The Hurog Family

Patricia Briggs' Books => The Weres => Mercy's Garage: General Series Topics & Themes Board => Topic started by: Holo on June 09, 2015, 05:00:49 pm

Title: Sexism in Werewolf Society
Post by: Holo on June 09, 2015, 05:00:49 pm
Something has been bothering me since I started the Mercy Thomspon and Alpha and Omega series. The blatant sexism in werewolf culture. While I understand that many of these werewolves were born in a time in which sexism was a norm, it is the modern age and people who are being turned now should be speaking out against this phenomenon. Even in the most recent Alpha and Omega book, Red Heat, Anna remarks that the pack would have a hard time getting Chelsea to accept that as a female not mated to a werewolf male she will rank at the bottom of the pack, even though she is more dominant to the second. This phenomenon is backed by things like female werewolves pulling all their power and authority from their mates. I love the series, but I feel like this needs to be addressed and shown to be wrong. The fact that even Anna voices no complaints over this blatant sexism is troubling to me.
Additionally, this makes me somewhat dislike Bran. I mean, when Mercy calls to ask him what packs that 13-year-old werewolf could live in safely, he only gives her handful of names, and she internally remarks that it is very small number in comparison to the number of alphas and packs in North America. What kind of leader of werewolves allows other werewolves to lead if they cannot be trusted to not abuse/rape a 13-year-old girl. I'm shocked that Bran has not made moves to improve the status of living for female werewolves. I know he has a lot on his plate, but that is what delegating is for. Honestly, how does he expect humans to accept werewolves when they discover how the female members of their species are treated by the males. What's worse, is that the females accept this as normal and do very little to protect it.
Title: Re: Sexism in Werewolf Society
Post by: pondhawk on June 09, 2015, 06:43:12 pm
You know, many of these fantasy books are fictional ways to explore these very real-life questions. And if you find a human society that has managed to resolve the question of sexism to everyone's satisfaction, with no exceptions or violations, no doubt we would all love to hear about it. But most authors who grapple with these questions don't simply wave a magic wand and fix everything instantaneously, because that isn't something that can happen in real life. They write their books and hope people think hard about what's going on.

So it's good that you are doing that, but in your case it's kind of preaching to the choir. What is really important is to get people who might be sexist themselves to recognize that the situation in the books is wrong, and start thinking harder about how they contribute to sexism in their own lives. And for the rest of us, to start thinking about realistic ways to bring about changes. Because in real life, we don't have any magic wands either.

As far as disliking Bran, that is fine. He's a very complicated character. Almost no fictional character is going to appeal to everyone, just as almost no person in real life is universally popular. But as in real life, it's the part of a mature human to see a person as a whole, more than the sum of his or her parts, and to recognize that every person is both flawed and gifted.
Title: Re: Sexism in Werewolf Society
Post by: Patti L. on June 09, 2015, 08:41:06 pm
Interesting discussion, but not actually a question for Patty, so I'm moving it to the appropriate discussion area.
Title: Re: Sexism in Werewolf Society
Post by: Prince of Pain on October 05, 2015, 12:02:57 am
I think part of the problem is that when you go back to a muscle powered society.  Which is kind of what werewolves have done, what with resistance to bullet wounds from magic regeneration cutting down on one hit equals shock and death or at least incapacitation and magically enhanced strength.  Its a lot harder for the women who are naturally less strong to compete with the men on even footing.

If you can't compete with the men on equal footing.  And you don't wan to appeal to a representative 'human' government that would likely view you as a ravenous potential flesh eating monster with violent and often homocidal urges as a matter of course, then you're kind of stuck.  When the nanny state won't protect you but quite the opposite probably lock you up (potentially driving you insane) or isolate or put you on reservations like the native american indians of old, or keep a close eye on you and put you on trial for murder on the first time some a-hole male wolf tries to put you under his thumb and you fight back in a battle to the death.  You're kind of in a fix.

We go a little bit into some of the difficulties the women face in getting the respect they need and deserve as well as some of the practical problems that face them on a societal level.  Here:

I think part of the problem for the women is that they literally are a minority status within the wolf community.  And when you combine physically weaker with minority group bad things tend to happen historically speaking.

That said I'm all for some of these females and/or their dedicated male mates setting up a pack of their own and shooting for equality.  But!  In this world Patty's set up there are what I could consider psycotic Alpha's out there who aren't looking at things through sexual tinged eyes but rather rabid power hungry ones.  And any pack out there whose alpha isn't strong enough to fight them off is leading a pack that's ripe for taking over and including in his own, or annihilated in the mad scramble for territory and resources.

The sufferage movement wasn't the work of a couple years or even decades but the trial of generations, before finally not just society changed but the technology and opportunities presented themselves for women to step out from behind the shadow and take center stage (if they were so inclined) with or without the help of anyone else.

Maybe just like technology in the form of new non-muscle powered jobs presented women the ability to do 80-90% of the jobs and the resulting independence we saw in the late 1900's maybe we need a magical revolution that will help level the playing field just like machine driven factories, increasing tech and firearms did for mundane women?

Just brainstorming here.

The Deposed King
Title: Re: Sexism in Werewolf Society
Post by: Tambayo on October 05, 2015, 01:15:54 pm
Bran is 2000+ years old. And given that it is hard to shed the values you grew up with, much more protective of females. He comes from a much more violent and physical time where giving birth was a risky thing. Both bullies and caring husbands don't want more risks to their wives, every hand was needed to survive. Aside from the small comforts that a wife can bring to a household.

Not being able to carry to term doesn't change the underlying drive to protect, that is instinct. Most alpha's are older generation wolves, not those born in the last 30-40 years. The widely available cushy luxury life is post WOII, rural parts of the USA didn't get grid power untill 50-60ies or so. Europe much the same and some parts still don't have such things. The modern mod cons and the social views that go with it are very new, and while humans have had 8-10 generations to adjust to the massive changes in the last 200 years (from the industrial revolution onward), most werewolves have had anywhere from 0 to 8 or so. Changing habits and opinions is difficult for people, why expect the older wolves to adjust so easily to all the changes?
Title: Re: Sexism in Werewolf Society
Post by: chloe on October 08, 2015, 10:31:07 am
Yes, I agree. Bran's main goal is to protect his wolves and keep them alive (note: alive, not necessarily happy).  If any action in the packs causes deaths or may cause deaths (except legal dominance fights) he steps in.  But only after careful observation and evidence that yes, wolves are dying.  His forward thinking and willingness to change is also shown in his relationship with Mercy.  I mean, she is a coyote!  And now she's Adams mate/wife, so almost like an Alpha of a pack.  Of course, she is a useful tool too, ridding Bran of problems in the Tri-cities area.  Sometimes I liken Bran to the fey.  They will let you live if you are interesting and don't cause too much trouble for them.  I liked the beginning of Fair Game where Anna argues with Bran about Charles.  I'd like to see more interaction between Bran and Anna.

I know, I just quoted myself.  I am still learning how to find recent posts on this forum.  I missed this one somehow.  I responded to a different discussion with the response above, though I believe it applies here too.
I have thought about this idea too, especially since I have a fondness for Bran.  I wonder, would I be able to live under his rule?  I am an unmarried lady and I live a pretty independent life (no husband, no kids, no controling family).  But I know that the only reason I can live as I do is because I live in a country that protects me and the people are generally happy and have the opportunity to live their own lives.  Its also a matter of luck and fate. This is how I view the packs in the books.  Its like each pack is a different country that has evolved to some level of civility.  The more civilized the pack is, like Adam's pack, the females will have more rights and freedoms.  Like in the US and Europe, IRL.  But less civilized packs, women will be brutalized and victimized, like in areas of Africa and other less civilized countries.  As others have said, Bran is old.  He's seen a lot and knows change is inevitable, no matter what his actions are.  He controls what he can and leaves the rest to the humans.
Title: Re: Sexism in Werewolf Society
Post by: Drazhgrund on May 08, 2021, 04:28:00 pm
Well, I would like to see Bran create a pack with nothing but female werewolves.  I imagine that the city or county that this pack  is located in would be the safest place for any female; were or otherwise.  This pack would only answer to Bran.  Just a thought.
Title: Re: Sexism in Werewolf Society
Post by: Zealith on May 08, 2021, 04:53:53 pm
I'd read a short story on that.
Title: Re: Sexism in Werewolf Society
Post by: pondhawk on May 09, 2021, 06:08:53 am