Tag Archives: those crazy romans

Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy. Let’s Unpack That.

A great, thoughtful article at the Mary Sue on one of my pet topics: the common justification of sexist fantasy fiction being that it’s historically authentic.

I am BUSY today, far too busy for a rant, but then I felt one coming on, and was worried I might end up with a migraine if I tried to stifle it. You know how it is. So let’s talk about sexism in history vs. sexism in fantasy.


I agree with pretty much everything said in the Mary Sue article: when you’re writing fantasy inspired by history, you don’t have to take all the ingrained sexism of historical societies along for the party, and even when you do, you don’t have to write women in a sexist or demeaning way. Your fantasy will not break by treating women as if they are people too.

But my rant is actually not quite about that stuff at all. It’s about history, and this notion that History Is Authentically Sexist. Yes, it is. Sure it is. We all know that. But what do you mean when you say “history?”

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Friday Links Didn’t Burn Any Bras

Eh, I’ve been trying and failing to write an essay about how often women (fictional and otherwise) end up being shamed, dismissed or hurt in the name of feminism, but it’s tangling me up in knots, so I’m going to stop now and do something productive instead.

Hoyden talk about the myth of the bra-burning feminists, an idea which has been used to try to make women look stupid for decades, and how the false story was spread.

The Moffat’s Women series continues on Tor, with a comparison between the main female character in this Christmas special and last year’s. I find it very interesting how quickly people have leaped to criticise Moffat for writing a story in which the mother is the hero, so this article made me happy.

Sarah Rees Brennan’s response
to the post we linked to in Galactic Suburbia about the wealth of positive girl heroes in YA right now.

One that I meant us to discuss on GS but forgot at the last minute (sorry, Sean!) – Sean the Blogonaut surveys his reading after a year of trying to change his reading habits, genderwise.

Linda Nagata talks about her rationale for self publishing rather than going back to big publishers.

The ever awesome Mary Beard comments on the latest salacious media drama about Ancient Romans and brothels. Yes, really. As ever, her pragmatism wins the day.

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