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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Archetypes Part 2

Another day, another doll. This one's a classic: the French Maid. The request comes from Captain, who is hosting a party and needs appropriate accessories. As well as someone to fetch and carry drinks, one assumes. Though I'm not entirely sure how much work will actually get done once I'm wearing something that looks like this or this or (heaven forfend) this. He's picking the outfit, not me, although we have narrowed it down to the two extremes of either distressingly frou frou and femme or rubber. Personally, I'd prefer the rubber. Which almost certainly means I'll be wearing more frills than a bad-taste bridesmaid.

The Maid takes me to two places, when I think of her, which rather neatly divide along the lines outlined above. So let's look at the Frou Frou Maid and the Rubber Maid. The first is replete (in my mind) with bad french accents circa Allo Allo and hen parties stocked from Ann Summers, that bastion of English high street "naughtiness". It's that element of being "naughty" and British seaside postcard sexual humour, that I'm hoping this doll will help me explore. There may well be giggling involved. I'm quite looking forward to injecting some silliness into the project, which whilst being very enjoyable has hardly been precisely funny. The second is the fetish aspect. The Maid is fetishised both as a outfit/uniform and as a practice, there are a number of professional fetish maid services (some supply maids, some train people as maids). Additionally she is very common in Sissy circles, combining elements of feminisation, submission, service and petticoat punishment all wrapped up in a clearly defined character role. It's little wonder that the Maid is so popular.

I do have a slight concern, however. Given all the possible doll outfits, this was the one I felt strongly was the "least me" and I think that the forced feminisation aside the service element is problematic. The Maid rarely to serves in a conventional scenario, instead it's usually as a trope for D/s play. Having a servant makes the dominant a de-facto Lord or Lady, reinforcing their dominant position, and providing a framework in which the power exchange can operate. The Maid is here to "work", yet, the service is almost always sexual - whether directly through performing sex acts or by watching the wearer perform tasks around the house in a suitably deferential manner, probably requiring punishment at some point.

On a personal level, I simply don't find service sexy. I cannot imagine anything especially erotic about washing the dishes. I understand the desire to serve, to do things to make your partner happy, often things that you might not especially enjoy. But there's a difference between enduring something because it is difficult (heavy CP, long-term bondage) and because it is boringly hum-drum. I wash dishes every day. I do the laundry. I make my bed. They are activities to be gotten out of the way so that the rest of life can occur. They are not tasks I wish to linger over.

I'll admit to being caught in something of a quandary, because I do also derive some enjoyment from doing those things for other people. I'm house-proud, I like cooking for people and for them to have a nice, clean bed with fresh sheets to sleep in. This pride, is not sexual, and neither is it especially part of a power exchange (certainly not with my friends) I don't do it because I defer to them, I do it because I want to give them those things. I realise how finely this is sliced, how easy it is to draw a link between my the non-sexual desire to please and the sexual desire to please and assume that they are part of the same thing. Yet they are not.

The Maid's costume expressly shows me how they are not. I can do all of those things naturally and normally. If I did all of those things whilst wearing a Maid's outfit I would feel like a fool. It draws attention, unwelcome attention, to the act of service.
It makes service sexy. The sexualisation of traditional "female work" is something that naturally troubles me. From a political point of view, I do find the idea that female automatically equals submissive difficult (even though I am a female submissive) and I worry that the Maid plays into this stereotype. Of course, the point of the Maid is that she is a stereotype, and exploring stereotypes is one way of understanding them as long as the background and motivation is explicit. In this way, I'm assuming that my own appreciation for what I am doing will negate any worries on the evening.

Aside from all this, there is the importance of context. It's a party, after all. The point is to enjoy myself (and entertain others, so I'm sure my exhibitionism will get a good showing).
In this situation I am adopting a role for an evening, rather than an ongoing D/s service situation I'm agreeing to. The former allows for a light-hearted play-acting, the latter, less so. I am knowingly playing the fool, as it were. Because this doll is also about fun. Whether rubber or otherwise, I get to enact all those comedy British memes of sexuality, becoming part of the joke rather than the butt of it. Which is rather the point, I feel. We can be serious about sex without being po-faced, amused by things that are cute and pretty, be silly for an evening and just let go. Crack a smile.

I like making people smile. If I can make them wet or hard at the same time, so much the better.

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