Tuesday, 4 March 2014

apprentices are not servants

I have three apprentices. They are all remarkable, wonderful women. We have a fun relationship because I am not a demanding laurel. I think that firstly, it's a hobby so it should be fun and secondly they will go at their own pace and learn as they go. We check in with each other to make sure things are okay and they have all been told that I am the person they should come to if they have problems within the SCA ( or even outside of it) especially if they have problems with other people no matter what because talking about it before reacting about it is the better choice. The general sentence goes " IF you feel something has gotten out of hand, or you feel uncomfortable about it and you want back up or whatever come to me and I will deal with it." And mostly they deal with stuff on their own because they are all smart, grown women who know their own minds but it's nice to have backup and I think it helps them to know that if shit goes sideways I've got their backs. We have a fun relationship because this is a hobby. And while my job is to teach, to foster, to protect and be an all-around den mum we all know that ultimately for us it's about friendship first.

They are known as the Dark Side minions. This started long before the Despicable me movies because I'm a huge star wars fan and I also play in the 501st which is the Imperial side of things, the tag line for that club is "Bad guys doing good" so the nickname of minion was theirs from the get go. Now with the cute little yellow minions running around the big screen stealing people's hearts it's taken on a larger than life sort of meaning but ultimately it is still a personal thing, an in joke, a term of deep affection between us and we've talked about it so that they know if they don't like it, if they don't want to be called that they can just say and it will end. They are minions in the most fun sense of the word. What they are not is my band of personal servants or slaves.

The latest incident of someone saying to one of my girls "You're a minion so you can do this!" really pissed me off. Firstly ... just no. This whole attitude is wrong. An apprentice no matter what cute name they get labled with, is NOT now not ever anyone's servant and if anyone would like my apprentices to do something for them then they should ask politely. Ailitha, Gunhild and Saraswati are people and should be respected as such. They do things for me because THEY want to not because I have told them to or demand them to or because it is expected because that is not now nor ever the case. So if other people see Ailitha doing my feast gear for me it is because she has asked if she could, we have discussed that she does not have to, and she has reiterated many times she likes to do this and I have told her how grateful I am for it but I DO NOT EXPECT HER TO DO THIS. I expect her and her sisters to be brilliant, to shine at their respective arts and crafts and above all to have fun.
So this is my message to the SCA universe. Apprentices and all of their counterparts are not servants they are people who have a special placement within the hierarchy of the SCA.  As for my apprentices, well they have all been told they have the right to say no if they do not want to do something, respect that answer no matter how much it annoys you, if they tell you you have crossed a line then back off, they have all been told they should stand up for themselves because that is part of the learning process. In short they are not to be mistreated, abused or made to feel as though they are under anyone's thumb especially not because we use the term minion. If I ever catch or hear of anyone doing that to any of my girls again I assure you I will come after you like an angry mother wolf.

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tales from the dark side...