This is a sidebar of sorts that I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. The bonus story “Short Term Solutions” is a good example, but so is “High Walls, Small Gates”. What do I mean? What is apparent in these stories that would require me to “explain myself”? If you don’t know, then it probably isn’t that big a deal. If you do know, then you’re the reason I’m writing this.
Racism, sexism, and homophobia.
Eikasia is, before anything else, a fantasy adventure (surprise!) But close behind that, it is a romance story. The primary couple, as you clever chickens know, are homosexual. Interestingly enough, these characters are in the minority. Nevertheless, this doesn’t change the fact that the majority of my readers are either gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, or LGBT supporters.
So what the hell am I thinking, saying such electric and razor-sharp words like “queer, homo, and dyke?” The same reason I have characters that refer to dark-skinned races as “darkies and mud men.” The same reason I have women who think men “have to be a certain way” and men who think “women should be a certain way.” Just because I as a writer am very open-minded, that does not mean my characters will be. For some, this could change, for others this may not. But that’s just how it goes. In fact, I can say flat out that the only two characters out of the entire Eikasia cast that is completely open minded (atleast with relation to what I’ve stated above) are Lethia and Nyx. That’s it. Every other character has some opinion, some prejudice, and some attitude that someone, somewhere, would surely find very insulting.
To address the matter more specifically, I’ll talk about the attitudes seen in “Short Term Solutions”:
Fanaea is a patriarchal society, so a lot of the power and respect goes to the head man of the family. Hakeem, as you all have seen, isn’t like this–partly because he was torn out of traditional Fanaean life at a young age, and also because of his close relationship with Quincy. When frustrated with his wife, however, he draws on the only examples of problem solving he has–which come from his father and uncle, who had complete control over their household. As a patriarchal society, Fanaea looks down on gay men, seeing them as weak and a result of decaying morals. Lesbians aren’t appreciated either, but homosexuality in men tends to produce a stronger reaction. Thus, in “Short Term Solutions” we see the prejudices that both Quincy and Hakeem grew up with come forth. Karolek comes from Gulley, and this Talmorian city-state is known for its fair share of misogyny as well. Furthermore, as many of you may or may not be noticing–Fanaeans tend to see alot of racism. Their dark skin and their traditions has them labeled by other societies as savage or brutish. We know that isn’t true, but do the characters know this…? That is one thing I have to ask myself when matters of race crop up.
The same goes for speciesism (in this case understood to be hatred and prejudice of other species, but we’re talking about things some readers may actually have to deal with in real life, and I doubt many of you get picked on for being a human… 😛 )
Elmiryn herself has been shown to have a less than PC way of talking about her own sexuality, and this is simply a by-product of her society. Her attitude about being a lesbian can sometimes be seen as flippant, even if this isn’t really true. This is partly because her society treated her homosexual behavior as something “not serious”. That she was only doing it because, “She’s a descendant of Diokles.” While the woman has no qualms in stating her preferences, she gets annoyed when faced with the question of whether or not she’s “serious” about it, or “actually in love”. As is her usual tactic when faced with something she dislikes–either she makes fun of it, pretends its not there, or she kicks its ass.
In the coming update, we’ll be given an intimate look of what Elmiryn’s childhood was like (I bet you guys are excited!) You can expect to see more of the “touchy subjects” surfacing, but just keep in mind that while I’m doing a fantasy story, I’m choosing realistic societies over idealistic.
Till next time!