March 30, 2012

Doormat!

By Karen D. | Marc Esadrian

doormat-submissive women-slavesA common, if not often abused phrase in the circle of dominance-submission is the ever dreaded “doormat” word. Yup. You’ve heard it before. It’s often used as a personal swipe about the nature of a girl’s servile and self-deprecating character, an accusation that her level of selflessness has passed the threshold from healthy to pathologically pathetic, an incrimination often passing from the mouths (or keyboards) of those who somehow wear the term “slave” with perceived immunity.

There are numerous lifestyle articles in print and on-line warning us of the dangers inherent in being too submissive to our men. Heaven forbid, right? They launch into a laundry list of scary abuse-watch questions seemingly lifted from a local rape and abuse shelter’s outreach brochure or the modern-day Malleus Maleficarum for mental misfits, the undeniably unhelpful Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM). The questions also go on to serve a rhetorical purpose, of course: to convey to you, dear reader, that if you’re involved in relationships where any of the more extreme shades of domination can be found, you may very well be a doormat, too…and you should avoid that at all costs! All the while, how contrary to the spirit of consensual slavery these warnings are seldom ever seems to be considered by authors and self-made authorities hand waving against the ever dreaded bugaboo that is the lowly doormat. Naturally, this leaves us to ask what the difference between a doormat and a consensual slave really is. Is there any difference at all? Is there something about this phrase that stands wholly aside from the level of servitude and devotion required in slavery to another person in the first place? Let’s first examine the meaning of the word itself, first.

Doormat |ˈdôrˌmat|
Noun
One who submits meekly to domination or mistreatment by others.

In this simple if not sparse definition, we see the words submits, meekly, and domination. We know to submit means to yield to the will, power, or authority of something else. Meek is defined as patient, long-suffering, or submissive in disposition or nature. Domination, as it is used above, is the state of being so controlled. Thus far, nothing gleaned from the meaning of this word seems in contradiction to consensual slavery and the disposition required for it.

Where mistreatment is concerned, we can certainly say that’s all in the eyes of the beholder, and particularly where master-slave is concerned, it’s fair to say ordinary sentiment would label us M/s types as disciples of mistreatment, in the very least. We, being enthusiasts of serious submission, know better than that, however: what appears to be “mistreatment” is indeed mistreatment as ordinary society would define it, but for those who pursue this depth of servitude as a way of life, it’s fulfilling and right. It’s what we who desire such servitude want. Anyone who embraces the term “slave” with a straight face should know that quite well.

Sheer indiscrimination is another bastion of the naysayers against doormats in the D/s world. To them, all those who are highly malleable and submissive by nature in their personalities are deserving of a scarlet letter, for, as the conventional wisdom implies, all healthy consensual slaves have to be independent, self-respecting, ferocious tigresses in need of being overpowered by The One. The so-called One must see a woman for the powerful and headstrong siren she is, then genuflect up her temple of a hundred ivory steps to properly court her and, pardon me while I throw up in my mouth a little, “earn” her submission.

How many realize that serving a man this way—being a doormat to him or whomever he wishes—is synonymous with the realities of consensual slavery? It seems that those who draw such a bright contrast between the two are engaged in a bit of fashionable self-delusion, to say the least.

Only then is surrender of any form sanctioned in their eyes, apparently. Those females who roll over on their backs and expose their bellies too soon are spitefully considered “too easy” by the sisterhood (much like a sexually free woman is branded a slut in that “regular world”). These desperate bitches give up everything! They hardly resist! They submit to complete control by default! This may not be the way others feel comfortable giving of themselves, sure, but who are we to say less discrimination in the search for finding a master by applying abject submission more broadly is categorically wrong? Further, does it even matter what the moralistic logic is of what paths the individuals took to find each other, so long as there is a master and consensual slave in the end? Chiding someone over whether they are more or less discriminant with their submission during their search makes about as much sense as getting one’s knickers in a twist over coffee flavors or shades of pink. Surely, those strangely self-admiring women who claim to serve their men as slaves must concede to the fact they are in fact doormats to their masters too—and very willing ones at that. Granted, they may be doormats only for a particular person, yes, but doormats nonetheless. Um, right? For how can they possibly resolve the conflicting premise that serving someone as a slave is perfectly acceptable, but being a so-called “doormat” isn’t? Why make the distinction at all if you soberly embrace the reality of slavery?

But therein lies the rub in asserting there’s a fundamental difference. How many of those big-headed bleeding hearts identifying with the image of consensual slavery in their own lives truly embrace its absoluteness and all-encompassing logic? How many realize that serving a man this way—being a doormat to him or whomever he wishes—is synonymous with the realities of consensual slavery? It seems that those who draw such a bright contrast between the two are engaged in a bit of fashionable self-delusion, to say the least. Not convinced? Let’s look at the usual watch list items so often bandied about by the doormat detractors:

Does he tell you your opinions don’t matter?
Yes, we all know it can sometimes hurt when our masters remind us that our opinions may not matter on any given subject, but what’s the rational alternative in our chosen relationship paradigm? Demanding a culture where your regard is always carefully consulted? Where your opinion is always weighed fairly? Where you always have a say in things? If you demand such things, how do you resolve your need for his consideration to your longings for slavery, of all things? Is it possible you’re selling him and yourself short on your unwavering love and devotion in servitude?

Is he restricting your interaction with friends and family?
One could just as easily ask why can’t he? If you are indeed his slave to rule, to keep, and to command, shouldn’t he have that power by virtue of this fact? Certainly he should, and he would be wise to implement it, too. Restricting interaction with third parties is often smart and necessary when psychologically isolating girls for training. It’s really not anything too far-fetched on the roster of possible scenarios if you serve him with all your heart and soul and with all your love.

Are you allowed to leave?
Questions like these always seem strangely discordant, coming from a culture—supposedly—not estranged from the notion of consensual non-consent (a.k.a. consensual slavery). Do those who ask this question suddenly forget the depth of philosophy shared among those who live such deep personal subjugation?  Of course you’re not allowed to leave. You’re also not allowed to dress the way you want and style your hair the way you want, either. You’re not allowed to eat what you want and go where you want and buy what you want (covered next!) at any given time, too. That is, until you are released of your service to him or you invoke the only choice you have: to quit. Most women that deep into the process wouldn’t conceive of the notion of leaving in the first place, and we are apparently deranged enough to appreciate it when we aren’t allowed to just step out of and back into the relationship as if it were a bus.

Does he limit your access to work, money, or material resources?
At this extent, we’re beginning to sound a bit like a broken record on counterpoints, but the overall message bears repeating: consensual slavery and analogous states of servitude exist as all-encompassing forms of control and domination. Living this way is not a cute or unprincipled lifestyle mirage dismissed away by the woman whenever she feels the need step out of a simulation crafted solely, or mostly, with eros in mind; it is a reality with real implications stretching to all aspects of one’s personal life, including possessions, employment, and money, the holiest of proxies measuring freedom in larger society. It makes perfect sense that if a woman herself is so submissive as to be considered a possession, her right to own anything, even her own body, is logically overridden by her master. That doesn’t mean he lords that power over her head with daily, obnoxious, and dysfunctional glee, but it does mean both master and slave understand the logical extent of consensual slavery.

Does he frequently criticize you, humiliate you, or undermine your self-esteem?
It’s well known that in the BDSM realm, “humiliation” itself is considered a fetish, along with a host of other species of glitzy psychodrama. Within relationships where submission goes beyond skin deep, however, being truly criticized, humiliated, or and having your self-esteem “undermined” isn’t such an outlandish idea at all. We need to be very careful about the word “esteem,” however, for so often it’s confused with the sensitivities and corrupting forces of a female’s ego. A man who brings his girl down a peg (or several) may very well be helping her and if she herself is appreciative of the depths to which human ego can corrupt and distort the mind, she should appreciate being put in her place in a way that makes him happy. She welcomes being humbled and lowered. She embraces being crushed so that she may be re-made. The journey admittedly has its challenges and demons to face, for facing truths about ourselves and especially our shortcomings can be painful, but if we can accept the pain and move past the indignity of it, enlightenment of true humility awaits on the other side. Confidence in a slave’s worth rightly should come from the master himself, who she has chosen and stayed with because he is just, wise, and a good judge. In him her esteem is reborn and refashioned.

Have you ever felt obligated to have sex?
Yes, I have and do. Do I complain about it? Of course not! Why? Because doing what he told me was part of the deal when I entered slavery to my master. Having to have sex on demand, of all things, is the least of my worries, quite frankly. There are many far less interesting things (depending upon how you look at it) involved in my life. How about having to stay up until the kitchen floor is scrubbed perfectly clean or the inside oven is spic and span? How about having to do research for him on-line for several hours on end? Scrub out the shower? Become a makeshift footrest at the snap of a finger? Massage him? Shave him? Iron his dress shirts? Pick up his dry cleaning? Do his laundry? Bear his children—or get an abortion? All these things are boilerplate examples of what a woman is likely to encounter in her slavery to a man, and cumulatively, they make the obvious “obligation to have sex” look rather insignificant by comparison.

Are you afraid of him?
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” the Christian bible goes on to say, and it’s something I consider relevant,  being that Master is very much my God. A woman who fears her master takes her master seriously and respects his wishes. If she doesn’t fear him, she’ll find it easier to disobey him and subvert his authority.

Anyone with intimate knowledge of what makes a so-called doormat knows she’s highly motivated to please; she gets her greatest emotional highs from pleasing the man she serves and bases much of her self-worth on how useful she is to him.

Fearing her master doesn’t mean she can’t love him still. Do I fear my master? You bet I do! I also love him without end, in part because I fear him; he is a man I deeply admire and respect. He’s also a man who is no stranger to disciplining me mentally and physically when he feels I am in need of it. Is my fear a sign of trouble? Of course not. It’s all naturally part of what it means to serve a man as a slave.

Supplemental to the usual watch lists, common claims of the ever dreaded doormat range from assertions like, “they like feeling useless and devoid of emotion,” or “the men who like doormats just want an empty shell with no opinion.” Even if such things are solely desired, it still makes one wonder why there is a need to demonize people with these preferences. Just how much made of glass are our own houses when we practice to judge the ways others live or desire to?

Contrary to popular mythology, a doormat isn’t useless at all; she’s very useful in many ways, for she is easily controlled and obeys consistently. Isn’t that the purpose of a willing servant, anyway?  And who says doormats want to be “devoid of emotion?” Anyone with intimate knowledge of what makes a so-called doormat knows she’s highly motivated to please; she gets her greatest emotional highs from pleasing the man she serves and bases much of her self-worth on how useful she is to him. It is a lack of emotion that would make her psychologically dead and useless as a servant, for there wouldn’t be anything internally to motivate her and drive her toward being the best slave she can be. And what of the men? Do they want doormats because they want empty shells? No! They want slaves because slaves become extensions of their wills and it pleases men to see their women be filled with love for their teachings, their opinions, their discipline, their goals, and their dreams. So-called doormats become the perfect pool in which master may project his will, the perfect slave to strong male desire. What deeply submissive woman wouldn’t be proud of that? I certainly am. And that’s why I’m proud to call myself a doormat.

Not all women want to be or should be doormats, of course. The choice to be give a man everything that you are and devote everything you can be to him is a personal decision we all have to make. Do we want to be submissive housewives that generally submit to our husbands’ wishes or do we want to be outright slaves to men we’d call masters? Do we want to be something in between? There is an entire sliding scale of choice for us women who feel the desire to submit.  What we shouldn’t get in the habit of, however, is mocking or disparaging the deeper end of the scale merely because it conflicts with our preferences or abilities to give of ourselves. Doing so is intellectually rigid and unbecoming of women who refer to themselves as submissive, much less humble.

  1. captive.mind says:

    “A woman who fears her master takes her master seriously and respects his wishes. If she doesn’t fear him, she’ll find it easier to disobey him and subvert his authority.”

    Precisely. A lot of slaves argue back about this that they don’t need to fear their masters in order to take them seriously and respect his wishes. When I read statements like that online I just shake my head and think, “They don’t experience anything resembling the sort of “authority” that I experience. In my world, fear of my Master is absolutely essential. If someone’s never experienced this, I guess this statement may seem a bit obscure. Nevertheless, it is so–at least in the universe I have chosen to inhabit.

    “Sheer indiscrimination of the accused is another bastion of the naysayers against doormats in the D/s world. To them, those who are malleable and submissive by nature in their personalities are deserving of a scarlet letter, for, as the conventional wisdom implies, all healthy consensual slaves have to be independent, self-respecting, ferocious tigresses in need of being overpowered by The One. He must see a woman for the powerful and headstrong siren she is, then genuflect up her temple of a hundred ivory steps to properly court her and “earn” her submission.”

    This made me laugh so much, thinking of certain vocal proponents I know of the “Big Important Slave on a Pedestal Whom The Master Must Kowtow To, I mean, Prove Himself To” paradigm. It only makes sense to me that a very dominant man is going to want a very submissive and subservient woman, not some headstrong, egotistical, *annoying in the extreme* bitch who thinks she’s god’s gift to Masters and that all males must acknowledge her greatness–or at least her equality to them. But the last thing the few genuine masters I have known want is a woman who is their equal. They want a slave that they can control and dominate completely, someone lesser in will, aggressiveness, and perhaps even intelligence who will readily obey their commands without their bruised female egos and oh-so-conventional ideas about mental health constantly getting in the way of their service.

    I could comment on this article all day, but I’ve said most of this already in the forums, so I’ll spare your readership. Just one more time: Bravo, Marc and Karen! We conscious doormats salute you! :-)

  2. Julia says:

    Very interesting article…gave me something to think about when it comes to consensual slavery. I admit I’ve used the word doormat before in a derogatory way but you make some very good points Karen (and Marc) when it comes to the BDSM scene and the hypocrisy I guess that comes along with it?

  3. nequam says:

    For me, a woman doing all this and more for her Master is not a ‘doormat’. A doormat is a person who will do all this for everyone. When a person cannot say no to anyone, for any reason – that is being a doormat.

  4. slave_rachel says:

    i always think of doormat as being fodder of abuse rather than obedience but i see the point-that often what is actually consensual slavery is dismissed by people missing the concept and are doing a lite version. Those who do understand slavery is obedience are thought of as doormats by those who don’t.

    i thought about the fear thing- and although at first i thought- no no fear, but then i thought of how i don’t want to face His anger if i buy something without permission and realized well i guess there is some of that there. It is the fear that makes me think about it and not do it as well as the desire to obey. i have trouble calling it fear because it isn’t earth shaking and i don’t see it as the same as irritating a bear which could be fatal and is a great deal more fearful.
    i think we often interpret fear when spoken of in relationships in it’s most extreme form which wouldn’t be healthy. But fear of displeasing, fear of anger etc is a part of it, though for me and i believe many slaves it is perhaps overshadowed by the need to obey, submit and serve.

    Oddly in some threads i have heard slavery occurs with none of those three- obeying, submitting or serving even the Master. What they think it (slavery) IS is a mystery to me.

  5. sololobo says:

    I find this post and the comments most fascinating, in particular, the “fear” aspect toward the Master. I do have some difficulty reconciling the seemingly contradictory notions of “fear” and “willing” slavery. This, from a ‘would-be’ Master.

  6. MarcEsadrian says:

    @sololobo:

    The notions are interconnected, in my view, and even necessary. Just as those who follow the Christian God are expected to find wisdom in loving and fearing the Lord, so too is a woman to love and fear her master. The two components are the necessary bonding agents that makes consensual slavery (or being someone’s personal doormat) work. Love for the master is a needed motivator (we serve and adore what we love), but fear of the repercussions of disobedience should be there as well—shouldn’t they? If she does not fear him on some level, his authority has no teeth. She’s free to do just about anything in the face of her master and not worry about any corrective measures as a result.

  7. sub_sameena says:

    Great article. I’m happy living in a “fear” of my Husband. Fear is erotic.It is not the fear of insecurity.It gives me the sense of His authority over me and makes me feel vulnerable and submissive.

  8. jennytoy says:

    I love this site! This article is so honest, I kept expecting the typical rhetoric suggesting that it is wrong and dangerous for women to be afraid or completely in servitude to their man. Instead I found views that are so different from the norm, and so in line with my own. Of course my opinions don’t always matter, of course I need to be put in my place, what kind of slave would I be?!

  9. a1isha74 says:

    Well if they think that’s a doormat, sign me up! Hell, I wish I was a better doormat. I strive to achieve doormat greatness!!

    I seriously love this site!

  10. charlegra says:

    If I was into tattoos, I might seriously be interested in getting “Doormat” tattooed across my slave’s back. I think it would be cute.

  11. meeshamaster says:

    A doormat is so for anyone a submissive slave is only for her Master!

  12. Ivan88 says:

    Bravo to Karen D. | Marc Esadrian on their honesty in DOORMAT. Great stuff.

    In Aramaic, the language of civilization, there is a fun word that relates to doormat.
    It is KABASH. It means FOOT-STOOL as trodden down, disregard, conquer, tread down, subjugate, bring into bondage, subdue, force, violate, keep under, also, a female sheep – ewe;

    Abuse is strong father;

    And woman is ESHah or ISHah the pleasant fire in a man’s life and a sacrifice to him.

    From Old French & Latin
    Concubine becomes
    con- with him,
    cu – bent by him,
    bine – bound to him.

    In Chinese, the word for female, NU, is symbolized with the basic human being controlled and ridden.
    Slave is this word nu with bound arms. (nu-zi)
    Wife is nu with broom symbol, market & with man. (fufu)

  13. Graciously Yours says:

    I soo needed to read this! I first heard the (accusatory) word referred to me by my first Dominant I submitted to courageously. I didnt hear it from him directly but heard that he had called me a doormat to a friend when explaining the reasons for our breakup. It confused me to no bounds at that time. As far as I knew I have never consciously been submissive to anyone in particular till I made that decision to submit to him. So I thought I was transparent in my role and here I stood confused in what submission meant. Perhaps, I misunderstood submission, I thought. I came to the false understanding that desirable submissives are actually “ferocious tigresses in need of being overpowered by The One”. I didn’t feel I was too accepted for not being the ferocious tigress in need of being overpowered; in-fact respect for submission and trust was damaged. Later, I withdrew totally from the core part of who I am – a submissive as this article spells out.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s experienced this. It’s all part of the journey and now, I’ll be more prepared in myself if another were to address me as a “doormat” unfit to be a submissive to my future One. I know its okay to be a doormat to my man and that’s what I’ll choose to be.

    Thank you, for this article! I needed some validation to being me (be it a doormat) to my One :) Every submissive should read this article. I am so thankful I found this site.

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