OT feminisms

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Mar 11 08:04:48 EST 2004


deborah wrote:

>who has strong feelings about both issues but won't discuss them on this
>list in the hopes of setting a good example for once.

I'd been wondering what feminism and homosexuality had to do with DWJ,
slightly.  She clearly is neither a feminist nor a homosexual herself, and
she doesn't seem to depict people who are either of these things as their
*primary* characteristic. can anyone think of examples?  There's nobody in
her work I would feel able to say "Oh, the gay one in [x]", as it were, or
"the feminist in [y]" and expect it to be instantly recognisable to the
person I was talking to.  There's a certain degree of feminism in *A Sudden
Wild Magic*, for instance, but it isn't something confined to any one
character, nor the only thing about anyone.

I think that may be my take on both issues.  If the only thing I know about
someone in a book is that she holds a particular political stance on
gender-issues, or he is the one with the boyfriend -- and, to throw in two
other very divisive issues, colour and physical disability, if all I know
about someone is that she is "the purple one with green hair" or "he's the
one with the five prosthetic limbs" or (here's another) "he's the
vertically-challenged guy with the axe" (as opposed to the
vertically-challenged ones with furry feet: has anyone else noticed how
those furry feet never seem to be mentioned when it's Sam or Pippin or
Merry?) -- then the chances are that I'm going to find that character
rather boring to read about.  It's a trap DWJ doesn't fall into: the
label-and-forget characterisation too often found in poor fantasy and SF.

As in books, so in life: if someone insists on being only noticable for one
particular aspect of his her or its personality, isn't it somewhat dull?  I
don't think I know anyone whose *only* interest in life is his or her own
height or sexual orientation or political views, and if I did, I wouldn't.
If you see what I mean.

Minnow


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