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Female characterization in tWoT


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Again, I will point out that having sexist characters in the book does not mean that RJ was sexist or shared those points of view. Just because Rand can be sexist (and I still believe that the way its written is supposed to make the reader see the folly in his overboard protection of women and characters in the book call him out for it) doesn't mean Rand's view of women is RJ's. RJ isn't evil or sadistic just because he wrote the Forsaken characters or because he wrote a character like Semi that likes to torture people. I don't understand why a discussion of sexism in the text can't be done by discussing it in text without involving RJ. He wasn't writing a biography.

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i found the portrayal of the BG in dune to be incredibly misogynistic. women who can control every atom in their bodies, and every toxin they ingest, have to be chemically lobotomized in order to bear gholas? seriously?

 

i try to understand the intent of the writer when/if can. i'm not successful a lot of the time, but i still try. i don't think RJ's intent was sexist. i think it's sort of deconstructionist to interpret him that way.

 

but, you know, have fun with it. :mellow:

 

Hmm, never thought of the BG that way. But then it's been years and years since I read Herbert so who knows. I might have to go back and read through it again.

 

I don't think anyone is saying that RJ was an overt misogynist or sexist. We all have attitudes about things that we grew up with. Mostly unconscious unless they're challenged, guys - all guys have at some point in their life done something overtly sexist and gotten jumped on for it, got surprised, because it never occurred to us that the underlying attitude of whatever it was we did, was sexist. That doesn't make us rabid sexists, but it does challenge your underlying attitudes.

 

It doesn't surprise me in the slightest - being a Southern Man, that RJ picked up a lot of that Old Southern Chivalry we were all raised with, at least in my generation. It's quaint, and courtly, and sexist to the core, and you can see it in Jordan's writing. Does that mean we all hate women? Hell no, we call it being polite, but that doesn't change the fact that all of those customs began as reinforcement that women were weaker and less capable than men. The man pays, because the woman has no job.

 

You do however get a surprised awakening when you see some young girl standing on the bus, and like a gentleman you offer your seat, and she turns you down flat. Not rudely, just makes it plain that she's fine standing - which happened to me on my way to work one day. That never would have happened forty years ago.

 

Buuuut, in a world where not everyone can channel and not everyone is protected by channelers. And where there is dark friends, thiefs, robbers, murderers, bad gangs of mercenaries, dragonsworn etc etc, it is obvious ordinary men have a great role in protecting women. Rand was born an ordinary man in a ordinary village without protection. It would be strange if he wasnt brought up with ideals about protecting the physically weaker sex.

 

 

Sure, and you hear that argument a lot - and it's a good argument - because there's some truth in it. A man, raised in any society is going to try to protect his wife, his kids, his parents, his community. The problem is that it's taken to extremes.

 

I want to be clear, I'm not talking about the plot, I'm talking about the attitudes that informed the plot.

 

A man is generally stronger and bigger than a woman. But women are also going to defend their homes and the ones they love - and have just as much of a right to do so, nor are they incapable.

 

The idea of a man defending a woman is not the problem, the idea that a man must defend ALL women, and they must be kept from putting themselves in danger, and if they aren't, that's the man's responsibility, is problematic.

 

The idea of chivalry and the chivalric code, which that is, actually didn't exist before the middle ages. This stuff is the product of French troubadour poetry - written at a time when women had almost no control over their lives. I look at it as akin to the idea of Noblesse Oblige, Nobles are justified in controlling everything because they have a duty to protect the peasants - even from themselves. Which also sounds good on the face of it, but in practice is something far different.

 

A man steps over the line from natural response to sexism when he decides what choices she can make for her own good.

Edited by Dbob
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Again, I will point out that having sexist characters in the book does not mean that RJ was sexist or shared those points of view. Just because Rand can be sexist (and I still believe that the way its written is supposed to make the reader see the folly in his overboard protection of women and characters in the book call him out for it) doesn't mean Rand's view of women is RJ's. RJ isn't evil or sadistic just because he wrote the Forsaken characters or because he wrote a character like Semi that likes to torture people. I don't understand why a discussion of sexism in the text can't be done by discussing it in text without involving RJ. He wasn't writing a biography.

 

Well, we're just going to have to disagree that this attitude is confined to Rand, I don't think it is.

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Again, I will point out that having sexist characters in the book does not mean that RJ was sexist or shared those points of view. Just because Rand can be sexist (and I still believe that the way its written is supposed to make the reader see the folly in his overboard protection of women and characters in the book call him out for it) doesn't mean Rand's view of women is RJ's. RJ isn't evil or sadistic just because he wrote the Forsaken characters or because he wrote a character like Semi that likes to torture people. I don't understand why a discussion of sexism in the text can't be done by discussing it in text without involving RJ. He wasn't writing a biography.

 

+1

 

I can understand if we want to analyze the books in certain lights/perspectives but assuming that RJ was sexist for writing seemlingly sexist is nonsense. I can write about a character enjoying to rape girls and his weird sisters that like to torture rabbits. They are just characters not my hidden desires/meaning to rape women/be raped and torture rabbits/be tortured by rabbits.

 

Let´s look at at a kid playing with water. From a development-psychologic viewpoint you can say she is just playing with water because at that age children are enjoying the sensation and texture of the water. They are kids and kids like to play with water. From a development-pedagogy viewpoint you can say she is exercising her motoric skills when she touches the water and from a social-cultural perspective you can say she is enganging in devolopment of her knowledge about water-flow, pressure, gravity and so on. Neither are right or wrong (from a social-cultural perspective, there is no right or wrong) it´s all just a matter of diff. perspectives.

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i'd just like to go on the record at this point by saying that if anybody wants to hold a door open for me, give up their seat, help me move something heavy, remove dead critters from my home or yard, protect, defend, or assist me in any way - i would say thank you, and mean it. i would have loved to have been married off with a good shiddach and have a passle of kiddles when i was young enough to manage it instead of having to go out in the world every day among strangers and wolves to earn my bread. i don't blame any political movements for this unexpected turn of events (this definitely isn't what i was raised to expect). i think it was more of an economic inevitability after WWII. but it's a bummer.

 

but, anyway, chivalry is definitely not a dirty word to me. just a lost ideal. a sepia toned memory of the olden days that maybe never really were what they seemed. but lovely to remember, just the same.

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Again, I will point out that having sexist characters in the book does not mean that RJ was sexist or shared those points of view. Just because Rand can be sexist (and I still believe that the way its written is supposed to make the reader see the folly in his overboard protection of women and characters in the book call him out for it) doesn't mean Rand's view of women is RJ's. RJ isn't evil or sadistic just because he wrote the Forsaken characters or because he wrote a character like Semi that likes to torture people. I don't understand why a discussion of sexism in the text can't be done by discussing it in text without involving RJ. He wasn't writing a biography.

 

Well, we're just going to have to disagree that this attitude is confined to Rand, I don't think it is.

 

It's not confined to Rand, but the people who are like that are balanced I think by the people who don't understand this attitude at all and find it strange.

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Again, I will point out that having sexist characters in the book does not mean that RJ was sexist or shared those points of view. Just because Rand can be sexist (and I still believe that the way its written is supposed to make the reader see the folly in his overboard protection of women and characters in the book call him out for it) doesn't mean Rand's view of women is RJ's. RJ isn't evil or sadistic just because he wrote the Forsaken characters or because he wrote a character like Semi that likes to torture people. I don't understand why a discussion of sexism in the text can't be done by discussing it in text without involving RJ. He wasn't writing a biography.

 

Well, we're just going to have to disagree that this attitude is confined to Rand, I don't think it is.

 

I don't think it is either. I think large portions of Randland have at least a bit of that "chivalrous" attitude. RJ took a lot of his inspiration for the setting in the world from medival Europe where that type of view was common.

 

There is plenty of sexism in Randland (from both men and women). My point is that there is a difference between saying "Rand is sexist" or "Many cultures in Randland are sexist" and saying "RJ is sexist". Just like there is a difference between saying "Semirhage is a sadist that enjoys hurting people" and "RJ enjoys torturing people because he gave his character a sadistic personality".

 

RJ having sexism in his world is a world building technique (and a realistic one at that seeing as how much sexism there is in the world and especially during the time period in history that corresponds with the culture in Randland) not necessarily a reflection of his own values. Hell, for all we know RJ felt chivalry was ridiculous and put it in the books so that people could see how silly it was. He had Rand take it to the extreme so people would realize how dumb and unnecessary it is to treat women that way. It's not fair to ascribe the attributes of RJ's fictional world and characters to him personally.

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...but, anyway, chivalry is definitely not a dirty word to me. just a lost ideal. a sepia toned memory of the olden days that maybe never really were what they seemed. but lovely to remember, just the same.

 

I love the way you phrased this.

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Again, I will point out that having sexist characters in the book does not mean that RJ was sexist or shared those points of view. Just because Rand can be sexist (and I still believe that the way its written is supposed to make the reader see the folly in his overboard protection of women and characters in the book call him out for it) doesn't mean Rand's view of women is RJ's. RJ isn't evil or sadistic just because he wrote the Forsaken characters or because he wrote a character like Semi that likes to torture people. I don't understand why a discussion of sexism in the text can't be done by discussing it in text without involving RJ. He wasn't writing a biography.

 

Well, we're just going to have to disagree that this attitude is confined to Rand, I don't think it is.

 

I don't think it is either. I think large portions of Randland have at least a bit of that "chivalrous" attitude. RJ took a lot of his inspiration for the setting in the world from medival Europe where that type of view was common.

 

There is plenty of sexism in Randland (from both men and women). My point is that there is a difference between saying "Rand is sexist" or "Many cultures in Randland are sexist" and saying "RJ is sexist". Just like there is a difference between saying "Semirhage is a sadist that enjoys hurting people" and "RJ enjoys torturing people because he gave his character a sadistic personality".

 

RJ having sexism in his world is a world building technique (and a realistic one at that seeing as how much sexism there is in the world and especially during the time period in history that corresponds with the culture in Randland) not necessarily a reflection of his own values. Hell, for all we know RJ felt chivalry was ridiculous and put it in the books so that people could see how silly it was. He had Rand take it to the extreme so people would realize how dumb and unnecessary it is to treat women that way. It's not fair to ascribe the attributes of RJ's fictional world and characters to him personally.

 

Well, since I am not R.J. and I didn't live in his head, it is of course possible that this is completely deliberate. I can't speak to that. What I do know for a fact is that the books are his alone. Whatever they are, deliberate or otherwise, they are a product of who he was as a person. That is of course going to affect what is written.

 

The only thing I can speak to is my take on the issue. It didn't appear to me that R.J. was condemning the attitude itself, it's way too pervasive. I suspect that R.J. did believe in that stuff, and that's why I brought up the South (US.) He was a Southern boy, a whole lot of us were taught that same kind of thing, taught to believe it.

 

I'm not saying he was a rabid misogynist, just that perhaps his background predisposed him to certain kinds of blindness on certain issues.

 

And I will admit, that Rand's list annoyed the F*** out of me. But with Rand of course, you always have to play the crazy card. Perrin's epic find Faille saga annoyed the F*** out of me, not because of the story line, but because of his attitude. There are others, but I don't really want to get into quote sniping.

 

I think that the word "sexism," is being interpreted to immediately connote misogynist. I don't mean it that way. Both women and men in all societies have attitudes that are sexist, the situation in all societies is more complex than a simple cut and dried, this side or that side kind of interpretation.

 

There was some other point I wanted to make but it seems I've forgotten what it was. Such is life.

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My 2cents. Reality isn't particularly flattering to either gender (or individual for that matter) so why do so many people what to kick the esteemed Mr Jordan in the shins for his choice of any view he chose to write in his story???

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My 2cents. Reality isn't particularly flattering to either gender (or individual for that matter) so why do so many people what to kick the esteemed Mr Jordan in the shins for his choice of any view he chose to write in his story???

 

I think that R.J. probably would have been the first to tell you that if your work isn't being discussed and argued over, it's probably not very good. People don't spend time and thought on things they don't care about. As a matter of fact, the better you are, the more erudite and comprehensive the arguments become, and if you're the very best people get university degrees critiquing your work and you go into the curriculum.

 

So instead of metaphorically hugging R.J. and telling him not to listen to the mean boys, why not metaphorically shake him by the hand and congratulate him for creating a body of work that provokes thought and strong opinion - that's not an easy thing to do.

 

I've never seen anyone in here who hates the books or thinks R.J. is a hack. The people who come in here care enough to think about what he wrote and want to talk about it.

Edited by Dbob
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I think as far as Rand goes, his insanity certainly comes into it- his list can be annoying, I understand, it annoyed the living hell out of me when I read through it. It does seem to very much encompass an attitude of not only "I must not hurt women, even when they are attacking me", but also "Women must not be put at risk, even by their own choice and actions, and it is my fault if they do", which yes, I agree is sexist.

 

I think this attitude IS certainly present in other characters in the series- the two examples that jump to mind are Mat and Perrin, the other Two Rivers boys. Thus, I think its safe to say that part of Rand's attitude comes from his upbringing. However, taking the example of Mat- he doesn't LIKE hurting women, but on a few occasions, he has been put in a position where he has to, because a woman is threatening to kill him, or because she is threatening to endanger him and his friends- and he has done it. He hasn't liked it, but he has been able to do what is neccessary. As far as women putting themselves in harm's way goes- Perrin's very protective of Faile, as his wife, and he asks Berelain, Faile and Alliandre to stay back from battle in TOM, (I do like how he phrases it, though, something like "I'm ordering you two to stay back from the front lines. Faile, I'm just going to ask and hope." It made me giggle...), but then, you could argue that none of the three are trained warriors, and that's why. But both have fought alongside Maidens of the Spear, without fretting about them- I seem to recall Mat making a joke to Aviendha about it being a fine night to dance the spears, when they both go into battle in an earlier book. I don't recall Mat fretting about Birgitte, despite her being a bodyguard to a woman in line for many assassination attempts, nor Perrin worrying about Tylee.

 

Overall, I do think that the attitude of "Men shouldn't hurt women if they can help it, and should protect those weaker than themselves" IS prevalent in the Two Rivers people, and probably elsewhere (at the very least, in the Borderlands). I wouldn't say its presented as a good or bad thing, its just there, but it is very common. If you see this as a sexist idea (and I agree that it is, albeit unintentionally, though plenty will disagree with me), then yes, its certainly present in many of the characters. However, refusing point blank to kill a woman, even if it will result in his death, and the deaths of others, and not wanting to let fully competent fighters enter a battle simply because they are women, is a ridiculous extreme of that point that Rand reaches, as a result of his insanity, that is called out as ridiculous and harmful by nearly all of the people around him.

 

Not to disparage your opinions or anything, I think you make some very good points about the chivalry in the WoT world. I suppose the next question could be, is the chivalry (for lack of a better term) present in some areas in WoT a likely product of a pre-technological society where men are, in general, the stronger sex? Or is it something that seems out of place, given that many nations in Randland, including Andor and some of the Borderlands, where the behaviour is most commonly observed, have powerful women rulers, merchants and councillors, etc.?

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You ask some interesting questions I'd like to pursue, but I'm going to have to ask you for patience, I have to get up early and I'm being hounded to bed, so hold that thought.

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And I will admit, that Rand's list annoyed the F*** out of me. But with Rand of course, you always have to play the crazy card. Perrin's epic find Faille saga annoyed the F*** out of me, not because of the story line, but because of his attitude. There are others, but I don't really want to get into quote sniping.

 

I think that the word "sexism," is being interpreted to immediately connote misogynist. I don't mean it that way. Both women and men in all societies have attitudes that are sexist, the situation in all societies is more complex than a simple cut and dried, this side or that side kind of interpretation.

 

 

This. A thousand times over.

 

Disclaimer: The following rant will offend some people. However, it is not directed at anyone in particular and is just a rant, so those of you who offend easily either don't read it or unwad your panties and take a deep breath.

 

I am so bloody sick and tired of hearing people whine about sexism and racism and every other ism. We're all somewhat sexist (even if it's against our own gender!). We're all somewhat racist (even the people going on and on about "oh we have to treat him better than everyone else because of his skin color or religion or some other bloody trait that makes him 'not like us'" are racist). Why do we do this? We're human. We aren't some special species from outer space that is incapable of hatred or judgment or being jerks. We're just people. Not Borg, not Geth (for you ME fans!), and not robots. That said, there are two groups of people who annoy me more than anything in the world: the first one is the group of people whining about being offended by anything they don't like ("Oh noess! A guy held a door open for me because he clearly thinks I'm weak and stupid and just a worthless female who can't open it myself!! How dare he! The pig! All men are pigs!") and the group of people who are trying so hard not to offend the first group of whiners that they end up sounding like escaped mental patients ("Acck! I used the word 'black'! There's a black guy in the next room! Please flog me to death for seeming to be a racist!").

 

To the first group, all I have to say is that no one ever guaranteed that you would go through life and not offended. I'm offended by morons, but you don't see me running around condemning them all and demanding that they be killed/jailed/muted (by some 'law'). Everyone has the right to their opinion (even if it sucks :biggrin: ) and to say whatever the hell they think, even if - OH NOES! - I don't agree. As I said, we aren't a bunch of mindless drones. If we were, then yeah people wouldn't be racist/sexist/whatever but they wouldn't be human either. Personally, I'd rather have free thought and free speech than to never be offended. Besides, if you outlawed everything that offended everyone (everyone, not just the loud-mouthed whiners), then the only thing we'd be allowed to do is sit in padded rooms in straight jackets and stare at the floor. No thanks.

 

To the second group...get over yourselves. I've been alive long enough to recognize that the people who are so determined to prove they aren't sexist/racist/stupid/whatever are usually more so than the people who just go about their business and try to be courteous, compassionate (if sometimes grumpy) human beings. Throw in the fact that this group is hyper-sensitive and overly accommodating in their responses to said groups and it pretty much proves my point. In fact, go listen to the Avenue Q soundtrack. You may learn something.

 

/end rant

 

Okay, now for the sexism thing. People need to get it through their big fat skulls that there is a huge difference between courtesy and sexism. If a guy holds open a door for a woman or offers his seat on the bus or train, he is being nice, not being demeaning. The problem is that the loud-mouthed whiners have conditioned courtesy out of most men (and women, for that matter). Many men have joined the second group where women are concerned ("Oh crap, if I hold the door open for this chick, she'll think I'm insulting her!"). You know what? When I'm going into or out of door, I glance behind me to see if anyone is there and hold it for them. I don't care if it's a woman, man, transvestite, or hermaphrodite. It's called having manners. By the same token, I say thank you to people who do that for me. On the other hand, if I'm nearing a door and there's someone just ahead of me who lets the door slam on me, I usually mutter "asshole" a bit louder than necessary or sarcastically yell, "Gee, thanks!". Don't care if it's a man, woman, or five-legged donkey. To do that shows lack of manners. Sadly, manners are becoming less and less common in society.

 

Now for the "horribly sexist" attitude that women should not be in danger....

 

Fact: Of the two genders, only women are capable of giving birth. Men can spew their sperm from floor to ceiling and they will never carry a child. Because of that, and because long ago (not in a galaxy far away) surviving on this earth was not exactly easy since we didn't have lawyers and the government around to sue or regulate us out of every supposed danger (like making sure we didn't accidentally spill hot coffee on our private parts because there weren't warning labels all over the cup warning us that the coffee was, indeed, hot), protecting women was necessary. If the female population dwindled too much, procreating and keeping the human race alive became more difficult. And, another fact, most men are physically larger and stronger than most women (though if you look at most younger guys now, I tend to think that may have shifted somewhat, since guys seem to think it's attractive to look like stick figures, but I digress...).

 

Now let's look at WoT...in the Two Rivers, "women are superior". Period. Boys are taught to show respect to women and that a woman's life is more valuable than a man's (likely due to what I said above, at least in some part, but also due to the fact that the women act like men are worthless tools who must be controlled). And somehow we expect Rand (and Mat and Perrin, for that matter) to accept women dying to save their lives? Somehow, we expect that, after 19 or 20 years of having it beaten into their skulls that women are better and more worthy than them, they should have a sudden change of heart and decide that women should not be protected? Yes, Rand's list was idiotic, but he has been a bit stressed. Yes, Mat's decision not to kill another woman, even if it meant him dying, was one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of, as was him being raped by Tylin and not putting a stop to it. But neither of these things is a result of some hideous personality flaw on their parts, but rather a product of their upbringing. They were taught that a woman's life is more valuable than a man's. It's ingrained in them and that is a hard thing to break. By the way, Perrin's supposed "sexist" thoughts were not shown through his determination to rescue Faile even if it meant unleashing the Dark One, but rather in his attitude that women who kidnapped and tortured Rand (the Aes Sedai) should not be treated like queens instead of having the Wise Ones treat them like the pieces of crap they were.

 

My point here is that this supposed sexism isn't what its most insistent preachers claim it is. The men in the WoT, except for the Forsaken, instead see women as more than them. They treat the women as though their lives are worth more. That isn't about weakness - no, the men, in general, recognize that the women are strong - but is about worth (And, were I to bet, that very much reflects what were RJ's views. ). Why let the women risk their lives when the men can throw themselves in front of an arrow to save them? Is that a sexist attitude? Sure, you can call it that, but they aren't demeaning women, they're just valuing them more. Isn't that what Warders do? They obey and they sacrifice themselves for their owners because they believe (and are pretty much told!) that their owners are more valuable. It seems to me the only difference in Warder behavior and the behaviors of the rest of the men in the WoT who seem so "sexist" is that the other men aren't obedient lapdogs most of the time. Must they be slaves to the women before protecting them? Is that the only way they can "prove" they aren't "sexist"?

 

But if you want to throw that stone, then make sure to throw one at the women as well. Warders are nothing but chained dogs, not valued for their thoughts or personalities, but rather their skill with a sword and willingness to obey and die protecting their Aes Sedai. Every woman in WoT (save Birgitte) thinks about how stupid men are and tries to manipulate/control/bully the men into obeying them. Or, perhaps, very much like Rand, Mat, Perrin, and many other men in WoT, that's just what they were taught. The trick to it, and true test of character, is to see which ones break free from the generalizations (such as "all men are stupid and are only good if they obey my every demand!" and "all women are worth more than a man even if she's evil!") and start seeing individuals instead of "groups". Nynaeve was the first one to do this. I'm curious to see if any others follow.

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@lilltempest : That was one of the best posts I've ever read in a forum and one I whole-heartedly agree.

 

On a sidenote the slim is better mindset is being shoved down our throats for both genders.

Edited by Zentari
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I don't think anyone would debate that holding the door open for somebody rather than letting it shut in their face is down to manners. I hold the door open for people, too. Similarly, if a person is on the bus, and they see someone on crutches, or carrying a load of heavy bags, its common courtesy to offer them a seat, if you're not in the same position yourself, and if there isn't a seat available. The idea that women should have doors opened for them, and be offered seats on the bus, and what have you, simply because of their gender IS sexist, IMO. Hell, you could argue that its sexist from both angles- as well as the female angle, that's already been discussed, you could argue that it's sexist towards men as it could be seen to imply that only women are worth helping.

 

Now, in everyday life, are you going to be able to tell the difference between whether that guy in front of you holding the door open is doing it out of courtesy for the person behind him, or is holding the door open for you because you're a woman? No, probably not. So you can either go through life thinking people are doing it because they think you're a weak and feeble woman ;) or because they're just being polite. Like I said, I hold doors open for people, too, I'm not going to complain if someone does the same thing.

 

I agree that sexism doesn't equal raging misogyny or misandry. I agree that holding the door open for people, giving up your seat on the bus, etc. are actions of common courtesy. I'd even agree that everyone's a little bit sexist, however much we try not to be. And that the idea that men should open doors for women, or give up their seat on the bus to a woman, purely on the basis of her gender, is sexist. It doesn't mean its offensive to everybody, or even most people, though yes, some people might find it so, that's up to them. It doesn't mean you should jump down the throat of everyone who offers to do these things, or refuse to go through a door on a matter of principle, that's silly, IMO. But if you're arguing that the attitude isn't sexist, in some way, then I'd have to take issue with that.

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(re sexism being equated with misogyny here - i don't know about anyone else, but when i used the word misogynistic in reference to the BG portrayal in dune, it was because i find the portrayal misogynistic; i don't equate the accusation of sexism in the WOT with an accusation of misogyny, and i don't think or mean to imply that the words are synonymous. just clarifying. carry on.)

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And I will admit, that Rand's list annoyed the F*** out of me. But with Rand of course, you always have to play the crazy card. Perrin's epic find Faille saga annoyed the F*** out of me, not because of the story line, but because of his attitude. There are others, but I don't really want to get into quote sniping.

 

I think that the word "sexism," is being interpreted to immediately connote misogynist. I don't mean it that way. Both women and men in all societies have attitudes that are sexist, the situation in all societies is more complex than a simple cut and dried, this side or that side kind of interpretation.

 

 

This. A thousand times over.

 

Disclaimer: The following rant will offend some people. However, it is not directed at anyone in particular and is just a rant, so those of you who offend easily either don't read it or unwad your panties and take a deep breath.

 

I am so bloody sick and tired of hearing people whine about sexism and racism and every other ism. We're all somewhat sexist (even if it's against our own gender!). We're all somewhat racist (even the people going on and on about "oh we have to treat him better than everyone else because of his skin color or religion or some other bloody trait that makes him 'not like us'" are racist). Why do we do this? We're human. We aren't some special species from outer space that is incapable of hatred or judgment or being jerks. We're just people. Not Borg, not Geth (for you ME fans!), and not robots. That said, there are two groups of people who annoy me more than anything in the world: the first one is the group of people whining about being offended by anything they don't like ("Oh noess! A guy held a door open for me because he clearly thinks I'm weak and stupid and just a worthless female who can't open it myself!! How dare he! The pig! All men are pigs!") and the group of people who are trying so hard not to offend the first group of whiners that they end up sounding like escaped mental patients ("Acck! I used the word 'black'! There's a black guy in the next room! Please flog me to death for seeming to be a racist!").

 

To the first group, all I have to say is that no one ever guaranteed that you would go through life and not offended. I'm offended by morons, but you don't see me running around condemning them all and demanding that they be killed/jailed/muted (by some 'law'). Everyone has the right to their opinion (even if it sucks :biggrin: ) and to say whatever the hell they think, even if - OH NOES! - I don't agree. As I said, we aren't a bunch of mindless drones. If we were, then yeah people wouldn't be racist/sexist/whatever but they wouldn't be human either. Personally, I'd rather have free thought and free speech than to never be offended. Besides, if you outlawed everything that offended everyone (everyone, not just the loud-mouthed whiners), then the only thing we'd be allowed to do is sit in padded rooms in straight jackets and stare at the floor. No thanks.

 

To the second group...get over yourselves. I've been alive long enough to recognize that the people who are so determined to prove they aren't sexist/racist/stupid/whatever are usually more so than the people who just go about their business and try to be courteous, compassionate (if sometimes grumpy) human beings. Throw in the fact that this group is hyper-sensitive and overly accommodating in their responses to said groups and it pretty much proves my point. In fact, go listen to the Avenue Q soundtrack. You may learn something.

 

/end rant

 

Okay, now for the sexism thing. People need to get it through their big fat skulls that there is a huge difference between courtesy and sexism. If a guy holds open a door for a woman or offers his seat on the bus or train, he is being nice, not being demeaning. The problem is that the loud-mouthed whiners have conditioned courtesy out of most men (and women, for that matter). Many men have joined the second group where women are concerned ("Oh crap, if I hold the door open for this chick, she'll think I'm insulting her!"). You know what? When I'm going into or out of door, I glance behind me to see if anyone is there and hold it for them. I don't care if it's a woman, man, transvestite, or hermaphrodite. It's called having manners. By the same token, I say thank you to people who do that for me. On the other hand, if I'm nearing a door and there's someone just ahead of me who lets the door slam on me, I usually mutter "asshole" a bit louder than necessary or sarcastically yell, "Gee, thanks!". Don't care if it's a man, woman, or five-legged donkey. To do that shows lack of manners. Sadly, manners are becoming less and less common in society.

 

Now for the "horribly sexist" attitude that women should not be in danger....

 

Fact: Of the two genders, only women are capable of giving birth. Men can spew their sperm from floor to ceiling and they will never carry a child. Because of that, and because long ago (not in a galaxy far away) surviving on this earth was not exactly easy since we didn't have lawyers and the government around to sue or regulate us out of every supposed danger (like making sure we didn't accidentally spill hot coffee on our private parts because there weren't warning labels all over the cup warning us that the coffee was, indeed, hot), protecting women was necessary. If the female population dwindled too much, procreating and keeping the human race alive became more difficult. And, another fact, most men are physically larger and stronger than most women (though if you look at most younger guys now, I tend to think that may have shifted somewhat, since guys seem to think it's attractive to look like stick figures, but I digress...).

 

Now let's look at WoT...in the Two Rivers, "women are superior". Period. Boys are taught to show respect to women and that a woman's life is more valuable than a man's (likely due to what I said above, at least in some part, but also due to the fact that the women act like men are worthless tools who must be controlled). And somehow we expect Rand (and Mat and Perrin, for that matter) to accept women dying to save their lives? Somehow, we expect that, after 19 or 20 years of having it beaten into their skulls that women are better and more worthy than them, they should have a sudden change of heart and decide that women should not be protected? Yes, Rand's list was idiotic, but he has been a bit stressed. Yes, Mat's decision not to kill another woman, even if it meant him dying, was one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of, as was him being raped by Tylin and not putting a stop to it. But neither of these things is a result of some hideous personality flaw on their parts, but rather a product of their upbringing. They were taught that a woman's life is more valuable than a man's. It's ingrained in them and that is a hard thing to break. By the way, Perrin's supposed "sexist" thoughts were not shown through his determination to rescue Faile even if it meant unleashing the Dark One, but rather in his attitude that women who kidnapped and tortured Rand (the Aes Sedai) should not be treated like queens instead of having the Wise Ones treat them like the pieces of crap they were.

 

My point here is that this supposed sexism isn't what its most insistent preachers claim it is. The men in the WoT, except for the Forsaken, instead see women as more than them. They treat the women as though their lives are worth more. That isn't about weakness - no, the men, in general, recognize that the women are strong - but is about worth (And, were I to bet, that very much reflects what were RJ's views. ). Why let the women risk their lives when the men can throw themselves in front of an arrow to save them? Is that a sexist attitude? Sure, you can call it that, but they aren't demeaning women, they're just valuing them more. Isn't that what Warders do? They obey and they sacrifice themselves for their owners because they believe (and are pretty much told!) that their owners are more valuable. It seems to me the only difference in Warder behavior and the behaviors of the rest of the men in the WoT who seem so "sexist" is that the other men aren't obedient lapdogs most of the time. Must they be slaves to the women before protecting them? Is that the only way they can "prove" they aren't "sexist"?

 

But if you want to throw that stone, then make sure to throw one at the women as well. Warders are nothing but chained dogs, not valued for their thoughts or personalities, but rather their skill with a sword and willingness to obey and die protecting their Aes Sedai. Every woman in WoT (save Birgitte) thinks about how stupid men are and tries to manipulate/control/bully the men into obeying them. Or, perhaps, very much like Rand, Mat, Perrin, and many other men in WoT, that's just what they were taught. The trick to it, and true test of character, is to see which ones break free from the generalizations (such as "all men are stupid and are only good if they obey my every demand!" and "all women are worth more than a man even if she's evil!") and start seeing individuals instead of "groups". Nynaeve was the first one to do this. I'm curious to see if any others follow.

 

 

Well done.

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