Sunday, 10 April 2011

The history of the cane - on TV!

I’ve recently been reading an interesting blog called ‘The Sting And The Slap – a journey through our world of BDSM’.

One of the posts alerted readers to a TV programme on BBC in the UK called ‘The History of Corporal Punishment’ and the writer had this to say: 

This is the title of a programme being shown tonight on BBC 4 at 2100 hrs. It's been on before, or so I'm reliably informed, but I guess many of you won't have seen it.

Despite your views on punishing children this way, or not, the programme does give some fascinating insights into this controversial subject, and includes some footage from the Isle of Man, where of course, they were still merrily applying the Birch twigs to the backsides of errant male teenagers until fairly recently!

This sort of viewing always opens up the debate on the origins of peoples' spanking predilections, and indeed, the very essence of sub/dom and BDSM relationship interactions. Do they have their roots in childhood punishments ? Are those who were beaten at school or in the home more likely to involve this sort of thing in their adult relationships ? Or does it have little influence ? I know folk into CP who were punished as children this way, and also who were not...

And is the memory of the stern schoolmaster or schoolmistress taking control and administering the cane or strap a way out of the need to be in control in every aspect of modern day life which is replicated as a stress reliever?

I caught the programme on BBC i-player last night and I have to agree it was a fascinating insight. I’ve never condoned the corporal punishment of children but the programme wasn’t just about that, it was an insight into the history of corporal punishment.

I never realized for example that the reason for such violent punishments in years gone by was that there were so few law enforcement officers to keep society in England in check that the only way to keep control was by fear.

A lot of the programme was given over to judicial punishment, particularly in the Isle of Man where the birch was used for adults as well as adolescents, the island trying (and ultimately failing) to keep it’s strict judicial practice to prevent  the kind of upsurge of loutish, thuggish crime we experienced on the mainland.

I was at school in the Seventies but I never suffered corporal punishment at school (or in the home) but I was always fascinated by it and lived through the huge publicity generated by STOPP – The Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment.

Interesting to look back though this programme and discover that many pupils actually advocated the use of the cane as a way of keeping order in the class.  Interesting also to learn that when the final vote for abolition in the UK, the government of the day won by a single vote – and several key voters were stuck in a traffic jam caused by a royal wedding on the same day.

I think the very thing that made me so interested in the cane as an adult was actually constantly living under the threat of it at school. It seemed like that even though the cane was used infrequently in the school I went to, it was never far from our conversations. And for me, the fear of the cane and, more important, the fear of the humiliation of everyone knowing if I had been caned, was always tinged with excitement – excitement that also had a sexual connotation.

Initially I wondered why the programme was being aired again. I’d not heard any recent rumblings of activists trying to re-introduced corporal punishment into society (don’t laugh, it happens from time to time) but apparently it was part of a series currently being aired on law and justice in the UK.

So, to refer back to the question posed on The Sting And The Slap: “And is the memory of the stern schoolmaster or schoolmistress taking control and administering the cane or strap a way out of the need to be in control in every aspect of modern day life which is replicated as a stress reliever?”

I think the answer has to be yes. I certainly have to be in control in my work but at home I can assume the role of submissive with someone else – Mistress - being in control.

And the cane as stress relief? I’ve not thought of it like that but yes, very cathartic and cleansing.

The really interesting aspect to come out of watching the documentary with Mistress? Her strong interest in the use of the birch. Oh dear……

Did anyone else watch the programme?

1 comment:

  1. I didn't see it, and even if we subscribed to BBC Canada, it's doubtful they would air it. Wish I could see it, though. It sounds interesting!