From 1996 to 2008, a “femdom” micronation called the Other World Kingdom (OWK) occupied a renovated sixteenth-century castle in a rural part of the Czech Republic. The OWK was ruled, according to their founding charter, as an "absolutist slave monarchy on the basis of a Matriarchy." (1) Men were "slaves," and the entire nation submitted to the designs of Queen Patricia the First, thus realizing the dream of a western matriarchal society long predicted in fiction like Herland (1915). The small territory recreated the conventions of a larger state apparatus, including a currency (the Dom), passports, and state flag. Life within the kingdom consisted of rule-based ritualistic encounters that closely followed the practices of bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism (BDSM) while penetrative sex acts themselves were banned. In the OWK, power lay in strict control without a gratifying release, a total surrender to the will of another through choreography. Men went to the kingdom to have themselves ritually undone through the strict theatrical control of their behavior by Queen Patricia the First and her women citizens. Despite being inherently expansionist, with its founding mission being to get "as many male creatures under the unlimited rule of Superior Women on as much territory as possible," the kingdom closed in 2008 and the property was listed on a 'castle only' realty site for several years. (2)
After the physical kingdom closed, a group of fans and former citizens led by Theyna Theti-Sheri recreated its likeness and social structure virtually in the first large online metaverse Second Life from 2008-2011. The "OWK in SL" forced the kingdom to confront a new format wherein citizens explored cyberfeminism, capital exchanges, virtual intimacy, avatarization, gender identity, and more-than-human expression. While it remains obscure, the OWK has recently garnered some new publicity. The physical OWK complex has reopened as a setting for fetish content creation by providing a backdrop of the former kingdom. On Tik Tok, dozens of users dueted a now-deleted video by @fresh.fact that described the premise of the original matriarchal kingdom. (3) User's duets might be summarized by the sentiment "I want to move there!" in the face of the entrenched oppression of womxn under widespread cisheteropatriarchy. The OWK's engagement with various media formats, from print publications to Tik Tok's, provides a valuable media-archaeological history of platforms from the 90s to today. We can look backward at the OWK as a valuable precedent for how the forces of intimacy, power, capital, ritual, gender, and embodied experience interact between the "real world" and cyberspace in a time of impending metaverse ubiquity.
1. Opinions within the BDSM community differ on race play and whether white and non-Black Dominants and submissives should use terms like “slave” and “slave auction” to describe kink play. These terms are prevalent in many BDSM spaces, and their use often goes unquestioned, particularly in spaces that are mostly white and/or primarily controlled by white people. However, the dynamic is not so simple for many Black kinksters. Some people intentionally choose the terms “Dominant/submissive” rather than “Master/slave” in recognition of the racist legacy behind the latter terminology. Gender theorist Ariane Cruz has written extensively about the ways that race play can feel problematic and harmful in many contexts, but can also be a powerful tool of sexual reclamation for Black kinksters.
2. The investors who helped fund the OWK remain anonymous to this day even as they tried to recoup their losses by selling the grounds through an online european realty company who deals exclusively in castles.
“Castle complex nearby Prague”. http://castles.glo-con.com/property.php?property_no=AD1_22340. Glo-Con Castles. 5/8/08.