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A World without the Patriarchy

Solusandra

Minstrel
The question is why, as writers, we should be content with leaving things at that.
It's like beating your head against a wall.

We keep saying this. You DON"T have to remain content with what is. You can create anything you want... you just need to know the why so that the new story isn't incoherant rambling of an idiot on a soapbox.
 

Queshire

Auror
Look buddy, you just jumped in at the end. I've been banging my head against this wall for a month.

That's not new information. It's patently obvious to anyone with eyes and it's equally obvious that different people have different views on how much work needs to go into stuff like this to be justified.
 

pmmg

Vala
But it may not be plausible.

Good point, but its fantasy, why cant it just be whatever I want?

Good point, it can, but it may not be plausible.

Good point, but its fantasy, why cant it just be whatever I want?

Good point, it can, but it may not be plausible.

Good point, but its fantasy, why cant it just be whatever I want?

Good point, it can, but it may not be plausible.


I think this one has no where to go but in a circle. Perhaps we can all just let it drift off.
 

Aldarion

Inkling
Sure. Why patriarchal societies come about hasn't really been in question here in this thread (though I would keep an eye on evolutionary psychology. It has been connected to eugenics at time.) We understand why things happemed as they did. The question is why, as writers, we should be content with leaving things at that.
Because things happen for a reason. So if you want to remove something, you have to provide an explanation for what, how and why replaced it. Otherwise, you end up with incoherent mess.
 

TheKillerBs

Inkling
Look buddy, you just jumped in at the end. I've been banging my head against this wall for a month.

That's not new information. It's patently obvious to anyone with eyes and it's equally obvious that different people have different views on how much work needs to go into stuff like this to be justified.
I think if you asked a thousand different people you'd get a thousand different answers. Like pmmg said, this may not be worth discussing. For the OP, I'd suggest picking a point of justification where they want to write and hope there's enough of an audience for it, or alternatively, do some market research.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
Sure. Why patriarchal societies come about hasn't really been in question here in this thread (though I would keep an eye on evolutionary psychology. It has been connected to eugenics at time.) We understand why things happemed as they did. The question is why, as writers, we should be content with leaving things at that.

That's not new information. It's patently obvious to anyone with eyes and it's equally obvious that different people have different views on how much work needs to go into stuff like this to be justified.
OK, I'm now going to try to weave together some of the arguments here and bring things back to Jasnah- Ariel 's original question.

Let's assume that we have a fantasy setting where an organised state is ruled by a matriarchy. And for the sake of this part of the discussion, let's assume that this is because the history of those people has shown that women are better at fairly non-agressive negotiated settlements (yes, I know that's a cliche) and that because of this the state has grown in power and comfort.

In a state like that, society is likely to put a premium on the ability to make good agreements without using violence. So in that society, would a guild like a merchants guild be more likely to be led by women, with women seen as more likely to be successful merchants? (Note here that other guilds like a blacksmiths guild might still be led by men because it is a trade seen as a men's trade.) Are there any other guilds/trades where this would be true? What does this mean for the legal system? A society which places a premium on agreements and the ability to reach them might have some very different ideas about how to enforce justice and punishment.

What about strategy at a national level? A state like that might be more likely to use what we in the military call soft power, that is things like economic and financial power, diplomacy and politics. What would that do to relations with other states? Would that depend on whether the other states were matriarchies or patriarchies? And if there were such differences between states, how would trade between the states work?

And to bring this down to character level, how are heroes and heroines seen? In most fantasy stories, a great hero is someone who can slice and dice 15 goblin bodyguards without breaking a sweat and then nail the goblin chieftain to the ceiling with a dagger, before rescuing the princess and marrying her. But in the sort of setting I suggested here a great hero/heroine might be seen as someone who can negotiate a really subtle deal with the goblin chieftain, a deal so subtle that the goblin chieftain concerned never realises that they have in fact sold their tribe into permanent financial bondage whilst at the same time providing a huge diamond as a marriage gift the the princess (or prince) concerned.

What I'm trying to get across here is that creating a setting with a plausible matriachal society isn't just a matter of swapping a king for a queen. There's a lot more to it than that, and I suspect that many writers either don't have the knowledge needed to make that sort of setting plausible or don't want to go to that much work. But I'm happy to be proved wrong.
 

Solusandra

Minstrel
Look buddy, you just jumped in at the end. I've been banging my head against this wall for a month.

That's not new information. It's patently obvious to anyone with eyes and it's equally obvious that different people have different views on how much work needs to go into stuff like this to be justified.
then why do you keep asking why we can't do it? It is done, can be done, has been done; often, and there are 6 pages of people telling you that?
 

Miles Lacey

Maester
When a society produces only enough food, clothing and shelter to provide for its members there's virtually no class system as such, let alone gender specific roles. There is no warrior class, no nurturing class, no educated class... everyone assumes an assortment of roles based on what that society needs at any given time.

It's only when that society produces more goods and more food than the society requires that the society begins to form any type of class structure. Classes will form who won't be growing their own food or making their own clothes or homes. It's then that specialisations start to emerge. It's also about the same time that you get bureaucracy, the arts, writing, trade and a warrior or military class. At least that's what Jared Diamond claims in his book Guns, Germs and Steel.

Anthropology will teach you that, apart from the blindingly obvious biological functions such as sperm production and giving birth, virtually all other gender roles aren't "the natural order of things" or "the way things have always been". What seems to be the natural order of things in much of the world is often not the case among particular (usually indigenous) cultures.

In my work in progress the notions of matriarchy and patriarchy do not exist in the world I've created. Thus, both men and women have fought side by side in conflict for centuries. As a result the uniforms, weapons and equipment used have evolved so that they can be used by all genders. As far as nurturing and raising children is concerned it's viewed as a collective responsibility of all family members (both immediate and extended and regardless of gender). Inheritance and authority is determined by age and experience rather than gender.

The cultures I have encountered here in New Zealand including Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Polynesian (including Maori), Sundanese, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Filipino have all influenced the world of my work in progress. My recent experiences working in a minimum wage cleaning job have also resulted in some recent changes to the world and how my young, mixed race female main character fits in within this society.

There are thousands of cultures out there. Most of them are largely unknown to all but a handful of academics who study such things. Look hard enough and you'll find a non-patriarchal culture and ideas as to how your society could operate.
 
A pet peeve of mine is the permanence of the patriarchy and sexism in fantasy worlds. You're telling me you can imagine a world with dragons and magic and weird little gnome people, but you can't imagine a world where all genders are viewed as equal? BS. So I'm creating that in the story I'm writing now, and let me tell you, it's telling. Every time there is a character who is either in leadership or is an aggressor, it's automatically a straight male in my mind, and I have to consciously walk that back. And then this little voice in my head is like "don't you think there are too many female characters?" and "you already have one non-binary character, why do you need another?" Talk about internalized misogyny. Anyway, I would love to hear more about others process in leveling the gender-based playing field.
Hey 👋🏻

I know this is old, but you pose an interesting question, when you talk about all genders being equal in your fantasy world, do you mean that you would write men, women, they/them as all the same? My understanding is that when we talk about equal rights or equity, this doesn’t really mean that everyone should be the same, but rather that everyone should have equal access to things, and freedom of choice - regardless of their characteristics, such as what gender they are, female, male, non-binary etc.

Treating everyone the same, or everyone being the same would be dismissing those factors that can determine who we are and how we act? ie. Male - masculine, female - feminine, non-binary - androgyny etc.

So are you talking about female characters as being emancipated? For example, a matriarchy? Or role reversal, female saviour, male-in-distress? Or would you create a world where everyone is one sort of amorphous blob of a non-binary gender? Hermaphrodite? Intersex? Nothing wrong with breaking down stereotypes, but those stereotypes would need to exist in the first place in order to break them down. Sorry for being meta…

I love writing strong female characters for example, and what makes them strong for me isn’t that they’re just the same as men, I’m more interested in their womanhood, their feminine strength. The concept of gender can be mind bending, and interesting.

Finchbearer 🪶
 
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