17 November 2013

Some Mistresses are more equal than others

For a couple of years, I was a member of the Sisterhood of the Latex Dolls. The Sisterhood is a society devoted to the love of latex and BDSM in Second Life. As the name implies, it is a Sisterhood: male avatars may apply, but must be transformed to female before they begin the path to becoming a Sister.

To become a Sister, an applicant must pass an interview that's designed to see if she's interested in what the Sisterhood is. She then must spend at least one month as a Potential Latex Doll. During that month, she spends some amount of time bound to racks in public view at the Sisterhood's home, at Latexia in the Fetish VooDoo region, naked except for collar and cuffs. She gets a series of lessons about the Sisterhood's history and principles, and at the end of that course, she is given an examination by specially selected Sisters and, if she passes, granted the right to become a Sister herself.

Being a BDSM-based organization, there are Mistresses (in two flavors, Mistress and Switch) and Slaves, as well as Trainee Dommes (in training to become a Mistress or Switch). The uniforms are different among the ranks. in theory, Mistresses and Switches can give orders to Slaves and Potentials, though there are limits: the Sisterhood as a whole operates on the SSC (safe, sane, and consensual) principle, and limits and safewords are strictly observed.

Every Sister is identified by an ID designator. I was known as M12, holding the rank of Mistress, as well as being a Priestess of the Latex (qualified to preside at ceremonies and give final exams to Potentials), Senior Teacher, and (possibly ex-) co-Head of BDSM. I put in a lot of time and effort in the Sisterhood, and it, for quite a while, was a second home for me in SL, as well as for several of the subs in my family. My SL wife, Chibi Souther, was M924; Bridget Pobieski was 218; AliceTheKitty was 531; Molly (Molly808) was 509. Other Sisters passed through our family as well.

The Sisterhood has eight core principles, known as the Eight Obediences. In theory, every Sister, from the newest Slave to the two HeadMistresses, is equally bound by them. In fact, one of the Obediences is Obedience to Equality. The Sisterhood teaches that Obedience to Equality means that, while there is a hierarchy, every Sister is equally valuable and equally bound by her duty to the Sisterhood and to the other Sisters, and to society as a whole. No Sister is better or more important than any other.

Unfortunately, this is only true if you're not a HeadMistress. If you are, Obedience to Equality does not apply to you.

Alice was a controversial Sister. She did a lot to alienate people during her time as a Potential. After becoming a Sister, though, she settled down and worked hard, doing a lot to revive the weekly dance parties at Latexia and being there for people who had questions. There were a few who refused to accept her, but for the most part, she was doing well.

Then one day, she organized a play party. At that party, Riona inion an Bandia (Becky Baroque), M37, and Alice got into a disagreement about Riona not following SSC. Edit: Alice has since corrected me. The disagreement was about Riona monopolizing the available time and play resources. (Considering the serious nature of a violation of SSC, I needed to correct the record here.) Now, Riona is a proud, haughty Mistress who does not take any sort of backtalk from Slaves, no matter what the cause, good or not. (Remember Obedience to Equality? This is not the last time you will see it mentioned in this tale.) She objected strenuously. The dispute simmered for a few days, and wound up in a meeting in the office of one of the HeadMistresses, Lara Boyle (LatexGirlLara Boyle), M85. At that meeting, Lara and Riona hounded Alice mercilessly, to the point that other Sisters present were objecting. I certainly did, and got a warning from Lara for my pains.

Alice, not to put too fine a point on it, snapped. She made a very ill-advised comment about car bombings. For reasons that are not mine to disclose here, that struck a very personal nerve in Lara. Her response was to summarily eject Alice from the Sisterhood. The other HeadMistress, Kiriko Kiama, M829, intervened, and M85 reduced it to a suspension. At that point, Alice's temper got the better of her, and she made another ill-advised comment - and this time, Lara ejected her and Kiri backed her up.

The problem is that Alice's second comment was that she was being punished for doing the same thing Lara had also done, in public. And she was completely correct. Lara had publicly commented that the Boston Marathon bombing was deserved because of Boston's prior support for the IRA.

Now, to me, Obedience to Equality means that the HeadMistresses are subject to the same rules as every other Sister. This was a blatant violation of that principle. Further, the HeadMistresses must not only be unbiased, but must be seen to be unbiased. Lara is anything but.

Lara and I had had other problems in the not too distant past. I had done a lot of work making Sisterhood uniforms for use on OpenSim grids, especially LFGrid, where Dolma Dollinger, M30, had set up a Fetish VooDoo sim as a test and possible refuge in case Second Life became unusable for some reason. We set up an organized visit, known as a dollwalk, there one Sunday afternoon. Kiri attended it; Lara objected to it, for reasons I'm still not sure I understand. In the process, Lara accused me officially and publicly of acting in bad faith. She'd later apologized to me in private, but refused to do so in public.

Even so, I was prepared to continue until she showed that she does not consider herself bound by the Obediences. That was the final straw. I left the Sisterhood, publicly and finally.

After I did, I got notecards from a few Sisters and former Sisters. A couple of former Sisters who had gone on to do other things in the SL BDSM world told me privately that they agreed with my reasoning and similar experiences had run them off as well. Several Sisters said that my departure saddened them, and they hoped to remain friends. I still consider many Sisters friends, even though I don't see much of them any more.

I have a lot of respect for Lara when it comes to BDSM. In RL, she's a former professional domme, and her methods and understanding of BDSM are quite good and largely track my own. That's what attracted me to the Sisterhood in the first place. But when it comes to the Sisterhood, I just can't accept what she's done and how she's done it.

Dolma spoke to me the other day about what it would take to get me to come back. Put simply, I won't return until the HeadMistresses operate with all of the Obediences - including Obedience to Equality - firmly at the forefront of all they do. That includes Lara formally recognizing that she punished Alice for doing something she did herself and that doing so was wrong. I realize there might be other issues about reinstating Alice as a Sister, but that's what fairness demands - unless Lara is prepared to accept the same punishment herself, instead.

Sisters are taught that the Obediences are at the center of the Sisterhood. That, to put it simply, is a lie, and a repellent one. I can't condone such with my work and my presence.

Edit, 21 November: This was Kiri's response to seeing this post:
[2013/11/18 21:57] Kiriko Kiama: (Saved Mon Nov 18 10:15:45 2013)You have been ejected from 'The Latex Dolls' by Kiriko Kiama.
[2013/11/18 21:57] Kiriko Kiama: (Saved Mon Nov 18 10:16:14 2013)You have been ejected from 'Latex Sisterhood' by Kiriko Kiama.
[2013/11/18 21:57] Kiriko Kiama: (Saved Mon Nov 18 10:16:34 2013)You have been ejected from 'Latex Doll in Training' by Kiriko Kiama.
[2013/11/18 21:57] Kiriko Kiama: (Saved Mon Nov 18 10:17:18 2013)You have been ejected from 'Latex Sisterhood Teachers' by Kiriko Kiama.
[2013/11/18 21:57] Kiriko Kiama: (Saved Mon Nov 18 10:18:21 2013)You have been ejected from 'Latexia Mall Merchants' by Kiriko Kiama.
She missed a couple, but I left them myself when I saw this.