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Gender roles in Wheel of Time

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Zero Angel, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    Totally off-topic, but you can tell a lot about feminists by how they treat transsexuals. The really crazy ones treat FTMs as traitors, and MTFs as playactors who can never be "real" women. The sane ones (who are thankfully the vast majority) usually have at least some respect for them.

    I'd contribute something on-topic, but I've never actually read The Wheel of Time, in part because the stuff I've read about that series and gender has scared me off.
     
  2. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Don't take this wrong, but are you some kind of trans or gender activist? I ask this because I think I recall you posting something about bringing up trans issues in your WiP. Correct me if I'm mistaking you for someone else.
     
  3. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    That made me giggle.
     
  4. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    This is one of the things I disliked most about the series- Jordan seemed to really get his rocks off by taking a powerful person (seemed like it was usually a woman) and bringing him or her low in a completely dominated and humiliating fashion. I was particularly squicked by powerful women being put under the control of men and being SPANKED as a way of keeping them in line (these are adults! And it's not just a consentual kinky sex game, for which you have to sorta grant a pass- this is life!). Even more disgusting, the women were somehow still enamored of those men.

    See Ann Bishop's Black Jewels series for a real treat in how to to play with power balances between the genders. Who is in charge keeps switching, but it does work out to a balance, and nobody is subjugated in a humiliating fashion. Everybody gets to keep their dignity, and no one gender is The Big Evil.

    (Well, there are some villians and subplots where this doesn't hold true, but I speak of the non-villain MC's)
     
  5. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    I"VE LOOKED FOR THAT WORD FOR THE LAST TEN YEARS!

    -_-

    As someone mentioned earlier, I knew how to make the word with the roots, but I have not been able to find its existence confirmed other than as a language exercise. Interestingly though, my original point can still stand with slight modification. Misogyny the word has been around for at least the last 150 years, while misandry (which Firefox says is spelled wrong) has been around for the last 70 years.

    -_- I forgot about the spanking. The whole thing is just nuts.
     
  6. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    Wish I could. It was only about two lines buried in the middle of a bazillion books- yet it left such a bad taste in my throat that there was just no coming back from that.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I'm not sure I'd make the leap from how an author portrays something to what their own personal viewpoint might be. I know I write stuff all the time in which characters embody ideas or principles that are completely opposite to my own. Other times, they are in alignment. I suspect most writers are this way, and you can't really draw any conclusions about Jordan's personal feelings on gender unless you have some additional evidence apart from what is depicted in the books.
     
    Ankari likes this.
  8. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    That is true, but when a theme keeps coming up again and again and again, you start to have suspicions.
     
  9. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Obviously, it comes up over and over again in WoT. He apparently decided, for whatever reason, to make it a theme in the series.

    If it comes up in multiple series, I think you can make some kind of judgment.

    I haven't read anything else of his.
     
    Steerpike likes this.
  10. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

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    I think the only other notable work he did was Conan?
     
  11. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    Robert Jordan is his Pen Name. He has written other nonfantasy stuff under a different name.
     
  12. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Anybody think the gender issues would have worked better if he'd made the distrust between the men and women more (intentionally) humorous instead of Serious Business?
     
  13. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I always thought of them as intentionally humorous. Kinda a source of light-hearted conflict.
     
  14. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    Really? I never found them humorous at all! Maybe I'm too easily frustrated...Or maybe I just have that Disney mentality of everything works better if we all work together...
     
  15. rhd

    rhd Troubadour

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    What you might be referring to is 'straw feminist'. They're not feminist at all and I've never met one (and I've been feminist all my life.)
     
  16. rhd

    rhd Troubadour

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    Robert Jordan rocked my boat but I was able to sustain my interest in the series only till book seven. Still, a lot to learn from him regarding details, descriptions, sustained storytelling. If interesting gender dynamic is what you're looking for it's not the ideal place to find it. Le Guin is definitely my source for that.
     
  17. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    I loved the Earthsea books... up until the point Ged was depowered. After that the books seemed to stop trying to tell interesting stories in favor of pushing feminism. I stopped reading.
     
  18. rhd

    rhd Troubadour

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    Yeah, The Other Wind was a bit of a disappointment, I liked it at first then I realized I was just being a loyal reader, definitely not up to par with the other books. The short stories based on the Earthsea books were pretty good though. Otherwise I just love her stuff because she manages to be feminist without necessarily even having female characters, her most famous works have male MCs and they are amazing.
     
  19. Konrad

    Konrad Scribe

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    Hmmm...

    I'm new around here and new to the thread. Yet I'm another one who generally dug the series (or the idea of the series), as well as certain parts of the series (Matt cracked me up and I liked Perrin, as he seemed like an honest, down-to-earth character, but the women pressing their skirts flat and the constant attention to low-cut blouses wore me out maybe 50 pages in. I'm definitely a fan of beautiful women, but that's something I could have done without. The spanking thing and the pillow friends also got on my nerves. On the other hand, it seemed like his writing became more interesting the further I read (and yes, I did read the entire series, as well as the last book released).

    Later, I read the Game of Thrones series... It seemed remarkably similar in concept (regarding the politics between houses), but without the juvenile spanking aspect. Ended up being a big fan of Martin and I've really enjoyed his short stories... Either way, the sheer output of both is phenomenal...

    K
     
  20. While Jordan's approach to gender roles was definitely very distinctive, it ultimately isn't all that interesting, and the fact that the same kinds of situations got played out again and again over the course of eleven books ended up making it annoying. He definitely suffers from the male gaze problem (though not as bad as some), and he seemed to lack an awareness of how repetitive the gender stuff got. It's like he never went back and read his series, or if he did, he never noticed the obvious signposts in his writing style.

    The Wheel of Time is, as far as I'm concerned, the canonical example of an epic fantasy series that went on way too long. He could have wrapped the whole thing up in 9 or 10 books if he hadn't decided to drag out so much of it. Props to Brandon Sanderson for efficiently tying things up (so far, anyway; still waiting on the last book).
     

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