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White-Luck Warrior


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Objective reality in Earwa is defined to some extent by what people believe. It is quite literally changed by their beliefs. We've witnessed this in both The Prince of Nothing trilogy, and The Judging Eye. So if enough people believe that women are inferior to men, if they think snakes are blessed (and I really don't get the problem with the concept, it's not like every real religion in the world doesn't have blessed animals), then those things are true.

Also, thanks for completely ignoring my last comment.

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<_< Severe sexual stratification is not as much of an issue as the sexual agency of all the female characters. Even in worlds with "torture, brutal violence, and other incredibly morbid and harsh realities" almost all women, no matter their social stratification, would express non-sexual agency. Furthermore, presenting the sexual oppression of a concubine, prostitute, and harridan weakens the message of female societal oppression. These women are certainly oppressed in society, but their sexual oppression as women is diminished by the expectation of their professional/archetype marginalization. Esmenet is a woman. Although the reader is upset that she is oppressed as a woman, the reader is not terribly upset or surprised that a prostitute is marginalized and sexually oppressed. Her profession by nature took out the severity of the bite.

Perhaps I need more clarification on what you mean by "sexual agency" to better understand your viewpoint. Do you simply mean "sexual agency" as "utilization of sexuality as a tool for exerting influence and asserting power"? Or are you suggesting that not only is it a utilization, but their primary definining characteristic?

If it's the former then I will not argue; the principle female characters all use sexuality to exert influence. I don't in any way see a problem with this, however. Human beings use whatever tools they are given to exert social influence and manipulate, even if it is done unconsciously. Intellect, charisma, sexuality, and many other quantities of human beings are all utilized in the social environment. This modern stigma of using sexuality as a tool seems absolutely absurd to me, as sexuality is as innate as any of the other human drives. It is incredibly prevalent in our modern cultures to use sexuality as a tool, so I fail to see how one could possibly be surprised that it'd be very prevalent in a fictional culture wherein women are incredibly socially opressed.

If it's the latter, and you're suggesting that sexuality is not only a tool, but the defining characteristic of all the female leads, then I honestly have to ask you if we're even talking about the same series of books. Profession does not equal persona. That is a message I think Bakker expressed well in his female point of view chapters; the concubine and the whore are people first, and objects of sexuality second.

It's been a while since I read the series but as far as I can remember far more emphasis was placed on Esme's wit as her defining characteristic rather than what's between her legs. If you were to go through the scenes of the primary women, and tally up the role of sexuality versus all their other character traits, I think you'd find yourself faced with statistical proof.

People were not as dismayed by gender stratification but by the overuse of sexual agency in this stratification. Of course, people were dismayed by the unclear nature regarding the objective inferiority of women. This could have been clearer in the books.

Yep, and his personal choices as an author caused the message he sought to convey to be utterly lost and muddled on just about everyone. So that is why some people in this thread are looking at what those shortcomings were in his personal choices that led to this communication failure.

In what way was "sexual agency" overused? There is no indication in the work that the female gender in its entirety is defined by sex. We are given a small glimpse of the roles of women in Bakker's world due to the limited number of female characters. The fact that he chose to make the few main female characters have primarily sexual social roles is in no way an indication of the world's cultures as a whole; it was simply Bakker's choice for what type of female leads he wanted.

I disagree that his commentary on gender inequality was entirely lost, but I will certainly agree that he could have made it more pronounced to his general audience, and also done things in the story that would have made a stronger impact on the reader about the harsh effects of gender stratification. He could have shown the oppression and its different forms for women of every different social position.

...but this is not the focus of the story. Showing the view points of the gender as a whole would have been a severe deviation from the plot, requiring many characters, scenes, and complete reworking of the entire story.

Bakker chose to keep it subtle, just as he left many other layers subtle, and that is his choice as an author.

And yes, I understand that you're not advocating such a drastic alteration: you'd be content with one women not being sexualized. Emphasis on "you" as this goes back to the original point that this is all a personal and subjective displeasure over an author's choices in material and characterization. This is no different than readers complaining that they just want likable characters, or less macabre scenes, etc. If it was any other way, it wouldn't be the work that it is.

So I would like to ask you for your opinion: What would have been lost from the narrative and message of the Prince of Nothing had one or some of the three female characters not used sexual agency? Then weigh this against what would be gained by having one or some of the three female characters not use sexual agency.

Rather than asking, why don't you answer these questions since your entire argument is that there IS something to be gained from it. I haven't seen any substantial explanations or evidence for how the novels have anything to gain from this alteration that would actually warrant the changes.

I honestly can't see anything being gained by the novels if one of the female leads didn't use sexuality or have it as part of her characterization, and from the replies it seems no one else can either, so perhaps you should enlighten us?

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Do you plan on actually answering the question or will you persist in playing games? Fine, call it an addition. It hardly changes the matter.

Then we get back to my first response to you like 2 pages ago which you tried to derail by claiming some irrelevant distinction between "Addition" and "Alteration":

I didn't see any substantial gap in the story that necessitates the addition

You are moving the goalposts. Are we talking of damnation or simply stoning? Women engaging in pre-marital sex are stoned. Adulterers are stoned. But prostitutes are not damned in the Mosaic Laws.

It's not shifting goalposts since the difference between "We're going to bash you to death with rocks" and "And then AFTER THAT your going to hell" is pretty irrelevant to the point:

The condemnation of "loose" sexuality is like standard for Abrahamic religions. How in the hell is this controversial?

Oh right, it's not your just quibbling over nothing.

It's based on the Abrahamic model, but it is not the Abrahamic model just as others have said, these are not a tit-for-tat of the Crusades. Bakker decides what to change and what not to change. He decides the legalism of a thing, but not the Abrahamic model. Bakker could easily have declared cows unclean for whatever reason, but this would still follow the Abrahamic model of declaring clean and unclean animals. But the animal that is declared clean is arbitrary to the author's dictates. The same is true for declaring prostitutes as damned. It is an arbitrary decision for the purposes of telling the story of the Whorey Trinity of the prostitute-concubine-harridan.

Um, again, the condemnation of loose sexuality is like one of those cornerstones of Abrahamic moral systems. That's why it's there.

Snakes aren't evil. Snakes are BLESSED. They're really good in Bakkerverse. And that appears to be completely arbitrary without context.

Really? I could have sword they were evil. Ah well.

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