A book series that became a full time relationship.
Sure, watching Harry forced to write with a blood quill by Umbridge isn't exactly pleasant, but character torture pales in comparison to the real thing. As summarized by Knowledge Nuts, there's a whole cult of people who are living the "Gorean" lifestyle — a way of living carved from a sci-fi book series. Not to be confused with dressing up for a midnight release of another Harry Potter, these folks are engaging in a full-time relationship model that sets clear, sometimes brutal, standards for men and women.
As the books explain, men are masters and women are "lowly beasts for men to do with as they see fit." The "K" tattoo in the photo above? Yeah, it's supposed to be branded on her.
While the 33-book series sometimes called The Chronicles of Gor (the most recent addition was released in 2013) goes into the admittedly complex world of Gor, the over-arching themes of master-slave relationships, female submission, consensual torture and punishment, and interstellar politics seem to take center stage. It's not as if that last category was tacked on or anything — it's just that it was. It absolutely fucking was.
One may question this particularly powerful hubub surrounding a series of books. After all, 50 Shades of Grey has submission, dominance, and a hefty load of BDSM and people only freaked out about that because their moms were reading it. What makes the fandom surrounding The Chronicles of Gor different? The criminal record. Self-proclaimed Gorean masters have been accused of rape and torture while at least one has admitted to forcing his slave to have sex with men. Combine that with women being branded, and at the very least, we've got something worth a sit down, if not a full-out family meeting.
With an estimated 25,000 cult members worldwide, it's likely the Goreans are here to stay for a while. Granted 25K is nowhere near the amount of kids still waiting for a letter from Hogwarts (I'm sure mine just got lost in the mail), but it's a considerable concern nonetheless. If someone wants to be treated as a slave, immersed in the Gorean lifestyle, they should be free to, as long as it's still their choice. Is this lifestyle only up for debate because it was written in the guise of sci-fi novels by a philosophy professor currently employed by Queens College?
I don't know, but I think it's definitely worth asking.
[h/t Knowledge Nuts]
Image via WikiCommons