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Universum
02-03-2012, 04:36 AM
I tried in the big question-thread, but got no pleasing answer.

I was wondering about the whole multiple spouses. As far as I have understood, it is allowed for women to take several husbands, although it never acutally happens in the series. Could anyone direct me to the specific location where we are told that women sometimes take more than one husband? Cuz I have no idea of where to look..

Terez
02-03-2012, 04:48 AM
It's never said that the Aiel actually do this, and the evidence suggests that they do not. One of the characters (can't remember which) mused in the idea that they might do it for all they know, but it was a musing made in ignorance.

Universum
02-03-2012, 10:22 AM
It's never said that the Aiel actually do this, and the evidence suggests that they do not. One of the characters (can't remember which) mused in the idea that they might do it for all they know, but it was a musing made in ignorance.

Do you have an idea of which book it might be in?

Terez
02-03-2012, 10:23 AM
Either TDR or TSR, I think. If you're that interested I'll find it for you. (Might take just a bit as I'm in the middle of something.)

Universum
02-03-2012, 10:27 AM
Either TDR or TSR, I think. If you're that interested I'll find it for you. (Might take just a bit as I'm in the middle of something.)

If you could, it would be great. I'm writing my Bachelor's degree about WoT/fantasy from a gender perspective, and Aiel are interesting as they differ a bit from the "standard". I don't need it straight away, as I haven't started writing yet - I'm still in the research phase, but if you could find it I would be most thankful. :)

Terez
02-03-2012, 10:37 AM
Here you go:
TITLE: Fires of Heaven
CHAPTER: 5 - Among the Wise Ones

Egwene did not think there was much danger of that, not the way Aiel customs ran. If Dorindha decided she wanted Melaine for sister-wife, Bael would not have much say in the matter. It no longer shocked her, precisely, that a man could have two wives. Not exactly, different lands mean different customs, she reminded herself firmly. She had never been able to bring herself to ask but for all she knew, there might be Aiel women with two husbands. They were very strange people.If you want a solid example of women with more than one husband, try the Green Ajah.

eht slat meit
02-03-2012, 10:43 AM
Here you go:
If you want a solid example of women with more than one husband, try the Green Ajah.

Is it ever stated outright that Green Ajah engage in actual polygamy?

I always got the impression their beahvior was more in keeping with the apparent WT philosophy of not committing to anything other than the WT... plenty of sexual latitude, multiple partners and all that fun stuff, but with commitment being heart rather than social custom.

Terez
02-03-2012, 10:45 AM
Is it ever stated outright that Green Ajah engage in actual polygamy?Yes.

Universum
02-03-2012, 10:45 AM
Here you go:
If you want a solid example of women with more than one husband, try the Green Ajah.

Thank you very much! :)

Terez
02-03-2012, 10:56 AM
Also, I wrote a big post (http://terez27.blogspot.com/2011/03/gender-and-sexuality-in-wot.html) on this subject that includes conversations with Brandon about it.

eht slat meit
02-03-2012, 10:59 AM
Yes.

Perhaps I should rephrase that question to -where- it is mentioned, since I'm interested more in where it pops up; there's a reference in TGH to the subject of marriage to warders, but it seems to suggest that polygamy could happen, but is not the normal state of affirs...? Not necessarily exclusive, of course, but suggestive, which is why I'm trying to determine where else it's mentioned.

No doubt you will choose the Green Ajah, and make him one of your Warders. The only Greens I know with only one Warder are married to them."

Terez
02-03-2012, 11:04 AM
Myrelle is married to all of her Warders, though it's mentioned that this is generally frowned upon by the law.

PS - This was before Lan, of course. Now, 'married' might just be an Aes Sedai euphemism since marriage is not a big formal deal in Randland for which you need papers. In which case she would have been 'married' to him. But I think it only works that way usually because Warders are for life. Many Aes Sedai have sexual relationships with men and don't consider themselves 'married' to them. Myrelle is probably also not married to Llyw. You see, there's a fine joke there, for those who are paying attention. RJ never says straight out what Myrelle's methods are for saving widower Warders. The Lan episode is supposed to make that clear. And then, Myrelle gets stuck with Llyw, the humongous dude built like the wall of China, Kairen's Warder. And so Lelaine plays a joke on her:

“Kairen’s death put another crimp in the chances of making any sort of agreement with the Black Tower,” she murmured over her teacup, inhaling the fumes. “And there’s poor Llyw to deal with. Perhaps Myrelle will take him. Two of her three belonged to someone else first. No one else has ever saved two Warders whose Aes Sedai died.”

Egwene was not the only one to hear special emphasis in that. Myrelle’s face definitely paled. She had two secrets to hide, and one was that she had four Warders. The passing of Lan Mandragoran’s bond from Moiraine to her had been something not done in hundreds of years. Today, it was looked upon like bonding a man against his will. Something not done in even more hundreds of years. “Three is enough for me,” she said breathlessly. “If you will excuse me, Mother?”

“Of course,” Lelaine said, exchanging amused looks with the other Blue, “they say she marries her Warders. All of them. Perhaps poor Llyw won’t do for a husband."

"He is as wide as a horse,” Maigan put in. Despite her amusement over Myrelle’s flight, there was no maliciousness in her voice. She was simply stating a fact. Llyw was a very large man.

fionwe1987
02-03-2012, 07:10 PM
I could swear there was an RJ quote somewhere that said that women could indeed choose multiple men. I can't seem to find it though.

But, from the way it works, we can surmise it does happen. We know that women who get bonded as sisters choose sometimes to marry the same man. We know there are men who go through a similar bonding, but more rarely than women. It stands to reason that some of them may not let a woman stand between them, just like some of the women decide.

fionwe1987
02-03-2012, 07:46 PM
That was an interesting blog post, Terez.

If you've visited westeros, you know I've been fairly active in defending RJ against sexist charges. Some of that has cooled off, and I've come to a conclusion not far from yours on some of the major issues. It was still fun to read your post, though.

Terez
02-04-2012, 12:15 AM
Yeah, most of my defending (and I have also done a lot of defending) was at Malazan. Some people go a little too far with the criticism, that's for sure.

EvilChani
02-04-2012, 12:42 AM
Yeah, most of my defending (and I have also done a lot of defending) was at Malazan. Some people go a little too far with the criticism, that's for sure.

I've never understood why people find anything about tWoT to be misogynistic. If anything, there is a bias in favor of the women and the entire series comes off as misandristic. The polygamy we see is totally in favor of the women - yes, the Aiel men may get two wives, but the women decide that it will be that way, not the men, and the women control the household and raise the children while the men are just along for the ride.

With the Aes Sedai, they don't even get that much - they're bonded as inferiors/pets/slaves/possessions and are treated as such. The Greens collect them like trophies and, after being used in bed, the woman can go get more men and shove them out to sleep in the yard if it so pleases them.

In my opinion, the men are treated like crap in WoT and that makes me completely sympathetic to them (some of them, anyway...some, like Narishma, disgust me), so when I see people claiming that RJ was sexist and misogynistic, it makes me laugh because that isn't how I see it at all. The real kicker is the fact that, if he had written a series with the roles reversed - where the women were treated like the men are - then people's heads would have exploded.

Terez
02-04-2012, 12:49 AM
Well, the issue of sexism in WoT isn't so black and white as all that, really. Part of it is just the implication that men wouldn't be complaining (in the real world) if the roles were reversed.

fionwe1987
02-04-2012, 02:49 AM
I've never understood why people find anything about tWoT to be misogynistic. If anything, there is a bias in favor of the women and the entire series comes off as misandristic. The polygamy we see is totally in favor of the women - yes, the Aiel men may get two wives, but the women decide that it will be that way, not the men, and the women control the household and raise the children while the men are just along for the ride.

With the Aes Sedai, they don't even get that much - they're bonded as inferiors/pets/slaves/possessions and are treated as such. The Greens collect them like trophies and, after being used in bed, the woman can go get more men and shove them out to sleep in the yard if it so pleases them.

In my opinion, the men are treated like crap in WoT and that makes me completely sympathetic to them (some of them, anyway...some, like Narishma, disgust me), so when I see people claiming that RJ was sexist and misogynistic, it makes me laugh because that isn't how I see it at all. The real kicker is the fact that, if he had written a series with the roles reversed - where the women were treated like the men are - then people's heads would have exploded.
Its not these things. I fully agree that WoT is misandrist, and while RJ correctly pointed out there was only one true matriarchy in the books, so far as I know, he never said the world was balanced. There's a ton of prejudice against men, and that's as should be, given the major theme of the series.

Where accusations of misogyny come in is when you notice that there are more scenes with naked women, greater descriptions of women's nudity, more lesbians, etc. And the spankings too, though that part I truly don't think really adds up.

None of this is a sign of deep seated misogyny in the author's part, IMO, and I don't even think they imply too much bias.

Take the nudity, for example. It is plainly sexist. But does the fact that a heterosexual guy finds it easier to describe female nudity than male surprise anyone? And is that really so very abhorrent? I understand, in the context of our society's propensity to objectify women, it can be seen as negative. In a truly egalitarian society, a man should see describing a naked man as no different from describing a naked woman, but as equality to such an extent is always going to be theoretical, I don't see how this is something you can use to say RJ was a MCP.

If the nudity were regularly sexualized, I'd see the problem. But most of the time, it is workmanlike, so it never bugged me too much (though, as a guy, my opinion may be worthless here).

For myself, I always read RJ's depiction of gender relationships as a case of examination through reversal. He certainly didn't pull it off perfectly, didn't put as much effort into it as he could have, and ruined it at times by making it "funny"; but that's what I read the gender politics of WoT to be. The general behavior of the women with regards to men is an exaggerated re-imagining of how men behaved (and many times still do) towards women.

One reason I strongly believe this is, surprisingly, the Foresaken. We're usually so busy seeing them as evil villains who need to be killed that we miss the fact that there is no gender politics among them. Its remarkable, really, that one of the biggest thing that is wrong in the world because of their master doesn't affect them at all.

Now, if only RJ hadn't spoiled this by having the male Foresaken die for their failures, or not chastised at all, while the women are raped and made into slaves, I'd have been so much happier...

GonzoTheGreat
02-04-2012, 03:20 AM
Now, if only RJ hadn't spoiled this by having the male Foresaken die for their failures, or not chastised at all, while the women are raped and made into slaves, I'd have been so much happier...
But that isn't RJ's fault, Rand is to blame for this.
It is quite obvious that the DO is pandering to Rand's prejudice here: "do not kill women". The fact that the female Forsaken survive their punishments is merely part of the grand strategy to turn the Dragon.

Terez
02-04-2012, 03:25 AM
Where accusations of misogyny come in is when you notice that there are more scenes with naked women, greater descriptions of women's nudity, more lesbians, etc. And the spankings too, though that part I truly don't think really adds up.Even that doesn't amount to 'misogyny' really. RJ introduced one misogynist (Neres, the ship captain from TFOH when they rode up to Salidar with Moghedien, er Marigan). He noted at one ComicCon that the girls' reaction to him was more bafflement than anger, because they had never met anyone who hated women before.

As for the spankings, I had the same inkling, but I later realized that Abby was right. It's all very subtle, but it's clear enough that Saldaeans are really into the whole S&M thing. It's a cultural kink, and apparently women are submissive. And then there are the strange Sea Folk customs that just so happen to often put women in a submissive bedroom role because of their public power. And Nynaeve had the bright idea to sign up for that.

But then you have places like the Two Rivers where things are more traditional. Even the power of the women is essentially traditional, in reference to RJ's own upbringing in Charleston. The men think they're in charge, but the women have their own kind of power. The men are straightforward, the women are conniving, sneaky, and sometimes a little vicious when it comes to asserting their power. (See Daise Congar, Act I.) That's a pure male-dominated world stereotype. Just read Gone With the Wind. It goes even further than the Two Rivers, though. Even Morgase fits the mold, and Berelain. Both of them have had to use sex to retain their power, though Berelain apparently did it a little more willingly than Morgase. Far Madding is the anomaly.

If the nudity were regularly sexualized, I'd see the problem. But most of the time, it is workmanlike, so it never bugged me too much (though, as a guy, my opinion may be worthless here).The nudity is sexualized in subtle ways, via descriptions. Check out Moiraine's first time on screen in the sweat tent. The few instances of male nudity are completely workmanlike. Take the bath scene in Baerlon, for instance. No body or skin descriptions anywhere. Same with Rand's nudity scenes, which RJ always feels the need to make into a joke. He did manage to put it in Min's POV once, where she commented on his legs, but it's not the same as the sweat tent, or the sister-bonding ceremony.

One reason I strongly believe this is, surprisingly, the Foresaken. We're usually so busy seeing them as evil villains who need to be killed that we miss the fact that there is no gender politics among them. Its remarkable, really, that one of the biggest thing that is wrong in the world because of their master doesn't affect them at all.

Now, if only RJ hadn't spoiled this by having the male Foresaken die for their failures, or not chastised at all, while the women are raped and made into slaves, I'd have been so much happier...I still have hopes that Demandred will get buttraped in AMOL.

fionwe1987
02-04-2012, 05:33 AM
Even that doesn't amount to 'misogyny' really. RJ introduced one misogynist (Neres, the ship captain from TFOH when they rode up to Salidar with Moghedien, er Marigan). He noted at one ComicCon that the girls' reaction to him was more bafflement than anger, because they had never met anyone who hated women before.
I don't think its misogyny. Some others do, though.

As for the spankings, I had the same inkling, but I later realized that Abby was right. It's all very subtle, but it's clear enough that Saldaeans are really into the whole S&M thing.
Wait... what?
It's a cultural kink, and apparently women are submissive.
Saldean women are submissive? :eek: What do their dominant women look like then?

And then there are the strange Sea Folk customs that just so happen to often put women in a submissive bedroom role because of their public power. And Nynaeve had the bright idea to sign up for that.
I always thought that it could go either way. The husband and wife make a decision on has power on which domain. Am I remembering wrong?

But then you have places like the Two Rivers where things are more traditional. Even the power of the women is essentially traditional, in reference to RJ's own upbringing in Charleston. The men think they're in charge, but the women have their own kind of power. The men are straightforward, the women are conniving, sneaky, and sometimes a little vicious when it comes to asserting their power. (See Daise Congar, Act I.) That's a pure male-dominated world stereotype. Just read Gone With the Wind. It goes even further than the Two Rivers, though. Even Morgase fits the mold, and Berelain. Both of them have had to use sex to retain their power, though Berelain apparently did it a little more willingly than Morgase. Far Madding is the anomaly.
Morghase used sex to hold power? When? She entered a political marriage, but I don't think that counts. If you're referring to the Valda situation, that was rape, and was depicted as such.

You may be right on the Two Rivers, but the exact opposite is true of the Aiel. Yes, the Wise Ones are kind of like the Women's Circle, but the Roofmistresses are not, and they're clearly very powerful. A Roofmistress owns the land, has complete authority over whether her husband (including the clan chief) can even enter the place, she seems to be in charge of trade and all other administrative issues as well. Marriage is also her choice (meaning she does the asking), and she decides if her husband gets a second wife.

As for the Two Rivers, the one time the women and men discussed how they hold power (giving advice to Faile and Perrin), they seemed to be using exactly the same tactics on each other. I know this doesn't exactly negate your point, but I do think some of the Two Rivers culture may suffer from early-WoT-ism.

The nudity is sexualized in subtle ways, via descriptions. Check out Moiraine's first time on screen in the sweat tent.[/quite]
This?

Moiraine was already there, and the other Wise Ones, and Aviend,ha, all bare-skinned and sweating,
sitting around a large iron kettle full to the brim with sooty stones. Kettle and stones alike radiated heat. The Aes Sedai looked mostly recovered from her ordeal, though there was a tightness around her eyes that had not been there before.

Or this?

Moiraine, seeming slight and small beside the others, also looked unruffled, although sweat rolled down her pale nudity and slicked her dark hair to her scalp, with a regal refusal to acknowledge that she had no clothes on.

I suppose the second is somewhat sexualized, but barely.

[quote]The few instances of male nudity are completely workmanlike. Take the bath scene in Baerlon, for instance. No body or skin descriptions anywhere. Same with Rand's nudity scenes, which RJ always feels the need to make into a joke. He did manage to put it in Min's POV once, where she commented on his legs, but it's not the same as the sweat tent, or the sister-bonding ceremony.
There have been times when the men have been described similarly. Min talks of the hair on Rand's chest, Faile about Perrin's muscled chest, etc. Not exactly nudity, but its there.

The sister-bonding ceremony, I give you. That was weird.


I still have hopes that Demandred will get buttraped in AMOL.
I don't. For one thing, other male Foresaken who failed had no such thing happen to them. By the looks of it, only Semirhage wasn't raped, and she got spanked instead!

GonzoTheGreat
02-04-2012, 06:32 AM
Saldean women are submissive? :eek: What do their dominant women look like then?
Those are the farm-girls. We haven't met any, so we do not know what they look like.

I always thought that it could go either way. The husband and wife make a decision on has power on which domain. Am I remembering wrong?
Yep. Who has more power in the public domain is determined by their official position, which depends on their job, and that's decided by outside forces. Whichever one has more power in the public domain has less power in the bedroom.

No Sea Folk male can become Wavemister, for instance. Nor can any of them become Earthfinder* to the Wavemistress.
So the highest public positions are always for women.

* Men are stronger in Earth, women in Air/Wind. Firefinder would be somewhat of a liability on a wooden ship.

sleepinghour
02-04-2012, 06:36 AM
Now, if only RJ hadn't spoiled this by having the male Foresaken die for their failures, or not chastised at all, while the women are raped and made into slaves, I'd have been so much happier...

It's not just the female Forsaken. Female villains often end up enslaved and degraded in some way that involves public nudity and/or rape. Isendre was made to walk around naked prior to being killed off, Falion was raped by Hanlon, Suroth was made to "serve" the Deathwatch Guards, Galina became Therava's toy and the Shaido's naked packhorse, Sevanna was carried off naked on Tylee's horse... Male villains, on the other hand, just get killed off.

It's also common for other female characters to end up stripped of their clothes in some kind of degrading situation. Nynaeve was stripped by Moghedien when she was tortured, Faile and her attendants were left naked and hog-tied in public, Morgase and Alliandre were publicly stripped and spanked by the Shaido, Moiraine was hanging naked in the Tower of Ghenjei... I take no issue with the ritual nudity in the Accepted and AS tests, but Moiraine's nudity in the ToG really bugged me. There was no reason for her to be naked. Or why Moiraine and Aviendha had to go to Rhuidean naked while Rand and Mat got to keep their clothes on.

And let's not forget the spankings, which reduces all women to blubbering children—even Semirhage. Men lose their limbs without tears or a word of complaint, but it's apparently remarkable for a woman to be able to take a spanking.

Terez
02-04-2012, 07:35 AM
Those are the farm-girls. We haven't met any, so we do not know what they look like.I think they are all expected to give their husbands a hard time. But there's little room for confusion here...
"I don’t think she twists me around her finger," he said carefully. She tried, true, but he did not think he had ever let her. Except once in a while, to please her.

Lady Deira’s sniff spoke volumes. "Weaklings never think so. A woman wants a strong man, stronger than she, here." Her finger poked his chest hard enough to make him grunt. "I’ll never forget the first time Davram took me by the scruff of the neck and showed me he was the stronger of us. It was magnificent!" Perrin blinked; that was an image his mind could not hold. "If a woman is stronger than her husband, she comes to despise him. She has the choice of either tyrannizing him or else making herself less in order not to make him less. If the husband is strong enough, though... " She poked him again, even harder. "... she can be as strong as she is, as strong as she can grow to be. You will have to prove to Faile that you’re strong." Another poke, harder still. "The women of my family are leopards. If you cannot train her to hunt on your command, Faile will rake you as you deserve. Are you strong enough?" This time her finger drove Perrin back a step.

"Will you stop that?" he growled. He refrained from rubbing his chest. Faile was giving no help at all, merely smiling at him encouragingly. Bashere was studying him with pursed lips and a cocked eyebrow. "If I indulge her sometimes, it’s because I want to. I like to see her smile. If you expect me to trample on her, you can forget it." Maybe he had lost with that. Faile’s mother began staring at him in a most peculiar way, and her scent was a tangle he could not make out, though anger was still in it, and icy disdain. But good impression or no, he was done with trying to say what Bashere and his wife wanted to hear. "I love her, and she loves me, and that’s the whole of it as far as I’m concerned."

"He says," Bashere said slowly, "that if you take our daughter away, he will take her back. He seems to think nine thousand Saldaean horse no match for a few hundred Two Rivers bowmen."

His wife gazed at Perrin consideringly, then visibly took herself in hand, her head coming erect. "That is all very well, but any man can swing a sword. What I want to know is whether he can tame a willful, headstrong, disobedient – "

"Enough, Deira," Bashere cut in mildly. "Since you’ve obviously decided Zarine... Faile... is no longer a child, I think Perrin will do well enough."

To Perrin’s surprise, Bashere’s wife bowed her head meekly. "As you say, my heart." Then she glared at Perrin, not meekly at all, as if to say that was the way a man should handle a woman.

Bashere murmured something under his breath about grandchildren and making the blood strong again. And Faile? She smiled at Perrin with an expression he had never seen on her face before, an expression that made him decidedly uncomfortable. With her hands folded and her ankles crossed and her head tilted to one side, she somehow managed to look... submissive. Faile! Maybe he had married into a family where everyone was mad.No Sea Folk male can become Wavemister, for instance. Nor can any of them become Earthfinder* to the Wavemistress.
So the highest public positions are always for women.

* Men are stronger in Earth, women in Air/Wind. Firefinder would be somewhat of a liability on a wooden ship.Jorin found it useful.

"There was a damane on that Seanchan ship, wasn't there?" The Windfinder gave her a quizzical look. "One of the captive women who can channel."

"You see deeply for one so young. That is why I first thought you might not be Aes Sedai, because you are so young; I have daughters older than you, I think. I did not know she was a captive; that makes me wish we could have saved her. Wavedancer outran the Seanchan vessel easily at first – we had heard of the Seanchan and their vessels with ribbed sails, that they demanded strange oaths and punished those who would not give them – but then the – damane? – broke two of his masts, and they boarded him with swords. I managed to start fires on the Seanchan vessel – weaving Fire is difficult for me beyond lighting a lamp, but it pleased the Light to make it enough – and Toram led the crew to fight the Seanchan back to their own decks. We cut loose the boarding hooks, and their ship drifted away, burning. They were too occupied with trying to save him to bother us as we limped away. I regretted seeing him burn and sink, then; he was a fine ship, I think, for heavy seas. Now I regret it because we might have saved the woman, the damane. Even if she damaged him, perhaps she would not have, free. The Light illumine her soul, and the waters take her peacefully."

Terez
02-04-2012, 07:47 AM
It's not just the female Forsaken. Female villains often end up enslaved and degraded in some way that involves public nudity and/or rape. Isendre was made to walk around naked prior to being killed off, Falion was raped by Hanlon, Suroth was made to "serve" the Deathwatch Guards, Galina became Therava's toy and the Shaido's naked packhorse, Sevanna was carried off naked on Tylee's horse... Male villains, on the other hand, just get killed off.The tag for 'no male nudity' in the new database brings up 17 results, ranging from 1994 to 2005.

It's also common for other female characters to end up stripped of their clothes in some kind of degrading situation. Nynaeve was stripped by Moghedien when she was tortured, Faile and her attendants were left naked and hog-tied in public, Morgase and Alliandre were publicly stripped and spanked by the Shaido, Moiraine was hanging naked in the Tower of Ghenjei... I take no issue with the ritual nudity in the Accepted and AS tests, but Moiraine's nudity in the ToG really bugged me. There was no reason for her to be naked.Well, you could obviously argue that the Eelfinn knew, like Verin, that nudity makes wetlanders feel vulnerable.

Or why Moiraine and Aviendha had to go to Rhuidean naked while Rand and Mat got to keep their clothes on.Now Mat has seen Moiraine naked twice. Rand only that once. Perrin got his in TDR. ;)

Zombie Sammael
02-04-2012, 09:41 AM
With regard to the Saldaean women (and to an extent the Sea Folk marriage arrangements), one has to bear in mind that there is a difference between being sexually submissive and having a submissive personality in general, or in other words, that sex is different from real life. It's possible to enjoy power in real life whilst being sexually aroused by being dominated (I have met people who admit to this dichotomy, so they aren't too hard to find, either). S&M might be a big part of what Saldaean women expect culturally in the bedroom, but that doesn't necessarily make them powerless; Tenobia is as good an example of the truth of that as any. The same would apply to the Sea Folk, though I expect they probably have different cultural expectations for bedroom activities.

The thing of female villains being punished by being degraded while males die isn't just restricted to RJ, either. It goes as far back as works such as Les Liaisons Dangereuse (male villains dies, female is disgraced and exiled). That doesn't excuse it as a flaw in RJ's work, but as I've argued in discussions of sex (in all senses of the word) in WOT before, the fact that RJ has tried to build a relatively gender-equal world but failed is one of the most interesting things about the series, for me; analysing all the places where it went wrong tells us a lot more than if it were perfect and complete.

Terez
02-04-2012, 11:16 AM
With regard to the Saldaean women (and to an extent the Sea Folk marriage arrangements), one has to bear in mind that there is a difference between being sexually submissive and having a submissive personality in general, or in other words, that sex is different from real life. It's possible to enjoy power in real life whilst being sexually aroused by being dominated (I have met people who admit to this dichotomy, so they aren't too hard to find, either). S&M might be a big part of what Saldaean women expect culturally in the bedroom, but that doesn't necessarily make them powerless; Tenobia is as good an example of the truth of that as any. The same would apply to the Sea Folk, though I expect they probably have different cultural expectations for bedroom activities.Go back and read the quote again. Particularly the end of it. I never said they were powerless; I said they were expected to be submissive to their husbands.

The thing of female villains being punished by being degraded while males die isn't just restricted to RJ, either.
Another straw man. Why are you arguing against points no one has made?

Zombie Sammael
02-04-2012, 12:03 PM
Go back and read the quote again. Particularly the end of it. I never said they were powerless; I said they were expected to be submissive to their husbands.


Another straw man. Why are you arguing against points no one has made?

I think I explained my point pretty well in the other part that I wrote. In any case, I wasn't arguing with anyone, simply pointing it out.

fionwe1987
02-04-2012, 01:36 PM
Those are the farm-girls. We haven't met any, so we do not know what they look like.
Even after reading Terez's quote, I'm still not exactly sure about this...

Yep. Who has more power in the public domain is determined by their official position, which depends on their job, and that's decided by outside forces. Whichever one has more power in the public domain has less power in the bedroom.
Exactly.
No Sea Folk male can become Wavemister, for instance. Nor can any of them become Earthfinder* to the Wavemistress.
So the highest public positions are always for women.
This is only true among the channelers, and till the taint was cleansed, the reason was obvious. But think of the Master of the Blades, and other non-channeling positions men hold. They probably have wives with power over them in the bedroom.

* Men are stronger in Earth, women in Air/Wind. Firefinder would be somewhat of a liability on a wooden ship.
You know, I find this irritating sometimes. Any number of mythologies associate Earth with women and Air with men. RJ could easily have had women strong in Earth and Water, and men in Fire and Air. Would certainly have been cooler.

sleepinghour
02-04-2012, 01:39 PM
The thing of female villains being punished by being degraded while males die isn't just restricted to RJ, either. It goes as far back as works such as Les Liaisons Dangereuse (male villains dies, female is disgraced and exiled).

To a certain extent, that sort of thing makes sense, and I don't think it's necessarily a case of the author wanting to go easier on the women. Male villains (at least fictional ones) often die dramatically in a duel or battle while the female villains tend to be the scheming type that manipulate people but don't actually put themselves in any danger. And legally speaking, female criminals were more likely to escape with a lighter punishment such as exile or imprisonment.

In WoT, it's more a question of fate than law. And RJ spent so much time describing how the women were being punished it felt like they were actually given a worse fate than the men by having to stay alive and suffer. In New Spring, Ryne gets a quick death while Edeyn loses the only person she loves—her daughter Iselle—which Moiraine compares to a living death. So in that book, I felt Edeyn suffered the worse fate.
Whispers said she intended to retire from the world. Moiraine thought she already had. The woman's staring eyes looked haggard and old. In a way, they looked much as her daughter's did, in Moiraine's mind, full of despair and the knowledge of death coming soon.
Now, Edeyn was not a traditional villain in that she wasn't actually evil, just selfish and power-hungry. In most cases, the female villains are Darkfriends who will die in the end anyway. So their being raped and degraded first feels more like additional punishment rather than lighter punishment.

fionwe1987
02-04-2012, 01:39 PM
It's not just the female Forsaken. Female villains often end up enslaved and degraded in some way that involves public nudity and/or rape. Isendre was made to walk around naked prior to being killed off, Falion was raped by Hanlon, Suroth was made to "serve" the Deathwatch Guards, Galina became Therava's toy and the Shaido's naked packhorse, Sevanna was carried off naked on Tylee's horse... Male villains, on the other hand, just get killed off.
Oh that's true enough. But the Foresaken, as a group, have no gender imbalance in their interactions. So the ridiculous treatment of the women stands out even more.
It's also common for other female characters to end up stripped of their clothes in some kind of degrading situation. Nynaeve was stripped by Moghedien when she was tortured, Faile and her attendants were left naked and hog-tied in public, Morgase and Alliandre were publicly stripped and spanked by the Shaido, Moiraine was hanging naked in the Tower of Ghenjei... I take no issue with the ritual nudity in the Accepted and AS tests, but Moiraine's nudity in the ToG really bugged me. There was no reason for her to be naked. Or why Moiraine and Aviendha had to go to Rhuidean naked while Rand and Mat got to keep their clothes on.
Now that I think on it, you're right.

And let's not forget the spankings, which reduces all women to blubbering children—even Semirhage. Men lose their limbs without tears or a word of complaint, but it's apparently remarkable for a woman to be able to take a spanking.
Another good point to consider. There have
been cases of women reacting to physical abuse without tears, but too many instances that go the other way.

Landro
02-05-2012, 02:37 PM
Polygamy often has a practical purpose/origin. In a warrior culture, men will have a higher mortality rate and polygamy can ensure that all women can find a husband and will thus bear children to maintain the population numbers. If you look at societies in our world however you will usually find that the male dominates contrary to the Aiel version.

One female marrying more than one male is extremely uncommon and impractical because multiple males aren't very likely to make the same woman pregnant more often. Another issue is that people like to know if a child is theirs which very hard to tell when a woman has had sex with multiple men. Only in the last few decades have scientists been able to determine the father of a child but often it's still not 100% accurate.

eht slat meit
02-05-2012, 08:32 PM
To be fair, Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne and a dozen other Sisters have seen Mat naked, and iirc the same goes for Rand and the Maidens.

Terez
02-05-2012, 08:44 PM
To be fair, Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne and a dozen other Sisters have seen Mat nakedWhen was that?

eht slat meit
02-05-2012, 09:02 PM
When was that?

During the dagger Healing (TDR, ch18) at some stone chamber, apparently the novice testing area. He's clothed for the ceremony (thought he was nude for that, with nothing but the belt, but apparently not), so Elayne, Nynaeve and Egwene might be taken off that list, but Lanfear and whichever Sisters/Accepted/novices attended him(whomever does such things) has pretty obviously seen him clad in the Light.

Could be considered justified as a hospital-like situation, but still.

sleepinghour
02-06-2012, 03:29 AM
Well, there's always this bit:
"You are even ruder than I remembered, Matrim Cauthon. With you sick so long—and Egwene, and Elayne, and I taking care of you like a babe in swaddling—I had almost forgotten. Even so, I would think you'd have a little gratitude in you."
And Moiraine saw Mat naked in TFoH when he was with Melindhra and had gotten Darkhound drool on his arm.

professorskar
02-06-2012, 06:33 PM
Polygamy often has a practical purpose/origin. In a warrior culture, men will have a higher mortality rate and polygamy can ensure that all women can find a husband and will thus bear children to maintain the population numbers. If you look at societies in our world however you will usually find that the male dominates contrary to the Aiel version.

One female marrying more than one male is extremely uncommon and impractical because multiple males aren't very likely to make the same woman pregnant more often. Another issue is that people like to know if a child is theirs which very hard to tell when a woman has had sex with multiple men. Only in the last few decades have scientists been able to determine the father of a child but often it's still not 100% accurate.

I've lurked here for a long time, and finally registered to make this exact point, and someone beat me to it :p