Found this over on Sarah Hoyt’s site, written by a guest I think, “The Myth of the Peaceful Woman” I bet writing that was like a purge of the soul.
It begins, “There’s a persistent trope in science fiction and fantasy about a society consisting solely of women. It’s a peaceful and prosperous society, free from all violence…”
I went through a season of that too, where it seemed like everything I picked up to read revolved around the myth of the utopian matriarchy. Of course it is paradise because women are all about sugar and spice, fluffy kittens, and honoring everyone.
That is one a rude juxtaposition for those of us outliers, I’m telling you! I am the first one to believe in fairy tales, but that one is just pushing the envelope. I used to think guys were writing all these stories, because an entire planet full of beautiful women and endless prosperity really sounds like a guy fantasy. Like the author of this piece, myself, I would perceive it more like my worst nightmare, a horrifically hostile dystopian mess. I ain’t buying that tale about paradise either.
The author says, “When you write your books and send them out into the world, please stop writing women as soft, cuddly pacifists. We aren’t.”
So true! Even worst, even scarier, sometimes we think we are being “soft, cuddly, pacifists,” when we are anything but. For example, one such utopian matriarchy in my sci/fi reading began with a, “planetary cleansing.” That was a pleasant way of saying, “mass genocide.” Our cuddly pacifists created their utopia by first executing half the human race. That’s not very nice. Just saying.
Someone smart once said, “we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions and to judge others by their actions.” I see that a lot. This can put a terribly unfair burden on men, because they tend to be more action oriented, verbs. They like to “do” stuff. Women tend to be more intentional, the ends justify the means, just “make it so.” My utopian novel for example, did not really see anything wrong with mass extinction, because it was for the common good and the end result was cuddly and soft. Uh yeah, about that…..
“We tend to judge ourselves by our intentions and to judge others by their actions.” We can all fall prey to that mindset, it isn’t just a gender thing. “The road to hell is paved by good intentions,” as they say and there are plenty of men who perceive themselves as “good guys” because their intentions were good, even though they obviously left nothing but a wake of destruction behind them and the end result wasn’t even good.
In my experience however, women can really have an extra special talent for that. I mean this with all good grace and humor, I love women, and I am one, but we do have a real propensity to be short-sighted, convinced the ends justify the means, and emotionally driven to just make it so.
Like the author, I too am an outlier and it is not such a bad thing, it has provided me the opportunity to observe, to just stand outside the group and watch the dynamics play out, in a way that has now become almost predictable. It’s also what compels some of us to just hurl books at the wall, a much-needed skill these days, I assure you.
My husband once looked at me confused after I called a book a liar. How could a novel lie? Isn’t it called fiction for that very reason? Oh no, I promise you, books can lie, even the fiction, they can be so filled with self-deception, they just drip dishonesty. It rolls off those pages until I am so busy trying to peel layers off the onion, my eyes are actually watering.
The best ones however, will speak with unvarnished truth. There really aren’t many like that anymore. It’s kind of sad.