Ghost of Nymeria, on Feb 13 2009, 16.28, said:
This isn't about empowerment for me. Its about women being shown as ANYTHING other than some sort of sexual object. Emphasis on the word object.I don't need or want Xena, Warrior Princess showing up. What would be nice to have any woman represented as something other than an object to fuck.
The Kian ladies-in-waiting and female servants? I do not recall any mention of female nobility in relation to the Padirajah were mentioned though, and I do think that women in the besieged city Caraskand could have used more mentioning.
needle, on Feb 13 2009, 16.41, said:
It's not about feisty empowered women. It's about having non-abused woman, non sexualised objects within the text. It's about the vague mention that someone is worried about his daughter. It's about someone missing his wife. It's about someone thinking back to his mother in a positive light. It's about having evidence that women exist in Earwa beyond the bounds of the military camp. It's about some evidence that 50% of the occupants of this world are women. It's about Ran's washerwoman. It's not about a token Lara Croft.
Bakker's books would work if discovered as historical manuscripts - if we were reading a history of Earwa. The omission of woman apart from sidenotes to Istrya, Esme, and even Serwe as mother of wee moenghus would be about right, seen through a lens of contemporary-to-that-era male misogny. But it's not a history book of a world, it's a depiction of inside that world, from a modern writer who should surely be aware that the written evidence does not always equate to reality.
A quick scanning of Joinville and Villehardouin's (two actual crusaders) Chronicles of the Crusades
reveals very little talk of women. I did find a Queen of Cyprus who was called in for trade negotiations. I suppose something along those lines could have been arranged for a female character, but I am not sure how it would have worked out given the geography and route that the Holy War took.
Kalbear, on Feb 13 2009, 17.07, said:
Again, this isn't a historical document. It's a novel. We're not even reading Akka's retelling of the tale. Comparing it to historical documentation isn't reasonable.
Does Tolkien not get compared to the Germanic & Anglo-Saxon mythologies? Is that not the genre of literature he was emulating? If Bakker is likewise emulating the Illiad or historical documents of the Crusades, why is comparison to historical documents unreasonable?
Norseman, on Feb 13 2009, 17.25, said:
I am tired and quoting from memory, so please forgive me if what I've said has already been pointed out etc. However...
Women in medieval Europe worked as master artisans, owned breweries, could own and manage lands, many jewellers guilds were dominated by women. I mean for crying out loud read The Wife of Bath's Tale
I mean this is obviously a rich, influential woman.
Women in the Ancient World could be and were patrons in their own rights, there are statues of Roman women, not the empress mind, but regular powerful women announcing their status as patrons. This despite the idea that women were supposed to stay home and work in wool.
In the Ottoman Empire the Caliph's harem owned major shares in trading enterprises. Once more there were in the Islamic world female scholars, powerful women who ran their own businesses, and so forth. (Before anyone says anything IMHO Europe was far better for women, but still...)
There is scarcely a single society on the planet where there haven't been women who have accomplished a lot. Moreover there's scarcely been a single society on the planet where all the silly rules regarding womens behaviour have actually been enforced.
While that is true, I think that Happy Ent and a few others would probably argue that fantasy tends to take these examples and romanticize the role of women in these pre-feminist societies.
Edited by Matrim Fox Cauthon, 13 February 2009 - 05:42 PM.