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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Twitter Conversation With Brandon on Sexuality and Gender in the Wheel


Luckers
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We didn't say he should make women stronger (though there's no reason why that wouldn't make sense as there is no logical reason why strength in the Power should correlate with upper body strength), but that there is no reason why he could not have made them equal.

No you're right, no reason except that it was his world to build and his decision as an author to decide if a somewhat illogical reason was needed to explain the difference.

 

But he probably felt that the ability to link up to 13 was more than enough to make up for that (relatively small) lesser strengh in the Power. Showing that to unite is to win. And by showing that an above than 13 link requires men, he also shows that.

 

Someone put it nicely above but nobody picked it up: equals but in different ways.

 

 

 

EDIT: Sorry if my understanding of English wasn't enough to understand all the nuances in your conversation, but are you looking at single people equality (as in "one average man against one average female") or as a group thing ?

Edited by Aquarius
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It doesn't 'justify' it, nor are we acting like anything else would have been rediculous. Let me ask you this--is there a reason why strength in the power couldn't parallel physical strength? Why RJ should have had a reason not to choose to portray it so?

It could, it's RJ's world after all and he made up the rules. My reasons are twofold - first, channelling, apart from the gender division, has nothing to do with physical strength (the tiny Moiraine was really strong in the Power and countless other examples), so the parallel is somewhat illogical, at least to me. Second is that since the men naturally have the edge in terms of fighting skills with ordinary weapons due to superior physical strength, and you can't get over this unless you decide to ignore biological laws. So it would've been nice if the women had been at least equal when it comes to magic.

 

Asmodean is stronger than Semirhage(probably), but in a fight I'd put my money on Semirhage. The same for in a fight between Sammael and Aginor. Strength isn't everything. And battle isn't the only use for the power.

Edited by Master Ablar
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Why did RJ make men stronger channelers? To balance the fact that women have an organization available to teach them to use the Power, complete with a pedogogy developed over millenia, and the men have no such thing. If the intent is to create balance (and Jordan said that it was, many, many times) then something to counter that structural advantage of women was necessary.

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Like black widows? :)

No, not even a little bit.

 

I thought Asmodean made it clear that a woman could do just about anything a man could do with the power and to just about the same extent. Men might be better at some forms of healing(as per Moghedien) and women are no doubt better at other things with the power. However in the grand scheme of things they are equal. No one is above the other. Isn't that why the AoL was so great?

Why did RJ make men stronger channelers? To balance the fact that women have an organization available to teach them to use the Power, complete with a pedogogy developed over millenia, and the men have no such thing. If the intent is to create balance (and Jordan said that it was, many, many times) then something to counter that structural advantage of women was necessary.

Precisely. Equality isn't the same as similarity. Men and women are different, no point in denying that. Neither inferior, both have strengths in different departments. As such, it strikes me as very natural that RJ would choose to supply men with advantages (such as row strength) in the OP that would make them tend to be lone-wolves, and women with advantages (such as Linking ability) which will make them tend to be more organized and cooperative. It's building on how we tend to think and behave as human beings. Same with the way both sexes use the Source. A man is likely to respect something more if he has to fight it first; a woman much more likely to understand how to control something by yielding to it. Does that come from our society being male-dominant? I don't think so. Men can sometimes force their will using physical strength, so they will develop less of a tendency to employ other means and more of an appreciation for open confrontations.

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Neither would I without people who spent their entire life without once reading a book, and that doesn't stop me from feeling sorry for them :smile:

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If the genders had been equal in Power, someone would be whining that one gender is shafted(men for being hunted and feared, or women for being physically weaker). If women were stronger, this argument would happen backwards, people involved would be called sexist, and I would bring up the fact that women are always better at magic as a counterbalance against mens' physical prowess.

 

The man was damned either way.

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RJ's nudity scenes really didn't bother me at all. It was kind of like being in a locker room... no big deal. And partial nudity for the women's ceremonies did have a practical purpose, although I suppose a grossly overweight male with a hormone imbalance might have been able to bare his chest and pass for a woman.

 

What I appreciated about RJ's writing, compared to other authors, was the brevity of the bedroom scenes. RJ gave us just enough information to let us know what was happening, and did so in a couple of short paragraphs, then left the rest to the imagination. That worked very nicely.

 

Compare the romance scenes RJ wrote with those in Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear series. Auel goes so far overboard that it turns my stomach. I've noticed the same obscession with graphic details in romance novels written for female readers, which is why I quit reading them and will never resume. And I'm female.

 

So I'm wondering if this is a difference between male and female authorship in general, that male authors get right to the point then move on, while female authors seem to savor describing every excruciating little nuance, gesture, touch, smell, tingle.....

 

I thought about posting a couple of examples comparing how RJ and Jean Auel treat romance scenes, just to illustrate the point, but I don't want to find myself banned.

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You know, it's times like this I feel sorry for you breeders.

 

Without breeders, you would not exist.

 

I'm sorry, that was unnecessarily blunt of me. It remains true, but I should have been more tactful in pointing it out. I worry that marriage and family-raising gets increasing amounts of flak, that's all.

 

(And this from someone who's just been promoted to great-aunt.. :ohmy: )

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You know, it's times like this I feel sorry for you breeders.

 

Without breeders, you would not exist.

 

I'm sorry, that was unnecessarily blunt of me. It remains true, but I should have been more tactful in pointing it out. I worry that marriage and family-raising gets increasing amounts of flak, that's all.

 

(And this from someone who's just been promoted to great-aunt.. :ohmy: )

It could have come out in a more joke-ish manner but yeah, it's true nonetheless.
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RJ's nudity scenes really didn't bother me at all. It was kind of like being in a locker room... no big deal. And partial nudity for the women's ceremonies did have a practical purpose, although I suppose a grossly overweight male with a hormone imbalance might have been able to bare his chest and pass for a woman.

 

What I appreciated about RJ's writing, compared to other authors, was the brevity of the bedroom scenes. RJ gave us just enough information to let us know what was happening, and did so in a couple of short paragraphs, then left the rest to the imagination. That worked very nicely.

 

Compare the romance scenes RJ wrote with those in Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear series. Auel goes so far overboard that it turns my stomach. I've noticed the same obscession with graphic details in romance novels written for female readers, which is why I quit reading them and will never resume. And I'm female.

 

So I'm wondering if this is a difference between male and female authorship in general, that male authors get right to the point then move on, while female authors seem to savor describing every excruciating little nuance, gesture, touch, smell, tingle.....

 

I thought about posting a couple of examples comparing how RJ and Jean Auel treat romance scenes, just to illustrate the point, but I don't want to find myself banned.

 

Sure, sure... but the way that RJ wrote about sex in his Conan books and in the Fallon books set my sexual fetishes for life. :madmyrddraal:

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Gah. Not even gonna bother with quotes, you people know who you are:

 

RJ's decision to make male channelers stronger than women channelers is sexist? Things that are the product of male heterosexuals are inherently sexist? I'm not even going to list any more... Do you people ever stop looking for things to be offended about? What if I'm offended by people who are constantly looking for reasons to cry and be offended? It's RJ's story. He made male channelers generally stronger than women. Why be offended by that? Why criticize? Just don't read it. Here in the real world men are more physically powerful than women. Are you going to tell me this isn't true? Am I sexist for saying it?

 

Look guys, there were only three ways it could have gone: women stronger, men stronger, equal strength. RJ chose one and he explained it in the books in a way that made sense (as much as any explanation of magical powers makes sense). He incorporated things that, taken together, evened it out a bit. If he had made women stronger, I'll bet you wouldn't be on these boards talking about the poor men and how the author was sexist in his approach.

 

I know this is essentially a rant that will make no difference, but the whole super-touchy PC thing really annoys me, and I feel better for giving my opinion, whether you feel better for reading it or not. (=

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Hmmm. That's a pretty awesome observation by Luckers, regarding Rand's ostracism. Very poignant.

 

Count me in as someone that doesn't necessarily feel that RJ's depiction of magic is sexist. I just never really had the impression that men were so much more awesome in magic than woman. I mean, how could I with Lanfear running around and the other female Forsaken (whom were also more effective villains than most of the male Forsaken, IMO)? But, I have to admit, in my mind I think of channelers in three parts. Males, females, and the Dragon. I do not consider the last in my comparisons of channelers and I think the most recent book justifies this.

 

But, meh, its entirely possible that he intended for women to be less powerful overall but revised it. Won't know without access to his notes... /goes back to hacking Brandon's computer

 

His lack of homosexual males and general depiction of lesbians has always made me kinda squeamish though. But when they do I remember that:

 

1. It could be much worse. Goodkind and Newcomb worse.

 

2. And he wrote the bulk of the series in a different era.

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Hmmm. That's a pretty awesome observation by Luckers, regarding Rand's ostracism. Very poignant.

 

Thanks. :)

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I wanted to get this over it, but couldn't resist commenting on this, though I guess it won't lead to much except repetitve arguments:

 

RJ's decision to make male channelers stronger than women channelers is sexist? Things that are the product of male heterosexuals are inherently sexist? I'm not even going to list any more... Do you people ever stop looking for things to be offended about? What if I'm offended by people who are constantly looking for reasons to cry and be offended? It's RJ's story. He made male channelers generally stronger than women. Why be offended by that? Why criticize? Just don't read it. Here in the real world men are more physically powerful than women. Are you going to tell me this isn't true? Am I sexist for saying it?

Again with this... :rolleyes:

Of course you pointing a biological fact is not sexist. But Randland is not the real world. RJ created the rules for magic, it was his call, and it had nothing to do with any biological laws. So it could've been done at least partly for sexist reasons. I am not saying that's necessary the case, and in itself, it's not a big deal at all, but when we add the whole "women submit to saidar, men dominate saidin" thing, it's certainly gives some unfortunate implications to me. YMMV, but that's the way I see it. And the thing with submitting to saidar doesn't even have any kind of plot justification.

 

I am not offended, just pointed out at the start of the thread that there are some reasons that RJ's magical system can be interpreted to be sexist, after FarShainMael asked exactly this. Taken in itself, the magical system certainly reinforces some typical sexist stereotypes, as I pointed out few pages back.

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This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

Thanks for your support. [JOKE]Too bad you're only a girl, though.[/JOKE]

 

(=

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As a martial artist, I see similarities between male and female ways of controlling the one power and sparring.

In sparring there are generally two ways to defend against your opponent. One is to overpower your opponent attacks directly with strength (similar to the male way of controlling the one power). The other is to work around your opponents attacks, basically accepting them and turning them to your advantage ( similar to the female way of controlling the power ).

 

I can't see how either of these methods can be called sexist ( unless maybe if the word sumbit or dominate is taken out of context and applied to the person instead ).

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This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

Thanks for your support. [JOKE]Too bad you're only a girl, though.[/JOKE]

 

(=

 

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh::tongue:

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I love how when people have an intelligent and polite conversation about sexism, people immediately react with the above sentiments. Offended? Crying? Come on, people...actually read the transcript. And if you did read it and still got that impression, then...I don't really know what to say.

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As a martial artist, I see similarities between male and female ways of controlling the one power and sparring.

In sparring there are generally two ways to defend against your opponent. One is to overpower your opponent attacks directly with strength (similar to the male way of controlling the one power). The other is to work around your opponents attacks, basically accepting them and turning them to your advantage ( similar to the female way of controlling the power ).

 

I can't see how either of these methods can be called sexist ( unless maybe if the word sumbit or dominate is taken out of context and applied to the person instead ).

 

Interesting way of looking at it. In the Wheel of Time, male channelers know karate, female channelers know judo. The man trained in karate might be able to chop a block of wood with his hand, and yet find himself flat on his back within seconds of squaring off against a woman trained in judo. :myrddraal:

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As a martial artist, I see similarities between male and female ways of controlling the one power and sparring.

In sparring there are generally two ways to defend against your opponent. One is to overpower your opponent attacks directly with strength (similar to the male way of controlling the one power). The other is to work around your opponents attacks, basically accepting them and turning them to your advantage ( similar to the female way of controlling the power ).

 

I can't see how either of these methods can be called sexist ( unless maybe if the word sumbit or dominate is taken out of context and applied to the person instead ).

 

Interesting way of looking at it. In the Wheel of Time, male channelers know karate, female channelers know judo. The man trained in karate might be able to chop a block of wood with his hand, and yet find himself flat on his back within seconds of squaring off against a woman trained in judo. :myrddraal:

 

 

I am a former martial artist, who at one time was a 1st degree black belt in Tae Kwon Doe.

Comparing male channelers to karate and female channelers to judo is one of the very best comparisons that I have EVER seen.

:flamingsword:

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As a martial artist, I see similarities between male and female ways of controlling the one power and sparring.

In sparring there are generally two ways to defend against your opponent. One is to overpower your opponent attacks directly with strength (similar to the male way of controlling the one power). The other is to work around your opponents attacks, basically accepting them and turning them to your advantage ( similar to the female way of controlling the power ).

 

I can't see how either of these methods can be called sexist ( unless maybe if the word sumbit or dominate is taken out of context and applied to the person instead ).

 

Interesting way of looking at it. In the Wheel of Time, male channelers know karate, female channelers know judo. The man trained in karate might be able to chop a block of wood with his hand, and yet find himself flat on his back within seconds of squaring off against a woman trained in judo. :myrddraal:

 

 

I am a former martial artist, who at one time was a 1st degree black belt in Tae Kwon Doe.

Comparing male channelers to karate and female channelers to judo is one of the very best comparisons that I have EVER seen.

:flamingsword:

I would say Aikido would be a better comparison, but that does brings to mind Steven Seagal ....

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Same with the way both sexes use the Source. A man is likely to respect something more if he has to fight it first; a woman much more likely to understand how to control something by yielding to it. Does that come from our society being male-dominant? I don't think so. Men can sometimes force their will using physical strength, so they will develop less of a tendency to employ other means and more of an appreciation for open confrontations.

 

I know I'm late to the party here, but I just ... wow. I mean, I sort of follow the upper body strength argument. (I don't agree, but I follow.)

 

The submission/fighting thing. I'm not sure exactly where to start with that. I think you're doing a world of hurt to every aggressive female and passive man out there. I do not - and wll not - "yield to something in order to control it." That's passive-agressive manipulation and I find it abhorrent. It implies that women, on the whole, are "likely" to control something through subterfuge, manipulation, and deceit. Since I'm female, those are fightin' words.

 

However, I am not blind to the fact that you may (may! I don't presume to speak for others!) have insulted every man who ever chose to "work out" his differences, or even "submit" to his wife (or husband) because he wanted to see that individual happy and content.

 

Physical strength is something that can be quantified. Will a man my height, weight, and build that has lived the same life I have be able to lift more, just because his tissue is arranged differently? Well, put two of us in a room with weights and find out. Am I more likely to "sumbit" to gain control than fight? (Leave out whether I'm an outlier, for a moment.) You can observe behavior, but you cannot observe the driver of that behavior. Let's say I do - I "give in" and that gives me an advantage. Did I did so because I wanted to, because that was my "nature," or did I do so because the condition of the world I live in dictates that as the acceptable behavior for me? Is that submission too? It's a thorny tangle: actions can be quantified, beliefs cannot.

 

I realize that for every "hey! I'm a strong and agressive woman!" there can be a million "but I submit to control!" posts. This isn't about "I'm different and you didn't account for me." It's about the fact that you simply don't know whether the submit/struggle dichotomy really might be because of a male-dominated world. We simply can't even begin to assign causality to this. It's a correlation, sure, but did one cause the other? Who knows?

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