the curious case of the silver slave collar
No Workplace Right to Wear Collar
A version of this post was originally published on August 22, 2011.
Opposition to fox-hunting and a commitment to combat climate change may now be protected under the law – but the UK is not yet ready to recognise “consensual slavery”.
The issue arose last week as the long-predicted collision between protections for “philosophical belief” and proponents of the BDSM (bondage, discipline, sado-masochistic) lifestyle hit the courts in Bedford. In balance was the claim by a local midwife that her dismissal for wearing an emblem of her beliefs – a silver collar – was discriminatory.
Not so, according to North and East Herts Health Authority, which represented this as purely an issue of health and safety.
Nonsense, shot back the midwife, alleging a distinctly lesser degree of fastidiousness over the wearing of other traditional (religious) symbols and costume. And the game was afoot.
The heart of the matter was whether her lifestyle was capable of constituting a belief in accordance with the employment equality (religion or belief) regulations 2003, which have already seen beliefs in foxes’ rights and the hypothesis of man-made global warming – not to mention a belief in the higher purpose of public service broadcasting – all ruled capable of being protected philosophical beliefs. As debates went, this was possibly a tad above the pay grade of a local employment tribunal.Jane Fae
locked slave collars
I don’t need to tell you that I live in a 24/7 M/s relationship. The ideal is to have my slave by my side, both at work and at play. That, very obviously, is a large part of what this blog is all about. At a variety of different times, I’ve had different slaves wear a steel collar locked around their neck.
I should also add that at a variety of different times, I’ve had different slaves wear a steel collar locked around their neck. One was worn long enough that a small hidden set screw holding the collar became permanently locked in place. The screw became cemented from minerals deposited by showers and bath water. The collar eventually had to be cut away with bolt-cutters, but that part is another story for a different time.
So, you’d think my natural sympathies would be with the midwife.
a right to wear what you want?
Perhaps I’m a contrarian, even for the BDSM community, but the only discrimination I am seeing is the apparent lack of discriminating behavior by the midwife.
One of the core tenets of the BDSM community is that our actions all take part between consenting adults. That concept is inviolable.
It’s also generally accepted and advised that BDSM values shouldn’t be imposed upon individuals from “vanilla” community.
There’s some debate here, as interested parties can (legitimately) argue that their right to dress as they wish is not trumped by anyone else’s right not to have to view obvious fetish (as well as other sexualized) clothing/attire.
I may very well be a contrarian, but I am also reasonable, and refusing to impose some particular forms of sexual expression on the unsuspecting public seems reasonable. Perhaps not perfectly reasonable, but society will place limits on behaviors. After all, we aren’t allowed to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater, etc.
So, now I’m having questions pop into my head –
How exactly did things become unreasonable?
How did her collar become an issue?
Were their complaints by clients?
Is there an obvious lock present?
Are there overt markings denoting the jewelry as a slave collar rather than something else?
Do the prohibitions against silver collars with a BDSM context also carry over to other similar silver jewelry that might have Wiccan/pagan symbolism?
How does the court intend to determine the difference between a solid silver collar and a solid silver necklace.?
You see, I’m pretty sure silver jewelry isn’t at all out of the ordinary in the midwife profession. It feels like there’s an essential part of this story that’s somehow missing.
His very real difficulty was whether a way of life sometimes described as “consensual slavery” or “consensual non-consent” could possibly be worthy of recognition in a democratic society.Jane Fae
There are a couple of scenarios that seem to come to mind.
The first is that this is a sort of test case brought to establish more legal rights for the UK BDSM community. I know that legal test cases are relatively common here in the United States, but I don’t know enough about the legal system across the pond to speculate
The other scenario is pure speculation as well. I have to wonder if this particular midwife’s problem isn’t the wearing of silver jewelry, but instead, there is a specific problem her employer has with the style of her jewelry. I can imagine some kinds of BDSM collars making clients uncomfortable.s an employer, I can completely understand why that is unacceptable.
From the viewpoint of an employer, I can understand why client complaints could make the wearing of certain kinds of collars unacceptable.
Who’s needs and rights are most important?
Is it the right of pregnant women to impose their personal feelings about the jewelry of a midwife caring for them at the time of delivery?
Should the midwife’s right to individuality and freedom of expression be most important?
Is BDSM a religious practice?
Certainly, I don’t know the reality of the reasons behind this case (and the resulting court ruling.) My guesses could be spot-on, or, nowhere close to how things happened.
I plan to attempt further research for more details, but I may never know . . .
I’m a business owner. I’ve had slaves, who, in addition to being my servants at home, were my very capable administrative assistants at my office. It has always been important to me that her collar blend seamlessly into a professional setting.
I also know it’s difficult, but not impossible to find a solid steel collar that looks dressy (even in the vanilla world) but locks around a slave’s neck. They aren’t cheap. Then again, they are nowhere near the cost of an average engagement ring .
It was never an option, at least not to my mind, to wear anything less than perfectly professional in a locking collar.
Because, just as a slave lives with protocols under their Master’s direction, so must an employee live with protocols devised by their employer.
This post was originally published on August 22, 2011 – at SpiritualBDSM.com. It was originally posted under a different title – it’s hard to tie the argument down. The post has been edited for style and content for re-posting on MichaelSamadhi.com. The material may be rewritten, but the message is just as valid today as it was nearly 6 years ago when the original was posted.