I've always struggled to respect Goreans as a variation of BDSM. I have multiple problems with it.
-There's an implication that this is how the world "really" is, and if we all just stopped with the pretense and got down to it, we'd "know better". Uh huh.
-Also, it doesn't help that most of the people interested are men- men who still haven't gotten rolling for stats, if you know what I mean.
-There's the idea that females should submit to femininity, males to masculinity, that I think completely ignores the beauty of variation.
-Oh, yeah, and feminism basically just confused women into thinking they had rights... um... yeah. Silly women! Escaping your abusive husband is just you fighting against your inner nature.
-That slave girls are for sex and pleasure and that's their main duty. I don't know- my submissives main duty is to bring me pleasure, I suppose, but that's within blacking a boot as much as it's in a good fuck.
-It's SUPER DUPER HETEROSEXUAL with absolutely no self-examination of how people who aren't hets would fit in. I think a philosophy should cover all the bases- again, variation.
-Things like this-
"There is a difference' laughed Hassan, 'between the pride of a free woman and the pride of the slave girl. The pride of a free woman is the pride of a woman who feels herself to be the equal of a man. The pride of the slave girl is the pride of the girl who knows that no other woman is the equal of herself.' " John Norman, Tribesmen of Gor-
which implies that free women are just kidding themselves- people into this lifestyle say everyone's different, and we're not equal but we should all be respected, but that doesn't come through in the "philosophy"
It also doesn't help that most of the time when you hear "Gorean" it's about a man who's held a woman against her will, stripped her of her money and self worth and mistreated her. To me, Gor speaks to male privilege, to men who want to go back to the "good old days" pre-feminism of kidnapping a woman and raping her, and it's ok cause she's a woman and that's what they're for!
However, things that squick other people- 24/7, constant sexual availability, not using safewords- those don't bother me so much, though I imagine the constant sexual availability would be hard to maintain.
I've been reading "Ramblings of a Kajira" in an attempt to better understand. And I've just not discovered that John Norman wrote a sex manual called "Imaginative Sex" and that Pat Califia wrote a foreword for it! He says the original 1974 edition of the book "was one of the first above-ground nonfiction books to offer a rationalization for dominant/submissive role-playing and some instructions about how to do it". Wow, ok. Hm.
Amusingly, within the sex manual, Norman doesn't suggest you be whipped, but rather than the Dom clap his hands and the slave react as if being whipped. Aww! I wonder what he'd think of the scene now...
Anyway. I do try to respect anyone's kink. I guess what it is about Gor is not that I don't get it as much as it reminds me of other things, like monotheistic religions that go around saying "this is the REAL way". Still, whatever- in the circles I run in, it's irrelevant, I doubt anyone would admit they were Gorean even if they were.