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Can A Wizard Be Female?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Ruby, Jun 6, 2016.

  1. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    I'm writing a fantasy children's/ YA book - a bit Harry Potterish but, hopefully, different.
    I want to have a female wizard - should she be a "wizardess", or does that sound politically incorrect these days when actresses often call themselves "actors"?
     
  2. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    I think it sounds a little weird given the whole witch/wizard thing. Perhaps you might consider a unisex honorific? Magi? Seneschal? White Candle?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  3. If you can establish that wizard is gender neutral than that's fine. Kids are pretty smart.
     
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  4. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    I see no reason why not. 'Wizard' is actually unisex. It's only due to stories like Harry Potter that it's come to be seen as the male equivalent of witch.
     
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  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    It wouldn't phase me, but I ran "define wizard" in a google search and this is what came up.



    So, I dunno.
     
  6. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Yes, witch is really the female version of warlock, isn't it? Do wizards have to be male and look like Gandalf?
     
  7. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    It would be a bit dull if they did.
     
  8. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Wiktionary actually has an entry for wizardess: wizardess - Wiktionary

    This surprised me. I'd just use "wizard." I don't think I've ever encountered "wizardess" in a book.
     
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  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I kind of doubt that the words wizard, witch and warlock are connected in a historical or etymological sense. I think any connections we draw are based on the fantasy books we read - which means you can use them however you want.
     
  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I would introduce the gender first, then the role. So, rather clumsily,

    She entered the room and everyone immediately fell silent.
    "Who is that?" someone whispered.
    "That's the Ruby Wizard. Best make sure she doesn't notice you."
     
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  11. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    Ah but wasn't "man" also originally used to mean a human being of any gender? Therefore a "a man who has magical powers..." could easy be a gender neutral definition.

    If you fancy. Haha.
     
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  12. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello Ruby.

    I see no problem with having female Wizards, it's okay. It's mostly thanks to stories like The Worst Witch and more recently Harry Potter that we have defined wizards as male and witches as female, but there are no actual rules about this and we can enjoy a lot of freedom in the Fantasy genre.

    By the way, I have female Wizards in one of my Showcase stories.

    At first the Wizards are just mentioned without any gender implication, but when they appear directly for the first time we get to see two very different Wizards: One of them is a rather old and experienced man, but the other is a young woman and both dress with the same clothing.

    They also carry the same style of magical staff and there is no difference in power between a male Wizard and a female.

    I also have Witches in that world, and they are huge and grotesque monsters that vaguely resemble women at all. All Witches are assumed to be female, but that is only because their male counterparts live so deeply underground that they have never traveled to the surface and so they have never been seen by ordinary people.

    So, go ahead with having female wizards in your story! It's cool.
     
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  13. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Hello Sheilawisz,

    Please can you direct me to your story or send me a link - it sounds intriquing!
     
  14. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Interestingly, when I typed "wizardess", autocorrect immediately changed it to "wizard".

    (Autocorrect always thinks it knows best!)
     
  15. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Hi skip.knox,

    Actually, she's a magician AND a wizard. Would that be problematic?
     
  16. Reilith

    Reilith Sage

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    Wizard can be whoever you want it to be. I don't see why it would have to be applied only to males. Also, I am currently reading the Seven Realms books by Cinda Williams Chima, which is also YA fantasy, and her wizards are male and female alike. And all are called wizards :)
     
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  17. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hi again Ruby!

    Thanks for your interest. You can find the story that I mentioned right here, and also I posted varied information about the magic and magical creatures belonging to that world in this other thread.

    What is the Magic like in your current story?

    I really like the word Wizard, it sounds so special and cool to me. Witch is cool as well, but in my Castilian-language stories I decided to use Magas (female form of Mages) instead. I also have Mages in the story that I mentioned before, and they also can be either male or female.

    Graceland Mages would be very angry if somebody called them Wizards or Witches, actually.
     
  18. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Thanks Sheilawisz, I've just read about half of your epic tale. Wow!!!! I'll have to read the rest tomorrow. I wasn't expecting that twist where Grass transfigured from male to female.

    I have a similar theme in my book - there's never anything original under the sun, is there? Although, mine is comedic and yours is very dramatic. I love your writing style.

    Your witches are very unusual, as are your wizards.

    Btw I haven't been on here for a while as I end up procrastinating and never get any writing done! :D
     
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  19. Bruce McKnight

    Bruce McKnight Troubadour

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    I always thought of wizard and magician as gender-neutral terms, but I never read Harry Potter. Witch and warlock were terms I always felt were gender-specific, even if WoW didn't see it that way. I guess that means it's all up to the individual- so I'd say make it how you want it and stay consistent! No one is going to stop reading your book because you did or didn't use "Wizardess."
     
  20. La Volpe

    La Volpe Sage

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    I've always found it odd that the Harry Potter books have wizard/witch as gender splits for the same thing. As far as I've always understood it, witches are very different things than wizards.

    Witches, in my mind, are connected to Wicca, meaning brews and magical items, spell circles and calling upon dark beings, etc.

    Wizards, on the other hand, bring up ideas of studying, books and innate power, and maybe a staff to help channel spells.

    I have often seen male witches in stories, so I don't think female wizards would be all that strange. But is there any reason why you specifically want to use the word wizard? You could, for example, use sorcerer and sorceress, which is pretty much the same thing as a wizard, but without the male connotations that Gandalf, Merlin et al brought into wizard.
     
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