This is the relevant reference from the Books where Walk the Platform is mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
"Send that one to the platform!" cried out a farmer, indicating Gunnhild.
"To the platform!" roared Ivar Forkbeard.
He tore away her kirtle. Soon she, barefoot, was climbing the wooden steps to the platform.
This is a wooden walkway, about five feet wide and one hundred feet long. On the walkway, back and forth, smiling, looking one way then the other, turning about, parade stripped bond-maids. They are not for sale, though many are sold from the platform. The platform is instituted for the pleasure of the free men. It is not unanalogous to the talmit competitions, though no talmit is awarded. There are judges, usually minor Jarls and slavers. No judge, incidentally, is female. No female is regarded as competent to judge a female's beauty; only a man, it is said, can do that.
"Smile, you she-sleen!" roared the Forkbeard.
Gunnhild smiled, and walked.
No free woman, of course, would even think of entering such a contest. All who walk on such a platform are slave girls.
At last only Gunnhild and the "silk girl", she who had worn earrings, walked on the platform.
And it was Gunnhild who was thrown the pastry, to the delight of the crowds, shouting, pounding their spear blades on their wooden shields.
"Who owns her?" called the chief judge.
"I do!" called the Forkbeard.
He was given a silver tarn disk as prize.
Many were the bids on Gunnhild, shouted from the crowd, but the Forkbeard waved such offers aside. The man laughed. Clearly he wanted the wench for his own furs. Gunnhild was very proud.
"Kirtle yourself, wench," said the Forkbeard to Gunnhild, throwing her, her kirtle. She fixed it as it had been before, low on her hips, hitched above her calves.
At the foot of the steps leading down from the platform, the Forkbeard stopped, and bowed low. I, too, bowed. The slave girls fell to their knees, heads down, Gunnhild with them.
"How shameful!" said the free woman, sternly.
The slave girls groveled at her feet. Slave girls fear free women muchly. It is almost as if there were some unspoken war between them, almost as if they might be mortal enemies. In such a war, or such an enmity, of course, the slave girl is completely at the mercy of the free person; she is only slave. One of the great fears of a slave girl is that she will be sold to a woman. Free women treat their female slaves with incredible hatred and cruelty. Why this is I do not know. Some say it is because they, the free women, envy the girls their collars and wish that they, too, were collared, and at the complete mercy of masters.
Free women view the platform with stern disapproval; on it, female beauty is displayed for the inspection of men; this, for some reason, outrages them; perhaps they are furious because they cannot display their own beauty, or that they are not themselves as beautiful as women found fit, by lusty men with discerning eyes, for slavery; it is difficult to know what the truth is in such matters; these matters are further complicated, particularly in the north, by the conviction among free women that free women are above such things as sex, and that only low and loose girls, and slaves, are interested in such matters; free women of the north regard themselves as superior to sex; many are frigid, at least until carried off and collared; they often insist that, even when they have faces and figures that drive men wild, that it is their mind on which he must concentrate his attentions; some free men, to their misery, and the perhaps surprising irritation of the female, attempt to comply with this imperative; they are fools enough to believe what such women claim is the truth about themselves; they should listen instead to the dreams and fantasies of women, and recall, for their instruction, the responses of a free woman, once collared, squirming in the chains of a bond-maid. These teach us truths which many women dare not speak and which, by others, are denied, interestingly, with a most psychologically revealing hysteria and vehemence. "No woman," it is said, "knows truly what she is until she has worn the collar." Some free women apparently fear sex because they feel it lowers the woman. This is quite correct. In few, if any, human relationships is there perfect equality. The subtle tensions of dominance and submission, universal in the animal world, remain ineradicably in our blood; they may be thwarted and frustrated but, thwarted and frustrated, they will remain. It is the nature of the male, among the mammals, to dominate, that of the female to submit. The fact that humans have minds does not cancel the truths of the blood, but permits their enrichment and enhancement, their expression in physical and psychological ecstasies far beyond the reach of simpler organisms; the female slave submits to her master in a thousand dimensions, in each of which she is his slave, in each of which he dominates her.
"Shameful!" cried the free woman.
In the lowering of the woman, of course, a common consequence of her helplessness in the arms of a powerful male, her surrenderings, her being forced to submit, she finds, incredibly to some perhaps, her freedom, her ecstasy, her fulfillment, her exaltation, her joy; in the Gorean mind this matter is simple; it is the nature of the female to submit; accordingly, it is natural that, when she is forced to acknowledge, accept, express and reveal this nature, that she should be almost deliriously joyful, and thankful, to her master; she has been taught her womanhood; no longer is she a sexless, competitive pseudoman; she is then, as she was not before, female; she then finds herself, perhaps for the first time, clearly differentiated from the male, and vulnerably, joyfully, complementary to him; she has, of course, no choice in this matter; it is not permitted her; collared, she submits; I know of no group of women as joyful, as spontaneous, as loving and vital, as healthy and beautiful, as excited, as free in their delights and emotions, as Gorean slave girls; it is true they must live under the will of men, and must fear them, and the lash of their whips, but, in spite of these things, they walk with a sensuous beauty and pride; they know themselves owned; but they wear their collars with a shameless audacity, a joy, an insolent pride that would scandalize and frighten the bored, depressed, frustrated women of Earth.
"I do not approve of the platform," said the free woman, coldly.
Forkbeard did not respond to her, but regarded her with great deference.
"These females," she said, indicating the Forkbeard's girls, who knelt at her feet, their heads to the turf, "could be better employed on your farm, dunging fields and making butter."
The free woman was a tall woman, large. She wore a great cape of fur, of white sea-sleen, thrown back to reveal the whiteness of her arms. Her kirtle was of the finest wool of Ar, dyed scarlet, with black trimmings. She wore two brooches, both carved of the horn of kailiauk, mounted in gold. At her waist she wore a jeweled scabbard, protruding from which I saw the ornamented, twisted blade of a Turian dagger; free women in Torvaldsland commonly carry a knife; at her belt, too, hung her scissors, and a ring of many keys, indicating that her hall contained many chests or doors; her hair was worn high, wrapped about a comb, matching the brooches, of the horn of kailiauk; the fact that her hair was worn dressed indicated that she stood in companionship; the number of keys, together with the scissors, indicated that she was mistress of a great house. She had gray eyes; her hair was dark; her face was cold, and harsh.
"But I am of Ax Glacier," said the Forkbeard. In Ax Glacier country, of course, there were no farms, and there were no verr or bosk, there being insufficient grazing. Accordingly there would be little field dunging to be done, there being no fields in the first place and no dung in the second; too, due to the absence of verr or bosk, butter would be in scarce supply.
The free woman, I could see, was not much pleased with the Forkbeard's response.
"Thorgeir, is it not?" she asked.
"Thorgeir of Ax Glacier," said the Forkbeard, bowing.
"And what," asked she, "would one of Ax Glacier need with all these miserable slaves?" She indicated the kneeling girls of Forkbeard.
"In Ax Glacier country," said the Forkbeard, with great seriousness, "the night is six months long."
"I see," smiled the woman. Then she said, "You have won talmits, have you not, Thorgeir of Ax Glacier?"
"Six," said he, "Lady."
"Before you claim them," she said, "I would recommend that you recall your true name."
Her recommendation did not much please me.
She lifted the hem of her kirtle of scarlet wool about the ankles of her black shoes and turned away. She looked back, briefly, once. She indicated the kneeling slaves. "Kirtle their shame," she said. Then strode away, followed by several men-at-arms.
"Kirtle your shame!" cried the Forkbeard.
His girls, quickly, frightened, tears in their eyes, drew about them as well as they could their kirtles. They covered, as well as they could, their bodies, having been shamed by the free woman. It is a common practice of free women, for some reason, to attempt to make female slave ashamed of her body.
"Who was that?" I asked.
"Bera," said he, "companion of Svein Blue Tooth."
My heart sank.
"He should put her in a collar," said the Forkbeard. I was scandalized at the very thought.
"She needs the whip," he said. Then he looked at his girls. "What have you done?" he asked. "Drop your kirtles, and hitch them up!"
Laughing, once more proud of their bodies, the girls of the Forkbeard insolently slung their kirtles low on their hips, and hitched them high over their calves, even half way up their delightful thighs.
Then, we again continued on our way, leaving the place of the platform, the place of Gunnhild's triumph, where she had received a pastry, and where her master, the Forkbeard, had made a silver tarn disk on her beauty. She gave the other girls crumbs of the pastry and permitted Dagmar, who was to be sold off, to lick frosting from her fingers.