Men and women : difference feminism in the Wheel of Time

Discussion in 'Wheel of Time Discussion - Books 1-8' started by Adhara Jehanne, May 10, 2013.

  1. Toral Delvar

    Toral Delvar Archivist Gaidin

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    It's also true that most of the people with genuine power we meet are female - the Aes Sedai, the Wise Ones, the Wavemistresses. Plus, in the Wheel of time we have the whole saidin/saidar thing. Women and men are different
     
  2. Brandegoris Al'Mor

    Brandegoris Al'Mor Citizen

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    I am now almost on book 5 of my reread, and This time around at age 36 ( Instead of age 16 or 17) I actually take back what I said. I enjoy Nynaeve, Egwene , And Elayne much more this time around. :)
     
  3. Chadouken

    Chadouken

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    Hey, I'm also almost done with Book 4 of my re-read! Regarding men and women and gender roles, Morrighan brought up a really good point that i hadn't considered before. Men went crazy and broke the world 3,000 years ago and there are no more male Aes Sedai. I think this probably has a bearing on how men are generally treated as "wool-headed" and such. The most powerful people in the world are now women who can channel- men are gentled or killed if they have the ability to wield the One Power. This philosophy of men being inherently flawed probably trickles down through all aspects of society.

    Anyway, I just read the part in The Shadow Rises where:
    Nynaeve and Elayne are in Tanchico with Thom and Juilin. The way they (especially Nynaeve) talks down to them is sometimes infuriating. Thom has so much more world experience than either of them and is trying to keep them alive, while at the same time learning valuable information about the political dealings in the city- information that should be extremely important to the two women, and they treat him with zero respect whatsoever. Same with Juilin- he's doing all this legwork at night and getting into scraps finding out where the Black Ajah are, only to get bullied by the two women. And what do the two women do? They invite a Seanchan General to tea and talk to her as long time friends! Ha! And then Moghedien comes and visits Elayne and Nynaeve in the inn right after they clown Thom and and send him off, and Moghedien completely manipulates them! The darker side of me was almost glad those two were so easily duped. Almost.

    But yeah, all complaining aside, I agree with Brand that during my second read-through of the books, the women do seem a lot more tolerable, and the whole breaking-of-the-world thing does add some perspective as to why men are generally treated so poorly sometimes. I also know that the relationships continue to evolve later in the books.
     
  4. Brandegoris Al'Mor

    Brandegoris Al'Mor Citizen

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    YEAH. They make it HARD to like them! LOL When Mat and Juilin actually help save them and all they do is criticize, its tough! Not to mention Thom is a badass and he did that ALl without the mystical use of the one power. Juilin too. They dont have rad powers to fall back on! hahah
    Its also Ridiculous the way the two women always talk to Juilin as though he had a CHOICE but to betray them to Liandrin! hahaha He was Magically Compelled to OBEY!!! LOL
    honeslty at this point ( book 5) I just see Egwene and Nynaeve as foolish bull headed children. Overconfident amnd used to being important because they were ALLOWED to think themselves superior in their LIL village and no one has made it clear to them that they dont know everything yet!
    If memory serves me however book 6 sees Egwene become a Wonderful character as she discovers her own flaws and shortcomings and decides to fix them while learning a Bit of humility!
    Sidenote" What LAN sees in Nynaeve I will NEVER know! hahhahahah
     
  5. Aran Cherubim

    Aran Cherubim Resident Citizen

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    I tend to operate on the idea that the women in WoT have a certain disdain for certain traits they consider masculine due to the Breaking, much like many real-life cultures have had disdainful views of certain traits considered feminine due to mythical events like Eve succumbing to the temptation of the Serpent. I think that this is emphasized (intentionally or unintentionally) in a few ways;

    Most male-dominated groups tend to have females either overseeing them or some aspect of it is for women only (Far Dareis Mai, the Wise Ones, the Panarch of Tarabon is always female (iirc), the Merchants' Council in Arad Doman(?) is almost completely female, the monarch of Andor is always a Queen, Far Madding is an actual Matriarchy, as is Tar Valon, only women can own real estate in Aiel societies, women who take men's virginities have a certain rule over them in Malkieri culture, the Women's Circle holds arguably equal power to the village council in Emond's Field, Ogier males are generally powerless to stop their marriages, as they are all but arranged between their mother and another female Ogier, etc. I could probably go on.

    Another thing is that, from my reading, there are a lot of pejoratives related to masculinity, and it's my impression that there are more of those than those related to feminity. Regardless, we see several that seems to be directed to masculinity - particularly a lot that seem to specify that men who are physically strong are mentally deficient in some capacity. It's my personal impression that physical strength isn't held up to be such a virtue as it is in the real world - which makes sense in a setting where there are sorceresses that can lay waste to entire armies through magic, imho. There are a few pejoratives that has to do with feminine promiscuity (typically uttered by other females, iirc.), but that kinda makes some form of sense since females generally run a bigger health risk by being promiscuous than men do, so it could possibly be considered less of a cultural view, and more of a quirk of human biology.

    There's also placed a lot of emphasis on how women have to "earn" their womanhood, whereas men don't. To me, this implies that womanhood is seen as more civilized, complicated and in some aspects superior to manhood. There also seems to be a general trend of women being able to do virtually everything men do, but not the opposite. (and Rand's channeling is partially taboo due to this general norm, apart from practical concerns of madness and prophecies of course).

    So, yeah, I don't personally feel that the "women are bossy" (or bigoted for that matter) thing in WoT is problematic, rather I find it to be a natural consequence of their history, myths and social reality. I realize that other people who emphasize other elements of the story differently may see it in another light, but this is how I think of the world, at least. It's certainly no more egregious than actual real life (far less so.)

    If there's anything that's problematic to me, or a thing that occasionally bugs me, it's the "separate but equal" theme that seems to be going. It's not something that's ever worked in real life, so I find it hard to see as some kind of ideal in a fantasy world - but to me personally, I don't really get too upset about it. Others might, of course - and that's their prerogative. Different people prioritize different things in their entertainment differently.
     
  6. Brandegoris Al'Mor

    Brandegoris Al'Mor Citizen

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    WTH? Mr. White Ajah!!!!!???? LOLOLOLOL
    U cant be all ,trying to be logical and stuff when the ladies are be mean to the men-folk!!!!! :nono
    U MUST help us!!!!! U are a smarty!!! We need the smarties to defend us from the smarty women-folk!
     
  7. Vodan Anuvos

    Vodan Anuvos

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    Although Aran Cherubim said it better than I, I do like looking at the parallel of the breaking of the world to the mythology in our society - In WOT, the men did something bad, and all men are blamed for it and lumped in with them, so the women are trusted to be in charge. In our society's mythology, Eve ate the apple, causing "the breaking," all women were lumped in with her, and so men had to be trusted to run everything.

    Its easy to blame entire groups for the actions of a few people, and Jordan might have been trying to show how a society or even a culture can form around one idea like that. Look at the way cultures form around religions all over the world.

    I personally like the "take charge" attitudes of the women in WOT for the most part. I think they have a lot to offer the reader about stepping into a role for the sake of duty and growing into that role and responsibility. Except maybe Faile. Maybe.

    And sometimes the men are just plain wool-headed. :p
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
  8. Mattrim al'Korin

    Mattrim al'Korin

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    Wow! Exactly what I was thinking!! I do agree with Brandegoris, though, that Nynaeve is a B@#$H cuz I don't like how she treats Thom throughout the series. He has been basically everywhere, and knows more about the world than she ever will, but she insists on treating him like a child because of her self-centered, self-righteous, know-it-all attitude.
     
  9. Sam Thamyn

    Sam Thamyn

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    Nyneave can also be shaped to that...
    If I recall correctly, she was very young when she was appointed as the head of the woman's council.
    Maby that helped develop her personality in a negative way against men?

    As for Thom, there is still a lot people don't know about him. Across the books we get to know a lot more about him, and his history. But I don't know how much of that is actually passed on to people like Nyneave..
    Because he points himself up as a Gleeman who tells stories and does some tricks..
     
  10. Mattrim al'Korin

    Mattrim al'Korin

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    I was thinking about it yesterday, and I guess I can understand a little since Nynaeve had to put up with Cenn so much. But Thom isn't anything like Cenn. She even acknowledges that there is more to Thom than she thought, when they get to Tanchico. Yes, the men are in a competition, but the point is that they are working hard for Elayne and her, and she treats them like children doing chores. :-/
     
  11. Alora Sionn

    Alora Sionn Gaidin

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    I actually like Nynaeve and its because she gets a lot of character growth if you really think about it. She starts out as a young wisdom, where she probably had men AND women kind of blowing off her ideas and opinions because of her youth (thus why she longs for gray hairs). Then self assured Moiraine comes and takes her people into the wide world, she didn't have to go but she needed to see that those boys she cared for were going to be ok. She fought so hard to be respected first by the womens circle, then by aes sedai, then Egwene starts putting her in her place, she's been forced to realise she can't fight everything tooth and nail all the time, she has to let some things go.
    I think some of how she treats people is clinging to the idea that treating them like that, going on the offensive, is the only way they will respect her, since she is used to people seeing her as "barely off apron strings" or "just an accepted wilder". You do see her later she handles things like a woman without bullying or disrespecting in turn, I think she learned from Alise at the farm that you can get results without weilding a stick :lol
     
  12. Elorenya d'Rahien

    Elorenya d'Rahien Aes Sedai

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    I agree with every word of this. :) Early on, Nynaeve really grates on me, but as she learns and grows through the series, she gets a lot better.
     
  13. Mattrim al'Korin

    Mattrim al'Korin

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    Good point. I'm rereading the series now, and forgot about her time in Ebou Dar. Up to their arrival at Salidar, I like Elayne just fine, but don't like Nynaeve much. Elayne's growing-up phases are much more humorous than Nynaeve's.
     
  14. Peyton76

    Peyton76

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    I know this thread is old but I'm also halfway through the Shadow Rising and the gender differences are driving me so crazy I had to google to see if it got any better, glad to see it does!
     
  15. Brandegoris Al'Mor

    Brandegoris Al'Mor Citizen

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    Im only on Lord of Chaos. If Nynaeve grows I still have yet to see it, I cant defend her. She is the worst! hahahahah Egwene is also the 2nd worst! hahahah Those girls need a switch.
     
  16. Aran Cherubim

    Aran Cherubim Resident Citizen

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    The subject is probably best discussed in the other book forums - although I'd say that I think they do develop quite a bit throughout the series later on.
     
  17. Mikhail Hauen

    Mikhail Hauen

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    Hi there I read all the books and would like to express my opinions on gender diferences in spoiler free fashion.

    First of all I would like to say that i think that Robert Jordan purposefully created the ilusion that there is diference. And here are the reasons why i think that.


    1. For instance when you are reading from man point of view for example perrin he always wonders how he could handle Faile and how women alway gossip and how unpredictible(stubborn) women are. When you are reading from Failes point of view you see pretty much the same think in different words. She always says how woolheaded or stubborn men are and that everybody knows that man gossip.
    2. On the other hand man are rarely in ruling positions and that is I thing because of the braking of the world. Imagine what would u do if emerged from braking and knew who caused it - > men. Of course u wouldnt want to take orders from men as a women and as a man you would be emberassed to give orders. And i would say that became traditions throughout the milleniums.

    So to conclude this. I believe that women and men as personalities are equal, but in the matters of power women have the upper hand due to braking of the world.
     
  18. Ryu Shadowborn

    Ryu Shadowborn Citizen

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    One thing I think is very overlooked in terms of "Nobody ever talks to each other" is that for 3000 years or so Baelezmon has actively been sowing division.

    Take a look at the Two Rivers which has been relatively untouched for 1500 or so years before the series proper, they retain a system of government that could be very close to the age of legends way that Aes Sedai handled things before the breaking, and instinctively fell back to that after Hawkwing's empire fell, in some of the other timelines where the Seanchan took over Westerland it seemed that the "Worlds new masters" did not even notice the two rivers, so Hawkwing himself may have passed it over as a place "of no real point of bothering with so long as they make with the tabbac"

    Incidently Andor is also Relatively close to The two rivers in terms of sharing power with the Queen handling matters of state and the first prince of the sword handling the military, since both Elyane and Morgaise were somewhat non-traditional with their Generals not being blood relatives they could excise a little more power than the queen would over the first prince, since you can't really fire your Older Brother.
     
  19. Aeneas

    Aeneas

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    Firstly I apologise for the "Necro" of this thread, it was the top result when I searched.

    Secondly - I thought this was a very good point about the power pyramid in the WoT world. Even kings are puppets for the most part to the White Tower. Also given that the men would "never know" whether they might suddenly start channeling, go mad, and die...

    However I'll admit I'm pretty insensitive to more subtle things like this. Mostly I read it for Matrim Cauthon :p
     
  20. Almira ni'Caldazare

    Almira ni'Caldazare Citizen

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    I am not trying to argue that Robert Jordan got the differences between male and female accurately but I do like how the characters grow. I think that one reason readers find the way characters act in books one and two to be unlike real men and women is because the characters are acting like children. They whine and complain and are selfish. As the stripes grows the characters do too.