Monday, 25 August 2008

Inspired by a Strict Governess: Janus (mid-1980s)

This will probably be my last post for a week or so as I'm off to Spain in a couple of days (I should have been in Hastings today but I've put that trip off until tomorrow, but when I return I will be pretty much flying straight out)...Now down to business:


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In the mid 1980s Janus (probably the most well known of the British spanking magazines) published a 'photo-story which, accompanied as it was by scant, if any, explanation as to the protagonists' relationship, was left largely open to interpretation. To my mind the uniform worn by the elder of the two women indicated that she was likely governess to the younger. Even at that time that was my preferred interpretation, although as I recall (and my memory may be playing tricks on me here), the suggestion in the text was more complex and involved the younger woman visiting the elder, perhaps as part of some role playing game (Games? we're not playing games here! A truly horrid suggestion!!!).

This, then is, in actuality, more an example of Janus so nearly hitting the right spot and then going on to miss the point entirely. Nevertheless it was formative to the ideas and fantasies building in my head at that point in time - and that would later inspire me to write my own stuff.
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Here, in my interpretation, was an exceedingly dominant and strict woman hired by the girl's stepparent or guardian to "take her in hand". This theme is something of an undercurrent running throughout volume 1 of INSTITUTIONALISED and reemerging towards the conclusion of the upcoming volume 2, but that will really come into its own in volume 3 (wherein we will see what a governess, albeit one possessed of a rather specialised skill-set, can really achieve if given a free hand!).
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At the time I could see (or fancied I could) in the girl's eyes what I would describe as the efficacy of her governess' approach in gaining control over what is, after all, clearly an independent adult woman - some of that independence has already been leeched away. Even then, though, I was disappointed by the girl's dress ; already I had in my mind that the young lady, too, should have been in some type of uniform - something befitting one occupying a more subservient station and thus balancing the equation so to speak.
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In my imagination I could excuse the rather sophisticated dress she wore by invoking the assumption that ordinarily, prior to her governess' intervention in her life, she would have been customarily garbed in jeans and tee-shirt (perhaps even something of a tomboy). Perhaps, then, this was just a first step; the uniform would come later, perhaps much later - the various elements introduced stepwise, each stealing away a little more of her adult identity. I would delight in imagining how the governess, having won the first battle or battles and her charge now to be habitually found in some rudimentary form of uniform, would press on to win the war. Rules and regulations would be tightened up over time, new dress stipulations would be gradually introduced and refined and all with the same criteria in mind - to exert control through discipline and humiliation in equal measure.

This, then, pretty much goes to illustrate the credo of the INSTITUTIONALISED series as regards the character's dress, particularly within the institutional settings: Uniforms may evoke authority and bestow the right of authority upon the wearer - others may by their design, whether deliberate or otherwise, rob the wearer of status and identity, undermine confidence and eat away at self esteem and any sense of independence she might still possess.

3 comments:

maddy said...

we need to reastablish the finer things in life only ways i no it can be achevied is by the disapline established by the disapline endored by our leaders and governess whom strive for the betterment of our citizens

Spanking OTK said...

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Anonymous said...

Ah, Janus #25. I remember this issue well, though some of my favorite photos from that story have not been included here.
I also found the other photo story with the nurse quite delightful.