- For other uses, see paddle (disambiguation)
A spanking paddle
is a usually wooden instrument with a long, flat face and narrow neck, so called because it is roughly shaped like the homonymous piece of sports equipment, but existing in more varied sizes and dimensions, (length, width and thickness) used to administer a spanking
to the buttocks; it would be too hard and heavy to use safely on the back.
Types and terms
- A spanking paddle can sometimes be called shingle, apparently after its form, or be given names (rather like weapons in military and police units), especially when used in an organisation, that allude to its hot effect on the paddled posterior, such as ass-burner, butt-buster. Educators and children in households where a paddle is used for discipline sometimes award the paddle such nicknames also, such as "Lola's bane," "The 'Board' of Education," and "Mother's Little Helper." (Confusingly, sometimes non-wooden flat devices, such as leather straps, are wrongly called paddles, even in official institutions.)
- For a paddling various terms exist, some referring to wood, the usual material, such as giving wood, the woodshed treatment [from the rural tradition that such punishments were administered in such an annex], or more general terms for spanking (see in that article), for corporal punishment or for discipline such as punishment, a lesson, (rightly) deserved, (hide-)tanning, medicine, therapy etc., and even incorrect terms that strictly speaking refer to a different method of physical punishment, such as a whipping; it is also possible to specify the anatomical target (thus indirectly affirming it is a form of spanking), e.g. arse whupping.
- The terms fraternity or sorority paddle is displayed in pop culture as an instrument of punishment and hazing, though it is most commonly seen as a gift, being like a large plaque or trophy, from a "little brother/little sister" to his or her mentor, their "big brother/big sister" after their initiation.
- Paddles are often made from (expensive but durable) hardwood, such as maple, oak, mahogany or walnut, and finished with varnish or teak oil; plastic causes less pain due to lower density, though some modern paddles are made of Lexan (fiberglass being too likely to break—allegedly that occasionally happens even to hardwood; of course the measurements are also relevant).
- Nevertheless some paddles are sometimes not factory-made but home-made or home-modified objects, e.g. a shortened canoe paddle or baseball bat with one side flatted to half or less, as used on cadets in Columbia Military Academy; especially in domestic discipline (and in BDSM) various pervertibles are used, including the kitchen utensil cutting board (wooden and paddle-shaped) and, of course, the readily-available table tennis paddle.
- As a paddle is flat and inflexible, unlike a cane or whip, it is too blunt to cause stripes—only bruises can result from excessive force—and because of its size it is unfit for a particularly painful 'bulls-eye' in the butt-crack (affording the spankee at least a modicum of protection).
- Generally the physical impact is therefore not greatly increased, only the humiliation, if administered bare-arse, except in the case of the holed paddle, the original, oblong model was known as a Spencer paddle), which causes the victim to blister much faster (these holes may be beveled to reduce the chances of blistering).
- Furthermore a long model (including the handle) increases the leverage and hence the force applied on the punished skin. While a big blade looks frightening, it spreads the force over a larger surface, and so with equal weight it would hit less intensely. A narrow shape can be more cane-like, to concentrate all the force of one or several consecutive blows on a single buttock or parts of it, rather than across the entire behind, to cause more intense pain and worse bruising.
- On the other hand, if the damage allowed is limited, inflicting strokes less intensely allows prolonging the duration of the ordeal of the paddling, as to work over different parts of the butt; prolongation is also possible by pausing, which has the added effect of causing the victim to suffer further mentally (and ponder the offense being punished) while having to wait for the next painful installment.
- However the term paddle is sometimes used for devices of similar dimensions in other materials, often more flexible (even leather), which are therefore generally better called strap etcetera.
- As there is quite a market for paddles in regions where paddlings are still (or again) administered in hazing or education and in family households, as well as in erotic spanking, there are companies which cater for one or more of these markets, often in combination with other items (disciplinarian or not), for fraternity/sorority, home, and erotic use, but most of the terms and names these use are rather arbitrary. There are also various roadside and resort novelty shops that sell paddles (small and large); these are often decorated with humorous motifs and instructions such as "Board of Education," "Heat for the Seat," "How to Paddle Your Wife" and "Frontier Tail-blazer."
- Very similar, though usually not named paddle, can be the wooden 'sword' (often bamboo and usually flattened; otherwise it is rather a cane) used for corporal discipline, mainly on the buttocks, but also on the hands, in the Far East, such as the Japanese shinai (used to train fencing in martial arts), which is common practice in popular, expensive private 'after hours' schools (see ).
Scope of use
It is commonly used in the (mainly Southern and rural) United States as a method of spanking
(see that article; i.e. physical punishment
on the buttocks), called paddling
after it (the corresponding verb is to paddle
), especially on children by school educators. (see also cobbing
) It is not infrequently found and used in homes to punish children.
Fiction often gives the impression that official corporal punishments (court sentences and additional prison discipline) were generally applied to the back and/or clothed, but in fact in many legal and cultural traditions the bare buttocks were and are more often beaten, even publicly, with a variety of instruments, whip
- and multi thong-types as well as wooden implements, including the notorious cane
, but also flatter, solid ones that fit the description of a paddle (regardless what name is used, e.g. 'sword'), as shown on this CorPun photo from China circa 1900.
- Some school traditions enforce(d) rules by paddling offenders. In the University of Missouri until World War II, , any freshman found on the 'quad', the most prestigious square on campus, had to offer his 'insolent' posterior for punishment along a paddle line formed by swatting seniors.
- Fraternities and sororities are commonly associated with paddling of members, especially new members or pledges. Due to modern hazing laws and anti-hazing regulations by Greek organizations this has declined. Paddles are still made for decoration and recognition, and can be very ornate, as they are most often used as gifts.
Other play and traditions
Of course the paddle is also a favorite implement for non-disciplinary spankings, as is often the case with paddle games
(such as trading blows
) or a paddle machine
or spanking pyramid.
Paddling also played a role in a gag on the U.S. television sitcom Arrested Development.
Paddling as academic Punishment in U. S. Schools
The paddle is the almost invariable implement in US schools that still allow corporal punishment. Typically, with two or more administrators present, the student is told to bend over and receives the prescribed number of strokes (often called licks, swats, pops or whacks) of the paddle, normally in an office, but sometimes in a hallway. In the vast majority of cases the punishment is delivered across the seat of the student's normal trousers or jeans; it would be unthinkable nowadays for the student to be required to lower these, though that might have happened in some places in the past.
Most urban public school systems in the United States have banned all forms of corporal punishment. Statistics collected by the federal authorities show that the use of the paddle has been declining consistently, in all states where it is used, over at least the past 20 years.
Some private schools, again mostly in the South, also still use corporal punishment, especially Christian schools, "historically black" schools and some military-style boarding schools.
As of 2007, 23 states allow corporal punishment in schools and approximately 350,000 cases of physical punishment are reported in schools each year. Statistics show that black and Hispanic students are more likely to be paddled than white students, possibly because minority-race parents are more inclined to approve of it. Male students receive about 75 to 85% of all corporal punishment, probably because male students commit more offenses (they also tend to receive the majority proportion of other kinds of punishments, so it is not necessarily a case of gender discrimination in the treatment of equivalent misbehavior).
Through the 1970s, paddling in public U.S. high schools was primarily administered to boys. Since that time, some public high schools that use paddling have converted to a "voluntary" system in which all students, regardless of gender, may choose paddling or some alternative punishment like detention. (Parents are also often given the option of opting out of corporal punishment by informing the school that their child may not be paddled.) Under this approach, students choose between a pre-determined number of swats or the alternative punishment. For example, a student with a third tardy may choose a 3-lick paddling or 3 hours of Saturday detention. Under this approach, gender differences in the number of paddlings have diminished, with the highest rate occurring in boys in 9th grade and in girls in the 12th grade.
Over the years, corporal punishment in schools has changed significantly. Formerly, it was common for paddlings to occur all the way through high school in a fairly public place, such as the school hallway, where anyone passing by might witness a student or a group of students being paddled. It was common practice for teachers, administrators or coaches to spontaneously settle discipline problems with a quick paddling, the student being told to bend over and grab his (or her) ankles. The practice of obtaining another teacher or administrator as a witness grew in the 1970s and is now required by most public school districts allowing corporal punishment. Also, the number of swats allowed has gone down over the years, with most schools allowing only up to three (a few schools still allow five or more licks), and documentation of the paddling and procedures regarding the paddling itself have become significantly more rigid by administrators in American schools.
In areas where paddling still occurs, most public high schools in the southern and midwestern U.S. now require the student to assume a bent-over position in a secluded office, with his or her hands placed against a wall or on a desk or chair. This position provides support should the student tend to fall forward with the impact of a swat, as well as ensuring that he or she does not attempt to reach back and cover or shield the buttocks with his or her hands during the paddling, which could be inadvertently struck as a result. There are often regulation sized paddles, mostly made of wood. In areas with a school paddling culture, for high-school boys there is sometimes a semi-jocular attitude of bravado towards receiving a paddling, especially if more than one boy is being paddled. It is not unknown for coaches or teachers to allow a paddled student to sign the paddle right after it was used on them.
Opponents of school paddling sometimes assert that this form of punishment has a sexual aspect. It is a poorly kept secret that junior and student teachers in high schools that use corporal punishment frequently receive "sample" paddlings to "know what the punishment is like" or for some other rationale such as a "birthday spanking." Such punishment are said to typically be applied to the bare buttocks, giving rise to the argument that paddling is a form of sexual hanky-panky
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