O&P website and blog,
are where most of my new writing on M/s appears. The IE website will stay
online indefinitely to host the IE Essays and lili's writings.
Opposition to Enslavement
In talking about the ideas of Internal Enslavement (IE) we've
noticed that it often provokes strong emotional reactions in public
forums, mailings lists and discussion groups. This should be no
suprise, since IE is a radical but largely unfamiliar theory in most parts
of the M/s subculture and the wider D/s scene.
We're now used to being met with anger, resentment, scorn and personal
attacks from people who feel that the mere expression of our ideas undermines
their style of relationship in some way.
During this time, we have identified several strategies that people who see
themselves as our opponents use to deal with the cognitive dissonance
that IE causes them to experience, as they confront it for the first time:
faced with a robust system of ideas about consensual slavery that are
inconsistent with opinions they may have held for years, we have seen
people question their own thoughts, relationships and even their identity,
and many defend their self images with some form of attack based on parts of
the following strategies.
First is simple denial: they might crack a joke, point out a spelling
mistake or laugh IE off as something that can't be serious. Then they continue
their business and ignore IE, perhaps denying to themselves that it's
even been mentioned.
If they are genuinely content and convinced of their opinions, this is fair
enough, however some people are not confident enough in themselves to
stay with this attitude,
and eventually come back with some of the other strategies.
Second is swamping: in the face of continued explanations of IE, they try to
drown out our ideas in their own minds with detailed descriptions of
just how "real" a slave they are or how "true" a Master
they are because of the way they live. (This often involves confusing
adherence to a particular form of external "slavelike behaviour" with
the substance of ownership.)
Third is invalidation: they claim that anyone advocating IE cannot
"really" be in such a relationship. Such relationships are not
possible, not practical, and beyond the scope of human variation. It is
unethical, un-American, ungodly, unbelievable and untrue. They claim that
consensual but literal slavery isn't possible, and for this reason slavery
must be defined in terms of "slavelike behaviour"; or in terms
of how great their voluntary submission is; or worst of all, everyone who
says they are a slave, is a slave, even if they are a rich man visiting a
Dominatrix for an hour.
Fourth is equivalency: it turns out they have been following IE all along!
That IE is no big deal. That, hey, it's no different to falling in love!
Now, it is true than many people in the M/s subculture have been
using the ideas of IE for years (we make no claim that IE is an original
discovery: all we're doing is describing it and trying to put it on
firm theoretical foundations.) However, when this claim is made by people
who have vocally used the first three strategies against IE in the past, we
find it hard to take their statement at face value.
Published 31 August 2000.
Last updated 20 November 2001.