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A World without the Patriarchy

Queshire

Auror
*cough* Well, they're all from the series Eden's Zero. Don't get me wrong, the series has a lot going for it. That aspect is just... so noticeable if you're aware of it.
 

pmmg

Vala
Again, you're joining the masses in equating male with strong and female with weak.

I have done no such thing. I have made no comment about how I equate the two. But I do agree, that we are not likely to agree on the patriarchy and sexism in the world, which is not the same as fantasy worlds, but I think they tend to try to stay true to what is true in the world in which we all live.

An example of this is rape and intimate partner violence. We know that sexism heavily drives both of those crimes in our world (of course they do happen along the lines of other gender dynamics, but primarily speaking). In a world built specifically to be sexism free, both a young woman and a young man could walk down a dark street at night with much more equal amounts of trepidation. A woman in a heterosexual relationship would have just as little fear of violence by her partner as a man would. I guess it's tiring to see dynamics to the contrary of this show up readily in fantasy stories.

I'd have to ask, what would be the factor that is equalizing them? Why would fear increase for one, or decrease for the other? Whether you know it or not, men do not walk down alleys without fear. Men always live in the perpetual tension of violence, and if they do stupid things, they get stupid prizes. What would be required to make it happen that they would have the same confidence and interaction in an alley or in a domestic situation?

I guess I would say, if you want pure equality, they would have to have the same attributes, which men and women do not have, and even people compared to other people do not have.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
I wouldn't call it a tug of war. An oversight perhaps? Or a blind spot?

Now, when I was a little baby Que the standard after school cartoon on. DBZ, Pokemon, BLEACH, Naruto and One Piece were formative in my youth. Each of these has prominent female characters, most of them have female characters in positions of expertise and authority and each has a power system (or the equivalent of a power system in Pokemon) that should largely make strength differences between sexes meaningless. Yet if you look at the main protagonist teams of each there's a noticeable trend in who generally gets what sort of plot beats. Yes, of course the primary target audience for them consists of young boys, but it gets a bit tiring when you start a new manga series and the main female character winds restrained by tentacles, threatened to be turned into a naked stone statue by the arc's villain or whose big dramatic legendary power is the ability to jump back in time so that she can save the actual fighters instead of something more suited towards directly solving the problem at hand. *cough*Eden's Zero*cough*Eden's Zero*cough*Eden's Zero*cough*Yes, all three examples are from the same series.*cough*
And now we come to the next interesting bit. It wasn't like that when I was a kid here in Sweden. Those sorts of TV-series didn't get shown here. This is why I'm gently trying to widen the discussion because this is one of those issues where our cultural biases start to show through.
 

Queshire

Auror
I mean... we're writers. Are we really so uninventive that we can't engage with Jasnah and where they're coming from just because it doesn't match up with our personal experiences?
 
I'd have to ask, what would be the factor that is equalizing them? Why would fear increase for one, or decrease for the other? Whether you know it or not, men do not walk down alleys without fear. Men always live in the perpetual tension of violence, and if they do stupid things, they get stupid prizes. What would be required to make it happen that they would have the same confidence and interaction in an alley or in a domestic situation?
Of course violence exists, a dark alley presents a threat to almost anyone. But there is an increased threat for women purely because of being a woman.

"They" meaning women?
 

Mad Swede

Maester
Really I'm just trying to have a discussion, not prove a point, but I feel more than a bit set back by the replies.

It's more seeing the power struggle between male and female in our world reflected in fantasy worlds and having it be normalized there as well.

An example of this is rape and intimate partner violence. We know that sexism heavily drives both of those crimes in our world (of course they do happen along the lines of other gender dynamics, but primarily speaking). In a world built specifically to be sexism free, both a young woman and a young man could walk down a dark street at night with much more equal amounts of trepidation. A woman in a heterosexual relationship would have just as little fear of violence by her partner as a man would. I guess it's tiring to see dynamics to the contrary of this show up readily in fantasy stories.

But I do believe there has been a lot of digression, and I think maybe this thread has lost the entirety of its point.
Well, that was why I suggested that this is about your characters and your setting. Yes, a setting which was sexism free might have less rape and intimate partner violence, but that doesn't mean the place would be less violent. Your young people might still walk down the street in trepidation. But the violence might then be about other aspects of society and it's structures and it might be interesting to explore that in a novel.

My personal experience (admittedly from some fairly unpleasant conflicts around the world) is that men and women can be equally as bad as each other when it comes to using violence against others. I've heard a woman say that another woman had deserved to be raped because she came from the "wrong" ethnic group. At that point rape isn't just about sexism, it's also about the use of power to suppress another group.

So in my view there's nothing wrong with the sort of story you're writing. It's just that the bitter and cynical part of me born of experience suggests that your non-CIS non-male characters should also have the opportunity to be truly unpleasant to their compatriots
 

Queshire

Auror
Ahem, apologies to anyone who's seen my previous one line post. That was unduly snippy of me. On a hopefully more positive note, it has generally been my personal experience that seeing works that feature experiences vastly different from my own can be incredibly useful as a source of inspiration and to potentially highlight blind spots in my own work. It is the nature of writers to take from a thousand different inspirations and smoosh them together to make our work. Seeing such works can readily supply more toys for the toy box, and I'm not sure how you can argue that's a bad thing.
 

pmmg

Vala
You're all good Quesh.

But there is an increased threat for women purely because of being a woman.


I am not sure that claim is true.

But the question I ask comes back to plausibility. If a man and a woman remain unequal in physicality then what would have to happen for them to both walk down an alley and have equal fear of the other? (or no fear at all...as the case may be?) The only thing I can think of is an attitude from the one more likely to commit violence against the other. Without some other mechanism other than attitude, the inequality will continue the relate to differences between gender, which develop into one being more afraid in some situations than the other. I don't think I can simply wave a wand and say its all equal and now they are the same. The un-equal parts of them go back to the organic way these physicality's shape gender roles over time and lead to story day circumstances.

So, you can write a story where all the people are equal, and the women are all king, but its not likely to stand up to scrutiny. Maybe it will, but I suspect the harder it is to pass scrutiny, the smaller the accepting audience becomes. Which is just about what do you want?

Stories will stand on their own merits, right. I just saw the movie Princess which was entirely BS, but I enjoyed it. Sometimes this will pass and sometimes it wont. If someone wants to argue that Princess is real and how dare I question it, i'm gonna pull out that scrutiny meter again.
 
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pmmg

Vala
Along these lines. I see the Queen of England just passed. She been the only Monarch in England all my life. Rest in peace and a happy afterlife to her.
 
So I think this conversation is tattooing into house sexism plays out in our world. I'm not sure that this is an appropriate space for education or that you're really wanting that out of this conversation, but I will say that it's not so much about man being naturally more aggressive as it is that it is more socially acceptable for women to be aggressed upon. I think it's an insult to men to just chalk it up to testosterone or to say that being male means physical dominance is important. It's a socialized behavior, and if you can socialize it then you can socialize it.

But anyway, agree to disagree maybe for now.

And yes, I just saw that. She really was a legend and an icon.
 
Ahem, apologies to anyone who's seen my previous one line post. That was unduly snippy of me. On a hopefully more positive note, it has generally been my personal experience that seeing works that feature experiences vastly different from my own can be incredibly useful as a source of inspiration and to potentially highlight blind spots in my own work. It is the nature of writers to take from a thousand different inspirations and smoosh them together to make our work. Seeing such works can readily supply more toys for the toy box, and I'm not sure how you can argue that's a bad thing.
And I think exploration of the blind spot was really what I was going for, but it's been a little convoluted, as I probably should have expected 🙂 I appreciate your reflections
 

pmmg

Vala
Well, in answering the question: 'I would love to hear more about others process in leveling the gender-based playing field'.

I don't think the field is unlevel, I think men and women have equal tools, that make them equally powerful, they are just different (<--that is my opinion on equating them). But I don't think it helps to artificially construct a more direct equality (such as each approaches all circumstance, like the alley, with the same degree of fear), it will make the story ring untrue. I don't need women to be king to be powerful. They are powerful because of who they are, regardless of who sits where in some nation.

I think, and I accept that there will be stories that prove an exception, stories where the genders are more prominently on under the lens, will do better, and have more impact, from a place that rings with more truth of circumstance than beginning with 'they are all equal'. Because to begin there brings up the questions of why and how?
 
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Queshire

Auror
You say plausibility. I say willing suspension of disbelief. Creators have a wide variety of tools to play around with how much willing suspension something costs. One such example is using a classic archetypical character to set up an inversion of that character such as, say, a Disney princess, that Winnie the Pooh horror film or the variety of evil Supermen that have popped up over the years. As another example, by intentionally setting up a clash (for example having an Orc adventurer retire and open up a coffee shop) you can prime the audience to expect something different.

Those are only some of the more obvious examples, but there's a question about whether such efforts are needed in the first place. You're not trying to please everyone in the first place and different people will find certain things more or less believable anyways. Clearly I think it's safe to say that I'm more likely to find a society where people are just fine with that stuff believable than pmmg here.
 

pmmg

Vala
You say plausibility. I say willing suspension of disbelief.

Totally fair. Others are surely more willing to suspend their disbelief than I, but that also comes in degrees.

I would return to my comment: The harder it is to pass scrutiny (or get the reader to suspend disbelief), the smaller the accepting audience becomes. Which is just about what do you want?
 

Queshire

Auror
*shrug* That's all relative. What level of success does any author want? Sure we all want to be the next big thing, but we gotta temper our expectations. I mean, there's a webcomic I could link you right now that has a setting that's a lot like what Jasnah wants. It'll have been posting regular updates for seven years come October. True, I don't know what the creator's personal financial situation is like, but that kind of regularity rather suggests that they're doing alright.
 
Well, the reason I asked the question about what Jasnah meant by the patriarchy is because to me this is about world building. To me it isn't enough to say that I want to have a more level gender-based playing field. I have to think through what that would mean. It's people who misuse power, not a gender. It's people who mistreat others.

True: but patriarchy makes it possible for power to be misused by certain genders in certain ways.

In a non-patriarchal society, would there be powerful businessmen and (male) political leaders and religious leaders who commit everything from sexual harassment to rape for decades and get away with it, their victims disbelieved and harassed if they dare to speak up, and usually intimidated out of speaking up in the first place? That's a particularly male and patriarchal form of abuse. As is most domestic violence.

Now, if we were looking at a mere gender reversal - take all the trappings of patriarchy and change which gender has the privilege - then we'd see a society where those kinds of abuses are still being committed, only by women. (And that's not to say women don't ever commit abuse as it is, but when they do it usually looks different, and the dynamics involved are certainly different.)

I've run across that question in my own worldbuilding. I'm playing with a world where a case could be made that gender equality exists, although I'm not sure whether it really is complete gender equality, or just patriarchy with a very soft touch... or perhaps matriarchy with a soft touch. And yet some of the stories emerging include men who act like jerks in the particular way that patriarchy gives men permission to act like jerks. Coming from a place of entitlement. Believing, if subtly, that they deserve more because they're men. Which wouldn't be possible if there were no patriarchy at all.
 

pmmg

Vala
Well...in a world with 4 billion people, one can gain quite a large following with only a small percent of them. So, it can have great commercial success. And for that, more power to them.

The OP started us off with sexism in fantasy worlds. internalized misogyny, and how do we level the playing field? I read in that, my social responsibility to create some type of change (maybe that is off base). But to me, implied is something beyond commercial success. To answer in a way she wants, I have to accept that frame, which I find questionable.

But regardless of whether we share similar values or see eye to eye on issues, I would still argue, for her benefit, that if you include things in the story which make it hard to suspend disbelief, you will not have the success you want. That oft times means something is not ringing true. And when trying to take on hot button issues, its easy to overplay it.

Anyway, I've been too much hot air for a while. I'll let others do their thing, and give this one a break.
 

Queshire

Auror
A post on a writing site in a forum for writing questions which mentions a struggle to achieve something in their writing and inquiring about how others resolved that problem in their writing is a call to action outside of that writing? It rather seems likely that there's a misunderstanding at play here.
 
The OP started us off with sexism in fantasy worlds. internalized misogyny, and how do we level the playing field? I read in that, my social responsibility to create some type of change (maybe that is off base).

It can also be socially responsible to examine sexism and misogyny in fiction. Even to take it to the extreme. The Handmaid's Tale was written from a place of social consciousness, and it's quite extreme.

And fantasy writers don't always have to be socially responsible. We can just tell a story where things are what they are.
 
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