In the nineteenth century, a governess was a woman who was hired to educate the children of a middle- or upper-class family. Her job was less focused on childcare (which was the job of a nurserymaid or nanny), and more on teaching. Governessing was one of the very few "respectable" jobs open to women of "genteel" origins whose families had become impoverished, and governesses had an equivocal and dubious status within the social class hierarchy.
The traditional role of a governess is perceived as a female authority figure to children within their own home but with particular emphasis on teaching the children how to behave correctly. Thus the female dominant would take the role of governess and the submissive, male or female, would take the role of child. This activity would be likely to include such activities as strict instruction, school work and discipline such as humiliation and corporal punishment.
An authentic setting of this roleplay would be in Victorian England.
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