Bakker, Feminism, and Slavery

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What Came Before

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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2013, 02:14:12 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Quote from: Bakker User
Plus, isn't challenging preconceptions of human psychology what Bakker's all about anyway? And doesn't speaking of "how women act" or "how men act" both beg a certain question and fall right into Bakker's trap/arms?

+1 Anachronistic Dialogue.

Quote from: Bakker User
Personally, being an ignoramus virtual hermit these days (see intro post), I trust Bakker to be well-acquainted enough with the cog-psych research and personal interactions to create A realistic or plausible or possible characterization, even if it's shocking in many ways.

You're showing, Bakker User. I'm glad you decided to dive in. I'd hazard that you and Bakker both have much knowledge to offer.

Quote from: Bakker User
Does Bakker's understanding of slavery seem to be lacking to any of you? She mentions the availability of slave narratives online, but I don't see how that contradicts the notion that slaves hoard secrets from their masters. It certainly sounds plausible to me, at least on the surface. Are there any specific slave-quotes from our epoch that suggest or explicitly state otherwise?

I had thought you picked the quote til I read your linked Larry's blog. I'm not sure that highlights any of Bakker's understanding of actual historical slave narratives, as you said - there's but one real metaphor to dissect...

Quote from: Meyna
the altercation with the feminists followed a script that you see in a lot of arguments. The goal of the critics was never to understand the work; the goal was to make an example of someone in an effort to "rally the troops" against an issue that, to be fair, is a big problem in a lot of ways. Once Bakker did respond, both parties had incentive to continue and were then compelled to escalate.

...

Do not make the mistake of dismissing the actions of the initial instigators as being unintelligent or misguided (insert any Sun Tzu quote concerning deception here). It was manipulation designed to gain followers, and, quite frankly, it worked. Whether it actually ends up helping the original cause is a different issue.

+1 Meyna. However, I think Bakker was right to engage. Man's got a serious predilection for affecting change.

Quote from: Curethan
The argument lacks any evidence that such depictions reinforce negative attitudes.

I've never actually engaged this content much - there was one instance, Kalbear and I went at it for a couple posts but mostly I never felt right suggesting that I knew anything about Feminism.

Quote from: Auriga
The crowd who criticized Bakker over misogynism never really intended to analyze and pick apart Bakker's work in a serious way - it was more about yelling "misogynist poo-poo head" as loud as possible, and create an Issue of the Day.

The stupidest thing Bakker did was to acknowledge these people at all. They feed off attention, like all other internet-activists.

+1 - though, I'm getting interested in Bakker User's proposal that we do any work those critics lacked.

However, again, I support Bakker engaging each corner. Many of us attempted, in different fashions, to engage acm and Vox on their blogs - for my part, I asked acm what she thought she was accomplishing and if she had ever pursued cognitive psychology, for that was promptly banned and accused of being Bakker's Sockpuppet...

Vox, on the other hand, actually engaged - and I him and some of the Ilk's more eloquent comments. To that end, I managed to elicit that Vox thought that without guiding moral principles, like those Christianity offers, no one would behave. And that they should hunt me down and kill me for threatening the stability of their worldview. It's a shame he clears his comments from past blogs.

The point is that people, groups, exist in our world that have measures of control over the dominant narratives - fictions that we all embody. Engaging disparate groups is one of the only ways to save us from ourselves, neh?

That's not strictly a response to you, Auriga, but I know the ineffectiveness of engagement was echoed by others - I got on a roll there... and bogged down reading old ROH posts.

Quote from: bbaztek
My experience with internet social justice warriors is they are often as venemous and vitriolic as the people they are trying to denounce.

Some can only express themselves in limited capacities. The onus of communication is on those of us more practiced?

Quote from: Ajokli
I'm as abolitionist as anyone but I would counter that they don't know a thing about slavery and/or the Reconstruction either.

Thanks for that link, Ajokli. I'd hazard this strays into Bakker's argument, regardless. Immediate emancipation of the slaves marginalized those freed even more than slavery, in some instances. Like the freedom offered by Kellhus' gender utility...

Quote from: lockesnow
The problem was that Bakker said he was deliberately doing a different thing and people decided he didn't achieve it and took him to task for it.

Quote from: Bakker
“yes, the text is problematic as it stands now, but future developments will hopefully show that there is much more going on under the surface,"

From Bakker User's link to Larry's blog post. Take him to task when the Second Apocalypse is done. Prince of Nothing is a premise.

Quote from: Callan S.
But finally, what if you ran an experiment where you somehow tested sexist attitudes (and more importantly, sexist actions) of readers before reading, then again after reading the books and found those sexist actions actually increased?

I just wrote a midterm on this, Callan. There's a variety of case studies but directly from my study notes:

Pornography & Sexual Violence:
- Even women often believe that other woman might enjoy being sexually overpowered, though few think it of themselves (Malamuth, 1980).
- After viewing either a neutral, erotic, or an aggressive-erotic (rape) film, university and college men who watched the rape film delivered stronger shocks to women (Donnerstein, 1980)
- Exposure to pornography increases acceptance of the rape myth (Oddone-Paolucci et al., 2000).
- A consensus statement by 21 leading social scientists sums up the results: “Exposure to violent pornography increases punitive behaviour toward women” (Koop, 1987).
- Those who read erotic rape stories and were then fully debriefed became less accepting of the “women enjoy rape” myth (Malamuth & Check, 1981).

Purposeful bolding for here at the last... though, also what I'd highlighted on my study sheet ;).
 
Quote from: bbaztek
It's just that sooner or later, you have to move out of that hate-filled state of mind for your own mental wellbeing or you risk becoming a participant in the cycle of hatred and prejudice you are railing against.

+1. Enjoying your perspective, bb.

Quote from: Bakker User
If the critics haven't been seriously analyzing Bakker's work to establish a stance, then I invite everyone with affinity to textual analysis to do so here, if any one can stomach it.

I'd be interested in this, as I mentioned above.

Quote from: Bakker User
As for Bakker trying a new thing - exaggerating human biases and 'distasteful characteristics' is one of the means through which he expresses his ideas, right?

Thanks for the link. I'd almost hazard that Earwa is so purposefully extreme as to better contrast what comes next.

Quote from: Bakker User
AFAIK the modern concept of gender roles - that is, occupations from which women should specifically be excluded because they are not correctly constituted (so note that I'm not referring to gender roles in general but this specific manifestation) - only arose during the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution. The core of the argument around historicity, is then, that back in the day, society wasn't so heavily restrictive on the forms of female economic participation; women just did whatever was needed to be done, because there wasn't the luxury of allowing/restricting them to always sit cooped up in the house, caring for children, or servicing their horny male masters.

Summary: It's not really accurate to say that women in the ancient or medieval worlds were always only sex-slaves, prostitutes, or child-carers.

Despite this, I do think it should be acknowledged that pretty much everywhere (in the old Europe/near East), women were up to the 20th c. seen as politically subordinate to males, etc.; though to varying degrees, it was always there.

It's interesting - Larry and Bakker both danced around defining Feminism on Larry's blog and I think this strikes to the pith.

Quote from: Bakker
2) Given radically changing factual and social conditions, why should anyone defend the feminist status quo?

Quote from: Larry
What do you mean by "feminism?" I've never seen it as a monolithic bloc, but rather as an umbrella term for a series of competing and sometimes compatible views on the relationships between women (itself a term open for further division into cis/trans now) and the cultures/environments in which they move. A second-wave and third-wave feminist will likely disagree when it comes to defining patriarchy and how sexism is inherent in society. Marxist feminists, especially those influenced by critiques of E.P. Thompson's classic social history, The Making of the English Working Class, certainly will emphasize the Industrial Revolution as the place where the Public/Private sphere split reached its apogee and which established certain prejudices about "women's roles" that two centuries later are still being argued over.

With that in mind, it's nearly impossible to answer that question. Might as well ask a Tennessean, a Hawaiian, a Vermont resident, and a Nebraskan what constitutes "American" values/language.

My bold. Exactly, Larry... and how has gender equality answered this historical relevancy? Well, mostly by adopting gender utility normalized by social discourse as gender equality.

I would hazard Bakker's question again with a single caveat: Given radically changing factual and social conditions, why should anyone defend the feminist status quo, when, as the feminist status quo exists, it is seriously at odds with actually recontextualizing gender roles to reflect equality?

Cheers. I don't think this is an echo-chamber, Bakker User - rather this is how it appears when charitable communication is exercised...

Doesn't mean I agree with you... just means I'm trying to communicate with you ;).

What Came Before

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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2013, 02:14:19 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Quote from: Bakker User
1. Well, perhaps. On one hand, it shouldn't be necessary to read the whole work before being able to comment on it. On the other, surely one can not claim to have a total thematic mastery of the book - deeper than anyone else's - when one has only read the 5-page prologue!
Oh, I wouldn't count ACM's 6 page read as being any genuine effort. I just mean for other folk. I think some/perhaps many people on her forum are interested in engaging issues - I posted on requires only hate that Vox was posting on the TPB. One poster thought it was a good idea to engage - ACM was like 'you are so obvious' to me. Yeah, I was - I was obvious like I was pointing out an illegal whaling ship to someone who calls themselves a greenpeace activist. I think many on her forum genuinely do want to be activists. But I kinda digress...

Maybe 6 pages could cut it? Probably not - but the thing is, do you have to read 9 books (some not written yet) to understand? That seems the opposing extreme end to six pages.

Quote
2. That's fiction, then - fiction that pretends to historical accuracy is another genre entirely, right? All this is just in reference to the critic's position in opposition to the apologist argument that Bakker's depictions of women in society are historically accurate.
I'm not sure I understand? Before we were talking about an argument coming from history. If I wrote about middle ages villages and say they had to grow food rather than go to the supermarket, I argue from history. That doesn't mean I'm writing a historical genre? I could say hobbits have to grow their own food and I'm not just trying to be historical, yet I am recreating our history to an extent?

I don't think if you include some arguement from history, suddenly you are attempting to be historically accurate. I heard an arguement recently like that where someone seemed to think that if someone wants some dragons in their reading, then they want 100% fantasy, with no percentage of what we might call real/similar to history material.

If you or they want to argue that it's either historically accurate or it has to be absolute fantasy, you can pitch it.

Quote
3. Well, OK. I can only go shallowly here, but I'll try. By the way, I said "if not full political enfranchisement" which is to say that women had an economic role besides that of prostitute or sex-slave while not almost ever being seen as politically even close to the equals of men.


How many of them are socially mobile enough to engage in social circles they don't normally enter? Maybe you have a seamstress, but if you take it fiction is often about meeting new people, who does that? Her husband? Or do you imagine a single woman making her way along with a middle ages war, being a seamstress?

It seems more like the 'unprotected' woman is the character that will engage new social circles, which is essential for being a main character.

I'm inclined to think a woman who has a job in the setting wont leave it for an unprotected position?

If the seamstress is one example, how does she follow along with a war, for example? Without the character just going "Hey, how about I just stay at home where I have a job!"? Ie, not adventure/not be a main character?

Quote
Summary: It's not really accurate to say that women in the ancient or medieval worlds were always only sex-slaves, prostitutes, or child-carers.
It does seem you've skipped my point above: It's also not really accurate to say that every farmhand who left his farm became king.

But no one argues with that being accurate.

When you want to argue against stories where a farmhand becomes king (and you just want a story about farmhands) or for settings where wizards or other special occupations are rare if you want to argue that they shouldn't be in the story at all (instead of turning up every second page), I'll think your position is consistant. Otherwise the fiction you and they like is littered with edge case characters given the spotlight.

And who's more edge case than a whore?

Indeed in a way it almost seems like the lowly whore is downtrodden again? That they would be denied spotlight? Or else the author is considered sexist!

So how does the seamstress travel with a war? Or what job would women have that lets them be location mobile and socially mobile?

Never mind if you have a setting where they all have black sheets over their heads - oh, that'd be the author being sexist, for a setting like that, surely...

What Came Before

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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2013, 02:14:25 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Heya Madness,
Quote
Thanks for that link, Ajokli. I'd hazard this strays into Bakker's argument, regardless. Immediate emancipation of the slaves marginalized those freed even more than slavery, in some instances.
I'd like to go into more detail - why didn't the freed slaves simply continue to work on the farms they were previously on (never mind how clear that makes wage slavery appear, for now)?

They couldn't afford them?

But that's an environmental/resource issue (well, I'll assume money at that point is somewhat a reflection of natural food resources to spare)? Seems unfair to blame the emancipation?

Quote
- After viewing either a neutral, erotic, or an aggressive-erotic (rape) film, university and college men who watched the rape film delivered stronger shocks to women (Donnerstein, 1980)
How do they test that? The guy has a dial in front of him? What, do the ones who saw the rape film spin the dial? How do you test that?

How do you measure sexual violence, btw? I know of a man who recieved rather too vigorous fellatio from his GF and it left a wound (not that big a wound, but you know, any wound there...). She didn't notice. He then proceeded to fake an orgasm during sex so he could stop, because it hurt that bad!

I myself feel a chuckle coming on about. On the other hand, I think that chuckle is somewhat missplaced. I also feel a chuckle coming on about the guy chased by a women with scissors in her hands, that I know of (that the woman who told me also chuckled about). It's one thing about men is that we can't quite accept the idea of sexual violence toward us - it's probably why we (we as in various cases one might encounter) can't sympathise too well with women in regard to sexual violence. We project our own (false) sense of immunity.

What Came Before

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« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2013, 02:14:32 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Did you read Auriga (Quick Edit) Ajokli's link, Callan? Aside that, in some cases, as good as people were as masters, they simply didn't want to pay former slaves. Or the rights of an emancipated individual were too much for former slaves to contend with - their agency in the world changed so drastically and instantaneously some couldn't adapt and deal with their new social skins (no pun intended).

Also, Callan... common. You don't get to just play the ambiguity... Look it up. Google Scholar, Donnerstein 1980, and this is the first experiment that comes up. Of course, my study notes don't have the full explanation.

Abstract: Examined the effects of aggressive-erotic stimuli on male aggression toward females when 120 male undergraduates were angered or treated in a neutral manner by a male or female confederate. Ss were then shown either a neutral, erotic, or aggressive-erotic film and given an opportunity to aggress against the male or female via the delivery of electric shock. Results indicate that the aggressive-erotic film was effective in increasing aggression overall and that it produced the highest increase in aggression against the female. Even nonangered Ss showed an increase in aggression toward the female after viewing the aggressive-erotic film.

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« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2013, 02:14:40 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
Very, very nice post, Madness. It gave me joy to see such a word. That's dangerous.

Quote from: Madness

Cheers. I don't think this is an echo-chamber, Bakker User - rather this is how it appears when charitable communication is exercised...

Doesn't mean I agree with you... just means I'm trying to communicate with you ;).

Of course; it's just a reminder to us, and mostly myself at that. Playing both sides and all... maybe...

***

Callan, I think there's a misunderstanding. I'm not against you on this - I'm not saying that pure fantasy must be totally unreflective of historical or even general reality to the point of being Dr. Seuss - Lewis Carroll on PCP. I wouldn't assert that gender relations is a special case and should be treated with historicity in mind, above other things like social mobility.

My entire point is that I noticed a couple of Bakkerites making the claim (on various blog comment sections) that Bakker's depiction of women is historically accurate and so defensible on those grounds. (And here I would like to note that some of the feminists made your very argument here, namely that even if this were the case why should historicity here be maintained when...yeah yeah yeah, you get it? Your very stance! We need more emoticons...) A significant feminist counter to this, which I accept and seems to ring true, is that women were not in fact historically pigeon-holed into sexual or childcare roles.

That's all. You definitely took it further than I meant. Does that make sense?

I think the problems between us arise from inarticulacy. With me, it's poverty of speech and general disorganization of thought. Your inarticulacy is something probably closer to the opposite - and don't take this badly.

Please tell me you've untangled my thread. It always gets my leg shiveling to be misconstrued.  :?

With that aside, I can indulge in a tangent  :idea: : your point on Esmi's whorehood - I like it. I wouldn't be surprised if that happened to be, in some way, one of Bakker's considerations in shaping the character. He does seem to get all the details fine, at least.

Excuse the crumbly English. It's an expression of agitation.

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« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2013, 02:14:47 pm »
Quote from: Auriga
Quote from: Madness
Did you read Auriga's link, Callan?

Wasn't my link. It was pretty interesting, though, and says a lot about how humans can adapt to such conditions and even feel secure in them - although, obviously, the fact that a few ex-slaves preferred the slave life doesn't excuse the savagery of institutionalized slavery.

The same goes for women's status in Bakker-world. Even though some of them (like Xerius' mother) have power behind the scenes, the vast majority of women in Eärwa are still powerless and basically the property of their male relatives.

(Django Unchained is a pretty interesting movie on the topic of slavery, actually. IMO, it's far more honest about slavery, and the dog-eat-dog mentality that it encouraged among the slaves, than any of the solemn hagiographies that Hollywood has churned out before. Tarantino correctly showed that the slaves felt no racial solidarity with each other, for example. No more than Bakker's female characters show a feminist solidarity.)

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« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2013, 02:14:55 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Quote from: Bakker User
Very, very nice post, Madness. It gave me joy to see such a word. That's dangerous.

Dangerous to write such words or dangerous to give you joy ;)? You, after all, facilitated me, and everyone else, with an engaging opportunity in creating the thread :D.

Second Apocalyspes noosphere warrents such dangerous words, I figure. If not here...

Quote from: Auriga
It was pretty interesting, though, and says a lot about how humans can adapt to such conditions and even feel secure in them - although, obviously, the fact that a few ex-slaves preferred the slave life doesn't excuse the savagery of institutionalized slavery.

Thanks, Auriga. Despite your lack of avatar, I find myself confusing your perspective with Ajokli's constantly. The similarity in the capital As foiling me. Weak.

I hope I wasn't perceived as advocating institutionalized slavery. I only hoped to highlight that the ideals of unequivocal freedom and equality aren't easy to implement and embody, instantaneously and pervasively, by societies built on narrative of dominance hierarchies.

Quote from: Auriga
The same goes for women's status in Bakker-world. Even though some of them (like Xerius' mother) have power behind the scenes, the vast majority of women in Eärwa are still powerless and basically the property of their male relatives.

Istriya is a strange example because, for my money, she is never a she, or even human, in the narrative as we encounter "her," aside from Ikurei memories.

Again, I can only suggest that Bakker is playing a game beyond the series and its depictions thus far.

I really need to see Django...

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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2013, 02:15:01 pm »
Quote from: lockesnow
Quote from: Bakker User
My entire point is that I noticed a couple of Bakkerites making the claim (on various blog comment sections) that Bakker's depiction of women is historically accurate and so defensible on those grounds. (And here I would like to note that some of the feminists made your very argument here, namely that even if this were the case why should historicity here be maintained when...yeah yeah yeah, you get it? Your very stance! We need more emoticons...) A significant feminist counter to this, which I accept and seems to ring true, is that women were not in fact historically pigeon-holed into sexual or childcare roles.

I agree.  I'd also say that the subtext of The Holy War is that the other realms of men were depleted of manpower, the necessary and only logical response is that women would take on many of the activities men might otherwise were they not absent at the holy war--and that this does not exclude that they had done so prior.  We don't see any women roles because the selection is deliberately skewed by the author and the narrative takes place on battlefield.   I assume women in Conriya were doing a shit ton of farming and other occupations whilst their men were at play.

And when most of this went down, when there were only the three texts of Prince of Nothing everyone ADDED 'childrearing' to the roles that bakker portrayed.  Despite there not being any actual children or childrearing going on in the text.  It's interesting the ease with which childrearing was added to the discussion, but not mentioned were any of the other implied activities and occupations women would have to engage in during the depletion of the male population.

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« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2013, 02:15:13 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Quote
My entire point is that I noticed a couple of Bakkerites making the claim (on various blog comment sections) that Bakker's depiction of women is historically accurate and so defensible on those grounds. (And here I would like to note that some of the feminists made your very argument here, namely that even if this were the case why should historicity here be maintained when...yeah yeah yeah, you get it? Your very stance! We need more emoticons...) A significant feminist counter to this, which I accept and seems to ring true, is that women were not in fact historically pigeon-holed into sexual or childcare roles.
The thing is this is not my argument - I've actually stacked a third argument onto two prior ones.

1. The people who argue it's defensible because of historical accuracy

2. The people who argue this is fantasy, why does anything have to be historically accurate?

3. My argument is that fiction tends to be a ratio between being historically accurate and having fantasy elements (dragons, fairies, magic) - and that the #2 people are essentially treating their prefered ratio as the way fantasy HAS to be. In their ratio, womens roles must fall into the fantastic (or the mundane, but they don't want to read about the mundane) - but they wont admit that, they'll instead sling the sexism claim and start ignoring their own preference for edge case characters and refer to histories average womens roles (as if any of them read about average women from history! Shepherdess goes out in the morning, herds sheep, comes home, sleeps - is anyone reading that sort of story?)

Quote
A significant feminist counter to this, which I accept and seems to ring true, is that women were not in fact historically pigeon-holed into sexual or childcare roles.
I am indeed taking it further than you meant (or more precisely, I'm taking it before what you meant), in as much as I am proposing the background biases of what seems to rings true for you. I propose you are enacting a bias.

The first step in outlining the bias proposal is: in fiction you read, do you read fiction that is generally about edge case characters (like the farmer who becomes king)? Is this true?

The second step: But then you appeal to the idea of books being about averages, rather than edge cases. Is this not incongruant with your own habit of reading from the first step?

Please resist the urge to rationalise a quick answer - were in forum format, which gives plenty of time to ruminate rather than having to snap out an answer instantly to maintain social status. Speaking of which, never mind that here (in a perverse reverse of usual human custom), on a forum like this engaging the idea as if hypothetically true, gains peer respect.

And none of the above makes the idea an applicable one. I might be entirely wrong and I am curious as to how.

Anyway, does the hypothesis seem possible, even if not applicable to you? That a person can be interested in reading about edge case characters, but then inconsistant with that argue for books about average characters, when it comes to certain roles?

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« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2013, 02:15:17 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
Quote from: Callan S.
I am indeed taking it further than you meant (or more precisely, I'm taking it before what you meant), in as much as I am proposing the background biases of what seems to rings true for you. I propose you are enacting a bias.

The first step in outlining the bias proposal is: in fiction you read, do you read fiction that is generally about edge case characters (like the farmer who becomes king)? Is this true?

The second step: But then you appeal to the idea of books being about averages, rather than edge cases. Is this not incongruant with your own habit of reading from the first step?

Please resist the urge to rationalise a quick answer - were in forum format, which gives plenty of time to ruminate rather than having to snap out an answer instantly to maintain social status. Speaking of which, never mind that here (in a perverse reverse of usual human custom), on a forum like this engaging the idea as if hypothetically true, gains peer respect.

And none of the above makes the idea an applicable one. I might be entirely wrong and I am curious as to how.

Anyway, does the hypothesis seem possible, even if not applicable to you? That a person can be interested in reading about edge case characters, but then inconsistant with that argue for books about average characters, when it comes to certain roles?

I didn't directly respond to this line-of-thought previously because it did not seem strictly relevant to me or my position.

First step: At least 2/3, I suppose.

Second step: I would not make this claim; I would not "appeal to the idea of books being averages". Going to the initial stimulus that brought about this post-chain, it would actually be the position of the Bakkerites I described - that the historical average-case for women was one of sex-slavery and so on. I hope that this explains my confusion and reticence to engage on this front.

Quote from: lockesnow
And when most of this went down, when there were only the three texts of Prince of Nothing everyone ADDED 'childrearing' to the roles that bakker portrayed. Despite there not being any actual children or childrearing going on in the text. It's interesting the ease with which childrearing was added to the discussion, but not mentioned were any of the other implied activities and occupations women would have to engage in during the depletion of the male population.

To be fair, there is some elaboration on Esmenet's role and experience in child-rearing, and technically most-every interaction of her with Kel and Sam is "child-rearing".

And there was indeed a mention of light manufacture and all sorts of agricultural work.

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« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2013, 02:15:23 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Quote from: Bakker User
First step: At least 2/3, I suppose.

Second step: I would not make this claim; I would not "appeal to the idea of books being averages".
So you agree the books don't need to be about average female roles, then.

And the counter attributed by you to the feminist movement...
Quote
A significant feminist counter to this, which I accept and seems to ring true, is that women were not in fact historically pigeon-holed into sexual or childcare roles.
Doesn't apply, as books don't need to be about average female roles.

Okay, the confusion is cleared up!

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« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2013, 02:15:29 pm »
Quote from: Centurion
I only just scanned the previous posts so please forgive me if I repeat something already stated:

---I have personally read more than few (probably a lot more than the layman) historical monologues and primary documents concerning slavery within the context of multiple socioeconomic structures, and when you talk about slavery you really HAVE to define what kind of slavery you are talking about. 

Earwa might seem extreme to us in its depiction of slavery, but it strongly mirrors the same institution we find in Antiquity and specifically the kind of slavery culture found around the Mediterranean from the Hellenistic city-states and the Roman Republic and Empire.  Within these social contexts (and especially Rome) the slavery of our world and the slavery depicted in Earwa have a great many similarities, and I strongly suspected from the beginning that Bakker was using the Mediterranean world of Antiquity as his model. 

That said, I'm not sure if the books have revealed whether the cultures of the Three Seas utilize latifundia-esque agricultural methods, but this seems likely given the rest of the evidence.  Ironically, if the societies of the Three Seas do not use latifundia/encomiendia methods you could probably make the argument that slaves in Earwa actually have it better off than their real world counterparts did in the ancient world (note: I'm only saying that you could make a strong argument---I'm not suggesting that you would be right to make it...a debate for another time and place).

---I always feel like the odd man out when questions of historical accuracy and questions of modern attitudes are brought up in relation to works of fantasy.  It's possible that I'm just not being sensitive to other people, but its not like I want to offend anyone.  Historically, there was very little social mobility for men OR women, and this general truth stands strong for a large part of recorded history.  Certainly, there are exceptions to the rule, but even these real world figures tend to be highly controversial. 

For example, Temujin went from being a minor noble in a remote backwater to being the emperor of the largest land empire in human history, and most of us probably think of Ghengis Khan as a monster regardless of his sharp intellect and various other advancements and contributions. 

Malintzin serves as another example of this, but as she was also a woman I think she might apply more appropriately to the discussion.  To summarize: Malintzin was a slave, a concubine, and then she was given by the Native Americans to the Spanish as a gift.  She used what resources she had, sex, beauty, intelligence, and literacy in native languages to find a place by the side of Hernando Cortez and to open up a new world of opportunities for her children (her son would go on to join a knightly religious order in Europe).  In modern times she is vilified by many for being a so-called "traitor" who sold out the New World (as if there was any more of a homogenous and unified concept of "Native American" than there was an idea of a single "European" of the same period...sigh).  Anyway, does Malintzin sound a little bit like a main character in PoN and AE (her name rhymes with "net")? 

My point, and I think this may have already been stated, is that fantasy is fantasy.  I really appreciate when authors work hard to present us with a richly detailed and beautiful world, and this often works best when they base cultural structures in their fantasy settings off of real world equivalents.  It helps to add credibility to the story, but this is still fantasy.  In the real medieval world blacksmiths did not generally become princes, and princesses did not usually run off with scullery boys.  People who were successful in becoming upwardly mobile tended to be vicious and ruthless or at least highly intelligent and politically astute (ex. Leonardo da Vinci), and none of those traits with the exception of intelligence usually figure into what we might consider a traditional "hero." 


---I'll stop here before I really start to ramble.

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« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2013, 02:15:35 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Quote from: Centurion
Anyway, does Malintzin sound a little bit like a main character in PoN and AE (her name rhymes with "net")?
Interesting stuff! Thanks for the infot, Centurion! :)

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« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2013, 02:15:44 pm »
Quote from: Madness
+1 Centurion. I've been exposed to both stories previously but I don't necessarily have the same historical hangups many contemporaries in these arguments seem to.

Again, I think a major theme here is that the anachronisms cause social friction. Why is that? After all, history is replete with examples of far "worse and better" than Bakker portrays in PON and anyone who claims otherwise isn't a student.

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« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2013, 02:15:49 pm »
Quote from: lockesnow
perhaps social mobility is the myth we cannot stand to have challenged.