Monday, March 1, 2010

Women in Fantasy Novels: Venn Diagram

While I'm waiting for my lovely new hard-drive to format so I can install some games and visual studio, I thought I'd humour you all with this visual representation of the one of the things that seriously irks me about the fantasy genre. I'm lookin' at you, Tolkein! I feel that male authors are especially prone to writing female characters that fit very neatly into one of these categories. I think we can put Eowyn in the Good Wife Wise Mother category inasmuch as she takes on the role of mother to her people. I think this category also encompasses "dutiful daughter", too. That's definitely Eowyn. Galadriel. Yup. Good wife/Wise Mother. Cersei from Song of Ice and fire? Princess-Whore. Arwen? Good wife/wise mother. If we extend this model into video games it gets even easier...
Speaking of Tolkein, did you notice that The Hobbit (my favourite book as a child) has NO female characters? I think they mention Bilbo's dead aunt in the first chapter, but that's IT. I wrote a fantasy story in a class once where all the characters were female and my classmates were like "Nice Lesbian Fiction!!!1" Wait a minute, if a book has no female characters no one even notices, nevermind sticking it in a special genre...

On another note, the results of the Tale of Two Cities fanart contest will be up in a few days. Even if you think you can't draw, you should still send me a picture. ASAP! And thanks to those of you, or you who sent a picture. :)

1 comment:

Kiyoshi said...

You can blame traditional societal roles for the "good mother/daughter" archetype. Those don't actually offend me at all. I can see how whores could be offensive though. And games are, of course, majorly guilty of exploiting that role.

LOTR had no prominent women in it because it was basically a war story and at least at the time women did not go to war.

Your fantasy story being "lesbian fiction" seems like a stretch if it didn't have any implications in the story to suggest that.. though I've heard people say that LOTR is gay fiction as well (Ian McKellen's comments on the DVD about male bonding don't help either lol). :P