make their way around the city, it will be under proper
wrapping and veiling. This of course depends on the local laws and
subject to an array of degrees in strictness but serves the clear
purpose of preventing abduction by any man who might recognize a
female under the layers of cloth and set out to acquire said woman.
Indeed it would appear that to be seen as a woman will somehow result
in her enslavement.
On Gor a
woman normally travels only with a suitable retinue of armed guards.
Women, on this barbaric world, are often regarded, unfortunately,
as little more than love prizes, the fruits of conquest and seizure.
Too often they are seen less as persons, human beings with rights,
individuals worthy of concern and regard than as potential pleasure
slaves, silken, bangled prisoners, possible adornments to the pleasure
gardens of their captors. ....
---Outlaw of Gor, 6:50
Ar's Station," he said, "as in Ar, robes of concealment,
precisely, are not legally obligatory for free women, no more than
the veil. Such things are a matter of custom. On the other hand,
as you know, there are statutes prescribing certain standards of
decorum for free women. For example, they may not appear naked in
the streets, as may slaves. Indeed, a free woman who appears in
public in violation of these standards of decorum, for example,
with her arms or legs too much bared, may be made a slave."
--Renegades of Gor, 27:367-368
The theories as to how Goreans
manage to somehow move through this paradox without much difficulty
are many and there is but one view presented here. There is of course
the way that most simply cannot see their siblings or mothers as
sexual beings. The entire dual message could well be related to
this difficulty in viewing the females which are closest to them
as actual females or allow that they would have these attitudes
and needs as well as the next woman.
Do Goreans push this rather
protective, and not particularly realistic notion of 'not my mother'
to all the women of one's home, village, city and ultimately, even
their planet? Are we not repeatedly told about how the women of
Earth are natural slaves? It might explain much of what can otherwise
be somewhat confusing.
The many statements made
about the respect owed and afforded to the Gorean free woman and
her importance in the many aspects of the Gorean world can be seen
as contradictory to the above, but it may not be that way. Indeed
it is altogether plausible that there are simply 'women' and then
'women'. John Norman himself offers quite simply that most Goreans
believe the collar will find the slave.
claim that in each woman there is a free companion, proud and beautiful,
worthy and noble, and in each, too, a slave girl. The companion
seeks for her companion; the slave girl for her master. It is further
said, that on the couch, the Gorean girl, whether slave or free,
who has had the experience, who has tried all loves, begs for a
master. She wishes to belong completely to a man, withholding nothing,
permitted to withhold nothing. And, of course, of all women, only
a slave girl can truly belong to a man, only a slave girl can be
truly his, in all ways, utterly, totally, completely, his, selflessly,
at his mercy, his ecstatic slave, helpless and joyous in the total
submission which she is given no choice but to yield.
--Hunters of Gor, 6:102-103
Realistically, if the feminine
nature's complete fulfillment lies in the totality of Gorean slavery,
would it not be rather expected that beyond the forced nature of
the initial enslavement, reaching the completeness which the Gorean
world claims to be feminine nature would not be achieved by most
and certainly not by any quick fix. This perhaps would be the reason
behind the notion of natural slave which will be examined in the
Human Property article.
I had learned, must choose between freedom and love.
---Slave Girl of Gor, 29:442
If one considers the more
subtle yet often repeated suggestion that slavery teaches a woman
to love and that these learnings cannot be undone nor denied once
discovered, one might simply conclude that for the most part, Gorean
men do not feel their women all need to be enslaved to learn this
nature nor need to remain enslaved in order to continue to embrace
their nature once this has been reached. What is not so clear is
how this would selectively apply only to their own women.
understood, as I did not, that women such as silver masks must be
taught love, and can learn it only from a master. It was not her
intention to condemn her sisters of Tharna into interminable and
miserable bondage but to force them to take this strange first step
on the road she herself had traveled, one of the unusual roads that
may lead to love. When I had questioned her, Lara had said to me
that only when true love is learned is the Free Companionship possible,
and that some women can learn love only in chains. I wondered at
---Outlaw of Gor, 26:250-251
The Gorean World does need
mothers, wives and partners in running households and caring for
family affairs and although we do have a glimpse of free woman-free
societies in the later books, there is for the most part a majority
of Gorean females who are free and enjoy the station, power and
respect this freedom allows them. The reader will, of course, make
of free woman character and any symbolism related to it, what he
not expatiate on what manner of place this is," said Ginger,
"for you, yourself, shall soon learn, and well. And this is
not how they treat all women. Women on this world, most of them,
enjoy a status and freedom of which you, from Earth, cannot even
conceive. Their raiment is splendid, their station is lofty, their
mien is noble, their prestige is boundless. Dread them and fear
--- Savages of Gor, 8:129
On a more practical level,
the following are elements of the free woman's making which can
be found scattered throughout the books and of course, as per this
section's purpose, concerns itself primarily though NOT exclusively
with the city-state culture.
The habitual attire
of the Gorean free woman, by law or by custom, consists of layers
of clothing (robes, veils, gloves, slippers) which are meant to
dissimulate as much of her female features as is possible and are
more specifically explained in the section of this guide which speaks
of garments and attire.
are worn in various numbers and combinations by Gorean free women,
this tending to vary by preference and caste. Many low-class Gorean
women own only a single veil which must do for all purposes....The
veil, it might be noted, is not legally imperative for a free woman;
it is rather a matter of modesty and custom. Some low-class, uncompanioned,
free girls do not wear veils. Similarly certain bold free women
neglect the veil. Neglect of the veil is not a crime in Gorean cities,
though in some it is deemed a brazen and scandalous omission....
---Slave Girl of Gor, 5:107
women, in their haughtiness and pride, do not choose to have their
features exposed to the common view. They are too fine and noble
to be looked upon by the casual rabble. Similarly the robes of concealment
worn by many Gorean women are doubtless dictated by the same sentiments.
On the other hand veiling is a not impractical modesty in a culture
in which capture, and the chain and the whip are not unknown. One
justification for the veiling and the robes of concealment, which
is not regarded as inconsiderable, is that it is supposed to provide
something of a protection against abduction and predation. Who would
wish to risk his life, it is said, to carry off a woman who might,
when roped to a tree and stripped, turn out to be as ugly as a tharlarion?...
---Rogue of Gor, 4:41-42
Though we are given the names
of two specific 'robes' it is easy to conclude that there can be
many layers between the house robe and the street robe, depending
on station, caste and whatever activity is being pursued. These
of course being more suited to city life and higher caste women
who do not usually have to partake in manual or physical labor.
of a free woman are designed to conceal a woman's slavery, ...
---Rogue of Gor, 30:276
The origin of the custom
(and sometimes legal obligation) of wearing these cumbersome garments
rests on two main principles :
1) They protect women from
abduction by those who are in the female trade business by concealing
their features and making it impossible for the raider/slaver to
assess them as potential slaves.
a Gorean saying that free women, raised gently in the high cylinders,
in their robes of concealment, unarmed, untrained in weapons, may,
by the slaver, be plucked like flowers.
---Hunters of Gor, 8:118
2) They convey the rather
'asexual' attitude which is expected of free woman.
It is unwise for a free woman
to appear eager to display herself. In certain cases, the showing
of even an ankle is considered daring. If in certain cities lighter
and more revealing garments are accepted, the attitude with which
they are worn would be the same distant affect as far as noticing
or appearing pleased to generate any interest in a male.
girls relish compliments. Indeed, there is a Gorean saying to the
effect that any woman who relishes a compliment is in her heart
a slave girl. She wants to please. Most Gorean men would not think
twice about collaring a girl who responds, smiling, to compliments.
It is regarded as right to enslave a natural slave. ...
---Beasts of Gor, 1:17
The dressing of hair
is also a privilege reserved to women who are free, this practice
is usually forbidden to slaves. In the northern area of Torvaldsland,
the reader is told that a woman's hair being dressed indicates that
she stands in free companionship. An indication of status as a way
to identify those women who are spoken for? This separation of available
and non-available women is also done in the Tahari though it seems
not consistently, where virgins sometimes wear on their ankle what
is called a virgin bell. Note that these customs are exclusive to
Hair dressing is also known
to be a method of dissimulating one of the few weapons women are
seen and known to frequently carry, the small and rather effective
not wise to try to tear away the garments of a free woman with one's
bare hands. They may contain poisoned needles.
---Beasts of Gor, 35:402
Although there is no official
list of weapons women are entitled to use or carry, it is often
stated that the Gorean woman is a creature of grace and beauty whose
protection is the duty of the men around her. She does not receive
instruction on the use of weapons or the ways of defense as these
are simply not expected of her. Gorean weapons are not, then, designed
to accommodate the weaker, smaller female sex and it is often mentioned
that women would not be able to so much as lift a sword most men
carry about and use daily.
Other than the hidden pins,
there is mention of women carrying a dagger, particularly in the
north where this seems to be part of the free woman's traditional
dress. There are also mentions of women hunting for sport with what
would likely be a small bow, the larger ones being impossible for
them to string.
of a full-grown woman is equivalent to that of a twelve-year-old
boy. Goreans read in this an indication as to who is master. ...
---Tribesmen of Gor, 14:223
The social status
of a free woman will usually be determined by birth, and later on
by companionship, although the reader will find women without companions
in positions of power. Although it is said to be an unnatural thing
for the Gorean man to follow a woman, on various occasions, a woman
will be found in the ruler's throne, with or without a companion;
the former being the more common although more decorative than decisional
in purpose. Aside from these positions of power by marriage, we
do encounter a number of women who successfully and without a companion,
run households, businesses and even cities.
release the following instinct in men. Men, accordingly, do not
on the whole, care to follow them. In doing so they generally feel
uncomfortable. It makes them uneasy. They sense the absurdity, the
unnaturalness, of the relationship. It is thus that normal men commonly
follow women only unwillingly, and only with reservations, usually
also only within an artificial context or within the confines of
a misguided, choiceless or naive institution, where their discipline
may be relied upon. Their compliance with orders in such a situation
cannot help but be more critical, more skeptical. Their activities
tend then to be performed with less confidence, and more hesitantly.
This often produces serious consequences to the efficiency of their
actions. It is interesting to note that even women seldom care to
follow women, particularly in critical situations. The male, biologically,
for better or for worse, appears to be the natural leader. In the
perversion of nature, of course, anything may occur. ...
---Players of Gor, 15:288
It is often tempting to remember
only the fate of these women in the circumstances of their fall
in order to draw the conclusion that the Gorean world is not suited
for women in positions of power, but it would be unfair to ignore
the fact that prior to the reader's encounter with these women,
the history told speaks of many years of their rule. Even in post-revolt
Tharna where the overturning of gynocracy was done rather violently
and by the enslavement of essentially all women, the former Tatrix,
Lara, remained as city administrator until she abdicated of her
own free will. During these years we are given glimpses into Tharna
and it is mentioned that Lara was indeed a wise ruler. What appears
to be a common error and cause the fall from grace of a number of
women who enjoy fairly free range is that they eventually cross
the line of what is considered to be an attempt as manipulating
men, a clear crime against nature to the Gorean man.
Free women of high caste,
free women born to powerful families or who marry into them, benefit
from rather extensive tolerance as far as behavior. It is interesting
to note just how insolent a free woman can be without so much as
a frown from those around her. For as much as we are told of the
precarious nature of a woman's freedom, it is rather clear in many
cases that well protected women become rather daring and imperious
in their interactions with those they consider to be below them,
including men. Indeed in many cases it would seem the men are amused
by this attitude. That is, theoretically, until some invisible line
is crossed which is not always obvious until it is too late for
the woman in question.
kitchen there had emerged, in the robes of concealment, the figure
of a woman.
save I, rose as one to their feet, for Gorean men commonly stand
when a free woman enters a room.
---Guardsman of Gor, 20:255
a free woman may often make a man angry with impunity, she being
lofty and free, this latitude is seldom extended to the slave. ...
---Blood Brothers of Gor, 23:221
not difficult, of course, to take insolence from a woman.
---Mercenaries of Gor, 1:7
As a rule though, it is a
rare occurrence for a free woman to be enslaved by her own kin unless
she specifically breaks the law and ends up sentenced to enslavement.
Gorean men seem to always have much less difficulty viewing women
from anywhere else but their home as needing a collar or deserving
of one and it is a rare occurrence. Typically, free women are treated
with respect, courtesy and honor, particularly if they share a Home
Stone with the men present. They pretty much will speak as they
will and their voice will be heard at least as far as it is pertinent
to the matters at hand.
free woman is inordinately precious. She is a thousand times, and
more, above a mere slave."
--- Players of Gor, 3:92
there is no higher person, nor one more respected, than the Gorean
--- Hunters of Gor, 22:311
The bearing and raising
of children are a functions of the free companion and perhaps
where the free woman finds her primary role. It is said that women,
particularly those of high caste, actually have little to do other
than gossip and lounge about. Household chores being taken care
of by house slaves and servants, the pleasures of men being the
lot of the pleasure slave, It would be in the perpetuation of the
race and caste that the free woman finds a more exclusive role within
the Gorean structure; a role which is considered important enough
to be the source of a number of caste rules such as the rule found
in the caste of physicians which forbids women to practice the trade
of the caste unless they have borne a set number of children.
Indeed, though we encounter
a number of men who chose to have a love slave rather than a free
companion, since only children born to a free woman are legally
free, these men who prefer to have collared women as mates will
seldom have heirs unless they chose to free their slaves even if
only temporarily. Being in love seldom makes a man forget the rather
inflexible lines between slavery and freedom and the place of each
kind of woman within these lines.
In later books we find that
this particular rule which prevents slaves from giving birth to
free persons is subject to amendment, at least in one city. In Tharna,
former city of silver mask gynocracy, we are told that the free
woman has essentially been eliminated from the social map, and that
even the youth of Tharna are educated to prepare them to enslave
their female school mates. In order that women remain in collar
and chains, Tharna has changed the Gorean standard law so that the
woman need only be freed for the time it takes to conceive the child.
She may then be re-enslaved, carry the child to term and deliver
what would legally still be considered a legally free offspring.
Whether the fate of Tharna is an exception or an omen of things
to come is, of course, up to the reader's interpretation and remains
to be seen.
speaking the free woman enjoys a high level of tolerance when it
comes to her behavior and words, there are very strict guidelines
with regards to a number of behaviors identified as slave behaviors.
These behaviors of course do not include the breaking of the law,
which is a separate issue and often, for women, results in slavery.
Other than criminal deeds,
then, the free woman must abstain from displaying and/or performing
a number of gestures which can be, once proven before a legal body,
enough to mark her as slave. The act of seeking a compliment, as
previously mentioned, is sometimes considered enough to enslave
a woman. The disregarding of guidelines pertaining to veiling or
concealing features, i.e., the 'flaunting' of one's attributes would
be, in some cases, considered as an admission of slave nature. In
other cultures, the Wagon Peoples believe that only a slave will
enjoy the feel of silk on her skin. The act of begging is also said
to 'brand a woman' as slave; this particularly applies to captives.
On Gor it
is said that only a true slave begs to be freed. That act, incontrovertibly,
on Gor, more deeply than a brand and a collar, marks the individual
as a true slave.
---Tribesmen of Gor, 26:350
The enslavement of a free
woman happens as a result of a number of events which each have
their particular conditions and are subject to a number of criteria,
habitually legal unless the enslavement is done in the form of kidnapping
a woman from her home and city. Enslaving a woman within the territory
of her home, for example, usually requires that she be found guilty
of a crime. The variations from city to city will mostly have to
do with what is and isn't a crime in that given area.
--- Enslavement as a result
of a perceived 'slave behavior', as discussed above. Note that although
these are not looked at in as severe a light as crimes against society,
the list of 'crimes against freedom' which will result in a woman
losing her freedom have to be identified as crimes in the city or
area where the woman lives. One does not snap a collar on a free
woman's neck without some form of legal intervention in order that
the enslavement be official. This is of course in the case of free
women in their own cities.
he had alluded to pertains to conduct in a free woman which is taken
as sufficient to warrant her reduction to slavery. The most common
application of this principle occurs in areas such as fraud or theft.
Other applications may occur, for example, in cases of indigency
and vagrancy. Prostitution, rare on Gor because of female slaves,
is another case. The women are taken, enslaved, cleaned up and controlled.
Indulgence in sensual dance is another case. Sensuous dance is almost
always performed by slaves on Gor. A free woman who performs such
dancing publicly is almost begging for the collar. In some cities
the sentence of bondage is mandatory for such a woman.
---Renegades of Gor, 21:372
--- Enslavement as a result
of being found guilty of a crime is seen on a number of occasions,
the most memorable one probably being the enslavement of women who
fell prey to the lure of Milo and hence broke the couching law of
Ar. We do, in earlier adventures, see similar fates for crimes such
as theft, as well as finding that owing money can also cost one's
freedom. Note that a number of legal punishments involving what
may seem like slave-like services such as penal brothels for example,
are treated by Goreans in totally different light because of their
have been tried and convicted of the crime of theft," said
the judge, "for the second time."
The girl's eyes were terrified.
"It is now my duty, Lady Tina," said the judge, "to
pass sentence upon you."
She looked up at him.
"Do you understand?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, "my judge."
"Are you prepared now, Lady Tina of Lydius," asked the
judge, to hear your sentence?"
"Yes," she said, regarding him, "my judge."
"I herewith sentence you, Lady Tina of Lydius," said the
judge, "to slavery."
---Hunters of Gor, 3:50
Lady Sasi, of Port Kar," said the praetor, "in virtue
of what we have here today established, and in virtue of the general
warrant outstanding upon her, must come under sentence."
"Please, my officer," she begged.
"I am now going to sentence you," he said.
"Please," she cried. "Sentence me only to a penal
"The penal brothel is too good for you," said the praetor.
"Show me mercy," she begged.
"You will be shown no mercy," he said.
She looked up at him, with horror.
"You are sentenced to slavery," he said.
"No, no!" she screamed.
One of the guards cuffed her across the mouth, snapping her head
There were tears in her eyes and blood at her lip.
"Were you given permission to speak?" asked the praetor.
"No, no," she wept, stammering. "Forgive me--Master."
"Let her be taken to the nearest metal shop and branded,"
said the praetor. "Then let her be placed on sale outside the
shop for five Ehn, to be sold to the first buyer for the cost of
her branding. If she is not sold in five Ehn then take her to the
public market shelves and chain her there, taking the best offer
which equals or exceeds the cost of her branding."
---Explorers of Gor, 4:58-59
free woman who couches with another's slave, or readies herself
to couch with another's slave, becomes herself a slave, and the
slave of the slave's master. ..."
---Magicians of Gor, 1:7
--- Enslavement as a result
of capture in the context of slaver raids is also discussed a number
of times and under various circumstances, be it the somewhat initiatory
ritual of capture by young tarnsmen or when, for example, an individual
would pay to have captured a specific free woman who may have caught
his attention. Whereas the latter requires a certain cashflow and
more likely to be a rich man's whim than that of the average Gorean,
the former requires little more than old fashioned Gorean nerve
and the means to access and transport a captive. It is understood
that in this more symbolic form of capture endeavor, the young man
is expected to find his victim outside the limits of his own city.
exogamous institution of capture is woven into the very fabric of
Gorean life. It is regarded as meritorious to abduct one's women
from a foreign, preferably hostile city. Perhaps this institution,
which on the surface seems so deplorable, is profitable from the
standpoint of the race, preventing the gradual inbreeding of otherwise
largely isolated, self-sufficient cities. Few seem to object to
the institution of capture, not even the women who might seem to
be its victims. On the contrary, incredibly enough, their vanity
is terribly outraged if they are not regarded as worth the risks,
usually mutilation and impalement. One cruel courtesan in the great
city of Ar, now little more than a toothless, wrinkled hag, boasted
that more than four hundred men had died because of her beauty.
---Outlaw of Gor, 6:50-51
girl is, even if free, accustomed to slavery; she will perhaps own
one or more slaves herself; she knows that she is weaker than men
and what this can mean; she knows that cities fall and caravans
are plundered; she knows she might even, by a sufficiently bold
warrior, be captured in her own quarters and, bound and hooded,
be carried by tarnback over the walls of her own city. Moreover,
even if she is never enslaved, she is familiar with the duties of
slaves and what is expected of them; if she should be enslaved she
will know, on the whole, what is expected of her, what is permitted
her and what is not; moreover the Gorean girl is literally educated,
fortunately or not, to the notion that it is of great importance
to know how to please men; accordingly, even girls who will be free
companions, and never slaves, learn the preparation and serving
of exotic dishes, the arts of walking, and standing, and being beautiful,
the care of a man's equipment, the love dances of their city, and
so on. ...
--Nomads of Gor, 8:63
of capture is universal, to the best of my knowledge, on Gor; there
is no city which does not honor it, provided the females captured
are those of the enemy, either their free women or their slaves;
it is often a young tarnsman's first mission, the securing of a
female, preferably free, from an enemy city, to enslave, that his
sisters may be relieved of the burden of serving him; indeed, his
sisters often encourage him to be prompt in the capture of an enemy
wench that their own tasks may be made the lighter; when the young
tarnsman, if successful, returns home from his capture flight, a
girl bound naked across the saddle, his sisters welcome her with
delight, and with great enthusiasm prepare her for the Feast of
---Tribesmen of Gor, 13:159
--- Enslavement as a result
of capture in the context of conquest and war will happen in two
different ways. The first is the simple capture-collar-brand scenario
which would befall the better looking females of the conquered enemy,
and the second being simply the self preservation act of submitting
in exchange for what the free woman believes to be her life. It
is said to be customary to impale a number of high dignitaries upon
conquest of a city and so it would not be unusual for women of high
caste to offer themselves as slaves in order to stay alive.
free woman, a free person, might be trampled by tharlarion, or be
run through, or have her throat cut, by victors. Such things were
certainly possible. On the other hand, the free women of a conquered
city, or at least the fairest among them, are often reckoned by
besiegers as counting within the yield of prospective loot. Many
is the free female in such a city who has torn away her robes before
enemies, confessed her natural slavery, disavowed her previous masquerade
as a free woman, and begged for the rightfulness of the brand and
collar. This is a scene which many free woman have enacted in their
imagination. Such things figure, too, in the dreams of woman, those
doors to the secret truths of their being. ...
---Magicians of Gor, 1:19
Enslavement as a result of
voluntary submission in a context of choice or by a form of social
debt as would be considered owed to one who saves a woman's life,
for example. It is said that Goreans feel that a woman whose life
has been saved by a man must accordingly belong to him and that
in fact even her family would consider her submission, voluntary
or forced, as necessary to be the honorable thing to do.
And yet it
was not a strange thing, particularly not on Gor, where bravery
is highly esteemed and to save a female's life is in effect to win
title to it, for it is the option of a Gorean male to enslave any
woman whose life he has saved, a right which is seldom denied even
by the citizens of the girl's city or her family. Indeed, there
have been cases in which a girl's brothers have had her clad as
a slave, bound in slave bracelets, and handed over to her rescuer,
in order that the honor of the family and her city not be besmirched.
There is, of course, a natural tendency in the rescued female to
feel and demonstrate great gratitude to the man who has saved her
life, and the Gorean custom is perhaps no more than an institutionalization
of this customary response. There are cases where a free woman in
the vicinity of a man she desired has deliberately placed herself
in jeopardy. The man then, after having been forced to risk his
life, is seldom in a mood to use the girl other than as his slave.
I have wondered upon occasion about this practice, so different
on Gor than on Earth. On my old world when a woman is saved by a
man she may, I understand, with propriety bestow upon him a grateful
kiss and perhaps, if we may believe the tales in these matters,
consider him more seriously because of his action as a possible,
eventual companion in wedlock. One of these girls, if rescued on
Gor, would probably be dumbfounded at what would happen to her.
After her kiss of gratitude, which might last a good deal longer
than she had anticipated, she would find herself forced to kneel
and be collared and then, stripped, her wrists confined behind her
back in slave bracelets, she would find herself led stumbling away
on a slave leash from the field of her champion's valor. Yes, undoubtedly
our Earth girls would find this most surprising. On the other hand
the Gorean attitude is that she would be dead were it not for his
brave action and thus it is his right, now that he has won her life,
to make her live it for him precisely as he pleases, which is usually,
it must unfortunately be noted, as his slave girl, for the privileges
of a Free Companionship are never bestowed lightly. Also of course
a Free Companionship might be refused, in all Gorean right, by the
girl, and thus a warrior can hardly be blamed, after risking his
life, for not wanting to risk losing the precious prize which he
has just, at great peril to himself, succeeded in winning. The Gorean
man, as a man, cheerfully and dutifully attends to the rescuing
of his female in distress, but as a Gorean, as a true Gorean, he
feels, perhaps justifiably and being somewhat less or more romantic
than ourselves, that he should have something more for his pains
than her kiss of gratitude and so, in typical Gorean fashion, puts
his chain on the wench, claiming both her and her body as his payment.
---Priest Kings of Gor, 20:161-162
to Samos, of course. It had been within the context of his capture
rights that she had, as a free woman, of her own free will, pronounced
upon herself a formula of enslavement. Automatically then, in virtue
of the context, she became his. The law is clear on this. The matter
is more subtle when the woman is not within a context of capture
rights. Here the matter differs from city to city. In some cities,
a woman may not, with legal recognition, submit herself to a specific
man as a slave, for in those cities that is interpreted as placing
at least a temporary qualification on the condition of slavery which
condition, once entered into, all cities agree, is absolute. In
such cities, then, the woman makes herself a slave, unconditionally.
It is then up to the man in question whether or not he will accept
her as his slave. In his matter he will do as he pleases. In any
event, she is by then a slave, and only that.
cities, and in most cities, on the other hand, a free woman may,
with legal tolerance, submit herself as a slave to a specific man.
If he refuses her, she is then still free. If he accepts her, she
is, then, categorically a slave, and he may do with her as he pleases,
even selling her or giving her away, or slaying her, if he wishes.
--Players of Gor, 1:21
There are also incidents
where we find the free companion enslaved by her own companion,
as a result of what seems to have been cases of enough is enough,
for lack of a better term. This, although extreme, is pretty much
in keeping with what we are told regarding the power free men hold
over their companions, even though they are free.
Punishment is said
to be just as much a part of a free woman's life and although likely
not a frequent situation, she would be familiar with its possibilities.
Whether it be the sexual
use of debtor sluts, penal brothels or the chaining of a free woman
to her companion's couch or any of the other possible punishments
the reader finds over the course of his journey, it is clear that
the female's position on Gor remains at best a fragile one and it
would be hasty to assume that the status of 'freedom' prevents women
from rather harsh treatment at times.
Ar, several years ago, several free women, in their anger at slaves,
and perhaps jealous of the pleasures of masters and slaves, entered
a paga tavern with clubs and axes, seeking to destroy it. This is,
I believe, an example, though a rather extreme one, of a not unprecedented
sort of psychological reaction, the attempt, by disparagement or
action, motivated by envy, jealousy, resentment, or such, to keep
from others pleasures which one oneself is unable, or unwilling,
to enjoy. In any event, as a historical note, the men in the tavern,
being Gorean, and thus not being inhibited or confused by negativistic,
antibiological traditions, quickly disarmed the women. They then
stripped them, bound their hands behind their back, put them on
a neck rope, and, by means of switches, conducted them swiftly outside
the tavern. The women were then, outside the tavern, on the bridge
of twenty lanterns, forced to witness the burning of their garments.
They were then permitted to leave, though still bound and in coffle.
Gorean men do not surrender their birthright as males, their rightful
dominance, their appropriate mastery. They do not choose to be dictated
to by females.
--Magicians of Gor, 3:51
The captured free woman
is not instantly enslaved and the conditions of her captivity will
be partially determined by whether or not she remains free. It is
not always easy to understand the line Goreans seem to walk when
it comes to free women, especially in the context of captives who
are not enslaved.
is my understanding, following merchant law, and Tahari custom,"
I said, "that I am not a slave, for though I am a prisoner,
I have been neither branded nor collared, nor have I performed a
gesture of submission."
--Tribesmen of Gor, 12:196
Although the reader will
note that there does not seem to be a difficulty for the average
Gorean to draw that line, it certainly is not so clear to those
of us sifting through these practices. Suffice it to say that although
harsh treatment, chains, punishment and even sexual use are sometimes
the lot of the captive free woman, a line exists which separates
her always from the collared woman. This line will be mentioned
in the way a captive will be spoken to by slaves for example, the
way she will be beaten, the way she will be used for sex - pale
nuances at times but nonetheless clear or so it seems, to Goreans,
male or female, free or slave.
The Gorean kajira does not
allow herself the mistake of treating a captive free woman as she
would a sister in bondage, lest she be swiftly and painfully reminded
of her place. Slave girls in general fear the habitual contempt
and cruelty free women direct toward them.
Free women and slaves
If the free woman seems to often have a rather intense degree of
curiosity toward the condition and reality of her imbonded sister,
she also manifests, and quite clearly, that she disapproves of the
slave girl's lack of restraint when it comes to the display of any
form of sexual response or behavior. It does appear more often than
not that the exclamations of a free woman are tied into a fascination
with the slave girl's displays. It is a rather frequent occurrence
to find free women questioning slaves on what it feels like to be
subject to slave discipline, and of course to admit to being stirred
by the thought of finding herself in a collar. These admissions
are more often heard once the free woman finds herself collared
and leaves the reader wondering of indeed there is a single woman
who doesn't dream of collars and chains.
Until then, however, the
general attitude of free women with regard to slaves is one of contempt
and intolerance. In the presence of free women, slave girls will
often be told to efface themselves and make themselves as invisible
as they can, particularly those slaves which are specially trained
in the arts of pleasing men. In the company of free women, serving
slaves are more commonly used, and it is expected that they will
behave modestly and discreetly.
For many free women, the
mere presence of slave girls is simply intolerable and they will
not accept their presence. We find such a situation perhaps less
in the cities where high caste women for example will have been
raised with slaves around them and be used to their presence, but
among lower castes we witness a scene where the peasant woman clearly
indicates her horror at the thought that a slave would be sleeping
in the same house as she would and demands the slave be kept outside
where other livestock might be.
Similarly we are witness
to a number of scenarios where the free woman expresses outrage
at the presence of scantily clad slaves in public forums or areas
although this is less likely to be given much concern. The men present,
likely quite familiar with this show of outrage may choose out of
courtesy to command their slaves to cover up but in large cites
and public areas it is likely that they will simply ignore the outburst.
And of course, once the free woman has moved along, the men are
oft seen bantering and making light of the situation, and the slaves
are quickly returned to their exposed state.
Despite this rather obvious
and demonstrative disdain for her sisters in bondage, the Gorean
free woman will often have use of slaves in the accomplishment of
various chores, especially if she is of higher caste. Too, there
are markets which cater to the special needs of the lofty free woman
who is either without companion or whose companion accepts that
she keep a pleasure slave of her own. Indeed, if most male slaves
on Gor are prisoners sentenced to work chains and hard labor, there
exists a select number of male slaves known as silk slaves and also
kajirus trained in specialty slaver houses and used for the pleasure
of free women.
The Gorean free woman, much
like the Gorean slave girl, is a complex puzzle especially if one
tries to understand it from the outside. There will be a number
of ways to interpret the rich and multi-faceted symbolism which
surrounds this particular part of the Gorean reality and there is
likely not one single way which is better than the rest, but certainly
it all is rather interesting to study, no matter the angle.
There is a Gorean saying
that the free woman is a riddle, the answer to which is the collar.
Perhaps it is that there is actually more than one answer to the
riddle that is the Gorean free woman?