The tradition of Sabanto-Meido arose in Nippon/Japan after the widescale adoption of robotics and automation. It is a cultural movement to embrace traditional values and to counter the subculture movement of the Ko girls.
The advent of the Cosmic Era was earmarked by societal revolutions and the explosion of new social expressions and entirely new venues of said expression. Skin and hair could be changed on the genetic level, and almost every part of the human body could be changed, could be upgraded. This created entire subcultures around groups of modifications, such as the Neko community, or the nefarious Anunnaki secret society. This created turbulence and a good deal of friction as the liberal element of humanity clashed with the conservative element. The fulcrum of the conflict quickly centered itself on one of the most tormented creatures that has ever existed, teenage girls. Young girls, in the 14 to 20 year old age demographic have driven cultural trends since the middle of the 20th century, and the cosmogenetic companies plied their genetic cosplay and extreme expression wares on this group. The initial result was the birth of female rebellion and self styled fashionista gangs like the Ko Girls. This counter-culture revolution embraced waste, frivolity, and shock values such as pornography, drug use, and violence.
There is an expression that something isn't a problem until it impacts someone in a place of importance. The counter culture, with its hedonistic self indulgence, and extreme behavior found fertile ground in the homes of the elite. Those daughters of privilege were better suited and financed to embrace the culture of extremism. Nippon has long embraced its samurai history and bushido. This cultural conservatism, especially among the corporate and elite, was strongly disapproving of the ko girl phenomenon. As their own daughters were drawn into the morass of genetic manipulation as self expression, they were horrified.
Then they acted.
Translating to Servant Maid, Sabanto-Meido is a Nipponese school, and school of thought, born from the social elite of Nippon. The school is based in part on the Geisha schools centuries ago. Young women would be sent to the Sabanto-Meido, where they would be educated as well as trained in the proper manners and civility expected of an upper class woman. This left no room for the loud and self importance of the ko girl movement.
The first Sabanto-Meido was constructed in New Kyoto, and had a starting class of twenty troubled girls. These young women were some of the most flagrant ko girls, with criminal records, tattoos, genetic mods, and violent behavior. The school year was streamed as part entertainment, part commercial for the school. Through the course of the year, the miscreants were re-educated, their genetic modifications were reversed, and they were molded into the ideal Nipponese woman. They were quiet, servile, and renounced their dishonorable ways.
Sex and Discipline
The two main things that drew the audience to the first season of Sabanto-Meido was the sex and the resulting discipline. The ko girls rebelled against their placement in the school (after being initial volunteers from prison programs) and while there were no drugs available, they were disruptive and frequently engaged in vulgar and lewd behavior including sexual escapades with each other, sometimes punctuated with violence and fights. This behavior wasn't tolerated and the girls were subjected to borderline Dominant/submissive treatment, including some bondage and other modes of deprivation. While this titillated the audience, the main work of the discipline was administered through Behavior Conditioned Therapy (BCT) that was administered via SimSense units. The audience was never privy to the actual conditioning and re-education process the girls were subjected to.
The Sabanto-Meido uniform is the 19th century Montmarte conservative dress. It is a full length black dress with blouse top, with a white apron over the front. The hair is worn under a white cap. The only variation on this centuries old uniform is the addition of a colored sash worn over the apron. This sash is only an inch wide, and is available in a number of colors. The colors typically signify the rank or position of the student wearing it, in a similar fashion to different colored belts in martial arts. The garment and its underwear are designed to be flattering, with the feminine features either buried in it, or controlled. The Sabanto-Meido is the opposite of a sex symbol.
The Sabanto-Meido is trained in a number of domestic tasks, with cooking, cleaning, caring for children, and book keeping being made paramount. This training is done keeping in mind that the woman in question will eventually stop being a maid and will have her own staff of servants, most likely autons, to direct. The student is groomed to eventually become the leader of her own home, a home that will be marked by wealth, a number of servants, and the social expectations that go with it.
The Sabanto-Meido model proved successful, and started being either copied or franchised in places outside of Nippon. Variations grew out from the initial school, embracing the particular cultural values of the host region, or being adopted for other, but similar purposes. This included Flower Schools in Europe for daughters of the aristocracy, to cloistered hermitages for the Tsarists sitting in the places of power in the Neo-Soviet Union. The most common face of the school remained the black and white maid, and now Sabanto-Meido and similar Cosmic Era finishing schools are status symbols of the wealthy and the elite.
The Real Deal
Sabanto-Meido is brainwashing and social conditioning, but given a presentable face, good PR, and instead of being done in secret, people pay to have it done to their children. The regular use of immersive technology and direct brain interfaces basically allows for the computers and AIs behind an institution rewrite and manipulate the brains of their students. In the modern era, this would be fantastically offensive, in the same way that the level of private surveillance available to intelligence agencies today would have been horrifying to the people of the 40s and 50s.
Programmed behaviors - students are implanted with generally beneficial programmed behaviors, such as avoiding anti-social behavior, engaging in criminal activity, not speaking out of turn, and general manners. This is the main draw of the Sabanto-Meido.
We don't need no education - one of the strongest counterpoints to the Sabanto-Meido is the potential for the school to be used as a point of indoctrination, ensuring that they produce a steady supply of young, financially loaded, politically indoctrinated drones into the upper levels of society. There is also a strong claim that the experience of the schools strips young women of a large portion of their self identity, reducing a vibrant human being into a dull monochrome piece of biomachinery. The strongest resistance to this type of education facility is found in Western Europe and Australia.
Shibboleths and Arc Words - graduates of the various Sabanto-Meidos have turns of phrase and certain words that they use that are often unique to their graduating year of study. This allows alumni to quickly and easily work with each other, as the social structures established in the school are carried over into the outside world. Students who excel in S-M also excel in the outside world. This is the most prominent in Nippon and other parts of the Pacific Rim, where the presence of the schools is the most pronounced.
The social expectations of Nippon rotate around polite engagements such as formal dinners, tea ceremonies, and other traditional events such as flower arranging, demonstrations of art and music and so forth. The women educated in Sabanto-Meido have pre-established cliques and circles, allowing for a highly functional artistic society to exist in the upper levels of Nipponese cities. In many instances, the wives of powerful businessmen, government officers, and corporate men meet and will hash out the deals and necessities before their respective husbands meet for the formal engagements. Thus, seemingly tense negotiations are often for show, choreographed like a dance, because the deals have already been made, but for the stake of the play, the act goes on.
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? Responses (1)
In the Cosmic Era, this sort of finishing school seems almost mundane (though the execution here is nice), but I'm intrigued by the idea of seeing one of these introduced in a more modern environment. I think it's easy to imagine someone like Bond or Batman having to bring down such an institution.
Of course, in its rightful place, you could do something similar, but perhaps with more street level individuals.