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The relationship between Men and Women in the WoT


OzzieAlThor
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Does feminism exsist in this world?

 

Does the exsistence of strong female characters in the story automatically remove the possibility of such an attitude?

 

Do all women pull their braids if they're angry?

 

What the heck is a *sniff* anyway?

 

To answer a few of my questions:

 

Does Feminism exsist

 

To a point. My first thought is to suggest that all Aes Sedai are feminists since they think they know better then any man on anything.

 

That would be incorrect however as Aes Sedai simply think they know better then EVERYONE, male or female.

 

I think there is a general attitude present in women that's not there in men though. The idea that "light men are so stupid, they'd bungle everything up if it wasn't for us ladies!", wheter true or not, is a feeling not expressed by the men of this world.

 

in fact, I'd suggest that men give women respect and treat them as mental equals in just about every way. How often have you read something along the lines of: "Light, bloody women would mess everything up if wasn't for us men"? Exactly. It's not there.

 

So I would suggest that the men treat women as equals in this world (barring the occasionly "groping" lord who grabs a butt of the servants and such) on the whole.

 

Women on the other hand constantly act like they are surrounded by an inferior species.

 

The question then falls on one's own judgment. Is the above actually feminism? I think it's silly and judgmental, but not feminist per se.

 

Does the exsistence of strong female characters in the story automatically remove the possibility of such an attitude?

 

No.

 

Strength does not = the right to think less of someone simply because of what they are. It also has little to do with being male or female as well.

 

A strong willed and minded person can be a man or woman, that doesn't matter.

 

Can a woman be of the Red Ajah and not be feministic by nature? Absolutley.

 

As for the other 2 questions.... I actually need your help with those.

 

There ya go.

 

Discuss.

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I first of all take issue with your definition of Feminisim. It seems that you think a Feminist is a woman who thinks women are better than men. This is not the case. Here is the official definition.

 

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feminist

 

Women are equal to men. That is all a feminist believes. A man can be a feminist.

 

As for the idea in WOT, it seems that it does not exist. Women and men seem to be on pretty equal footing with one another naturally so there is no need for a feminist movement. There are individual characters that think negative thoughts about people of the opposite sex, but it does not permeate the culture as sexism has ours for centuries. The feminist movement was needed in our culture; they don't need it.

 

The idea is removed not because of the presence of strong female characters, but by the lack of presisitent sexism.

 

My hair is not long enough to braid. When I am upset, I toss my locks of curl. (Elayne, yes?)

 

And I just can't seem to get the power of that *sniff* thing down. I always just sound like I have a cold.

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You have to remember that this world is the flip side of the real world. In the real world religion has stated that women were the cause of orginal sin, and thus for thousands of years, they were looked at as inferior. A lot of Biblical stories show women in an unflattering light, as to say they're caniving, wicked, seductresses who want to keep a man down. Because of this stereotype through a channel which would reach the entire populus, women had to start a movement to be seen as equals, to get the vote, to be able to have careers. And even still today women must fight against sexism and oppression.

 

But in Randland, the case is the exact opposit. Men were the cause of "orginal sin" (to use the same term). They're the ones who have been tainted from the Dark One, they've had the power striped from them. Because of this women look at them as "inferior" because they can't possibly hold the same amount of power as women, because the one power is stripped from them. This feeds the vanity of the women, especially the Aes Sedai, and men become inferior after 3000 years of abuse.

 

Feminism exsist in Randland, but it's not something anyone needs to strive over. Look at Far Madding where all the women run everything. The women hold the power. Men are the oppressed sex. Rand is the leader of the masculin revolution. It's men who must strive for equality, not women.

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I first of all take issue with your definition of Feminisim. It seems that you think a Feminist is a woman who thinks women are better than men. This is not the case. Here is the official definition.

 

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feminist

 

Women are equal to men. That is all a feminist believes. A man can be a feminist.

 

I agree that the offical dictionary defenition of Femenism doesn't apply here.

 

I am suggesting that Feminism is generally assocaited with women who think men are inferior simply because they're men (considering the oppsite was the way the world worked for a long time). That's what the topic is about because that is what prevalant in this series.

 

Another question that could also be raised is "Is that a bad thing?"

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You have to remember that this world is the flip side of the real world. In the real world religion has stated that women were the cause of orginal sin' date=' and thus for thousands of years, they were looked at as inferior. A lot of Biblical stories show women in an unflattering light, as to say they're caniving, wicked, seductresses who want to keep a man down. Because of this stereotype through a channel which would reach the entire populus, women had to start a movement to be seen as equals, to get the vote, to be able to have careers. And even still today women must fight against sexism and oppression.

 

But in Randland, the case is the exact opposit. Men were the cause of "orginal sin" (to use the same term). They're the ones who have been tainted from the Dark One, they've had the power striped from them. Because of this women look at them as "inferior" because they can't possibly hold the same amount of power as women, because the one power is stripped from them. This feeds the vanity of the women, especially the Aes Sedai, and men become inferior after 3000 years of abuse.

 

Feminism exsist in Randland, but it's not something anyone needs to strive over. Look at Far Madding where all the women run everything. The women hold the power. Men are the oppressed sex. Rand is the leader of the masculin revolution. It's men who must strive for equality, not women.[/quote']

 

I think the idea that women are shown in a negative light in the Bible is mis-construed. There are good and bad people of both sexes referenced in numerous places. Your point is taken though.

 

I'd also suggest that everyone can say they fight some kind of oppresion and sexism. Heck, I could start listing off female co-workers and bosses who thought I was a flaming idiot because I was a guy. Everyone can be a victim in that respect.

 

In the books, you also suggested that women looked down on men because they caused the Breaking. That's close but not entirely correct. Referencing back to your point about religions and their teachings making women seem inferior, the idea that men caused all the problems is not 100% correct.

 

Everyone knows that the DO tainted the male half. Not the men themselves. However, it was men that went nuts and Aes Sedai, long held as the pillars of society (even if they are hated by certain people), that we're charged with hunting them down. So therefore you have the a group of people (Aes Sedai), that whether or not the people actually want to admit it, that basically give the world it's que on how to act with each other hunting down men because they can't be trusted.

 

They do this for 3000 years. Eventually, that mentality will seep into both sides. Making the men docile and start believing they are inferior where women belive that men can't really be trusted.

 

If that all makes sense...

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Guest cwestervelt
in fact, I'd suggest that men give women respect and treat them as mental equals in just about every way. How often have you read something along the lines of: "Light, bloody women would mess everything up if wasn't for us men"? Exactly. It's not there.

 

That sounds a lot like Mat if you ask me. The Village Council in Emonds Field too for that matter.

 

The books are full of "butt out, this is men's business" or "butt out, this is women's business". Neither side has a monopoly on it and neither side sees the other as equal. Both sides think they know everything and are the only ones capable of doing the job.

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in fact' date=' I'd suggest that men give women respect and treat them as mental equals in just about every way. How often have you read something along the lines of: "Light, bloody women would mess everything up if wasn't for us men"? Exactly. It's not there.[/quote']

 

That sounds a lot like Mat if you ask me. The Village Council in Emonds Field too for that matter.

 

The books are full of "butt out, this is men's business" or "butt out, this is women's business". Neither side has a monopoly on it and neither side sees the other as equal. Both sides think they know everything and are the only ones capable of doing the job.

 

Mat is that way with everyone. He blames all his problems on being Taveren, not women.

 

Rand and Lan say 3 times in 11 books that "It's a man thing, you wouldn't understand". That is not saying it's "men's buisness, go away". That's saying "You wouldn't get it because you're a woman." That idea doesn't suggest that the woman is inferior. That suggest that Rand and Lan understand women think differently then men. The same can be said in reverse if you put Min and Elayne saying the same things to Rand.

 

Now, when it comes to the Village Council, what is the order those things were created? Is that explained in the books?

 

The idea with those 2 groups is simple. The Village Council would allow women if they wanted in. The thing is, the women would rather be in the Women's Circle. So then the human brain takes over and those 2 see each other in competition with each other. It *happens* to be that one side is all men and the other all women now. That's not a function of sexism. That's just flat out competition.

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Guest cwestervelt
Rand and Lan say 3 times in 11 books that "It's a man thing, you wouldn't understand". That is not saying it's "men's buisness, go away". That's saying "You wouldn't get it because you're a woman." That idea doesn't suggest that the woman is inferior. That suggest that Rand and Lan understand women think differently then men. The same can be said in reverse if you put Min and Elayne saying the same things to Rand.

 

Saying "it's a man thing, you wouldn't understand" is just as condescending as saying "it's a woman thing, you wouldn't understand." Are you are trying to claim that coming from Rand or Lan it is fine but from Elayne and Min it isn't? It's a rather dismissive, disrespectful and gender based attitude regarless of who it comes from.

 

I get the impression you are trying to split an awfully fine hair by claiming that "you wouldn't get it because you're a woman" is different from "men's business, go away." Both show that gender makes them different. Both statements are dismissive of the other party simply on the basis of gender. Both show an unwillingness to attempt communication between people of different genders. Both fail to show a recognition that the other gender is equal to you. You seem to think that because the first sounds politer it makes a real difference.

 

Addition:

The idea with those 2 groups is simple. The Village Council would allow women if they wanted in. The thing is, the women would rather be in the Women's Circle. So then the human brain takes over and those 2 see each other in competition with each other. It *happens* to be that one side is all men and the other all women now. That's not a function of sexism. That's just flat out competition.

What gives you the idea that the "old boys club" would allow women in if they wanted to join? That's more being in denial of what you can't accept than anything else. I won't argue that there is "competition" as you call it, but it wasn't just happenstance that you have men on one side and women on the other.

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Well in the quote you used at the end I specifically said the same rules apply if it's Elyane and Min talking as it for Rand And Lan. So obviously, no it's not different if a guy OR a woman does it.

 

I think it's disrepectful as well. When it's said however, it's not said because the people saying it are trying to be sexist.

 

It's "You're not one of us, you wouldn't understand". That doesn't just apply to gender. Any "group" is guilty of having that kind of attitue at some point or another.

 

I can see your point though. It's elite-ism. So it can be sexist even if it isn't inherently meant to be.

 

That makes sense.

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You have to remember that this world is the flip side of the real world. In the real world religion has stated that women were the cause of orginal sin' date=' and thus for thousands of years, they were looked at as inferior. A lot of Biblical stories show women in an unflattering light, as to say they're caniving, wicked, seductresses who want to keep a man down. Because of this stereotype through a channel which would reach the entire populus, women had to start a movement to be seen as equals, to get the vote, to be able to have careers. And even still today women must fight against sexism and oppression.

[/quote']

 

Your talking about a symptom, not the cause. Womens' 'oppression' (or not) was the by product of their biological role as mothers and being physically weaker. This has changed today, not because of any femininist or womens' movement, but because of advancement in technology. We are almost to the point of equality because physcial stature and child bearing matter less and less. Women are just as smart and can now control their reproductive cycle. When brains are worth as much money as brawns (due to technology more then anything else) women become more or less equals. In a more violent primitive society the opposite is generally true. Therefore I believe that womens' movements, individualism, ect are symptoms of technological changes.

 

and personally I find this part of RJ's world rather dull. The petty battle of the sexes in not interesting to me. And while this is fantasy, I find it unrealistic that in such a primitive culture feminine superiority exists. Aes Sedai are one thing, all the other 'strong women' are rather out of place (see sea folk).

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Second Wave feminism would be an appropriate paradigm in this world' date=' but third simply wouldn't work. For all those reasons Kadere went into, militant feminism would not only not work, but it'd be pointless.[/quote']

 

What would you say to those who suggest that the Red Ajah are militant feminists?

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I always viewed the red ajah as man haters. I assumed it was because they feared what they did not understand and after centuries it became bigotry and hate. Militant feminists, or those feminists that see no worth in men and view them as the root of all evil would then be the same.

 

Feminism works in our society because men know the worth of strong, independent women. They support the changes that women have made. It was men who stood up against societies mores and voted for women to vote, have access to birth control, own their own property. Granted this is a simplistic analogy, but in order for feminism to succeed, men were and are the key.

 

So for Wheel World men and women, in order to win at the last battle, they have to figure out the strength of fighting together. Of all the societies in wheel world the Aiel have feminism figured out.

 

I think that when you look at how the Asha'man and Aes Sedain or now bonding each other, fighting with each other, it's a welcome change.

 

At the last battle it doesn't matter who is throwing power around, as long as they do it together.

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They are militant, certainly, and some hate men, which IS sexism, but it isn't feminism. Militant feminism is the hatred of men resulting from the percieved attempt to keep women down. It is a reactive dislike that only a group that has been the disempowered can have.

 

What the Red Ajah feel is more along the lines of the hatred some cops feel for criminals, or some teachers feel for kids. Etc etc.

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and personally I find this part of RJ's world rather dull. The petty battle of the sexes in not interesting to me. And while this is fantasy' date=' I find it unrealistic that in such a primitive culture feminine superiority exists. Aes Sedai are one thing, all the other 'strong women' are rather out of place (see sea folk).[/quote']

 

I totally agree. That's one thing i always think to myself when im reading the books...sure its great to have these really strong female characters...but so many is quite unrealistic.

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And while this is fantasy, I find it unrealistic that in such a primitive culture feminine superiority exists. Aes Sedai are one thing, all the other 'strong women' are rather out of place

 

Having a group that politically strong, made up exclusively of women, combined with the knowledge that any woman could have the ability to channel, would definitely have a profound effect on the societies that develop. The Aes Sedai were many of the most prominent rulers in the Age of Legends, and suddenly only the females were safe and sane (if any woman can be called safe or sane :wink: ). So, for a time during and after the Breaking, women probably occupied most of the positions of leadership. That kind of thing trickles down even through 3,000 years, especially when the taint on saidin kept the White Tower exclusively female.

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Miliatant Feminisim is sexism. Don't confuse it with Feminisim. I am a Feminist. I love men. Quite a bit actually. In fact, I usually perfer the company of men to the company of women. Men are for the most part less complicated to be friends with, unless sexual attraction comes into the mix.

 

That being said, in my last post when I said there was no sexim in WOT I had forgotten about the Red Ajah (tsk, tsk). They definatley hate men, and not just men who can channel. I think it has something to do with what Robert stated above: Thousands of years hunting men who can channel led to a fear and hatred of all men. All hate originates in fear. Yoda anyone?

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And while this is fantasy, I find it unrealistic that in such a primitive culture feminine superiority exists. Aes Sedai are one thing, all the other 'strong women' are rather out of place

 

A very dangerous modern misconception is to assume that femininity was inferior in primitive culture. Factually speaking most hunter-gatherer societies relied on women for 80% to 90% of the food. A greater majority of those socities were based in goddess worship as well. The conceptualisation that femininity was the source of creation, and therefore devine, was common spread in primative cultures... indeed more cultures dealt with religious concepts of feminine divinity then masculine divinity, and the fact that their masculine counter-parts gained power later neither dismisses that, nor is indicative of a power system. Masculine ideology allies itself with imperialism and colonialism. Thats it.

 

That men had overt power due to their physical presense in primitive cultures is undeniable, that feminine power was weaker given the ideological and realistic nessisity... its simply untrue.

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Primitive cultures viewed childbirth/fertility as divine and powerful. Women survived this monumental task, did it again and again, powerful thing.

 

In Wot do Aes Sedai have children? I know Elayne is going to but as a rule I don't think they do. (Sorry, I don't have books handy and I need to reread, obviously.) Do they then give up this gift to keep their strenghth in the power. Before the breaking of the world didn't Aes Sedai, male and female have children together. If they did try and have children with men that can channel would those children automatically be able to use the power too. Would they be stronger than their parents in the source. Will Rand's twins be stronger than himself?

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In Wot do Aes Sedai have children? I know Elayne is going to but as a rule I don't think they do. (Sorry, I don't have books handy and I need to reread, obviously.) Do they then give up this gift to keep their strenghth in the power. Before the breaking of the world didn't Aes Sedai, male and female have children together. If they did try and have children with men that can channel would those children automatically be able to use the power too. Would they be stronger than their parents in the source. Will Rand's twins be stronger than himself?

 

As a rule, no, Aes Sedai in Rand's time do not have children (most of them don't get married, either). It's not a rule that they can't (except maybe for Reds), they just generally either don't like men or don't have time to make a family. They also know that if their children can't channel, they will likely outlive them. I believe that most of them that are married are Greens married to their Warders.

 

In Lews Therin's time at least some Aes Sedai were married and had children (both for LTT). I know of no information that has been given about how the ability to channel is passed on. I highly doubt that it is guaranteed if a parent can channel (as eventually almost everybody would be able to), but it may increase the chances. I also doubt that the children are automatically stronger than the parents.

 

If Rand's children can channel, then sure, they could be more powerful than he is but neither of those are guaranteed.

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We know that they believed that there was a cap for women at least in the AoL and that Lanfear was at that level. I don't recall seeing anything concrete on one for men, but we can assume that if there is one for women then there is one for men as well. The Dragon, being the ultimate Champion of the Light spun out by the pattern, would certainly be at that cap.

 

So you are right, I forgot about Lanfear being as strong as was believed possible for a woman. To amend my post: Rand's son could potentially be as strong as he is but not stronger unless the AoL Aes Sedai were wrong (highly unlikely). His daughter could be stronger than Elayne because she is not at the cap.

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