Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Maia

Bakker and Women

Recommended Posts

[quote name='Mackaxx' post='1674303' date='Feb 4 2009, 18.33']That sort of stuff is much more interesting than having the scene set vaguely in the background and a story being told.[/quote]
While I can only follow these Bakker talks blindly since I haven't read them, I think I still feel okay in commenting this much. Those who see a problem here require a good reason for Bakker to be as harsh as he is on women. The sociological/anthropological/whatnot accuracy is brought up in order to establish what is necessary, because being harsher than necessary feels like punishment for female readers.

I'm rather sympathetic to Happy Ent's point that expecting women to do better in these circumstances is problematic too, it seems to imply that it's women's own fault that they didn't pull themselves up by their bootstraps, that there weren't serious and severe systemic factors that kept them oppressed. I find it kind of distasteful how some reader opinions end up having hints of this blaming the victim tendency. Still, there is a history of women in SFF being objectified and defined as appendages, and I'd be very interested if someone could reconcile these two concerns for me. How much should we judge these things in context of the history of the genre? What exactly is the line between problematizing something and endorsing it? And does the authorial intent matter if it doesn't show up in the work?


ETA: I also disagree that asking for authors to avoid being unduly harsh on female characters is necessarily tokenism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote]Still, there is a history of women in SFF being objectified and defined as appendages, and I'd be very interested if someone could reconcile these two concerns for me. How much should we judge these things in context of the history of the genre?[/quote]

Not at all. And that's the problem many people have with these complaints. Who cares what the other authors are writing? Why should that place a burden on later authors to go out of their way to counter these cliches/stereotypes/whatever?

And, again, how is that not Tokenism at it's finest?

[quote]What exactly is the line between problematizing something and endorsing it?[/quote]

If you wanna bring this up, shouldn't we be asking why 99.99% of all fantasy authors everywhere are Monarchists?

[quote]I also disagree that asking for authors to avoid being unduly harsh on female characters is necessarily tokenism.[/quote]

What else is it? It's demanding that the author change the work because you want your token empowered female.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Shryke' post='1674327' date='Feb 4 2009, 19.01']If you wanna bring this up, shouldn't we be asking why 99.99% of all fantasy authors everywhere are Monarchists?[/quote]False. 75 percent are monarchists and 24.999 percent are imperialists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Matrim Fox Cauthon' post='1674332' date='Feb 4 2009, 19.05']False. 75 percent are monarchists and 24.999 percent are imperialists.[/quote]

I WAS just gonna go with Fascist to describe their love of 1 Person Rule, but people get so bitchy about the exact meaning of all those terms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Shryke' post='1674327' date='Feb 5 2009, 11.01']What else is it? It's demanding that the author change the work because you want your token empowered female.[/quote]

And in the case of Bakker, the woman IS empowered. It's on Kellhus' terms but then, so is everyone else's empowerment. Again the mere fact that calculating Kellhus chose her over all the fellas seems to me the antithesis of sexism.

In parallel we also have the character of Cnair rising up from his barbarian roots to do this that and the other, he is used badly too, no ones calling Bakker out as being racist and picking on poor vulnerable indigenous tribes unduly.

Or we could take the misogynistic men, and interpret that one commentary throughout the book is that all men are sexist bastards. We don't though..

That'd be stupid though wouldn't it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From all I've heard, Bakker's depiction of women in [i]Neuropath[/i] is not much better -- they are either whores or victims, right?

It's one thing for him to "problematize" things in TPoN. It seems quite another that he then does it in a near-future thriller as well. Perhaps it's mere coincidence, but perhaps not.


In any case, as far as TPoN goes, I don't think he really needs to do anything differently than he has been doing. I do think that in future endeavors he should consider doing something rather different with the female characters than he has so far done, if he wants to avoid the conclusion that he's harboring some anti-feminist/misogynistic tendencies in his heart of heart's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Shryke' post='1674327' date='Feb 4 2009, 19.01']Why should that place a burden on later authors to go out of their way to counter these cliches/stereotypes/whatever?[/quote]
If you're looking for a moral imperative, I'm going to leave that to someone else. But insofar as a commercial one is concerned, women (or whoever deems it important, regardless) are tired of being marginalized in entertainment and have every right to vocalize a demand for a market that's not being fulfilled. If that makes an author feel burdened, well, tough. I'm not saying that their shortcomings (intentional or not) should be exaggerated or that they should be vilified beyond reason, but the "Just shut up and read something else" response misses the whole point.

I mean, I'd almost think it was 1993 again or something.

[quote name='Shryke' post='1674327' date='Feb 4 2009, 19.01']If you wanna bring this up, shouldn't we be asking why 99.99% of all fantasy authors everywhere are Monarchists?[/quote]
You can ask that, sure. Why [i]are[/i] so many authors enamored of monarchy? Who actually does a good job in problematizing it, if anyone does at all? Why are people okay with invoking the glamorous aspects of it while ignoring the seedier ones? Valid questions all, just don't seem to negate the ones being asked here in this thread, as far as I can see. (If you're asking why people in general pay attention to gender so much, maybe A) women are half the population and B) gender issues have a nasty way of being invisiblized; gender injustices don't tend to garner as much guilt in society as injustices along a few other lines do, though there are issues given even less attention to be sure. Because of both A and B this struggle tends to be very drawn out, which is why I'm puzzled that people who would seem to want it good and overwith insist on interfering with discourse that aims to do just that).

Anyway I asked my question in earnest, I would like to know what things distinguish problematization from endorsement for people on both sides of this issue. I can separate them theoretically but I'm still interested in how it plays out in actuality, what other factors bear on people's perceptions of depictions being one or the other.

[quote name='Shryke' post='1674327' date='Feb 4 2009, 19.01']What else is it? It's demanding that the author change the work because you want your token empowered female.[/quote]
First of all, who is saying Bakker should change his work? It's out there, it's published, and since it's out there people have every right to criticize and analyse it.

Then, there's a great deal of road between supremely empowered and supremely punished, and asking for authors to not irresponsibly dally in the latter does not mean that people are asking for the former.

Also, there is the fact that it's simply not true that no women ever had power or agency of any sort. Many of them didn't, some of them did. This is an easier picture to paint when there are enough women numerically in a book or series (or genre), but the overall balance in mainstream SFF is more males than females (female-heavy stuff tends to automatically get shuttled into "women only" categories ... as an example outside the genre, there was a recent remake of the movie The Women, which in George Cukor's original had an all-female cast. Some people decried that as sexist and reversely discrimantory. This is actually quite ridiculous because of how many movies are out there that feature all male casts without anyone blinking an eye. The only reason people can get away with the reverse discrimination charge is because of privilege. Which brings me to ...).

Then, privilege. I've come to realize that what many people see as token, they can only claim as token because of privilege, because they are in a position to perceive the status quo as the default and any intrusion upon it as cloying misrepresentations of reality driven by an agenda. Sometimes things are token, but sometimes this is just a knee-jerk charge because people don't want to let new kids play in their sandbox. That is why the sociological and anthropological realities were brought up in the first place, though it seems to have been dismissed as quibbling. If you're denying people things that actually were realistic, how can your charges of tokenism be taken seriously?


Like I said, I haven't read this series and so I can only comment in the general. I'll leave the greater debating up to you folks that know it better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Happy Ent' post='1674215' date='Feb 4 2009, 14.35'](Also, your point would be stronger if it avoided the hyperbole. Esmi is a whore. Istrya is the fucking queen mother and possesses agency in abundance (agency, by the way, that does not derive from her being a skin spy. It doesn’t seem a [i]new[/i] trait to her.) Not all women in Bakkerworld are whores, in fact whores seem to be social outcasts.)[/quote]All women in Bakkerworld commoditize sex to gain what they want. Esmi happens to be a literal whore, but Serwe and Istrya are just as guilty. And yes, Happy Ent, Istrya has power over her son because she jerks him off and feeds him whores that remind him of her. She serves and does anything largely at her son's whim. There's your mighty queen mother for you and her agency.

[quote]Absolutely. As I said, I would feel feminism were [i]betrayed[/i] if that was not the case, maybe because I happen to have a pretty bleak view of pre-feminist societies. I really can’t see how the feminist agenda is helped by pretending that [i]if you really wanted[/i] you could actually become an independent, self-empowered person. As if [i]personal drive[/i] (rather than societal constraints) were the main fetter.

(Am I misrepresenting your position? Then please correct it. As I said, I [i]really[/i]. Don’t. Get. It.)[/quote]Okay, I'll say it again. I have a problem with every single woman in Bakkerworld having to use sex to gain what they want. That's all that women have to offer in Bakkerland. And if it's not sex, it's breeding. There is a big difference between women being unequal and women being completely objectified, and Bakker purposely goes to that extreme...and why? What point is he trying to prove?

And why would he choose to do it in a book set in the near future of our world?

I can understand why Esmi is a whore in the book; it's the only way that Akka can have a relationship, and that's important. I don't understand why it's important that they capture a random hot chick and have her bang the barbarian and Kellhus, but okay. But why write Istrya as a smart woman who commands the empire because she jacks off her son? What's the purpose there? How precisely is that serving feminism or showing agency?

[quote]As for the women in the series, I've never understood the problem some people have. Saying "Why isn't there another women in the series who's all empowered and what not" is LITERALLY Tokenism. It's like a textbook fucking definition of Quota Writing.[/quote]There is a large gulf between making a female character who is as good as every man out there and representing every female character as one that uses sex to get what they want. I don't have a problem with Bakker not having a ton of empowered women in his book or even one. I have a problem with all of his women using sex as a commodity - either in the literal (Esmi), the near-literal (Serwe) or the implied (Istrya).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1674362' date='Feb 5 2009, 11.34']But insofar as a commercial one is concerned, women (or whoever deems it important, regardless) are tired of being marginalized in entertainment and have every right to vocalize a demand for a market that's not being fulfilled. If that makes an author feel burdened, well, tough. I'm not saying that their shortcomings (intentional or not) should be exaggerated or that they should be vilified beyond reason, but the "Just shut up and read something else" response misses the whole point.[/quote]

They do have every right to vocalize a demand. The discussion here is more to do with people disagreeing that the books are sexist than the right of anyone to complain about unfair treatment in a movie/book. Lets say for arguments sake that the bakker books are indeed sexist (they arn't), if that were the case it would be like complaining about a porno having too much sex and not enough discussion of the implications of a sexist portrayal of women. I'd say well thank you captain obvious, we all know this and we still like our porn with sexist sex, move on.


[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1674362' date='Feb 5 2009, 11.34']Valid questions all, just don't seem to negate the ones being asked here in this thread, as far as I can see. (If you're asking why people in general pay attention to gender so much, maybe A) women are half the population and B) gender issues have a nasty way of being invisiblized; gender injustices don't tend to garner as much guilt in society as injustices along a few other lines do, though there are issues given even less attention to be sure. Because of both A and B this struggle tends to be very drawn out, which is why I'm puzzled that people who would seem to want it good and overwith insist on interfering with discourse that aims to do just that).[/quote]

Every book can't be about gender issues, as much as some people may find it interesting. Many people would cry out for other things, for a place in the market where this particular issue isn't addressed and other things like racism or religion (which involved the entire population). And they'd be perfectly entitled to do so. Just because one particular issue is someones pet love doesn't mean every book must explore it. Books that covered all the bases would be pretty crap id say, a mishmash of all sorts of themes and issues.


[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1674362' date='Feb 5 2009, 11.34']Then, there's a great deal of road between supremely empowered and supremely punished, and asking for authors to not irresponsibly dally in the latter does not mean that people are asking for the former.[/quote]

Asking is just fine, they of course shouldn't have to listen either. Definitions of supremely empowered and supremely punished also vary, see thread discussion for reference.


[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1674362' date='Feb 5 2009, 11.34']Also, there is the fact that it's simply not true that no women ever had power or agency of any sort. Many of them didn't, some of them did. This is an easier picture to paint when there are enough women numerically in a book or series (or genre), but the overall balance in mainstream SFF is more males than females (female-heavy stuff tends to automatically get shuttled into "women only" categories ... as an example outside the genre, there was a recent remake of the movie The Women, which in George Cukor's original had an all-female cast. Some people decried that as sexist and reversely discrimantory. This is actually quite ridiculous because of how many movies are out there that feature all male casts without anyone blinking an eye. The only reason people can get away with the reverse discrimination charge is because of privilege. Which brings me to ...).

Then, privilege. I've come to realize that what many people see as token, they can only claim as token because of privilege, because they are in a position to perceive the status quo as the default and any intrusion upon it as cloying misrepresentations of reality driven by an agenda. Sometimes things are token, but sometimes this is just a knee-jerk charge because people don't want to let new kids play in their sandbox. That is why the sociological and anthropological realities were brought up in the first place, though it seems to have been dismissed as quibbling. If you're denying people things that actually were realistic, how can your charges of tokenism be taken seriously?[/quote]

(You should read some Mary Gentle for some decent female characters, good books mostly. Unfortunately most people read the very average grunts first, don't.)

I think in respect to the 'many of them didn't have power some of them did' stuff its a pretty good justification for the balance of male and female characters in pseudo historical fiction. Like you point out, many of them did not have much power, some of them did and this is precisely what I see in books. Unfortunately many of these fantasy types write female characters like men which can be a little painful. There is also a terrible lack of 'black' characters, Asian characters and so on and when they are written you often don't get the cultural differences you should. We should complain about them too.

As for the reverse discrimination thing yes it is pretty stupid, but i it does sometimes stick out like dogs balls (Sheri S Tepper for example). When it's well written though it doesn't, (see Gentle for example), the fault is often in the author not the reader. Just because its PC to want strong female roles doesn't mean I won't roll my eyes at a badly written on. Just as I'd do the same for a fella (clichéd fantasy barbarian #416 for example). In my opinion Bakker has written a strong female character well.

If it sticks out like a sore thumb then yes, I'm going to call it tokenistic, if its well written and makes sense in the context of the story then I'm not. Tokenism isn't purely about your privilege defnition, sometimes something is tokenistic. Like doogie howser MD talking down the black kid who was robbing the store and then getting him a job as a JANITOR at the hospital, or Brandon on 90210 inviting the black guy to the prom for instance. Maybe sometimes it will be due to my subconscious sexist barbarism but I think its pretty presumptuous to assume that this is the case always.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Kalbear' post='1674373' date='Feb 5 2009, 11.48']Sex sex sexety sex[/quote]

Whats wrong with using sex as a tool? All the men use big swords and occationaly rape one another but no ones going on about that?

Your not judging the women because of their sexual activity are you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I find it quite ironic the discussion on agency in a [i]Bakker[/i] book, especially considering one of the recurring themes in [i]Neuropath[/i] is the exploration of the "myth" of agency/volition. No group/gender is glorified in his fiction; all have their aspirations/beliefs in certainties cast down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I personally find Bakkers use of women repugnant not so much because of what they are, though it has been said that they all resemble the same thing, but because i don't really find them interesting.

Of course, i don't know why i am here, because i don't actually like all that much in his novels in any case. At least not now, we'll see what the eventual reread brings.

But i think those that feel its a little strange that only whores or such have any power or face time in the book have a point. Its also boring. Blanche of Castille was a powerful figure during the Crusades, which Bakker directly draws most of his world building from, yet i know of no instance of her using her sexuality for power play purposes. She extended the power of the French throne while Loius IX was off playing soldier. Shagrat al-Durr became, for a short time, Sultan of Egypt. Just some examples illustrating that Bakker could have gone a different way.

However much bullshit one wants to put out that it was deseigned that way and couldn't be any other way in Bakkers world, ill just say he built, meaning he could have made it come out any way that he wished.

And if these tendancies stretch for some reason into Neuropath, then perhaps hes just a misogynist prick and those that want to read him should, and those that don't, shouldn't. Whoever the man is he is unlikely to change.

But again, i'm here arguing and i don't really care. I need to find something better to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Ran' post='1674346' date='Feb 5 2009, 00.23']In any case, as far as TPoN goes, I don't think he really needs to do anything differently than he has been doing. I do think that in future endeavors he should consider doing something rather different with the female characters than he has so far done, if he wants to avoid the conclusion that he's harboring some anti-feminist/misogynistic tendencies in his heart of heart's.[/quote]

The Cult of Yatwer ?

While reading that fucked up fertility scene i couldn't help wondering if that was Bakker's way of pacifying the feminists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Mackaxx' post='1674411' date='Feb 4 2009, 20.21']The discussion here is more to do with people disagreeing that the books are sexist than the right of anyone to complain about unfair treatment in a movie/book.[/quote]
Shryke said "Who cares what the other authors are writing? Why should that place a burden on later authors to go out of their way to counter these cliches/stereotypes/whatever?" and that was what I was responding to. He asked why people care, and I answered. I realize it's not the only thing or main thing being discussed in this thread.

[quote name='Mackaxx' post='1674411' date='Feb 4 2009, 20.21']Lets say for arguments sake that the bakker books are indeed sexist (they arn't), if that were the case it would be like complaining about a porno having too much sex and not enough discussion of the implications of a sexist portrayal of women. I'd say well thank you captain obvious, we all know this and we still like our porn with sexist sex, move on.[/quote]
Okay, I'm afraid that I don't understand the relevancy of this in this thread. What's being debated is if Bakker's portrayal is problematizing enough and/or to what extent he unwittingly endorses unfortunate trends. Nobody is saying that the mere involvement of a sexist setting is enough to make an author sexist. I'm sorry if I'm missing something, maybe you can clarify for me.

[quote name='Mackaxx' post='1674411' date='Feb 4 2009, 20.21']Every book can't be about gender issues, as much as some people may find it interesting. Many people would cry out for other things, for a place in the market where this particular issue isn't addressed and other things like racism or religion (which involved the entire population). And they'd be perfectly entitled to do so. Just because one particular issue is someones pet love doesn't mean every book must explore it. Books that covered all the bases would be pretty crap id say, a mishmash of all sorts of themes and issues.[/quote]
Whoa wait. Why does racism involve the entire population and sexism doesn't? Don't you have a gender? This is the problem I was trying to get at with the invisiblising. Why on earth is racism a problem for everyone, even white people, but gender isn't a problem for men to concern themselves about?

[quote name='Mackaxx' post='1674411' date='Feb 4 2009, 20.21']Definitions of supremely empowered and supremely punished also vary, see thread discussion for reference.[/quote]
I was trying to encourage this very discussion. It seems to me people have had this conversation about these books before without anyone reconciling the distinctions. Again, I haven't read the series myself so I do apologize if I'm missing the finer points. But I suppose it seems to me there's a lot of talking at each other instead of to. We both agree there's differences, can someone address why some definitions are more meaningful than others?

[quote name='Mackaxx' post='1674411' date='Feb 4 2009, 20.21']Like you point out, many of them did not have much power, some of them did and this is precisely what I see in books. Unfortunately many of these fantasy types write female characters like men which can be a little painful.[/quote]
Okay, yes, but I'm guessing your second sentence here is not the problem with Bakker? I would agree that writing females as men in skirts is annoying, though it's dependent on other things. About the first sentence -- are you saying that you think that because you see some women with power and some without that the overall picture for women in SFF is already okay?

I think different stories within the genre take on different amounts of realism vs escapism, and the idea is that female characters should be written with the same amount of realism vs escapism as males/as the rest of the story. That's why comments like the laws of physics ones get made. Say you had a scale and 0 was Very Realistic and 10 was Very Escapist. If the author chooses to aim his target around 5, but writes his prominent female characters (of which there aren't that many) at 2, then this seems extreme, no?

[quote name='Mackaxx' post='1674411' date='Feb 4 2009, 20.21']There is also a terrible lack of 'black' characters, Asian characters and so on and when they are written you often don't get the cultural differences you should. We should complain about them too.[/quote]
I agree. I do this, though not as much on this board.


Sheri Tepper is indeed problematic, though she has kernels of interesting ideas.

About these:
[quote name='Mackaxx' post='1674411' date='Feb 4 2009, 20.21']Just because its PC to want strong female roles doesn't mean I won't roll my eyes at a badly written on.
<...>
Tokenism isn't purely about your privilege defnition, sometimes something is tokenistic.
<...>
Maybe sometimes it will be due to my subconscious sexist barbarism but I think its pretty presumptuous to assume that this is the case always.[/quote]
You'll note that I myself said that tokenism is [i]sometimes[/i] about privilege while sometimes the charges are warranted. I really don't want to get caught in the circle where people go back and forth between "Well yes A but B too" and "Well yes B but A too". We've all done that a lot, right? Maybe it's time to actually try and feel out a working definition of tokenism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Arthmail' post='1674432' date='Feb 4 2009, 20.42']But i think those that feel its a little strange that only whores or such have any power or face time in the book have a point. Its also boring. Blanche of Castille was a powerful figure during the Crusades, which Bakker directly draws most of his world building from, yet i know of no instance of her using her sexuality for power play purposes. [b]She extended the power of the French throne while Loius IX was off playing soldier. [/b]Shagrat al-Durr became, for a short time, Sultan of Egypt. Just some examples illustrating that Bakker could have gone a different way.[/quote]That would have been as relevant as showing a townhall meeting in the Shire to the action at the Battle of Helm's Deep.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There was a time when I had just finished [i]Prince of Nothing[/i] and I was disappointed because the Bakker threads had died down for a while on the board. If I'd only realized how easily I could have got them going again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Mackaxx']I think in respect to the 'many of them didn't have power some of them did' stuff its a pretty good justification for the balance of male and female characters in pseudo historical fiction. Like you point out, many of them did not have much power, some of them did and this is precisely what I see in books. Unfortunately many of these fantasy types write female characters like men which can be a little painful. There is also a terrible lack of 'black' characters, Asian characters and so on and when they are written you often don't get the cultural differences you should. We should complain about them too.[/quote]

Did you perhaps miss [url="http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?showtopic=33889"]this[/url] discussion from last week?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1674447' date='Feb 5 2009, 12.58']Okay, I'm afraid that I don't understand the relevancy of this in this thread. What's being debated is if Bakker's portrayal is problematizing enough and/or to what extent he unwittingly endorses unfortunate trends. Nobody is saying that the mere involvement of a sexist setting is enough to make an author sexist. I'm sorry if I'm missing something, maybe you can clarify for me.[/quote]

Lots of things are being debated in this thread.

The setting is definitely sexist, this is intended. Some people think he's endorsing unfortunate sexist trends, other think he's not, he says he isn't, then great, sounds like a good thought provoking books. By somes definition a sexist setting = a sexist book, if this is the case for them then the 'well duhhhhh' thing applies. In that context its stating the obvious.

Also, some people [i]are [/i]saying that the author is sexist.

[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1674447' date='Feb 5 2009, 12.58']Whoa wait. Why does racism involve the entire population and sexism doesn't? Don't you have a gender? This is the problem I was trying to get at with the invisiblising. Why on earth is racism a problem for everyone, even white people, but gender isn't a problem for men to concern themselves about?[/quote]

Just responding to you talking about gender in respect to half the population being female, like you did. I can see how it would be unclear though, still, you know what i meant and what the point of the paragraph was...

[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1674447' date='Feb 5 2009, 12.58']Okay, yes, but I'm guessing your second sentence here is not the problem with Bakker? I would agree that writing females as men in skirts is annoying, though it's dependent on other things. About the first sentence -- are you saying that you think that because you see some women with power and some without that the overall picture for women in SFF is already okay?[/quote]

Overall women are written very poorly in SFF, really badly a lot of the time, less so nowadays. In respect to the first sentence I was pointing out that the representation of women in SFF (more so fantasy) seemed to fit with your statement that most did not have power, some did.

[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1674447' date='Feb 5 2009, 12.58']I think different stories within the genre take on different amounts of realism vs escapism, and the idea is that female characters should be written with the same amount of realism vs escapism as males/as the rest of the story. That's why comments like the laws of physics ones get made. Say you had a scale and 0 was Very Realistic and 10 was Very Escapist. If the author chooses to aim his target around 5, but writes his prominent female characters (of which there aren't that many) at 2, then this seems extreme, no?[/quote]

It is usually the women that veer toward the escapist end of the scale through the author sucking at writing women. Just like in a Tepper book the males are often pretty cringe worthy.

I can see where your going though, its more acceptable for a farm boy to rise up to a position of power than for a farm girl to rise up to be in a position of power. Historically the former would have happened more than the latter through the army anyway. Its funny that in the Bakker series a lowly woman rises up to be in a position of power. Rallying against this cliche it seems.

In regard to unequel representation of race etc etc and we should complain about that for good measure
[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1674447' date='Feb 5 2009, 12.58']I agree. I do this, though not as much on this board.[/quote]

Star Trek seemed to mix it up fairly well, but the captain was a whitey I guess so someones going to bitch. Authors are denying themselves some interesting takes on stuff by leaving out things like that but you can only fit so much in one book. It must be pretty hard to write a book talking about gender, sexuality, retardation, race, religion, kings n queens, politics, class, etc etc. Im glad I don't have to read stuff like that all the time.

In terms of the genre itself yes, things could be more varied. I think today that they are. Its fair to criticize in terms of the entire genre, but to pick on single books for not filling out your white knight checklist is stupid. This comment is directly meant for you incidentally, it goes for any other thread readers.

[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1674447' date='Feb 5 2009, 12.58']Sheri Tepper is indeed problematic, though she has kernels of interesting ideas.[/quote]

She does, no arguments there.

[quote name='Lady Blackfish' post='1674447' date='Feb 5 2009, 12.58']You'll note that I myself said that tokenism is [i]sometimes[/i] about privilege while sometimes the charges are warranted. I really don't want to get caught in the circle where people go back and forth between "Well yes A but B too" and "Well yes B but A too". We've all done that a lot, right? Maybe it's time to actually try and feel out a working definition of tokenism.[/quote]

Just pointing out the obvious as it hadn't been stated yet, people misinterpreting Bakker probably need that :smoking: .

Anyway, yes it would be great to have a working definition of tokenism but its one of those things that people are going to dispute anyway no matter where you draw the line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Bellis' post='1674481' date='Feb 5 2009, 13.37']Did you perhaps miss [url="http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?showtopic=33889"]this[/url] discussion from last week?[/quote]

Missing a lot lately but it's definitely true that the genre has it's bias. There are thousands of authors to choose from though and they look into all sorts of things. Buy those books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Matrim...your response holds no water. Anything of magnitude in a story is relevant, its how the author deals with it that determines if it should be in there. My point by illustrating RL parallels is that Bakker didn't bother throwing in anything but whores and prostitutes when he actually had some examples available to him. He could have gone a different way, but chose not to. Would you argue that Cersei, or Dany, for that matter, are irrelevant to the story? As has been argued by his defenders, Bakker could have done as he wanted, meaning he could have given us more of a view of what was going on beyond the glow of Kellhus the perfect.

Or, and i know this might burn some assholes, he could have had a woman of power in his book that was involved in the actual Holy War and that was not a whore. (Or perhaps not even of power...simply one that is not a whore or who does not use sex to gain some sort of power) As it is, he has only whores or whores who are elevated into something else by men. I sound like some of the people i have argued against, but in some aspects, they are perfectly correct.

I'll call it as i see it. His use of women in his stories is bullshit, trite, and boring. Its also possibly sexist, though i won't go so far as to claim that. Claiming that it doesn't make any sense within the context of this story is an intellectual cop-out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×