Wednesday, February 19, 2014

addendum to previous post

I brainfarted and entirely forgot about something.

There is a dream sequence in the novel, where Lyssa is remembering a party her uncle had when she was leaving home. It turns into a nightmare that ties into the events happening in the plot, but is otherwise not that important except to explore a bit more of Lyssa's mental state at the time.

Her uncle has two people working for him, one a man the other a woman. I described them wearing their fineries for this party, and the guy was wearing a fancy baldrick and a sword while the woman had her finest jewels out of the occasion. It seemed fitting, after all. Women were jewels all the time!

But then, thinking about it, I realised that it wasn't what I was going for. The man had a sword, which implied he was a warrior and a strong person, able to defend himself and fight, and the woman was on display with shinies, which implied she couldn't. As I was writing it, I didn't think twice. It was just... a thing. Only in retrospect did I see what I was unconciously doing in the subtext (and actual text).

An hour or so later, after re-reading and digesting, I went back and re-wrote it, adding jewels to the mans baldrick and sword, and changing the womans jewels for a fine set of daggers. A small change, some may say, but I think it was important. Even just a few years ago, I wouldn't even have considered that what I did was problematic. This, if nothing else, shows me how I've changed in my views of how women are represented and how the world treats them, and I took a concious choice to change that and give her the same kind of place and unspoken agency of strength and ability as I did the male character. It is, verily, little things like this which are important, I feel.

If I wanted to be a smart-ass, I'dve have shifted the sword to the woman and the jewels to the man but that's not really what I wanted to do. I wanted to show that, even in minor roles of little to no importance, a womans abilities are the same as a mans. It may be clumsy and silly, but I thought it important enough to include.

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