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Free Women of Gor
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Information gathered from these sites..http://www.geocities.com/kahetopke/FW/free_women.html

Free Woman Behavior
Yes, many who chat here feel the 'Gorean' philosophy a natural lifestyle for men and women on earth, but when push comes to shove, Gor is a series of novels about a fantasy world. A fantasy world created soley by the author John Norman. Thus, a free woman can only truely be what John Norman says a free woman is.

Truth is, he doesn't really write a lot about free women, his novels concentrate on a Master slave relationship and the natural fulfillment a woman finds in slavery to men...a'bio truth'. His primary description of free women in Gor is that of a sexually repressed person who will only find true womanhood in a man's collar. However, only a small percentage of Gorean women are inslaved, and the greater numbers of the free general population is rarely written of. Basically, I infer the expected behavior of a proper free woman from John Normans description of those who so transgress such, that they are collared for it.

I view a free woman, as purely a woman, no more, no less. Her pride in her freedom and family honor and her modesty, and self-control, is an intrinsic and defining characteristic of her personality. In interaction with Gorean society, especially men, she certainly may not and possibly cannot openly express all her emotions, but still has a full range and depth of feminine characteristics and emotion.

I do provide quotes on the role of free women (many other excellent reference sites do as well) but, to understand the true nature and scope, of the role of a free woman on Gor, you have to read John Norman's Gorean novels. Only the books, read in their entirety, really reading the entire series, can fully outline the author's concept of what a free woman is, mostly by the authors descriptions of what free women are enslaved for.

On Gor, as Mother, Sister, Mate, daughter and/or friend, free women are extremely valued and highly respected by true Gorean men. She is the source of the future of Gor. She has a special place in Gor, only a free woman may bear and raise a free child. Her postion is far above slaves, it is even far above a wife of Earth. However Gorean freewomen are not of earth. Much like a victorian, Gorean society required a woman to severely supress her sexuality to remain free. The Gorean mindset equates sexuality with animals...ie slaves. If you were a sexual woman you were a slave or soon would be.

Yes, she is a woman and wishes a relationship with a man, but the gorean free woman will show no overwhelming need to sexualy please, much less submit, to man. In most of the Gorean society's free woman (or thier family) will chose and contract to join with one man for a year or longer. Sometimes this relationship is based on love, many times though, her relationship will promote the position and wealth of herself, her family, or city. These contracts may or may not be renewed on thier aniversary.

A freewoman is not independent of men or Gorean society. She complies with the restriction of her local society and its moralities. Being and remaining free, aGorean woman controls her physical and emotional expressions and chooses who to display them to and when if she wishes to be free. The men of her family and society around her keep her free, if and Only if, she maintains self-control. Hints at letting her emotions rule her or displaying open sexuality are a sure road to a collar.

Slavery is legal and viewed as a condition of the natural order in Gor. Why does the Gorean man and society require or permit women freedom at all?

The primal difficulty, for one who is not Gorean, to understand and truly comprehend, is the concept Gorean society holds, that only a free woman can produce and raise free children. A free man's mother was free, as were his sisters, his friend's sisters and his own female playmates. If he was to have children, it was expected and common through most of Gor, even law, their mother must be free.

Goreans valued honesty and being true to their natures. If you were a woman you were either free or a slave in nature. Goreans felt if you were in a collar for whatever reason you deserved it by natural order. If she had slave feelings a women animal would naturally seek and find a collar. If a free female submitted to slavery through submission or during capture she was declared slave and disowned, she lost any caste or family standing she had. As a slave and animal by common law you could not even instruct a free person. How can one who has submitted and admits to being a helpless, needy slave prove an example to, or teach a man's free child?

Men could and often did love slaves, but a natural Gorean Masters would show no weakness in their control of that slave especially because of that love. A love slave was held in even stricter slavery and control than common pleasure slaves. Slaves on the whole, knew and gladly submitting to their own nature, did not wish to be freed. Freeing a slave was considered the act of a fool. On the whole, Goreans simply did not breed slave animals for anything but the production of more slave animals. Thereafter those slave infants and slave children were not raised by breeding or pleasure slaves.

If for some reason the offspring of a slave was to be claimed then the slave would be freed merely long enough to give birth to a child that could then be called free, before the slave mother was reinslaved...The child would not be raised by the slave openly. Outside the city of Tharna even this procedure was rare. Freeing and making slaves free companions was even more rare.

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Free women own property, manage households, keep the books of their Companion's estates, and oversee the economics of their holdings - both alone and joint - with the same obligations to society as free men do. Free women own and manage shops, inns and gathering places of various sorts. They interact professionally with men in their business deals and enjoy friendships based on common interests. It is presumable that free men were not born slaves, and that a free man would not wish to see either his mother or his sister in fetters unasked for, so though the freewomen are protected, this does not imply that they are powerless. Indeed it is likely they control more of civilized society than is at first noticeable simply because the men are more concerned with other matters. Gorean free women are vital contributors to Gorean society.

A freewoman behaves like a lady in formal situations, and yet is capable of being as humorous and quick-witted as her male counterparts. Many free women are known for their sharp-tongued replies, but are just as likely to sooth tempers with matronly wisdom. As with all Goreans, a free woman’s honor is on the line each time she speaks. It is, however, much more likely that she will be called on the carpet to answer for her behavior than a free man might. A free woman is not a “slave in waiting,” but neither is she a “castrated male.”  A free woman is a vital asset to her community and a cherished mate to her Companion.

By definition, a Gorean free woman is submissive. All women of Gor are submissive. A woman, who is not submissive, is not (by definition) Gorean. A free woman exercises self-will. She operates on her own account and is fully accountable and responsible for herself. She does, by association lend her attributes to both her Companion and to a lesser degree her community. Both her Companion, and to a lesser degree her community can hold her accountable for her actions. In contrast, a kajira – who is also submissive – does not exercise self-will. A kajira operates on her Master’s will. He is accountable and responsible for her. She is accountable solely to him. This layer of protection around a kajira is necessary for her to be able to surrender herself fully to her Master. A woman who has to stand alone, is not able to surrender fully.

This is not to say that a free woman is incapable of surrender, for there are times when Companions reduce the world to just each other, and he surrounds his mate with a shield of protection completely impenetrable. In these private moments a free woman can surrender herself to her mate. Whereas a kajira is expected to be open and expressive of her surrender even in public, a free woman is expected to hold back this open expression of self from public display. This is most often where online FW get tripped up. If one behaves as a slut, one will be called a slut, and one will be treated as a slut. A FW who displays the attributes of a kajira will become a kajira in the eyes of the free. And so she will be treated. What a lady does in her own parlor, in the company of her servants is, of course, her own business.

This is the core of the contempt free women hold against those females who switch back and forth between slave-status and free-status. It is understandable that a woman finds her need to express her open sexuality in public, and so surrenders, but it is much more difficult for other women to accept that a girl has gathered up her dignity and donned the robes of discretion. As often happens, this untruth becomes readily apparent as the switch makes the change back to slave-status at the first opportunity.

While we are on the topic of switching, let me say here that girls who wear Velcro collars are shunned by Gorean society. If you submit your will to a man, make sure you plan on doing your best. There is no loss of community trust in a relationship ending, but there is a loss of community trust in a girl who changes collars on a whim, or wears more than one collar, or lies to people about her collars. Treat a collar, girls, like man does his homestone. Because it does, in fact, define where you are from.

The online Caste of Scribes is overflowing with free women. They may be assistants, chroniclers, web designers, researchers, and editors for the scribe Masters, or they may ply their trade for their own purposes. Some have worked their way through the ranks and are considered, within the caste, peers in composition with the men. Of all the castes, Scribes seems to be the most liberal. Free women often give speeches and lectures on specific topics, and may be supervised by the Scribe Masters. They are valued for their intelligence and wit, and are often sought out as companions by other caste members.

Freewomen of the Scribes caste are generally welcome in most establishments, whereas their male counterparts may be given a more watchful eye. These women quietly infiltrate the ranks of common denizens with a listening ear. A secret whispered too near a Scribe woman might well be found in a Master speech repertoire, in another city. News travels fast on Gor by the Scribe women's grapevine.

Physicians

Just as on Earth, the Physician's caste is subdivided into specialties. (Some guilds may not be this organized - this information is based on the guild founded in Port Kar, dalnet, 1996) All take the same oaths, swear by the same Caste laws and honor the same Caste decisions. The Healers have many demands on them and thus require some individuals to specialize.

  • Research and experimentation - mage
  • Treatment of wounds - healer
  • Care of livestock - veterinarian
  • Mental and emotional well being - kestra`chern.

Research and experimentation, due to the nature of the work, borders on the religious aspects of Gor, and is often overseen by an initiate. The priest-kings watch the healer mage closely, so that he might not discover by accident some weapon that would endanger the ruling ability of the Priest-kings. Due to the nature of the Priest-king species insecticides and chemical manipulation is discouraged. Still some steadfast Men, and Women, choose this field to work in.

An online mage might be a person experienced in branding, piercings, or tatoos offline, and be able to give reliable advice or resource recommendations to a querrant.

The largest numbers of Caste-members are concerned with the treatment of wounds. Gor being a primitive world, and the weapons being, for the most part, slow to kill, it is the demand for wound treatment that healers are called on to tend most often. Indeed, no intelligent commander would set out to do battle without a healer among his ranks. In fact, often a full wagon or two will trail behind a marching army.

An online healer might be an advice nurse, EMT, firefighter, physician's assistant or school nurse, offline. These folks generally refrain from advising more than "common sense" advice online, and may *not* be held liable for any recommendations. Always check with your doctor first.

Tarns, tharlarions, slaves, and other pets and livestock do occasionally take ill. It is the Physician's Caste that comes to the aid and comfort of these poor unfortunates. A Master that values his slave may seek out a healer for the treatment of his injured, or he may simply take her to the veterinarians. The term has an Earth origin, and it is believed that a healing slave that was found in the house of Cernus of Ar some 20 odd years ago coined it. The girl was found to have gifts of caring for her chain sisters in their minor injuries, and she was called on to care for an injured tharlarion in the streets when a Physician could not be found. Since that incident, the Physician's caste has allowed slaves to assist the Masters and Mistresses of their ranks, much as the Scribes Caste has.

Online veterinarians are often vets offline. Or they may have some other connection to the animal world, such as groomers, caretakers, breeders, competitors or simple owners.

And then there is the kestra`chern. This specialization deals with the healing of troubled minds. The term kestra means casual, and chern means intimate. Because this healer is for hire, the relationship he or she has with the client is casual. But due to the nature of the work done, they can become quite intimate in the things that the healer learns from the client. It is for this reason, that kestra`chern are valued for their absolute confidence. The kestra`chern's code is: "Give the client what he needs, not necessarily what he thinks he wants." Many an Ubar has secreted in his tents of war a kestra`chern to offer him other perspectives. Many a Warrior, weary from the battle, has lain in the kestra`chern's chambers and found his soul again. Many an assassin has cooled his emotions at the side of a kestra`chern. And still, this is a quiet specialty rarely taken up. The integrity of the individual is under such scrutiny that even one mistake can cost the kestra`chern her life.

Kestra`chern is probably the most "online intensive" position among the physicians. She is confidant, friend, and advisor. She is expected to understand the emotional and political interweavings of a homestone and yet keep this information to herself - giving advice from a perspective of the larger understanding without revealing her sources. People come online for various reasons. Not a few people come to escape from offline stressors. Sometimes these offline events spill over into the online environment and it is the kestra`chern who often picks up the pieces and helps others keep perspective. Many people take on some degree of "kestra`chern-type" behavior in the course of their interaction online.

It should be noted that the Castemembers of IRC community on Dalnet developed the divisions of the Physician’s Caste. "Local" customs, adaptations of the definitions assigned here and self-identification is up to the individual's interpretation of Gor. As for why it seemed necessary to divide the caste up, it was found by the Gorean Council members that the physician's caste members had different, yet grouped, self-identification. For clarity’s sake, these groups were identified. This is an example of one way in which the ideals of the fantasy books of Gor, written by John Norman, have been allowed to grow in the online community. Purists of the "book Gor" are welcome to ignore these definitions.

Warriors

The freewomen born into the Caste of Warriors on Gor are quite similar in most respects to those of other castes, except perhaps they are fiercer and handier with their weapons. This is an understandable by-product caused by residing in a house that is constantly full of warriors in training. It should be remembered that in order for a Warrior to actually don the scarlet of his caste, the high council of his city must first affirm him.

Few, if any, women are ever accorded that honor, though that circumstance is possibly caused more by tradition that by lack of potential or ability. Female combatants are not unknown upon Gor, especially among the more open-minded denizens of the southern hemisphere, but they are still rare enough to be considered a social aberration when they do come into being. In general, Gorean females can do pretty much anything male Goreans can, though most Gorean women don't bother.

The sheer difficulty of maintaining her freedom amidst a clashing army of warriors is more than enough incentive for most Gorean women to abandon any such personal thoughts of bloodlust and single combat and retreat within the walls of her home city, where her precarious social status is more easily safeguarded.

The freewomen of the Wagon Peoples and Red Savages are occasionally known to take up arms and fight beside their male brethren; there have been recorded instances of Turian women who have fought in combat upon kailla back, and of course if severely pressed every Free woman is expected to pitch in to defend her Home Stone. Nevertheless, the concept of an actual female Warrior wearing the scarlet in one of the major city-states of Gor is almost completely unknown.