eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
eruthros ([personal profile] eruthros) wrote2010-11-07 11:35 am

two things I've read recently that have pissed me off

1. [personal profile] helens78 sent me a bunch of knitting books that she was done with, some of which are pattern books and some of which are books about knitting. Mostly I have been flipping through pattern books and going "ooh" or "hmmm." And so I was flipping through one of the prose-and-patterns books called The Joy of Knitting and noticed this, partly because it's right at the beginning of a chapter:

    From prehistoric times, knitting, like most other fiber-related activities, has been women’s work. [...] [E]arly human societies could only afford to rely on women for those forms of labor which were compatible with childcare, since breastfeeding routinely continued until children were two to three years old. Women’s work was whatever could be performed without danger to small children, what could be interrupted and resumed easily and without damage. Thus spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, and most other tasks connected with clothing were women’s work, as well as most aspects of food preparation -- but not, for instance, hunting, mining, or smithing.
Yeah, seriously. And that’s in the chapter titled "A Feminist History of Knitting." As if rigidly defined gender roles that explicitly link gender to sex are feminist. Gender essentialism = totally awesome!

And also as if anything should start with "From prehistoric times..." -- freshman who try that in the openings of their essays get cranky comments.

2. I only just now got N.K. Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms -- I’m never really good at getting new-releases when they’re, you know, released. And so I was reading happily along, enjoying the worldbuilding, when all of a sudden:

    "Sky is both very large and very small, Lady Yeine. There are other fullbloods, yes, but most of them waste their hours indulging all sorts of whims." He kept his face neutral, and I remembered the silver chain and collar Scimina had put on Nahadoth. Her perversity did not surprise me, for I had heard rumors of far worse within Sky's walls.
... and later it turns out that the people who indulge in all sorts of whims are also rapists. Oh, and pedophiles. 'Cause those things always go together!

And it’s not like that’s exactly new or unusual in fantasy -- fantasy novels often mark the villain as evil because zie’s kinky, or enjoys pain too much, or whatever. Perversity is evil, and evil is perverse. (I read more fantasy in high school, and at the time my friends and I used to refer to a whole genre of fantasy novels as "everyone wears leather, but the villain likes it.")

So it’s not that it’s uncommon. It’s just that I was unprepared for finding it here, in this highly-reviewed best-selling popular-in-fandom fantasy novel. Both because it’s fucking lazy broad-strokes villainy and because it’s that you-don’t-belong-here slap in the face.

Oh, and btw, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms? If there isn’t a same-sex relationship in the novel other than the one that turns jealous and possessive and starts a war that kills billions? Yeah, I’m going to be pissed.