This is one of those debates that has happened from I am sure the dawn of the BDSM community. So I am not sure many will be surprised as I have written about it before, but Submission is NOT a gift to me.
I often feel we wrap things in neat little slogans and one liners to help people deal with us. Such as if we say to a vanilla person - "we only submit to those worthy of my gift" - that maybe it will make them not look at us like we aren't freaks. Or maybe we do it to not scare the new people entering the community....like "okay you need to understand your submission is a gift and you give it to only those d-type worthy." I really don't think saying it is helping anyone.
"Submission is a gift" also seems that it is a very romanticized version of D/s. Just like with the new person...saying that "my d-type is worthy of my gift and he cherishes me and I kneel at his feet with adoration" is very nice idea for some. But you know what I get from bdsm isn't coming from kneeling or Master treating me like a precious gift. I would prefer he knock me down and wipe his feet on me thank you very much - that is my idea of romance. So submission as a gift doesn't really work for me.
Some reasons why I don't believe submission is a gift:
* As with most things - I start with a dictionary. I enjoy what actual definitions of words can do to perspective. So the word "gift" means: a thing given willingly to someone without payment, something acquired without compensation and a natural ability or talent. I don't expect payment or compensation from Master when I submit, but reality is I get things from submitting to Master. I feel more centered - more myself and more aligned with who I am when I submit so I am getting a compensation of submission. So by that definition submission isn't a gift as I get something in return. Also I often think why I read that definition it means Master gets this gift and he does nothing, but receive it. As a gift means you aren't getting compensation so with nothing to do in return so he can just sit there and receive the gift, right? But again reality is that he isn't just sitting there receiving. He is controlling. He is my ultimate authority and obviously he does things that compel me to submit. He has done things to enslave me also. So again submission isn't a gift.
* I have heard that submission is the best gift you can give a dominant. But again my reality dictates that isn't the best gift. I don't think submitting is a gift - it is a quality you have and out of all the qualities that go into my M/s relationship - I am still not sure submitting is the top of the list. Surrender might be up there. Obedience. Dedication. Determination and enthusiasm. How about the many varied skills I can offer in service to help enhance Master's life. Trust, honesty, openness and loyalty are pretty good qualities to have also. I have much more than submission to offer to a relationship.
* In terms of slavery -- gift implies choice to me and I don't have a choice. I submit because I am owned.
* I think calling it the gift of submission makes it seem more important than what the dominant does in the relationship. And of course that isn't true. A relationship takes all parties being involved in it to make it work.
* Flowers are a gift. Chocolates are a gift. There are many wonderful gifts out there. Giving flowers and chocolates means seeing the person smile and feeling good about it. It is a pretty package. Submission isn't always fun or pretty. It isn't always something I enjoy. It is something that is a part of my relationship and overall fulfills me, but sometimes it isn't fun or pretty.
* Again a gift to me implies giving something that is in a pretty package and I struggle. I don't always do it willingly or freely - I do it because it is my duty as his slave. I am human and I struggle with submission at times so not much of a gift when giving it with that associated with it.
* If submission is a gift and you have limits and want to negotiate than is that a gift with strings? So really doesn't fit the definition of gift. Also when a gift is given, the receiver of said gift owns the gift then and can do what they want with it. Because giving a gift means giving ownership of that to another person completely. My Aunt gave me an sweater that doesn't fit and I gave it to goodwill. It was my right as she gave me that gift - I now own it and can do with it what I like. I can appreciate that she gave me a gift and like it that she was kind and thoughtful without "cherishing the sweater." So to me giving a gift of submission can imply that the person you are giving it to now owns it and really not everyone wants to be in an O/p type relationship.
* I have also heard the gift is really trust and love so that you can submit to the "one." Many many years ago I had a friend that was owned and lived several hours away from me. I didn't really know her Owner well, but just the bits and pieces I had heard about him through her and various other people in their local community. And although she was always talking very respectfully of him - I wasn't impressed with what I heard of him. In order to visit her though, he asked me to be in service to his house while staying with him. He wanted me to submit to him while staying in house and visiting her. Well I didn't know him that well - so trust had not been built. I didn't love him. In fact I was feeling a little annoyed towards him, but I wanted to see my friend so I told him I would submit. And I did. So my point is you don't always need trust and love to submit. I did find that time of submitting to him very fulfilling for me, but I didn't need trust or love or tell him my submission was a gift. I felt compelled to submit and did.
* I enjoy submitting and why can't we just admit that and use common sense in who we submit too. I guess I just feel sometimes that phrase submission is a gift allows the person using as a way to get out of personal responsibility So they can blame the dominant for things not going right....."well he didn't cherish my gift" or "he didn't deserve my gift." Instead of saying "hey I fucked up and didn't really think about if I was compatible with this person." It just seems like a way to get out of taking responsibility for our own lives. We are submissive doesn't mean we can't make rational decisions and be clear on what we want and need in a relationship.
I don't need submission to be a gift. I need to be clear in who I am and find the person that matches those qualities. And I am lucky to say I did in Master.