Second Life: A Playground for Power Play

February 3, 2008 at 1:21 pm (Friendship, Love, Relationships, Second Life, Sex) (, , , , , )

 

submissive.jpg

“You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

This is one of those bizarre sayings that somehow made it into our English vernacular. And like other phrases with questionable heritage, this one sounds weird yet makes sense. But we often seem to lose the meaning behind this particular adage. Ever come across those people with acidic personalities; men, women, and avatars who are quick to judge and even quicker to throw their barbs of negativity in your direction? Logic would tell us–as would our original snippet of wisdom–that these folks who rub others the wrong way would be friendless and forgotten. Not so.

Sadly, we are often drawn to the people who remain aloof and self absorbed. This is probably due our natural human desire to win others over; the more difficult the catch, the more captivating the chase. And I don’t think this tendency is any less apparent in Second Life (SL). I’ve watched from the periphery how glorified, self appointed sim divas attract adoration from an unsuspecting gaggle of devotees. Sure, eventually many of those starry-eyed supporters see through the charade and come to realize the cost of their ardor. But by then the damage is done. And the diva remains unfettered by the loss of the attention and, worse, empowered by her history of conquests.

As I pondered this premise, I began to notice a similarity between this scenario and the power paradigm of the BDSM and Gorean role play prevalent in SL. Thanks to an amazing and patient friend who chaperoned me as his guest, I recently enjoyed an opportunity to visit a Gorean sim to see what this scene was all about. And I was struck by how dutifully the female slaves “played” their roles and how devoted they were to their masters and others who were not of their echelon. Not only that, as a “free woman” I enjoyed an intense power dichotomy: satisfied with my superior status yet simultaneously fearful of upsetting the status quo.

Upon my arrival to the tribe’s home, my awareness was immediately heightened so much so that I physically felt a sense of timidity and trepidation (two terms NOT typically in my vocabulary). Even though I was not a slave, as a woman in a realm where men owned all the power I felt I must tread with tremendous caution and a sincere and meticulous attention to the details of my interactions. This might sound crazy to many of you–especially those who know what a high-spirited double fire sign I am. Yet the experience was exhilarating: I at once felt more alive (yes I see the ironic twist, given this is my avatar’s experience) and developed a deeper purpose to my public prose. This is actually a HUGE lesson for me and one that I’ve needed to learn for years. And it gave me deeper insight into why many people, women in particular, choose this lifestyle both in and out of the virtual world.

Power play–whether organic or deliberate like Gor–is a primary component of our interpersonal relationships. Who has the power is often determined more by our intrinsic nature than by the circumstances that arise. This is one of the things that makes Second Life so appealing: it is a playground for power play. The virtual venue provides a safe setting where we can try on different aspects of ourselves to gain insights into who and how we are. If we’re normally a dominant personality, we can submit for a bit. And if we’re traditionally timid and somewhat shy, we can step outside ourselves and become the life of the party. 

 

Advertisements

6 Comments

  1. peluda said,

    great blog.:) i talked to a gorean woman for a while and she told me that the attraction for her was that so many men “wanted ” her as a slave . Which is actually a paradox if you think of it because she ,as a slave,was infact the undoubted master who controlled everything. She was such a good slave therefore turning her masters into slaves themselves by making them wait for her in line. :-))
    The men she got involved with in gor where all very submissive in RL btw) }8-)=

  2. peluda said,

    this is my blog btw: peluda

  3. Trow said,

    Right on the money again…for me, a rather shy introvert, til you get to know me, sl is empowering…but really not by design…I just take on this slightly more relaxed personality and feel a bit more free, and confident. Essentially, Trow says what I usually only think in rl…or says in open chat what only my closest friends might hear me whisper in rl.

    SL is a natural playground for all types of experimentation…art, music, design, fashion, sex, and even personality…however, deep down it’s hard to alter the core of someones personality…which is how we can spot alternate avs at times within 5 minutes of meeting them…so maybe those flies know what they are after, after all.

  4. Dylan said,

    Hi Cindy, I love to read a well thought-out and excellently written blog like yours. Makes me all the more grateful for your kind comment on mine. 🙂 And yes, I think it’s a great idea to exchange links.

  5. Joonie said,

    Great post, Cindy.

    “Sadly, we are often drawn to the people who remain aloof and self absorbed. This is probably due our natural human desire to win others over; the more difficult the catch, the more captivating the chase. And I don’t think this tendency is any less apparent in Second Life (SL). I’ve watched from the periphery how glorified, self appointed sim divas attract adoration from an unsuspecting gaggle of devotees. Sure, eventually many of those starry-eyed supporters see through the charade and come to realize the cost of their ardor. But by then the damage is done. And the diva remains unfettered by the loss of the attention and, worse, empowered by her history of conquests.”

    You did hit the nail on the head with this post. The above statement was my fav, of course. I have been in both power positions. At some point, for me, being in that power position is not all it’s cracked up to be and I tire of it easily. It is all about my ego and/or feeling “safe.” How boring.

    Great post, Cindy, and great blog.

    JJ

  6. Jenaia Morane said,

    Hi Cindy,
    As someone who has ongoing discussions with a male friend about Gor, your post really piqued my interest. So far I have resisted a visit on the grounds that I don’t want to give time and attention to role play I find fundamentally disturbing. I may have to rethink that 🙂

    Thanks for the thought provoking blog. It is a pleasure to read. Are you interested in exchanging links at all?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: