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Artist Fritz von Dardel's depiction of the so called "husaga" (the right of the master of the household to corporally punish his servants in Sweden, 1850s).

A servant is a person employed to serve the needs and requirements of others, either of the individual person or of a household. A servant is an employee, is owed a wage for their services, and is free to leave for another employer. This clearly distinguishes servants from slaves, though both may wait on the needs and requirements of others.

The term servant may be used to mean any person employed in the service of others, or as a solely male term, equivalent of maid. A servant in this usage will be as much subject to a master or mistress as a maid.

Within the servant class a whole hierarchy rises, mirroring, and frequently stricter, that of wider society. At the head would be the Butler, Housekeeper and Cook, followed by the ladies maids and valets, attending personally the needs and requirements of a member of the household, then footmen, parlour maids, chamber maids, kitchen maids, down to the newest and youngest members of staff. Woe betide any lower maid or servant attempting to speak directly to the Butler or Housekeeper, or eat with the upper servants. Grooms, chauffeurs, gardeners and gamekeepers had their own separate and partially parallel hierarchy.[1]

Servant discipline[edit]

A servant was under the authority of the master or mistress of the house, and lower servants the senior servants. This provided plentiful opportunity for corporal punishment in various forms including spanking, though later years this would generally be seen as an abuse of power. A servant may well submit to such treatment, however, as the alternative would be dismissal without a reference, without which no further employment could not be obtained, resulting often in destitution and poverty.

In BDSM[edit]

A clumsy servant is properly punished by her mistress in vintage BDSM photo (c. 1920s).

In BDSM roleplay and fiction, the role of a female servant (a maid) is very popular for submissives.

Discipline and fetish films[edit]


  • domestic worker
  • domestic

See also[edit]