This is in response to DOS Woman Defends Branding by Leah Mottishaw. It is by one of our most thoughtful commenters.
Wow – DOS Woman Defends Branding is disturbing on so many levels. It is also filled with falsehoods.
1. “The founding members of DOS included the initials of their own initiative, not as a directive from Keith Raniere.”
– I don’t think so. There is a very telling video of Raniere snapping at the women, “This is not a democracy” when he was designing the brand specifically to hide his initials from the women. The women had no real say in the brand or in anything – he told them that to their faces and yet they still maintain that it was their idea.
2. “Each woman invited to the sorority was told before joining that part of the membership in the group included getting a brand.”
– Not according to Sarah Edmondson. Is Leah accusing her of lying? Also, the women had already given, according to the prosecution and attorney Neil Glazer, two levels of collateral before they even learned anything substantial about DOS.
3. “The founding members also understood this area [the pelvis] would be less painful than other parts of the body during the application process.”
– What? The pelvis is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. This is a fact. Raniere ordered it to be placed there out of his own perversion and his desire to inflict the most pain as possible on the women. Remember him paddling one of the DOS women and showing the others the right way to do it to inflict the most pain.
4. “The initials were incorporated in the design as a subtle tribute to the person who helped the original DOS members.”
– Raniere came up with the idea of a brand and ordered that it be his initials. He made it a tribute to himself. Reminds me of how he made Mark Vicente reshoot the Mexico documentary because it did not include enough tribute to him even though the film was not about him. How can Leah not see that?
5. “The initials were not meant to be the main focus, or even particularly obvious, and they were never intended to denote that a woman was anyone’s possession or property.”
– Raniere deemed himself the Grandmaster of all the slaves. Every woman in DOS was his slave. Every woman in DOS was his property, who he could do whatever he wanted with – which, of course, was sex, even if the woman was married or in a relationship.
– Remember, Raniere’s perversion was so extreme that his plan was for there to be 100s and 1000s of women all with his brand. Like a little sex army. Sorry, but all the DOS women, including the inner circle, were Raniere’s property by his design.
The fraternity analogy is so off-base, what is there to say that has not already been said by others on FR.
I truly hope Leah wakes up and realizes this has nothing to do with sexism. If a female cult leader had men branded with her initials, society would be equally appalled. It’s about the abuse of power, not gender.
It is also very, very dangerous to adopt the belief that joining DOS meant fully giving up your right to be informed of what others are doing to you and telling you to do. That belief excuses Raniere and the other masters of everything, no matter how harmful. How is that empowerment? They are letting Raniere do whatever he wants with them and they are not permitted to object to anything.
There is no way Sarah Edmundson and the women outside of the inner circle would have joined DOS under those terms. Never.
This is a newly crafted lie DOS is trying to sell to cover up the obvious lack of informed consent regarding the brand. How convenient to say it does not matter if they did not give informed consent because they gave up their right to informed consent. Horrifying!
The fact is that DOS did not just hide information from the women, they outright deceived them about Raniere being Grandmaster and the brand being his initials. They knew most women would never join with this knowledge so they manipulated and lied. And now they are lying again.
Leah shouldn’t need to intellectualize and over-examine the meaning of the brand and her feelings about being deceived about its content. There is something very wrong with that. You shouldn’t have to twist things into a pretzel to justify them.
All the DOS women gave their power to Raniere and they are still willingly giving him their power today and letting him dictate how they are living their lives. Women empowerment is impossible when the women are giving their power to a man. I would bet anything that Nicki Clyne does not make one decision on her own without consulting Raniere.
Leah may be book smart but she is intellectually and emotionally immature, like the other DOS women. I hope she grows up.