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Old 19th November 2011, 09:13 AM   #76 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

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I have the awful premonition that it's going to degenerate into some sappy love story where no one is honest (or believes anyone else) --- Which I suppose puts me into the category of the male not identifying with the female point of view. Or maybe not?.
"Bad romance" should not be confused with "the female point of view". Most of us gals (particularly the above-averagely intelligent women who read SFF) are equally annoyed by Too Stupid To Live characters who are kept apart by the author rather than by internal motivation.

FWIW I don't identify with the female PoV either, at least not the stereotypical "Heat" magazine-reading, baby-cooing-over variety. Give me a book about the history of swords any day

(And yes, that's a boy in my avatar...)
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Old 19th November 2011, 05:08 PM   #77 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

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"Bad romance" should not be confused with "the female point of view". Most of us gals (particularly the above-averagely intelligent women who read SFF) are equally annoyed by Too Stupid To Live characters who are kept apart by the author rather than by internal motivation.

FWIW I don't identify with the female PoV either, at least not the stereotypical "Heat" magazine-reading, baby-cooing-over variety. Give me a book about the history of swords any day

(And yes, that's a boy in my avatar...)
Thanks Anne, "bad romance" I hadn't even thought of that as a category. My wife used to thrive on what I would guess most people would call "bad romance" so that's what I've read, when I've read it. She's a wonderful woman in almost every way, but she wants to be sure that the books going to end "right" before she reads it. Until she trusts the author or the series, she will read the ending before reading the book. Presently she is more into the "Amish" style romances. I haven't read any of these so they might well be a step above what she used to read.

Are there really "romances" where people are honest, trustworthy, and hard working? The closest I can come to that in my experience would be "Pillars of the Earth," which I enjoyed a lot and romance was a considerable, but it certainly wasn't (at least for me) the driving force in the book.

[I suppose it was projection, but I always thought your avatar was a girl.]
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Old 19th November 2011, 06:40 PM   #78 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

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Are there really "romances" where people are honest, trustworthy, and hard working? The closest I can come to that in my experience would be "Pillars of the Earth," which I enjoyed a lot and romance was a considerable, but it certainly wasn't (at least for me) the driving force in the book.
I dunno, I don't read the romance genre. I'll happily read an SFF novel with romance in it, even a big part of it (e.g. Catharine Asaro), but because such books often deal with major cultural obstacles to the romance, they don't have to fall back on the "can't get together because they are stupidly deceitful" tropes of Bad Romance.

I think this is why new romance sub-genres like Amish and m/m (gay romance aimed at women) have become so popular - there are so few genuine obstacles to (heterosexual) romance in the modern Western world. It requires a relocation to a time or culture where the relationship in question really is going to be difficult, in order to evoke that same frisson of forbidden pleasure that bodice-rippers offered our grandmothers' generation!

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[I suppose it was projection, but I always thought your avatar was a girl.]
I deliberately chose it for its ambiguity

(If you look closely at a larger version, you'll see he has the beginnings of a 'tache!)
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Old 19th November 2011, 08:20 PM   #79 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

Very Clever Anne. The guy looks like a real scalawag. Are you giving us some insight into your inner character?

I'm glad you added your definition of m/m I wouldn't have been able to guess otherwise.
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Old 19th November 2011, 09:21 PM   #80 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

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Very Clever Anne. The guy looks like a real scalawag. Are you giving us some insight into your inner character?


More like my characters - I do like a good rogue!
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Old 1st December 2011, 07:02 AM   #81 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

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It has long been my belief that female characters in Epic Fantasy are not equal to their male counterparts and too frequently are only there for eye candy in the visual media or at best a love interest for the male leads. While we have come a long ways from the days of the "Gor" novels of the 60's, do you agree or disagree that more strong, capable, 3 dimensional female characters, with real life issues, would be a fine addition to modern Fantasy storytelling?
Some fantasy books do contain women, who are 3 dimensional in nature and interesting. Unfortunately, most of the fantasy books I read, focus more on the male characters.

I think this may be due to the fact that most fantasy writers are men?
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Old 1st December 2011, 09:52 AM   #82 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

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Some fantasy books do contain women, who are 3 dimensional in nature and interesting. Unfortunately, most of the fantasy books I read, focus more on the male characters.

I think this may be due to the fact that most fantasy writers are men?
Around 45% of SFF writers are women - but women get reviewed less, and generally get less publicity. So there may be women writers whose work you would love, but you've never heard of them.

Of course there are variations within sub-genres - I'm willing to put good money on there being far more male writers of military SF and epic fantasy, for example. Also, if you're reading fantasy set in a historical or quasi-historical world where women are second class citizens, the chances are that, regardless of the writer's gender, the story will focus on the male characters because they have far more opportunities to do cool stuff.
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Old 1st December 2011, 11:23 AM   #83 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

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Around 45% of SFF writers are women - but women get reviewed less, and generally get less publicity. So there may be women writers whose work you would love, but you've never heard of them.

Of course there are variations within sub-genres - I'm willing to put good money on there being far more male writers of military SF and epic fantasy, for example. Also, if you're reading fantasy set in a historical or quasi-historical world where women are second class citizens, the chances are that, regardless of the writer's gender, the story will focus on the male characters because they have far more opportunities to do cool stuff.
I tend to read epic fantasy, and most of the books I read are from male authors, so I tend to have the wrong perception that there are more male fantasy writers than female.
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Old 1st December 2011, 12:01 PM   #84 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

QED

I don't read much epic fantasy - anyone got any suggestions for female writers of same? Would you count Juliet E McKenna? She writes secondary-world fantasies with lots of politics and characters running around big mapped-out areas...
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Old 2nd December 2011, 05:55 AM   #85 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

If by epic fantasy you mean several main characters and a deeply developed and explored world then Melanie Rawn's unfinished series Exiles would be perfect.
The way she made men second-class citizens, the reasoning behind it and the efforts made to over come it, brilliant. Her story is rich and even with only two books completed it is a series I enjoy revisiting time and again for its subtle intricacies and engaging plot.

she did say she would finish it eventually... *has hopes up*
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Old 2nd December 2011, 08:22 AM   #86 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

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QED

I don't read much epic fantasy - anyone got any suggestions for female writers of same? Would you count Juliet E McKenna? She writes secondary-world fantasies with lots of politics and characters running around big mapped-out areas...

Actually, though it's not strictly Epic Fantasy, the fantasy parts to it ARE:


The Interior Life: A Quest by Katherine Blake. The main character is a female: A housewife and mom who, despite being married to a wonderfully loving husband, goes through the same rigamarole of day-to-day cleaning/cooking/kid caring wife and mother, so in her mind she creates a world and uses it to escape. The character she has eyes through is a sexually independent, very self-confidant woman who serves as a maid to another woman-a woman of great respect and power because she has the ability known as the Sight.

Now it is through character interactions with the woman she is in the fantasy world, I can't remember that character's name, that the wife herself, whose name is Sue, actually starts to take on other aspects of her own, real life. She starts to attend PTA meetings, where she makes friends with another PTA mother. She and her friend, Siobhan, help another, pregnant woman and her young child escape from a physically abusive husband by giving her advice on where she could turn to. She buys a computer system for the first time for work, and even goes to a dinner with her husband's boss, strictly on her end as a sort of business thing for her husband. (The boss does sexually advance on her but she denies him the contact and the man is fine with it, she later tells her husband of the event, everything is fine because nothing happened.)

She even starts to delve into classical and historic music, thereby making friends with a young, late-adolescence boy, who she eventually helps hook up with her on-call babysitter. (A pretty, late-teens girl.)

I'm afraid I've given most of it away, but in no way, at any time, are the female characters ever subservient to their male counterparts, and actually, this could be quite an inspiring read to feminists, as it pictures women in a manner of independence, free thinking, still caring and loving their family, and at the same time not just giving into every sexual temptation that comes by. (The woman she is in the fantasy world is sexually open and active, but not at any point in the book anything but monogamous.)

God, if I had that book here I would read it again, it is an EXCELLENT read and I picked it up in a secondhand shop for just three or four dollars. One of the best reads of my life, and definitely a wonderful investment, especially so cheap. I've reread it about four or five times.


(And my spiel is now over, I apologize. )
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Old 5th December 2011, 08:45 PM   #87 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

XENA (Lucy Lawless, Xena: Warrior Princess) ,
BUFFY SUMMERS (Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) ,
SARAH CONNOR (Linda Hamilton, Terminator),
ELLEN RIPLEY (Sigourney Weaver, Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection),
PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA (Carrie Fisher, Star Wars),
STORM (Halle Berry, X-Men) ,
PRIS (Daryl Hannah, Blade Runner) ,
WONDER WOMAN (Lynda Carter, Wonder Woman) ,
BARBARELLA (Jane Fonda, Barbarella) ,
STARBUCK (Katee Sackhoff, Battlestar Galactica) ,
DANA SCULLY (Gillian Anderson, The X-Files) ,
CATWOMAN (Michelle Pfeiffer, Batman Returns) ,
KATHRYN JANEWAY (Kate Mulgrew, Star Trek: Voyager) ...

Have fun.
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Old 20th January 2012, 07:11 PM   #88 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

My heroic epic fantasy has a strong male lead, he also meets a girl who is almost as adept at the sword as he is. Both characters have strong outspoken personalities, however they are also complimentary to each other. My other female characters all have important roles to play in the story - so no, although the main lead character is male, none of the females are subservient.

Without giving too much of the story away, the main enemy in my book is an alpha female.

As a woman I like reading about strong women (and strong men) in fantasy stories. I think my all-time favourite strong female character is Ayla from the Clan of the Cave Bear series of novels. Not exactly fantasy, yet I admired Jean M. Auel's depiction of her, especially in the book 'The Valley of Horses'.
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Old 20th January 2012, 08:48 PM   #89 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

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I think my all-time favourite strong female character is Ayla from the Clan of the Cave Bear series of novels. Not exactly fantasy, yet I admired Jean M. Auel's depiction of her, especially in the book 'The Valley of Horses'.
I think that's a debatable point. I loved Clan of the Cave Bear so far haven't read the lightly regarded last installment, but I would most definitely put into the Fantasy category. There is even a small amount of "magic."
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Old 20th January 2012, 09:00 PM   #90 (permalink)
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Re: Are female characters in Fantasy subservient to their male counterparts?

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I think that's a debatable point. I loved Clan of the Cave Bear so far haven't read the lightly regarded last installment, but I would most definitely put into the Fantasy category. There is even a small amount of "magic."
Interesting point, especially in regards to the small amount of (shamanistic) magic. Perhaps I don't personally regard it as fantasy because my own personal taste in fantasy is more in the range of high/epic/dark fantasy. Yes I agree CotCB is fantasy, however I'd class it as a realistic fantasy in a primitive setting.
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