I think that the point made earlier in this discussion about 3000 years of female Aes Sedai rule was right on and, frankly, something I had not considered. But while this helps put the female characters into context, I still take exception to the fact that most of them are portrayed as bitches. Yes, if there was a constant narrative of women's every pissy thought, we would all sound like these characters at some point, but not all the time. That's what gets tiring - the constant stubborness, the evil looks, the damn "sniffing" and braid-tugging from the protagonists. On the one hand, I agree that they are not a random sample but represent strong, powerful women. (We all also know from experience that you get trouble with too many alphas in one room, regardless of gender.) On the other hand, it looks like a cop-out, like Jordan made one generic and unflattering female mold and just tweaked it a bit here and there. (Yes, yes, there are always exceptions, like Moraine and Egwene). Although power can certainly go to a someone's, I disagree with the assumption that in WOT, only bitches are powerful (or are all the powerful women bitches by definition?). That's like saying all the powerful male characters are pricks, which I don't think is the case at all. What ultimately frustrates me is that I can't decide if this is a well-intended attempt to present powerful and empowered female characters or a deliberately negative portrayal.
Hi. I'm new to this forum and this is my first post, though I've definitely enjoyed reading everyone's comments and ideas. This is hands-down my favorite fantasy series, which I have just recently reread (again) in order to put the events of book 11 into context. Reading all the books in quick succession, however, highlighted something that's been bothering me throughout this entire series - the female characters. Why is just about every female character written as manipulative, controlling, eye-rolling, and so incredibly patronizing toward men (not to mention bitchy as hell towards every other woman)? Don't get me wrong, these qualities certainly suit individual characters and are necessary to the story, but a central theme seems to be women disliking/nagging/controlling men or hating/sniping/struggling for power with each other. More often than not, I find myself wanting to slap just about every female character with dialogue. In my opinion, writing the majority of the female characters in these generic molds detracts from the development of the individual characters as well as from the development of relatable male-female relationships and felame-female friendships. It's also just plain tiring. Can't strong female characters be something other than bitchy or manipulative? Given that Jordan went through all the trouble of giving women a very large role in the story, this is a disappointing cliche. This isn't to say that there aren't individual exceptions (Min and Birgitte, for instance). But these are the characters I consider somehwat normal... Thanks for letting me vent. And for the record, I am not trying to start some sort of gender argument about this. It's just something I noticed while reading the series, and stands as a stark contrast to the well-developed and unique personalities of the male characters.