• Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us!

A World without the Patriarchy

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.

It's both. A woman saying another woman deserves to be raped is speaking from internalized sexism.

That's not to say it's not also about ethnicity and other -isms.

I agree that lack of patriarchy would not mean lack of violence, although it might change who uses violence, in what ways, under what circumstances. Women can be physically aggressive if given permission to be. There are also non-physical ways to be violent. Perhaps a non-patriarchal (or less patriarchal) society would see more verbal violence. Which also exists and is so subtle it's often missed.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
The question about patriarchy is historically valid. The term itself is not sufficient to cover the whole range of societal arrangements, so it's appropriate to ask for details. The term simply means rule by the fathers; i.e., by males. So what does ruling mean here? Are we talking social conventions, law, systemic factors, economic rule (and note "rule" is not the same thing as "power"), and so on. It's a really broad panoply. If I'm going to take this on as a foundation stone in my world-building, I need to be both clear and detailed as to what that means.

One of the questions I've asked myself is, what does X mean (where X could mean patriarchy but could entail other things as well or instead) ... what does X mean with regard to elves, dwarves, humans, ogres, orcs, and so on? That is, does it play out exactly the same across peoples? Across the centuries? Or maybe I only need to sort it for my current story.

All of that matters when one is considering world building. It's not like we get to answer this once and we're done.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
>sexism free
And then there's this. I admit I just grabbed the most convenient phrase, but the issue was raised by the OP more than once (which is great!). It's again about thinking through the implications.

The general topic would be equality (here, between the sexes, but I think it runs to other topics). Closely related is power, authority, and their cognates--which is where the subject line comes in. There could, for example, be theoretical equality between the sexes before the law, yet be egregious misogyny inside the home. Or in the workplace. There could be *political* equality, which is really all the initial term speaks to--rule by the fathers. That's the glass ceiling phenomenon, where in theory anyone can rule, but in practice only men hold the top positions.

So, it's great to have a discussion here, but it is even greater to sort out what is being discussed. And I'll go a step further. It's one thing to have a general discussion (which I'd argue has only marginal benefit here, because there are numerous platforms for such general discussions), and quite another to ask what a discussion of patriarchy can bring to the writer of a fantasy story. That, imo, is entirely appropriate for this forum. And I *think* it's what the OP was asking. I'm not sure if the question was specific to their story or if they were asking about fantasy writing more generally (there, surely the discussion would take different turns depending on the sub-genre).

Anyway, while I hope the OP is not too much dismayed by the tone of some of the posts, it does seem to be par for the course. I've seen similar spikes in temperature from general reddit threads all the way over to scholary discussions on listserv. There is something to be said for learning how to dodge bullets.
 

Miles Lacey

Maester
As one of the few people who doesn't live in Europe or North America lurking on these forums I would suggest that reading some anthropology books and maybe even some history books that don't just focus on North American, European and northeast Asian history would be a good idea. Many notions about gender roles are, in fact, nothing to do with any natural order of things but are largely cultural, religious and societal constructs.

Take combat for example. In Europe the overwhelming majority of the soldiers were male and most of them were foot soldiers. As a result, the weapons and other equipment they carried were made specifically for use by such soldiers. The English longbow was heavy and intended for foot soldiers who had considerable upper body strength to use it.

In Mongol society the vast majority of people were nomadic. The survival of nomadic clans depended upon everyone being able to hunt, fish and fight. Men, women and children were all expected to learn horseback archery from a very young age. Bows needed to be light. The fact they were light meant they could be used by just about anyone, not just men.

On the nurturing side of things the role of nurturing traditionally fell to women in European society but among Australian Aborigines and in many Pacific Island cultures the role was spread equally among all the genders. To a large extent this was because of the belief that raising children was a collective responsibility, not just the responsibility of the immediate or extended family - or females.

Abolishing patriarchy changes nothing when it comes to things like rape or other sex crimes. As long as society has a pecking order which treats one group as being superior to another the group at the bottom end of that pecking order will be seen as property or worthless human garbage with whom the ruling group (and other groups further up the pecking order than the ones at the bottom) can treat as they see fit.

When writing fantasy that involves creating a non-patriarchal society you need to work out what type of hierarchy will take its place and work out potential areas of abuse and conflict. In my work in progress the concept of matriarchy or patriarchy simply does not exist in the world I've created. Rather, it's age and merit that determines a person's position in society. My main character is a female youth of mixed race. Her mixed race heritage and age puts her at the lower end of society's pecking order, not her gender.
 
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.
I think this is all really worth exploring. I think it's more normal to see women rising up against the patriarchy, and also even that reversal of matriarchal societies.

So what are some of the things you put in place to eliminate or soften sexual oppression in that world you're talking about?
 
>sexism free
And then there's this. I admit I just grabbed the most convenient phrase, but the issue was raised by the OP more than once (which is great!). It's again about thinking through the implications.

The general topic would be equality (here, between the sexes, but I think it runs to other topics). Closely related is power, authority, and their cognates--which is where the subject line comes in. There could, for example, be theoretical equality between the sexes before the law, yet be egregious misogyny inside the home. Or in the workplace. There could be *political* equality, which is really all the initial term speaks to--rule by the fathers. That's the glass ceiling phenomenon, where in theory anyone can rule, but in practice only men hold the top positions.

So, it's great to have a discussion here, but it is even greater to sort out what is being discussed. And I'll go a step further. It's one thing to have a general discussion (which I'd argue has only marginal benefit here, because there are numerous platforms for such general discussions), and quite another to ask what a discussion of patriarchy can bring to the writer of a fantasy story. That, imo, is entirely appropriate for this forum. And I *think* it's what the OP was asking. I'm not sure if the question was specific to their story or if they were asking about fantasy writing more generally (there, surely the discussion would take different turns depending on the sub-genre).

Anyway, while I hope the OP is not too much dismayed by the tone of some of the posts, it does seem to be par for the course. I've seen similar spikes in temperature from general reddit threads all the way over to scholary discussions on listserv. There is something to be said for learning how to dodge bullets.
To be fair, I don't think I presented my question very well. I appreciate the rephrasing. It's something I do think a lot about, with my story as the most recent vehicle for this kind of thinking. I do think that as we build our own worlds, it gives us insight into how we view the world we live in. And vice versa.
 
When writing fantasy that involves creating a non-patriarchal society you need to work out what type of hierarchy will take its place and work out potential areas of abuse and conflict. In my work in progress the concept of matriarchy or patriarchy simply does not exist in the world I've created. Rather, it's age and merit that determines a person's position in society. My main character is a female youth of mixed race. Her mixed race heritage and age puts her at the lower end of society's pecking order, not her gender.
I agree! Without gender-based conflict, a lot of the conflict in my world comes from issues around immigration and othering by the current citizens of the country. Oh, and religious conflicts, with religion being used as a medium for unsavory people to gain power.
 
So what are some of the things you put in place to eliminate or soften sexual oppression in that world you're talking about?

I really just started with a story where sexual oppression wasn't there, at least not in any obvious way. Who owns land and money and other resources, who has the cultural equivalent of a high power career, can just as easily be a woman or a man. Expectations around behavior aren't that rigidly gendered either, although I'm not sure they're completely nonexistent--it just happens to be a culture where my female MC could grow up a scrappy, rather tomboyish girl and not have that looked down on or considered unfeminine. (That she's very impulsive and often not good about following rules does get her into trouble, and looked down upon some, but it's not about her being a girl acting that way, it's about her being a difficult kid.) The idea that women should be soft and men should be tough isn't really there; both sexes are allowed the full range of human characteristics. And both are expected to raise children, too. The idea that children are mainly one gender's responsibility would be a foreign concept.

And there are some non-binary characters, some of them prominent people in the society. So it's not a rigidly two gender system either.

I decided they would have a primarily matrilineal system for determining kinship and inheritance, because unlike paternity, there's never any uncertainty about maternity. I'm not sure whether that gives extra privilege to the women or simply more of a balance. Matrilineal is not the same thing as matriarchal, although where a matrilineal system exists, you probably won't see complete all encompassing patriarchy.

And reproductive choice, what there is of it, is solidly in the hands of the people who get pregnant. No one would argue with a woman taking contraceptive herbs (they work, if used right) or aborting an early pregnancy (as was the case for much of history, abortion before quickening isn't regarded as killing, and even after quickening, the main concern is that it's too dangerous to the mother. Very early abortion could be induced without much risk if you have the right herbs and know what you're doing, but later it's a lot riskier.) Or, on the flip side, taking something to facilitate conception. All of that is considered her right. Usually, the women do those things with the full knowledge of their husbands or lovers, but they don't have to have permission to and they're not required to tell.
 
I really just started with a story where sexual oppression wasn't there, at least not in any obvious way. Who owns land and money and other resources, who has the cultural equivalent of a high power career, can just as easily be a woman or a man. Expectations around behavior aren't that rigidly gendered either, although I'm not sure they're completely nonexistent--it just happens to be a culture where my female MC could grow up a scrappy, rather tomboyish girl and not have that looked down on or considered unfeminine. (That she's very impulsive and often not good about following rules does get her into trouble, and looked down upon some, but it's not about her being a girl acting that way, it's about her being a difficult kid.) The idea that women should be soft and men should be tough isn't really there; both sexes are allowed the full range of human characteristics. And both are expected to raise children, too. The idea that children are mainly one gender's responsibility would be a foreign concept.

And there are some non-binary characters, some of them prominent people in the society. So it's not a rigidly two gender system either.

I decided they would have a primarily matrilineal system for determining kinship and inheritance, because unlike paternity, there's never any uncertainty about maternity. I'm not sure whether that gives extra privilege to the women or simply more of a balance. Matrilineal is not the same thing as matriarchal, although where a matrilineal system exists, you probably won't see complete all encompassing patriarchy.

And reproductive choice, what there is of it, is solidly in the hands of the people who get pregnant. No one would argue with a woman taking contraceptive herbs (they work, if used right) or aborting an early pregnancy (as was the case for much of history, abortion before quickening isn't regarded as killing, and even after quickening, the main concern is that it's too dangerous to the mother. Very early abortion could be induced without much risk if you have the right herbs and know what you're doing, but later it's a lot riskier.) Or, on the flip side, taking something to facilitate conception. All of that is considered her right. Usually, the women do those things with the full knowledge of their husbands or lovers, but they don't have to have permission to and they're not required to tell.
This sounds very similar to my approach, especially with the lack of caveats around who gets to do what in society, especially in regards to holding power, and behavioral expectations based on gender.
 

pmmg

Istar
The question about patriarchy is historically valid. The term itself is not sufficient to cover the whole range of societal arrangements, so it's appropriate to ask for details. The term simply means rule by the fathers; i.e., by males.

I probably should have specified 'the patriarchy' is a myth. Actual patriarchies, do of course exist. Men and women have always been in a symbiotic relationship, the balance of which is negotiated constantly. The men and women are always somewhere on the sliding scale, but really its more like a thermostat, it may drift towards one of the other, but it will look to reset. Men and women have always been in the process of providing something of value to other, and to have access to it, have negotiated their own needs and acceptable sacrifices. When one looks back and sees a long string of males in kingships and the like, its not patriarchy that did that, its the result of a long organic process between men and women living in symbiotic circumstance, and finding ways to make it work. Women and Men have always been partners in all the things that matter, and should be. It may be between cultures and individuals that the sliding scale has moved one way or the other, but each has power to exert, go too far, and back it will come.

And just as 'The Patriarchy' would seem undesirable, 'the Matriarchy' would be equally so. Without recourse to using the skills that come naturally to them, these will end up rejected (IMO).

I dont think there will be a world with men and women, and it be free of gender-based strife. If such was to occur, I think it would grow to lack empathy. However, I agree, that they would just find other sources of conflict, most likely over resources, or culture, or ethnicity or some such. I think, if the community was large and diverse, it would also develop political conflicts with its own version of conservative vs liberal attitudes, and internal strife would start to cause it to fray.

However, it we could magically pull away all the strife, well Star Trek comes to mind. But star trek represents a lot of the things people would fight over being 'solved'. Food replicators and such. I think if I was to try to make a culture that was more utopian and freer of strife, I would not dive in too deep on the details, and just gloss over them. But I think I personally would not be happy with a story that did not have some degree of darkness to it, so I would not write a utopia meant to stand.
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
With this topic raging on I know this is a cop out, but I'm just going to answer the question.

Anyway, I would love to hear more about others process in leveling the gender-based playing field.

The short answer is that romance is a part of my story, so there's a Him and a Her POV. When she has the POV, characters are much more likely to be women, including many important ones.

Well, that's not really true. She's a cop - a "constable" - and I made a list of the officers, first by title, then I filled out a few characters that I already knew I wanted, then I randomized gender evenly - but then I adjusted the result a lot so that it felt right to me. Mostly the list is still full of placeholders, to be filled in as needed (with loose notes about when they might be needed). But the two characters I said I knew I wanted because they were more important to the story? Both women, one a friend, one an antagonist. I thought it would be better for my POV character that way.

But inside the story, there's a difference between the constables, who are more like detectives, and the troopsmen, who are soldiers, like cops on patrol or the city guard. All the troopsmen are men, I'll admit. They're soldiers assigned to support civilian needs, so the job is mostly taking orders while watching for crime, then filing reports, and repeating until they're transferred to take somebody else's orders. It's a weird hierarchy.

Anyways, the city and surrounding county are run by a Governor, who is elected. The king's envoy comes into the town, conducts hundreds of interviews, and selects five people of different backgrounds and opinions to run for the spot. The idea is to force new people and new ideas into the spotlight, which includes gender. So that'll be fun. I won't really get to explore that until book 3.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
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.

No, it is not particularly male. Plenty of women in positions of power behave like that too. We have a few examples of that here in Sweden, one of which is the subject of an ongoing police investigation (so no names mentioned). This is why I wrote that it is about abuse of power. No matter who is in power, there will always be a minority who abuse their position and abuse other people.

As is most domestic violence.

As is most reported domestic violence. One of the unfortunate consequences of a patriarchal society is that men cannot admit to being abused by women without being seen as soft cowardly fools. So they don't report it for fear of being even further humiliated, and so the perpetrators get away with it. For a non-violent example, consider how a "hen-pecked husband" is seen in society. Attitudes are beginning to change, but only very slowly.

This is an area I feel very strongly about, in part because of what I went through at school (if you've ever read Jan Guillou's book Ondskan you'll have an idea of what I mean) but also in part because of what I've seen in the various non-western parts of this world. I don't buy the reasoning that if only we get rid of the patriarchy all will be well - I'm too much of a cynic to believe it will be better, especially after what I've seen and been through.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
It's both. A woman saying another woman deserves to be raped is speaking from internalized sexism.

That's not to say it's not also about ethnicity and other -isms.

I agree that lack of patriarchy would not mean lack of violence, although it might change who uses violence, in what ways, under what circumstances. Women can be physically aggressive if given permission to be. There are also non-physical ways to be violent. Perhaps a non-patriarchal (or less patriarchal) society would see more verbal violence. Which also exists and is so subtle it's often missed.
And now I'm going to be even more controversial and challenging, and suggest that perhaps you are viewing this from a western point of view. As Miles Lacey has pointed out, our views on gender roles are to a large degree based on our religion, society and culture.

The woman I heard saying that wouldn't accept rape of one of her own group - but as far as she was concerned, the other woman came from the wrong group and didn't even count as human. When a conflict is at that stage, rape is the least of the problems you as a peacekeeper are dealing with. A much bigger and more immediate issue is preventing mass murder - or genocide, as some like to call it.
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
As is most reported domestic violence. One of the unfortunate consequences of a patriarchal society is that men cannot admit to being abused by women without being seen as soft cowardly fools. So they don't report it for fear of being even further humiliated, and so the perpetrators get away with it. For a non-violent example, consider how a "hen-pecked husband" is seen in society. Attitudes are beginning to change, but only very slowly.

I also think that men's issues tend to be overlooked, and that some people simplify women into a portrait of innocence for the purpose of an agenda. But also, let's not overlook the obvious. There's not much under reporting of murder, for example, and the number of women who are murdered by their spouse overwhelms the number of cases where it's the other way around.

More broadly, I find that there are two separate worlds colliding when people come to these debates. The world is very different above and below the education divide. For those who've gone to college, the workplace is very unfair to women. For those who haven't, it's often unfair to men. The divide has gotten more stark over years - it's documented that people interact less than ever before with people outside their education group - and people often have trouble recognizing that people come from totally different worlds.


Edit: I'm probably going to regret getting involved
 
I don't think exceptions to the rule prove the rule doesn't exist.

Right now, House of the Dragon is showing a blatant patriarchy. It's a fictional show, but everyone watching it understands the message re: the existence and shape of patriarchy. This doesn't mean that a Daenerys cannot come to exist in that world, nor a Cersei or even an Arya or a Sansa for that matter.
 
Edit: I'm probably going to regret getting involved

Whatever problems exist in the world aren't going to be solved on the Mythic Scribes forums, especially in a single thread.

For my part, these discussions always, always devolve into a discussion about real world realities—nay, a debate over what is real in the real world—and leave aside the issue of fantasy and the fantastic.

It'd be fantastic if a utopian society could be designed. Mind you, I mean in a fantasy, not in the real world. (One does not simply design the real world, regardless of whatever illusions suggest the contrary.)
 
Of course, what I previously wrote is a cop-out. I mean, the interaction of the fantastic and the real exists for every reader, since readers come to speculative fiction for the one yet never entirely leave off consideration of the other.

My only complaint relates to the way these debates always seem to be efforts to preconfigure these interactions between the fantastic and the real for every reader. Attempts to standardize practices, heh.

I think something beneficial can be gained by exploring possible reactions, the biases of potential audiences, and so forth, but ultimately it's a personal affair for both, author and reader.
 
As is most reported domestic violence. One of the unfortunate consequences of a patriarchal society is that men cannot admit to being abused by women without being seen as soft cowardly fools. So they don't report it for fear of being even further humiliated, and so the perpetrators get away with it. For a non-violent example, consider how a "hen-pecked husband" is seen in society. Attitudes are beginning to change, but only very slowly.

This is an area I feel very strongly about, in part because of what I went through at school (if you've ever read Jan Guillou's book Ondskan you'll have an idea of what I mean) but also in part because of what I've seen in the various non-western parts of this world. I don't buy the reasoning that if only we get rid of the patriarchy all will be well - I'm too much of a cynic to believe it will be better, especially after what I've seen and been through.
It is an important dynamic to be aware of, for sure. However, at least in the US, we see that DV hotline calls are primary women (about 80 percent is the stat here in my state). As you say, men are less likely to access support; however another statistic that doesn't lie is the homicide rate, which mirrors the DV hotline statistic very closely.

I am sorry for your experiences, and I would never want to dismiss them, or to dismiss the unique challenges that face men experiencing abuse (and other genders), and as you say, people will still find ways to hurt people, most primarily along the lines of power inequality. While the role that sexism plays in violence against women is inadmissible, I agree with and thank you for highlighting the role the patriarchy plays in the shame and stigma of men experiencing abuse, after all, men are supposed to be strong and in control. People (not you, people in general) often don't think about how the patriarchy harms men as well as women.
 

S J Lee

Inkling
I would take a step back and remember the following before you hop on on your soapbox (and then DO hop on a soapbox, but don't be "preachy" in an obvious way ...)

Ask yourself - WHY is the world why it is? And then ask yourself why your fantasy world is different. (this only matters if your book is meant to be "deep" and not just a swashbuckling yarn with laser beams and a bit of hanky panky - and I say this knowing some people find "depth" in even trashy ones, if theya re good.)

EG, if you think sexism is ONLY the result of organised religion, then a society with no religion/different religion would not be sexist. BUT don't rush in and get it all wrong - ask yourself IS this true? And is the religion chosen/designed by the sexists in the first place - is it chicken first or egg first? Are there examples of disorganised religions/atheists who are still sexist.

EG, if you ask "why is there poverty and shortages in our society?" and you say "because we are not yet communists" and you design your world on this basis: communism = utopia etc, then set out your stall and dont aplologise but please PLEASE think carefully and don't just wear blinkers. Read up on the worst communist societies, and the best capitalist ones. Be honest in your thoughts.
Eg, read some of Ursula K Le Guin's stuff, the Dispossessed - she had a world where everyone was genderfluid, and conditioned to be so from birth, and also living on a communist utopia on a moon. But it was poorer than the capitalist planet next door. So the great scientist from communist land went to the richer planet to get access to the better labs. He sees poverty and class brutality when the police crush rioting proles - but overall, their wealth is greater and the capitalist society would crush his own in a war. And he has to think about that. So Le Guin had her stall, the writer didnt apologise for it, but it wasn't mere shrill preaching and ignorant student politics with nothing thought out. Or so I remember.

Think it through, educate yourself, and then say what you have to say. Books that are "about something" and NOT just about dragons and magic in a mish mash can be fantastic - but if it doesnt convince, then it feels unsatisfying.

You CAN fix it all with "hey magic" or just make the women stronger than the men - or the men are only capable of sexual thoughts when a woman chooses to cast a spell on them/or comes "into season" - (WOULD that fix sexism? or not?) or everyone is a hermaphrodite. BUT most readers will think "this feels fake" ... or, "well this is convenient for THIS heroine ... but it has nothing to do with real people." I say this knowing that I am assuming that a sexist world is the default and the non-sexist must be explained - not having seen any other worlds, one COULD argue that OURS is the aberration! But this is not the position of most readers?

=================

If you simply say "no sexism in my world" and never ask WHY, it will seem "fake" to readers who have thought a lot about where sexism comes from.

If you simply say "hey magic = no sexism" then fine ... but it doesnt feel real. Good fantasy TENDS to be "real" except for the magic. Eg Aragorn and co need lembas to keep going and travel light. Magical food, but they have to eat. And lembas is rare - it is only available as a gift from Galadriel herself, according to the book.

================
in other words, what do you think "patriarchy" actually IS?

A system where men/society's powerful are sexist to women, and refuse them equal access to education/jobs/legal rights?
A system where weak/short/puny men get no respect until they "prove themselves" - eg, we snigger at jokes about men being raped in the prison shower etc, but women victims (or "respectable" women, at least) get sympathy?

And what is its cause? It comes from men or from women? Or from no-one yet everyone? EG, it comes from the system, our religion and myths, the pronouns built into the language, but not from individuals? Or are there secret meetings where the men agree behind closed doors new ways how to discrimate against women? EG, who or what "slut shames" a promiscuous woman more, especially (even today) in small villages (leave big modern cities out of it for a moment, where everyone is anonymous) --- men or women? Who carries out the bulk of FGM in countries where it still happens - men or women? These questions are not as simple as I once thought they were ...

====================

Or does it come from some sort of evolutionary "force", acting over time? EG, maybe women CAN fight just as well as men in an organised army. But a society that loses 10% of its young men in a war can probably have the same (or almost the same) number of babies ... whereas a society that loses 10% of its young women in one war is quickly doomed to extinction? Evolutionary pressures will wipe out the "egalitiarian" ones IF there is a lot of fighting. and we INTERNALISE these attitudes as "truths" for the future. The only societies that survive are ones where armies are composed only of men, and the people who do the fighting (just so happens they are all men) get more civic rights? Is THIS where patriarchy comes from? If so, is a world without war the non-sexist world? What would it take to have a world without war? OR does the writer think that "being a warrior" is a glamorous adventure and fun, and the men are unfairly denying women a wonderful exciting career? The flavour of your book will decide on things like this.

Eg - ask yourself, WHY do we have prohibitions on incest in ( I think) every society? I would suggest, because incest produces unhealthy children in the LONG RUN. Societies that allowed incest died out. The societies that remain are conditioned to treat it as disgusting, abhorrent. Is there a world out there where brother/sister marriage is regarded as just fine, beause biology is different there?


I am not saying I know the answer to these questions. I am perfectly willing to agree that NONE of the above are anything to do with it - just advance your arguments as to what IS to do with it. But if you have a "no sexism" world yet do not do any thinking about where sexism comes from ... then just make it a "swords and fireballs" story and to hell with any depth. My two cents!
 
Last edited:

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
However, at least in the US, we see that DV hotline calls are primary women (about 80 percent is the stat here in my state).

I could be mistaken about the exact number, but it's something like 80% of men would have no trouble overpowering 80% of women in the same age group. That is, some schlub who's stronger than just 20% of men could overpower 80% of women.

So when we're talking about petty crap, there's definitely no shortage of women who are guilty of it. But once you get to the seriousness of exchanging hits, the reality is that men can withstand many of the hits while women in the same situation end up in the hospital. That doesn't make it okay for women to hit men, but insomuch as you're judging by consequences, the number of instances could be the same, and women would overwhelmingly suffer more.
 
Top