All About the Free Women of Gor

Free Women on Gor hold a precarious position. They are expected to be submissive to men, but not to demonstrate their submissive needs openly or deeply, for that indicates suitability for the collar of a slave. Typically, free women of any status or position wear the Robes of Concealment, similar to the robes worn by Muslim women, and are veiled. Even in the presence of male relatives, a Free Woman wears a light House Veil so as to appear modest. A Free Woman who exposes her face in public is said to be "face-stripped" and is considered extremely exposed and immodest: a Free Woman would rather be naked save for a face veil than clothed and unveiled.

Free Women are allowed to demonstrate their needs in private, and to take pleasure in the sexual act. However, even then, they are expected to hold back just a bit, to demonstrate that they are not helpless in their need like a slave.

All Gorean Free Women are addressed as "Lady" when speaking formally, even a child, a beggar, or a Peasant woman. This indicates that they are not slaves and they become very angry when slighted in this regard. Free Women are always addressed as "mistress" by slaves.

Free men and Free Women are joined formally in the Ceremony of Free Companionship, and the two are referred to as "Free Companions." Free Companionship must be renewed once a year, or the Companionship is terminated. This is necessary given the long lifespan of Goreans and the uncertain and hazardous nature of Gorean society. The enslavement of either Companion also immediately terminates the Companionship. While typically in the upper Castes Companionships are entered into for political purposes or monetary gain, Companionship for love is also very common, and even in arranged Companionships it is not unheard of.

Other than the above restrictions on behavior, Free Women may do much as they please. They can own property, maintain businesses, and so forth. Many upper Caste Free Women have guards who accompany them outside their homes, ride in sedan chairs, and have personal slaves. While Free Women are usually allowed to have their own slaves, including those for sexual use, they are forbidden to couch with the slaves of others in some cities, notably Ar. The penalty for such is immediate reduction to slavery. Male slaves used for sexual purposes by women are usually referred to as "silk slaves."

In this section we will attempt to educate you on some of the varying types of Free Women you may encounter in Gor.

        Women of the Cities
 
Freedoms of the Free Women of the City Cultures on Gor

Free to retain her name or petition magistrates to change her name. Women who are enslaved have their names put upon them and changed by their owners at any time. These enslaved women may be named anything and have no freedom of choice or say.

Free to utilize the legal system. Free Women may petition the magistrate with complaints, to enforce proper return of her Dowry portion, etc. Women who are enslaved may not utilize the legal system.

Free to refrain from exercise and diet regimens. Free Women are not forced to maintain certain body weights and tones as are often women who are enslaved.

Free to testify without torture. Women who are enslaved only give testimony under torture. Free Women may take the stand without such pain.

Free to refrain from work. Free Men are considered outlaws by the city if they refuse to perform their Caste work and are subject to impalement. Free Women are permitted (and generally encouraged by Gorean Society) to refrain from Caste work. Society expects the Men to provide.

Free to spend coin on what she chooses. Free Women in the possession of money can generally spend the coin as she pleases on baubles, perfumes, garments, etc.(unless otherwise restricted by the Man responsible for her.) Women who are enslaved have no coin and cannot purchase with freedom.

Free to conceal her features and not be judged on her looks. Women who are enslaved are denied this freedom and are forced to be viewed under the often harshly appraising eye of Men.

Free to refrain from cooking & cleaning
. Free Women who do not desire to cook or clean may rent slaves for a small fee from the city if they do not have their own to perform these tasks. Women who are enslaved do not have these options open to them and may be spared from cooking only if their owner decides to dine in the public kitchens.

Free to bear and raise her children. Free Women are cherished for their place in society as the bearers and caregivers of future Goreans. Women who are enslaved on rare occassion in the books (and most notably in Tharna during post revolution) bore children of their Masters. Other slaves who carried children were kept on breeding farms specifically for the breeding of slaves.

Free to eat what and when it pleases her, without having to have permission. Women who are enslaved are not able to eat unless given permission to eat by their owner (or responsible Free), and must generally earn their food with pleasing behavior. While enslaved women often are fed the same foods as are being eaten by the Free, they do not have the choice and may be given undesirable foods especially if found displeasing.

Free to keep her thoughts and emotions private. Free Women are not forced to reveal their deepest thoughts and emotions. Their private thoughts, are just that - private thoughts. Women who are enslaved may be forced to reveal their deepest thoughts - which are often used to better manage them. Deception in revealing their thoughts is nearly impossible. The skin of a slave, not hidden safely between robes, may mottle or prickle in certain situations, revealing to the Men that she is being untruthful.

Free to speak. Free Women are not required to ask permission to speak, as women who are enslaved often must in certain situations. There are however, social customs that guide the speech of Free Women.

Free to incur debt. Free Women are free to take loans and incur debt. Women who are enslaved do not have this freedom.

Free to perform financial transactions. Free Women are free to deposit amounts of wealth in banks, to draw letters of credit against those funds, and perform other financial transactions. Women who are enslaved may not perform financial transactions on their own behalf.

Free to own possessions. Free Women may in their own right, own all manner of possessions - clothes, trinkets, jewelry, houses and even businesses. Women who are enslaved may not own anything. Even a decorative bracelet "given" to her belongs to her owner and may be taken away on a whim.

Free to be deceitful.

"Deceit is a freedom of free women," I said.  "But it is not a freedom permitted to slave girls, is it, Master?" she asked.  "No," I said. ~ Blood Brothers

Free to sleep in comfort. Free Women may sleep with blankets and on deep furs on the couch in their quarters assuming the freedom is not revoked for the night by a displeased Companion. Women who are enslaved commonly sleep chained on the floor at the foot of his couch or in a kennel, and often with just enough cover to keep her from becoming ill. Any comfort she gains generally must be earned.

Free to retain citizenship. Free Women are permitted the benefits of citizenship to the city. Women who are enslaved have no home stone, no citizenship.

Free to receive charity from caste. Free Women finding themselves in difficult situations may apply to their Caste for assistance (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) Women who are enslaved may not.

Free to negotiate. Free Women are free to negotiate with Men regarding activities, plans, purchases, etc. Women who are enslaved have nothing to negotiate with.

Free to have privacy.
Free Women have the privacy of their own quarters. They also are allowed privacy to tend to personal needs. Women who are enslaved must squat in clear view over a pot if their owner desires.

 
 
        Free Companionship
 

Free Companionship defined

Free Companionship is not marriage, but as close as it gets on Gor. Free men and women have only one Free Companion (presumably only one at a time).

There is no marriage, as we know it, on Gor, but there is the institute of the Free Companionship, which is its nearest correspondent.  ~ Outlaw

One may have, at a given time, an indefinite number of slaves, but only one Free Companion.


In Some places there are no Free Companions

Additionally, this restriction on only one FC is perhaps why the Free Companionship is not recognized in Port Kar. We see mention of "His women" and "My women" throughout scenes in Port Kar which refer to both free women and slaves.

Port Kar does not recognize the Free Companionship, but there are free women in the city, who are known simply as the women of their men. ~ Raiders


Companionship as social or political alliances

High caste women are more often companioned to men who benefit their families (fathers) politically.

Companionship with such a person, for anyone of position or power, was unthinkable. It would result in the equivalent of ostracism. With her as companion one could be only rich. Companionship with such a person, an ex-slave, one without caste, one without family and position, would be, politically and socially, a gross and incomparable mistake. ~ Hunters


Women may make their own choice of companion

Surprisingly enough, a woman who is bought from her parents, for tarns or gold, is regarded as a Free Companion, even though she may not have been consulted in the transaction. More commendably, a free woman may herself, of her own free will, agree to be such a companion. ~ Outlaw


Companionship Contracts

Reviewed by Scribes of Law, especially if the match is a political alliance.

These alliances, of interest to the expanding Salerian Confederation, were not unwelcome. Such alliances, naturally, might presage the entrance of Fortress of Saphronicus into the Confederation, which was becoming a growing power in the north. It seemed not unlikely that the match would ultimately prove profitable and politically expedient for both Fortress of Saphronicus and the Salerian Confederation. In the match, there was much to gain by both parties. The Companion Contract, thus, had been duly negotiated, with the attention of scribes of the law from both Fortress of Saphronicus and the Confederation of Saleria.


Caste & Companionships

Goreans normally choose companions among their own caste.
If the companionship is of mixed caste, the woman commonly keeps her own caste.  The woman may however change caste to that of the man.

Normally mating takes place among caste members, but if the mating is of mixed caste, the woman may elect to retain caste, which is commonly done, or be received into the caste of the male companion.


Payment is made by the man to the family of the female companion

Surprisingly enough, a woman who is bought from her parents, for tarns or gold, is regarded as a Free Companion, even though she may not have been consulted in the transaction.  ~ Outlaw

She replied proudly, "My bride price would be a hundred tarns."  I whistled softly to myself--my ex-slave would have come high. On a Warrior's allowance I would not have been able to afford her. ~ Tarnsman


Free Women do not change their names upon being companioned

A Gorean free woman does not change her name in the ceremony of the Free Companionship. She remains who she was. In such a ceremony two free individuals have elected to become companions. The Earth woman, as a consequence of certain mating ceremonials, may change her last name. The first and other names, however, tend to remain constant.
~ Explorers


Free Companionship Ceremonies

Veils are removed in some cities Friends gather to celebrate
There may be a Companionship Feast

In certain cities, in connection with the free companionship, the betrothed or pledged beauty may wear eight veils, several of which are ritualistically removed during various phases of the ceremony of companionship; the final veils, and robes, of course, are removed in private by the male who, following their removal, arms interlocked with the girl, drinks with her the wine of the companionship, after which he completes the ceremony. This sort of thing, however, varies considerably from city to city. In some cities the girl is unveiled, though not disrobed, of course, during the public ceremony. The friends of the male may then express their pleasure and joy in her beauty, and their celebration of the good fortune of their friend. ~ Slave Girl


The end of the Companionship

By Gorean Law, the companionship must be renewed each year with the drinking of the wine. Either party falling slave dissolves the companionship.  “The companionship is gone,” said Telima. “More than a year has passed,” she pointed out, “and you have not, together, repledged it.”  “That is true,” I admitted. By Gorean law the companionship, to be binding, must, together, be annually renewed, pledged afresh with the wines of love.  “And,” said Telima, “both of you were once enslaved, and that, in itself, dissolves the companionship. Slaves cannot stand in companionship.” ~ Captive


Companionships dissolved

Lurius of Jad as a daughter by a long-dissolved companionship.  She remains his to contract in companionship as benefits him. Lurius of Jad, Ubar of the island of Cos, was said, by a long-dissolved companionship, to have a daughter.
...
Cos and Port Kar, of course, are enemies, but, if the Companion Price offered Lurius were sufficient, I would not expect him to hesitate in giving me the girl. The alliance, of course, would be understood, on all sides, as not altering the political conditions obtaining between the cities. It was up to Lurius to dispose of his daughter as he saw fit. She might not desire to come to Port Kar, but the feelings of the girl are not considered in such matters. Some high-born women are less free than the most abject of slave girls. ~ Hunters

 

 
         Dress for Women
 

In most cities FW are veiled
Commonly wear robes of concealment
Often wear gloves

"Free women, in most of the high cities on Gor, particularly those of higher caste, go veiled in public. Also they commonly wear the robes of concealment, which cover them from head to toe. Even gloves are often worn. There are many reasons for this, having to do with modesty, security, and such."
Magicians

 


Veils

Normally, only a father and a husband (FC I presume ~s~) may see a woman unveiled. Normally, of men, only a father and a husband may look upon the woman unveiled. ~ Tarnsman

FW normally do not show their face to strangers.  (These particular unveiled "FW" are really slaves to entertain men at a dinner party) "In my city," I said, "free women would not permit themselves to be seen unveiled before strangers." ~ Nomads

Veils not required by law, they are a matter of custom and modesty. The veil, it might be noted, is not legally imperative for a free woman; it is rather a matter of modesty and custom. Some low-class, uncompanioned, free girls do not wear veils. Similarly certain bold free women neglect the veil. Neglect of the veil is not a crime in Gorean cities, though in some it is deemed a brazen and scandalous omission. ~ Slave Girl

On the whole, however, Gorean culture prescribes the veil for free women.  ~ Slave Girl

FW guard their privacy, their feelings and emotions. Veils conceal facial expressions which reveal these emotions

On Gor, for free women, both body veiling and face veiling are cultural, and tend to be widely practiced. I suppose, objectively, there is something more to be said for face veiling than body veiling. Bodies, though differing remarkably, one to the other, tend perhaps to be somewhat more similar than faces. Accordingly, if one should be concerned to protect one’s privacy and one’s feelings, and such, it seems that the face might preferably be veiled. In the face, surely, it is easier to read emotion and individuality than in a body. Should not the face then, if one is concerned with concealment and privacy, be veiled? Is the face not more personal and revealing than the body? Does it not make sense then to consider it a proper object of concealment in a free person? Is one not entitled, so to speak, to privacy in the matter of one’s thoughts and feelings, sometimes so manifest in one’s facial expressions? However this may be, there are congruences and dispositions which seem appropriate in given contexts. Veils seem correct, and right, with the robes of concealment. ~ Slave Girl
 


Robes of Concealment

Thick, multitudinous,ornate She was now contained precisely as she had been originally save that she had exchanged the thick, multitudinous, ornate Robes of Concealment, the proud, cumbersome insignia of the free woman of Gor, for the simple garment of a Chamber Slave and a burning wound on her left thigh. ~ Priest Kings

Layers and layers of fabrics Silk, brocade, satin, muslin The girl screamed but no one came to her aid, and Elizabeth spun her about, peeling off layers of Robes of Concealment until, in a heavy pile of silk, brocade, satin and starched muslin the girl stood in a sleeveless, rather brief orange tunic, attractive, of a sort sometimes worn by free women in the privacy of their own quarters. ~ Assassin
 


Free Woman Work Outfit

Worn by rich women when inspecting their holdings.
Full skirt falling six inches above the ground, High boots, Jacket and loose hood, Veil

"She wore a full, beige skirt, the hem of which fell to within some six inches of the ground, and slim, high, black-leather boots, a beige blouse, and a beige jacket, belted, which fell to her thighs; too, she wore a loose hood, attached to the jacket by hooks, of matching beige material, and an opaque veil, also of beige material. Such garments, far less formal than the common attire of the Gorean free woman, are sometimes worn by rich women in the supervision and inspection of certain sorts of holdings, such as orchards, fields, ranches and vineyards. They constitute, for such women, so to speak, a habit for work."
~ Fighting Slave

 

 
         Snubbing Customs
 


I
n many areas it is a socially serious matter for a FW to be unveiled.  May be taken into custody by guardsmen, veiled and forced home.  Repeated offenses usually result in enslavement.
"It must be understood, of course, to fully appreciate what was going on, that the public exposure of the features of a freewoman, particularly one of high caste, or with some pretense to position or status, is a socially serious matter in many Gorean localities. Indeed, in some cities an unveiled free woman is susceptible to being taken into custody by guardsmen, then to be veiled, by force if necessary, and publicly conducted back to her home. Indeed, in some cities she is marched back to her home stripped, except for the face veil which has been put on her. In these cases a crowd usually follows, to see to what home it is that she is to be returned. Repeated offenses in such a city usually result in the enslavement of the female. Such serious measures, of course, are seldom required to protect such familiar Gorean proprieties. Custom, by itself, normally suffices." ~ Players

Other FW scorn an unveiled FW.
May make her kneel, as a slave, before attending her in a market. Is spoken of as a slave, a slut, An unveiled woman, for example, may find other women turning away from her in a market, perhaps with expressions of disgust. Indeed, she may not even be waited upon, or dealt with, in a market by a free woman unless she first kneels. It would not be unusual for her, in a crowded place, to overhear remarks, perhaps whispers or sneers, of which she is the obvious object, such as "Shameless slut," "brazen baggage," "As immodest as a slave," "I wonder who her master is," and "Put a collar on her!" And if she should attempt to confront or challenge her assailants, she will merely find such remarks repeated articulately and clearly to her face."
~ Players

"In Ar's Station," he said, "as in Ar, robes of concealment, precisely, are not legally obligatory for free women, no more than the veil. Such things are more a matter of custom. On the other hand, as you know, there are statutes prescribing certain standards of decorum for free women. For example, they may not appear naked in the streets, as may slaves. Indeed, a free woman who appears in public in violation of these standards of decorum, for example, with her arms or legs too much bared, may be made a slave."  ~ Renegades

Horrified to even think of baring their legs.
Such scandal could ruin a reputation.  In some cities, a woman with bared legs is taken to magistrates and sentenced to slavery.
Contrariwise, almost no free woman would bare her legs. They would not dare to do so. They would be horrified even to think of it. The scandal of such an act could ruin a reputation. It is said on Gor, any woman who bares her legs is a slave. Indeed, in some cities a free woman who might be found with bare legs is taken in hand by magistrates, tried and sentenced to bondage. After the judge’s decision has been enacted, its effect carried out upon her, reducing her to the status of goods, sometimes publicly, that she may be suitably disgraced, sometimes privately, by a contract slaver, that the sensitivities of free women in the city not be offended, she is hooded and transported, stripped and chained, freshly branded and collared, a property female, slave cargo, to a distant market where, once sold, she will begin her life anew, fearfully, as a purchased girl, tremulously as the helpless and lowly slave she now is.
~ Mercenaries
 

 
         Forms of Address
 


As shown below in quotes, Men addressed Men by caste or position (Warrior, Officer, Praetor, Guardsman), by name, or as "Sir", or sometimes "Master". They also addressed other Men as "Stranger", "Fellow", "Man of (City)" or "Citizen".  Men addressed Women as "Lady", or with her name such as "Lady Florence".
Women addressed Men by caste or position, by name, or as "Sir".  Women addressed other Women by name or position ("Keeper").

 

 
         Q & A on FW
 

Intimate relations with FM

FW must fight passion to protect their honor and dignity
A FW remains cool and in control of herself, even in the arms of her companion
Women who have not been previously owned, like free women, for the most part, even if naked and collared, do not yet understand their sexuality. That can only be taught to them by a man, they helpless in his power. An unowned girl, a free woman, thus, can never experience her full sexuality. A corollary to this, of course, is that a man who has never had an owned woman in his arms does not understand the full power of his manhood. Sexual heat, it might be mentioned, is looked upon in free women with mixed feelings; it is commanded, however, in a slave girl. Passion, it is thought, deprives the free woman to some extent of her freedom and important self-control; it is frowned upon because it makes her behave, to some extent, like a degraded female slave; free women, thus, to protect their honor and dignity, their freedom and personhood, their individuality, must fight passion; the slave girl, of course, is not entitled to this privilege; it is denied to her, both by her society and her master; while the free woman must remain cool and in control of herself, even in the arms of her companion, to avoid being truly "had," the slave girl is permitted do such luxury; her control is in the hands of her master, and she must, upon the mere word of her master, surrender herself, writhing, to the humiliating heats of a degraded slave girl's ecstasy. Only when a woman is owned can she be fully enjoyed.
Tribesmen
 


Why do Free Women not Dance like Slaves?

Slave dances, of course, may begin in dozens of ways, sometimes even with the girl roped or chained at a man’s feet. I looked at Tende. To be sure, only a slave dance could begin from such a posture. No free woman, for example, would dare to place herself in such a position before Gorean free men, unless perhaps, weary of her misery and frustration, she was begging them, almost explicitly, to put her in a collar. There are many stories of Gorean free women, sometimes of high caste, who, as a lark or in a spirit of bold play, dared to dance in a paga tavern. Often, perhaps to their horror, they found themselves that very night hooded and gagged, locked in close chains, lying on their back, their legs drawn up, fastened in a wagon, chained by the neck and ankles, their small bodies bruised on its rough boards as they, helpless beneath a rough tarn blanket, are carried through the gates of their city.
Explorers
 


Why FW hate slaves

Slaves intrigue and captivate Men with the sexuality that FW must deny
"Suppose," I said, "that I was, in my compartments, entertaining a free woman. In such a situation you would be expected to efface yourself, and humbly serve. You would not speak unless you were spoken to, and then presumably only to respond deferentially to commands. You would remain in the background, a mere imtrument to serve us. In no way would you in the slightest be permitted to detract from the impression or effect the free woman desires to create or compete with her in any way. You would be nothing in the room but an almost invisible convenience."
"I see," she said.
"And yet this is all on the surface," I said, "and largely a matter of theory."
"Oh, Master?" she asked.
"Yes," I said, "for in the depth of the situation your presence is felt profoundly by the free woman. Indeed, she will hate you with a ferocity which is difficult for you to understand. For you are a reproach, in the depths of your womanhood, to her superficiality. There is more excitement she knows in your slightest movement, the turning of your head, the tiny movement of a wrist or finger, that of a girl in bondage, than in her entire, tight, proud, righteous body. She can never touch you in the profundity of your existence and reality unless sometime she, too, should loam what it is to be only a collared slave. She knows that you have found your womanhood and she has not Thus she hates you. She knows the free man is anxious for her to leave that he may hurry you, his slave, to the furs. Thus she hates you. It is you whom he has put in his collar, not her. It is you he rapes in his arms, not her. It is thus that she despises and hates you. She must rise and leave. You will remain, and serve. She hates you, and, with a depth and intensity which is diffictilt for you to understand, envies you."
"But why?" she asked.
"Because you are a slave," I said.
"I see," she said.
"Thus," I said, "that is a situation in which a free woman is theoretically of more interest than a slave, but, upon closer analysis, the center of interest, even in such a situation, because of her latency, her womanhood, her helplessness, what can be done with her, is the slave."

Beasts

 

 
         Punishment

For interfering with the entertainment of men - Hog tied Hood, blindfold and gag are threatened

When found to be irritable or troublesome - Stripped & chained to sleep on stone floor, no blanket or mat

For just being an irritation - Gagged Being stripped and manacled is threatened

For shaming a mans village (homestone) - Whipped

For disregarding a mans instructions - Stripped naked and put in a slave kennel for the night

As Free Prisoners/Captives objecting to being naked - Lashed by a slave

Daughter of an Ubar begging as a slave - ...might be suspended naked, on a forty foot rope from one of the high bridges, to be lashed by tarnsmen, sweeping past her in flight


Enslavement

Sometimes enslaved by men of their own city - Enslaves and privately auctioned sometimes a mere pasang from where they had lived

Collared for smiling at being complimented - It is regarded as right to enslave a natural slave

A Slaver contracted to obtain a certain Free Woman - "You were foolish to hire mercenaries to guard you," said Targo.
"Please!" she cried.  I recognized her then. She was the woman with the retinue.  I felt pleasure.  "Please!" wept the woman. I admitted to myself that she was beautiful.  "You have an admirer," Targo told her, "a Captain of Tyros, who glimpsed you in Lydius last fall. He has contracted to buy you privately in Ar, to be taken to his pleasure gardens on Tyros. He will pay one hundred pieces of gold."  Several of the girls gasped.  "Who?’ asked the captive, plaintively.  "You will learn when you are sold to him," said Targo. "Curiosity is not becoming in a Kajira," said Targo. "You might be beaten for it." ~
Captive

Enslaved on a ship when considered troublesome - There have been occasions recorded when a free woman, usually one who has been haughty and troublesome, has been, by order of the captain, who is supreme on the vessel, simply stripped and enslaved on board. ~ Guardsman

Remanded to magistrate and enslaved when found to enjoy slave items

Enslaved to become an actress - Captured by young men and sold out of the city

Publicly enslaved when the woman is a particularly choice prize

Captured and enslaved by tarnsmen

Enslaved when ship is taken in battle

Eslaved when city is conquered in battle - Free women of conquered city put on pleasure racks for use of the victors
Then enslaved, collared, branded, sold

Enslaved upon the wishes of a man

Enslaved by one to whom a debt is owed
 

 
         Uncommon Women
 

She Urts of Port Kar
Panther Girls
Camp Women
Tuchuck Women