Wednesday 16 March 2022

Real Life "Panther Girls/Women" Are Not Gorean

Yes, I know this view is terribly unpopular amongst a certain subset of women in Gorean circles, but I stand by it, and have reasonable arguments to back it up. 

The discussion of the panther women/girls arises frequently in Gorean venues, and there are invariably those women who identify as such, arguing that they are Gorean, and that their identification as panthers is perfectly legitimate, since they existed in the books and are, therefore, Gorean. 

There is a fatal flaw in this logic, however. 

As with all the characters in the books who were originally from the planet, Gor, the panther girls/women were Gorean. They were Gorean because they were from Gor, regardless of their philosophical ideals, beliefs, or behaviour.

Their inclusion in the books were used as an allegory to many real life women and modern, societal elements or movements, and, as a contrast against the ideals by which the majority of Gorean society lived in the stories.

Being Gorean in real life means making a conscious decision to embrace and live according to the philosophies, tenets, & ideals put forth within the books. So, lets take a look at what the books say about panther women...

(Bold formatting in quotes added by me, for emphasis.)

    "Slave girls who escape masters or some free women, who will not accept the matches arranged by their parents, or reject the culture of Gor, occasionally flee to these forests and live together in bands..."
    ~ Assassin of Gor,   Page 293-294
Sometimes free women, miserable and unhappy in their lives, resentful of the conventional constraints commonly imposed on them in the cities and towns, fleeing unwanted matches, debtors hoping to escape the law and such, attempted to join a band of Panther Girls.
    ~ Smugglers of Gor, Page 277
        "Who are these women?" I asked. "Where do they come from?"
    "Some were doubtless once slaves," said Ute. "Others were once free women. Perhaps they did not care for matches arranged by their parents. Perhaps they did not care for the ways of their cities with respect to women..."
    ~ Captive of Gor,   Page 81-82
So, these are women who reject the culture of Gor. They are not happy with the conventional, Gorean ways, and wish to live otherwise. Now, in the fiction, these Gorean ways are forced upon them. They did not make a choice to be Gorean, only to then reject Gorean ways. They are stuck on a planet with certain, nearly worldwide, views which they do not share. It is understandable, even reasonable, for them to take drastic measures to escape to the forests to live a life they choose, rather than a life forced upon them. 

They chose to become outlaws because they were completely against Gorean ethos, or because their respective cities did not allow them to be themselves - perhaps tried to impose some rather ridiculous (and often, unnatural, by the way) societal mores upon them, so fled to the forests to do their own thing.
VERY Gorean, if you ask me. They chose freedom over a form of enslavement. Cause, lets face it.. being a FW, especially in some of the the cities of the books was not really what could be called real freedom.

How is any of that relevant to living on Earth, in real life though? 

It is not. If one does not wish to adhere to Gorean ethos - to live according to Gorean beliefs, tenets, ideals - if one does not wish to embrace Gorean ways, there is a VERY simple solution...

Don't be Gorean!

That's all there is to it! Modern society and the laws therein are on your side. You are free to come and go as you please in the majority of cities in the developed world, and many elsewhere too. You are not going to be forced into an arranged marriage, forcibly enslaved, made to wear robes and veils, have a male chaperone, etc. There are hardly any establishments from which you are barred, simply because you are a free female. You can wear what you want, dance as you please, be as sensuous and provocative as you like, and have sex (or not) with any consenting adult, without fear of being brought before a magistrate and legally enslaved. 


Gorean women - that is, women who choose to adhere to Gorean principles in their real, daily life - understand and embrace our womanhood and femininity. We know we are not the same as men, and that people are not simply identical creatures with some different reproductive parts, and we revel in that fact and our differences.

"Are panther girls truly so strong?" she asked.
"Not really," I said. "Once captured and conquered, collared and silked, their thigh burned by the iron, thrown to a man's feet, they are as quick to kiss and lick as any woman. Indeed, they make superb slaves. They bring high prices in the markets. They are only girls desperate to fight their femininity. "
    ~ Beasts of Gor, Page 239-240

Now, I would argue that the panther women in the books were definitely stronger than most of their city dwelling counterparts, and absolutely stronger and more capable than the average, real life, Earth dwelling person in developed countries. They had to be, if they wished to survive the harsh conditions of the Gorean wilderness. they were skilled with weapons, hunting big, dangerous game, forestry, building and maintaining their own shelters, tracking and navigating, and just general self reliance. They were regularly able to capture, hold, and sell free men, even getting the jump on seasoned warriors some of the time, so yeah... They were actually pretty badass, but that isn't the point.

     Panther Girls are commonly filled with hatred; they commonly resent and hate men, whom it seems, oddly enough, they appear to envy and attempt to emulate, but, interestingly, perhaps even more, they commonly resent and hate typical free women, perhaps because such women are too female, and too unlike men.
    ~ Smugglers of Gor, Page 277

The point is that they commonly deny their very nature as women. They force themselves to deny their sexuality to the point that they completely lose their everloving minds every so often, and have to go do some feral, rabid "dance" ritual where they tear off their clothes and scream and moan in misery, clawing at the earth and the sky, and/or raping any captured men they have handy because they can't help themselves. And they do all this insane self denial because they fear being lost to their own natures and brought to their knees at the feet of strong men. Not fear of strong men forcibly enslaving them, but fear of their own bodies and emotions enslaving them. 

Now, I'm sure that some of them are not denying anything, and are just doing what they gotta to do be able to live authentically, and more power to them. But again, that's not a thing here in reality.

 There is no need for free women to be the frigid, sexless, and emotionally devoid creatures they were expected to be in some of the societies in the books (note: there were several book societies in which this was NOT the case.. Free women wore more reasonable clothing, went where they pleased, alone or not, etc

I believe it's pretty clear that the Panthers of the books were there simply to show that there were some women who were neither slave material, nor the completely repressed FW of the cities.

Here in reality, we can, and I feel, should, if we are to call ourselves Gorean, allow our FULL natures to shine through, as appropriate; rather than pretend. I believe that is a lot of what the extremes were there in the books to teach us.

It's very important to remember that the extremes were created as literary devices to make points.

 Some self identified "Panthers" claim that they choose the moniker because they identify with the strong, wild, free roaming traits of the panther women of the books.

I identify with all of those traits as well. I am rather well trained and skilled in hand to hand and combat with weapons. I can survive out in the forests on my own quite well (less easily, as I get older and old injuries come back to bite me in the ass, but still just fine...), as well as on the streets, or pretty much anywhere else I find myself, on my own, and generally end up protecting others also. I am strong, proud, fierce when need be, etc...

My point though, was that, although I identify in many ways with the Panthers, I don't identify as one. It is unnecessary. Like I said before, we don't have to make that choice here on Earth. We are Gorean, and we are free. And on Earth, in reality, that freedom can absolutely encompass all that the Panthers of the books had to run away to the forests to have.

I also identify with the Torvaldslanders, having Norse heritage and a goodly part of my spiritual path being based in Asatru, but I do not call myself a Torvie either. Because it is a fictional element that serves no real purpose outside of the books, in my opinion, since we already HAVE the equivalents here.

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