zodiacal_light: A map of Tortall (tortall)
Why the Tortall stories aren't as feminist as Pierce thinks they are.

Broken Aesops from Tortall:

You can be anything you want to be - if you have a divine patron to magically smooth away all obstacles for you.

Skirts are horrible things, and you should be glad to cast them off for pants.

Veils are horrible, too, and automatically sexist. No woman will ever choose to wear a veil unless they are oppressed!

If you want to wear dresses, you have to earn it by mostly wearing pants and being one of the guys, or you must be doing it solely to make a point.

If you're in a slave pen and concerned about being sold as a sex slave, that's only because you're concerned over your virginity. If you weren't a virgin, no one would care.

If you make yourself ugly, no one will want to rape you or have sex with you.

If a tauros wants to rape you, it's only because there aren't any female tauroses. If there were female tauroses to rape, you'd be fine. This is something that should be brought to the gods' attention so they can create said females for the male tauroses to use. Of course, the male tauroses can't help themselves when it comes to rape; they don't know any better.

Being girly is the same as being silly, frivolous, useless, and stupid.

You can be anything you want to be - as long as you want to be better than the boys, and know how to fight very well.

If you don't know how to fight, circumstances will conspire to force you to.

If you still don't fight, you deserve whatever happens to you, even if it's rape at the hands of your brother, disbelieving parents, and being sent to the big city to be assaulted by other men.

If you are a flirt, you deserve whatever comes to you. "Flirt", in this case, means "a pretty woman who more than one man likes".

On that note, if more than one man likes you and they fight over you like dumbasses, this is your fault. You're supposed to be the one to break them up and stop them, and you are the one to be held responsible for their actions. Preferably by public shaming, because you are a flirt.

It is perfectly acceptable and moral for an employer and noble to use her position over you to force you to learn something you don't want to learn, that has nothing to do with your job, and could possibly lead to injury. You will thank her for it later. Remember, it's just for your own good.

Big magic is for men, unless you are also a kickass warrior.

Being a big-time healer is also only for men, though you can do it on the side when saving the crown prince, or when your job causing injuries to others is boring for you.

If you sleep with the heroine's love interest, you must be an evil slut. Or a stupid, frivolous woman who cowers in corners when castles start falling apart.

If you are a female villain, you must be subordinate to a man. Maybe, at best, you might be co-evil with one, but that's rare.

There's nothing at all skeevy about a man sleeping with a student half his age. In fact, they need to get married and start producing babies right away!

Likewise, there's nothing at all wrong with a woman sleeping with a crow-turned-man, who has repeatedly demonstrated that he has a mental age of a young child, especially not when he comes back after war and is unusually aggressive. They, too, need to get married right away and start producing babies!

Similarly, there are no power balance issues at all when the crown prince sleeps with his female squire, and he's one of only four people - three of whom are NOT present - who knows she's female.



There will be more, if I can ever stand to think about this again.

Date: 16 Feb 2011 06:07 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] elsceetaria
elsceetaria: (Default)
Yeah, the how dare a woman not want to fight thing is seriously obnoxious. As are the constant abuses of power especially as seen in relationships. Even when the situations are not outright forcings, do those people really have the right to say no?

Date: 17 Feb 2011 01:32 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] elsceetaria
elsceetaria: (Default)
Exactly. It's all well and good to say that a woman can choose to fight if she wants to (and that she can compete with the men while she's at it), but what about a woman who wants to be a kickass mage or healer or just wants to stay home and raise children who can do whatever they want.

I think it would be interesting to see a character who is completely opposed to fighting and see how that person's choices fit into the universe (because as it's written now, they wouldn't).

Date: 17 Feb 2011 01:50 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] elsceetaria
elsceetaria: (Default)
I can just hope Maura's book isn't fiightastic.

Date: 16 Feb 2011 05:03 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] carmarthen
carmarthen: "Would you like my hat?" (Default)


I've been thinking, though, and I'm...not sure about labeling an entire work "feminist," regardless. I think there are feminist elements in Tortall, and also a whole lot of unexamined not-so-feminist crap. We all internalize stuff that isn't consistent with our overall views, or the views we think we have, to some degree or another.

Date: 16 Feb 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] carmarthen
carmarthen: "Would you like my hat?" (Default)
Not to mention that there are a lot of things feminists disagree on! Even explicitly feminist works--aside from often being kind of preachy--generally piss off feminists of different stripes.

but a couple she undermines later, like the no slut-shaming in SotL thing or the relationship stuff

I think that's the thing that upsets me the most about the later books, honestly (leaving aside DOTL, which is a pile of upset).

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