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Tansy Rayner Roberts' Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy. Let’s Unpack That.
james_nicoll

There was a great, thoughtful article at The Mary Sue on one of my pet topics: the common justification of sexist fantasy fiction being that it’s historically authentic.

I am BUSY today, far too busy for a rant, but then I felt one coming on, and was worried I might end up with a migraine if I tried to stifle it. You know how it is. So let’s talk about sexism in history vs. sexism in fantasy.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

Oh man. Comments hit MPR territory at 5.

(At least that's slow, for tor.com?)

Surprised Stevar didn't show up. Perhaps he's been rendered to Syria.

Indeed. He doesn't seem to react to any bait anymore recently, even at his remaining hangouts. Must be hard to be him at the moment.

Edited at 2012-12-08 09:59 am (UTC)

I love a good rant that starts out with "I have absolutely zero evidence for this, but..." It's right up there with "I'm not a racist, but..." for idiotic opening lines.

I was hoping the article would engage in something better than Proof By Vehement Assertion.

Aside from the stupefyingly rich, women were de facto property in all cultures until very recently, when technology erased the differences of strength. (The shortsightedness of women's-rights activists in supporting gun control never ceases to appal me. They should be putting up monuments to Samuel Colt.)

The problem with sexism in fantasy is that it is unrealistic.

The underlying basis of fantasy is that THERE IS MAGIC.

Magic is an Equalizer that makes a .45 look pitiful.

I wouldn't say magic is an equalizer so much as magic changes the rules any way the author wants. If the author wants magic to be an equalizer, *poof* all characters are created equal. If the author wants magic to make some characters more equal than others, *poof*...

Yes indeed, the Suffragist movement would have been nothing were it not for the ready availability of personal firearms.

Jesus wept.

Hard to get a Suffragist movement going when nobody at all gets to vote.

That sounds like a pretty wonky game of Civilization, where you can't unlock Universal Suffrage until you've invented Gunpowder.

Ah, more Proof By Vehement Assertion.

Frankly, I'm more inclined to pay attention to the assertions on historical reality that come from an actual historian.

women were de facto property in all cultures until very recently

Tell that to the Jannissaries.

"Aside from the stupefyingly rich, women were de facto property in all cultures until very recently, when technology erased the differences of strength. (The shortsightedness of women's-rights activists in supporting gun control never ceases to appal me. They should be putting up monuments to Samuel Colt.)"

You are, of course, aware of the existence of the continent of Europe where women have: (a) considerably better access to the all the appurtenances of equality and human rights than in many parts of the world, and: (b) No guns

Compare and contrast with countries in which firearms are readily available, including (but not limited to) the United States of America


Don't bother. It's easy to claim you win arguments when you invoke the ability to arbitrarily redefine things to as to always agree with the point you were making.


(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
"All cultures" meaning "Europe, Russia, much of China, and Japan" as usual.

My fave historical period was the Women Shooting All The Sexist Men Until They're Dead Or Enlightened period. Motto: 'That is your penis, this is my gun, give me the vote or I will shoot it off.'

"women were de facto property in all cultures"

Apart from ancient Egypt and the Vikings and maybe the Etruscans and the Iroquois and the Aka and the Tuareg...

Huh. I read on Shakesville yesterday that Fox News had a segment where former White House press secretary Dana Perino suggested battered women should get guns. Now I'm seeing in brought up by multiple people in your journal. Surely a coincidence.


But guns are so unladylike!

Aside from the stupefyingly rich, women were de facto property in all cultures until very recently, when technology erased the differences of strength.

No. There's a difference between what's legally true and what generally happens in a given society.

Dude: I didn't realize I needed an MPR for this very comment thread. Sheesh.

Amazingly, this discussion was actually all about guns.

Derailment happens faster if a gun is brought to the table.

Guns bring about democracy?

Where in there fits the African slave trade to the New World, which got going real good pretty much with the coming of the gun. And the more guns more African tribes got the more slaves more African tribes gathered to sell to Europeans for guns (among other things).

Love, C.