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This one goes out to all the ISMs

Amber

Venerated Member
Benefactor
#1
Showboat is a book by Edna Ferber that was published in 1926. The book spans three generations and begins in the late 1800s. The book was turned into a musical and its usually the musical people are familiar with("fish gotta swim ... birds gotta fly ... I'm gonna love one man til I die....").

Every now and then, a production of Showboat will be banned because of its stereotypical portrayal of black people. We're dumb apes.

One of the most compelling storylines in the book and the musical is the story of a black woman who marries a white man in one state, where it's legal, and then travels to another state, where its not. They're on a Showboat, traveling along the Mississippi, a river which crosses many state lines. They have to keep track of where they are and there is much discussion about just how black the black woman is because the law differs from state to state and the degree of her blackness matters.

It's not a pleasant thing to read, but what business do we have asking for everything to be pleasant? The truth is, how black you were is something that was measured in fractions back then and as much as I'd like to change it, that's how it was. You can't read the book without absolutely falling in love with Julie, the black woman, and you can't put it down without knowing, love isn't about color. Instead of being banned, the book should be required reading.

The complaint about it is that it portrays stereotypes of minorities. It probably does. It was written by a white woman and published in 1926 and you can hardly fault her for not being prescient enough to foretell a time where she would be castigated for using words like: mulatto, quadroon, darkie etc. She was already taking a huge risk and undoubtedly paid a price for writing Julie's story. 1926 was just an exhale away from the Civil War and decades away from the civil rights movement. I'm sure no one was happy with what she had to say about love between a black woman and a white man.

What's more, there is historical value in her misrepresentations. Her misrepresentations are part of the history of how white people and literature have treated black people. We need to know that. We need to remember. Maybe we're too lazy to put literature into historical perspective.

Something else I often hear is that Robert A Heinlein was a sexist or a misogynist. I answered a post on medium.com that was fed to me through flipboard on the topic not too long ago. I figured the silly young lady needed my help. I mean, if she couldn't figure out how spectacular it was for a man born before women could vote to have women characters in his science fiction at all then I was happy to enlighten her.

Nothing much came of it but nothing much does come of these things. It's easy to say Heinlein was a sexist or a misogynist.

I don't know everything about Heinlein. I haven't even read all of his books. Although, I have read a lot of them... But here's the deal....

He was born in 1907 and was a teenager before women were allowed to vote. The book most people point to, Stranger in a Strange Land, was published before the civil rights movement, before the sexual revolution, and not long after the most socially constipated time in American history, the 1950s.

So, he was 53 when Stranger was published. What people object to is how his characters speak to women. It bothered me at first but even when I first read it I knew it was written "a while ago" and took that into consideration. Since I first read it thirty years ago we're now talking "a while a while ago".

Also, I noticed, women take charge in his books. Although, they don't take charge like men. But why should they? We're going to pretend men and women are the same? Dumb apes.

In Stranger, it's Jill who takes Valentine Michael Smith out of the hospital. The stupid man who does all the deciding and pontificating, Jubal Harshaw, doesn't do anything without consulting the pack of women he has hanging around. Yes. they're hot and flirty. Often, they're willing. So what. We'd be happier with ugly sexless women? Even women don't want to imagine that future and it's certainly not less misogynistic to imagine women sans libido and mammary glands.

Jubal Harshaw admits women run the world and so does Heinlein, over and over again. All of the fanny patting characters in Heinlein's novels, all of them defer to the women around them. As a teenager surrounded who read authors like Asimov (who was 13 years younger than Heinlein) it was nice to read science fiction written by a man who wasn't afraid to include women in his stories. They were women I liked. They didn't depend on men to support them. They didn't assume sex equalled marriage or that love meant forever. They had a sense of humor and their wits about them.

He even did something male writers hardly ever do -- even now, although I don't blame them really -- he wrote at least one entire novel from a woman's point of view. He also wrote a novel where a man became a woman. So, once I got past the silly fanny patting and what really sounded like old fashioned grandfatherly language to me, I came to appreciate his healthy respect, appreciation, reverence and awe of women. He was a man unmanned by women who remained a man.

So, I've been asking myself, why do blog posts about Heinlein's misogyny infect the internet?

For some reason, lots of science fiction readers expect science fiction authors to escape the context of their own time. It's an impossible thing for anyone to do, even when we try. We can test sociological limits but escape it? Break free of our own context, something more a part of us than we can possibly understand, and leave not a whiff of how we've been taught to think and speak and the things we use to understand the world around us -- that's not happening.

What's even more interesting to me is that we wouldn't want them to. So, as usual, we're our own worst enemies. Dumb apes.

If a science fiction writer from today wrote something that completely escaped their context, we would have a terrible time understanding it, seeing how it was relevant, and relating to it. Science fiction asks the question, "What if?" but it's a reflection of a future we find plausible. A future we find plausible contains current context.

We lower our societal trailblazing expectations for authors who lived further in the past than Heinlein. Authors like HG Wells (who was considered a feminist) and Jules Verne are less likely to be called misogynists even though just like Heinlein, they were stuck with what people would be willing to believe. Which in general is, progress ... but not too much... something different ... but not too different...

Which is what Heinlein did. The book was published in 1961 and does a thorough job of confronting all of our taboos -- including cannibalism. So ... he had to have written this book in the 1950s .... Interesting. Maybe only to me.
 

MaryA

Venerated Member
#2
I don't know history will be any kinder to us who are writing across the 20th and 21st centuries, do you? All kinds of everyday assumptions and blind spots could suddenly reveal our own little bubbles of privilege and unconscious assumptions to a more judgmental generation. At the same time, future readers may find prescient moments and 'enlightened' perspectives in our writings that we don't see from where we stand, embedded in the only context we know.

I'm not sure historical ignorance or shared prejudices are always an excuse for those who held ugly opinions. I think Virginia Woolf is brilliant on all kinds of cultural insights: satirical about Empire and power, empowering on women and lesbianism, one of the few writers at that time to write about the role illness plays in so many lives. I wince though to read her anti-semitism and dismissive views of servants and the 'working class'. And others who were around at the same time also disliked Woolf's prejudices and patrician aristocratic views (Sylvia Townsend Warner for one). One of the sharpest early critiques of Showboat came from Paul Robeson (remember him singing Old Man River?) who was an early Communist and activist against racism. In the same way, while slavery was a fact of life in the American South, many people argued from the 18th century on that it was unacceptable. And HG Wells, as you say, was one of a number of men who supported the Suffragette movement and emancipation of women from the late 19th century, even if their private conduct with women was, um, fairly deplorable. As you say, it's a mixed bag.

There are authors I find harder to read because their texts are undeniable hate speech. I battle with Celine's hatred of Jewish people or the sadism and misogyny of the Marquis de Sade. A few years ago I reread Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, a childhood favourite, and was appalled at how Rochester treated Jane, how weird and obsessive his stalking and tormenting of her was. Only after he has been blinded and mutilated in a fire, does Rochester begin to act like a decent human being. How much of this did the author herself see, what did she think was 'normal' in men controlling poorer women or locking up mentally ill women in attics?

These questions and debates are so good to talk about. There are no easy answers. If I look back at drafts of fiction I wrote a decade ago, I can see how my own understanding of conversations and conflicts between men and women, gender fluidity, and the depiction of older/younger characters has changed, as society has changed. There are topics I hesitate to broach because I still don't feel I am close enough to get it right.

I'm also more conscious when reading realist novels of certain absences: What kind of neighborhood is this where everyone is preoccupied with trivial pursuits even though war is looming in the background? Why don't we get to meet this aunt in a wheelchair? Why does the babysitter talk like a college graduate even though we're told she is desperately poor and an illegal immigrant? Who is the obnoxious ex-wife who talks like a sociology textbook? Why can't this charming funny male character read a room accurately and stop mansplaining to the female astrophysicist who no longer fancies him? Why is the ISIS recruit so utterly unconvincing?

This too. Am I misreading this novel through the lens of my own blind spots and expectations?

Thanks for raising so many interesting questions!
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
#3
These are a couple of interesting posts. I read them both keenly.

I've nothing to add, but @Amber, because you were learning Australian colloquialisms the other day, I thought you'd like to know (at the risk of being puerile), that fanny in British English means a woman's genitals. You mentioned fanny patting twice, I think. I knew what you meant, but it still made me laugh.
 

Amber

Venerated Member
Benefactor
#4
@MaryA How patient you are to have read that entire post and then to have responded. I think saying this proves to me you're a woman of stunning intellect really flatters me too much. But you are a woman of stunning intellect just the same.

I don't know history will be any kinder to us who are writing across the 20th and 21st centuries, do you?
Probably not.

At the same time, future readers may find prescient moments and 'enlightened' perspectives in our writings that we don't see from where we stand, embedded in the only context we know.
Yes. That would be nice. You make a good point. We can't control how other people see our writing. I'm not sure I do it as much with my own writing as I do with the examples in the original post. I do try to control how other people see Stranger and Showboat. Although, I haven't read Showboat for decades and there is something very 1940ish about some of Heinlein's writing. Maybe I should let those 'others' have one. He's not one of their favorite writers.

I'm not sure historical ignorance or shared prejudices are always an excuse for those who held ugly opinions.
No. I don't think so either. I actually don't know if there is ugliness in Showboat. There's wrongness but I don't remember hate. I think hate shows up as hate even when we don't know why.

I think Virginia Woolf is brilliant on all kinds of cultural insights: satirical about Empire and power, empowering on women and lesbianism, one of the few writers at that time to write about the role illness plays in so many lives. I wince though to read her anti-semitism and dismissive views of servants and the 'working class'. And others who were around at the same time also disliked Woolf's prejudices and patrician aristocratic views (Sylvia Townsend Warner for one).
I didn't know that about Virginia Woolf. I've read very little of her writing and sort of know more about her than what she wrote. There's something effortlessly beautiful about her writing. Now I want to go find some and read it ... but anti-semitism and snobbery ... I guess I see what you're saying. It's not a good idea to ignore those things in her writing, pretend they aren't there. That makes sense.

One of the sharpest early critiques of Showboat came from Paul Robeson (remember him singing Old Man River?) who was an early Communist and activist against racism. In the same way, while slavery was a fact of life in the American South, many people argued from the 18th century on that it was unacceptable.
Yes, it's how he's depicted people object to. And, now that you mention it, it there was something about it that bothered me when I watched the musical. I remember having to make excuses for the musical, which I really liked. "Oh, that's how they were back then. They couldn't help it."

And HG Wells, as you say, was one of a number of men who supported the Suffragette movement and emancipation of women from the late 19th century, even if their private conduct with women was, um, fairly deplorable. As you say, it's a mixed bag.
Yeah. It's very strange. Lots of people were against slavery but that certainly didn't mean they weren't racists. Also, with feminism, there's a similar problem. Women who aren't really for women, or men who are for women voting but can't see women on a spaceship ... well it's a very confusing subject. It gets so confusing that eventually I trust my own intuition. Well. At least where feminism is concerned.

There are authors I find harder to read because their texts are undeniable hate speech. I battle with Celine's hatred of Jewish people or the sadism and misogyny of the Marquis de Sade.
I bought his book during banned books week at Barnes and Nobles decades ago. It's the only book I've ever thrown out because I didn't like it. He wasn't okay. We don't need to read his books. He's more than not okay.

A few years ago I reread Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, a childhood favourite, and was appalled at how Rochester treated Jane, how weird and obsessive his stalking and tormenting of her was. Only after he has been blinded and mutilated in a fire, does Rochester begin to act like a decent human being. How much of this did the author herself see, what did she think was 'normal' in men controlling poorer women or locking up mentally ill women in attics?
Yeah I know. Odd that one. I'll have to think about this. I write a lot of fiction where women get treated horribly and sometimes act horribly as a result. It's not really a service. Or, not much of one. Not that I'm a Bronte. But neither would it be fair to say I don't care about what nonsense I put out into the world.

Jane Eyre isn't the greatest example for women. I've never liked it but I've always known I'm weird.

These questions and debates are so good to talk about. There are no easy answers. If I look back at drafts of fiction I wrote a decade ago, I can see how my own understanding of conversations and conflicts between men and women, gender fluidity, and the depiction of older/younger characters has changed, as society has changed. There are topics I hesitate to broach because I still don't feel I am close enough to get it right.
Well. Yeah. The whole transgender thing has grown on me but I was thinking the other day, that as open minded as I imagined myself in my twenties, I would have thought someone who was transgendered was weird.

I'm also more conscious when reading realist novels of certain absences: What kind of neighborhood is this where everyone is preoccupied with trivial pursuits even though war is looming in the background? Why don't we get to meet this aunt in a wheelchair? Why does the babysitter talk like a college graduate even though we're told she is desperately poor and an illegal immigrant? Who is the obnoxious ex-wife who talks like a sociology textbook? Why can't this charming funny male character read a room accurately and stop mansplaining to the female astrophysicist who no longer fancies him? Why is the ISIS recruit so utterly unconvincing?

This too. Am I misreading this novel through the lens of my own blind spots and expectations?
Yes. All of those are great questions .... and I think if answered wrong ... make a character and a story implausible. Thanks for giving me so many things to think about.
 

Amber

Venerated Member
Benefactor
#5
These are a couple of interesting posts. I read them both keenly.

I've nothing to add, but @Amber, because you were learning Australian colloquialisms the other day, I thought you'd like to know (at the risk of being puerile), that fanny in British English means a woman's genitals. You mentioned fanny patting twice, I think. I knew what you meant, but it still made me laugh.
That's hilarious. I have heard that and I forgot.
 
#6
Regarding votes for woman, in England men from the 'lower class' only got the vote a few years before women did. It wasn't just a male/female thing, but a class issue. Only 30% of the male population could vote as you had to OWN property to be allowed to vote. That wasn't truly abolished till after the first world war, and women got the vote in 1918, I think. But in almost every culture men 'owned' their women. Prejudice abounds, and I am pleased I was born into an age and a culture where there is at least the pretense that it doesn't. But where better to highlight these issues than in fiction?
 

Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

Supreme Litopian
Laureate
#7
@MaryA is a phenomenon of empathy too. Wonderful posting @Amber.

And there was Ivanhoe and Walter Scott's beautiful Jewish heroine Rebecca, abducted by the baddie, who then, having put her life in jeopardy, saved her, and redeemed himself by allowing his own death. But in that beautiful city of York, there was indeed a massacre of Jews in 1190.

We are creatures of our times. We may chronicle, but can't simultaneously be our own spontaneous self, or writing as such, while second guessing every other self looking at those works produced by that self. How many novels have been forgotten about? Those that endure, do so for some reason.

I can't ever watch Roots again. I was a girl when that was televised and I watched it then, and it was very upsetting, but I could not bear to watch it again. Not to avoid the truth, but because it's too terrible to allow the imagination to linger there.

As for whatever else, I'll let be, just write what I can and after that it's not up to me. Otherwise, its control freakery. Other people can think what the hell they like about me and anything I write, and it's none of my damn business.
I don't have to be a Christian, I'm not, for the truth of this to speak to me too, and it has a bearing here, and it doesn't pull its punches: -


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
 

Amber

Venerated Member
Benefactor
#8
Regarding votes for woman, in England men from the 'lower class' only got the vote a few years before women did. It wasn't just a male/female thing, but a class issue. Only 30% of the male population could vote as you had to OWN property to be allowed to vote. That wasn't truly abolished till after the first world war, and women got the vote in 1918, I think. But in almost every culture men 'owned' their women. Prejudice abounds, and I am pleased I was born into an age and a culture where there is at least the pretense that it doesn't. But where better to highlight these issues than in fiction?
That's very interesting. I don't actually know the evolution of the vote in the United States. Although, all white men were allowed to vote long before 1918 I believe. I do remember reading some papers written by the founding fathers for government which discussed whether ordinary men should be allowed to vote because, after all, don't we want our best and brightest to vote and wouldn't the best and brightest at least own land?

I have to admit there have been times during the last few years when I thought some sort of test measuring reasoning ability be given before Americans could vote. But unfortunately .... that would be a WRONG idea... still ... if only we could measure a persons dumbassery before they voted -- wouldn't the world be a better, less orange, place?
 

Robinne Weiss

Supreme Litopian
#9
In 1893, New Zealand became the first nation to grant all women voting rights. One more reason to love this country! And, for those who haven't heard, our unmarried, agnostic, female prime minister is pregnant, and her partner is going to be a stay-at-home dad. She's the perfect antidote when the world feels too orange. :)
 

Amber

Venerated Member
Benefactor
#10
In 1893, New Zealand became the first nation to grant all women voting rights. One more reason to love this country! And, for those who haven't heard, our unmarried, agnostic, female prime minister is pregnant, and her partner is going to be a stay-at-home dad. She's the perfect antidote when the world feels too orange. :)
I kind of love watching shows made in other countries. I know Australia isn't New Zealand but in the one I was watching last week, they called the person they were dating their 'partner'. There was something easy and less formal about their relationships -- but they took them seriously too. I've also been watching a show filmed in Denmark. They also refer to the person they're dating as their 'partner'. They take it one step further -- at least I think they do. The parents in the show are totally okay with their teenage children spending the night at their partner's house. I don't know the justification for any of their reasoning, because it didn't need justification. That's how ingrained it is in their culture.
 

Robinne Weiss

Supreme Litopian
#11
I kind of love watching shows made in other countries. I know Australia isn't New Zealand but in the one I was watching last week, they called the person they were dating their 'partner'. There was something easy and less formal about their relationships -- but they took them seriously too. I've also been watching a show filmed in Denmark. They also refer to the person they're dating as their 'partner'. They take it one step further -- at least I think they do. The parents in the show are totally okay with their teenage children spending the night at their partner's house. I don't know the justification for any of their reasoning, because it didn't need justification. That's how ingrained it is in their culture.
It's considered a little rude here to talk about your husband or wife--partner is the preferred term. Lots of folks are in long-term relationships, with kids, etc. without being married here. It's not a big deal to forgo a wedding.
 

Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

Supreme Litopian
Laureate
#12
Gosh, is it? Rude? I say husband, him indoors, Il Matrimonio, Il Sposo..(maybe sometimes Il Bastardo) only and simply because he is my husband, we chose to get married, pay our £50 or so down at the registry office, in a truly Dracula like fog, then home for a big party, I iced the cake myself, only time I ever did, and the following Monday my 5 year old told everyone at school how Mummy got married at the weekend (what a slapper). It constitutes no slur on anyone else, what the heck. Just a fact of the law. I'm not going to start referring to him as my partner now. Guess I'd just have to sit on my own in the rudie-pants corner like a billy- no- mates, along with those terribly rude married gay couples who refer to their husbands and wives.
 

Amber

Venerated Member
Benefactor
#13
@MaryA is a phenomenon of empathy too. Wonderful posting @Amber.

And there was Ivanhoe and Walter Scott's beautiful Jewish heroine Rebecca, abducted by the baddie, who then, having put her life in jeopardy, saved her, and redeemed himself by allowing his own death. But in that beautiful city of York, there was indeed a massacre of Jews in 1190.

We are creatures of our times. We may chronicle, but can't simultaneously be our own spontaneous self, or writing as such, while second guessing every other self looking at those works produced by that self. How many novels have been forgotten about? Those that endure, do so for some reason.

I can't ever watch Roots again. I was a girl when that was televised and I watched it then, and it was very upsetting, but I could not bear to watch it again. Not to avoid the truth, but because it's too terrible to allow the imagination to linger there.

As for whatever else, I'll let be, just write what I can and after that it's not up to me. Otherwise, its control freakery. Other people can think what the hell they like about me and anything I write, and it's none of my damn business.
I don't have to be a Christian, I'm not, for the truth of this to speak to me too, and it has a bearing here, and it doesn't pull its punches: -


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
I read Roots but I don't think I ever watched it. There are some books/movies/stories -- whatever -- I can't watch or read again because it's disturbing or unsettling.

There are lots of useful things in the Bible.
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
#14
I generally say partner when I'm referring to my wife, in English, at least. In Spanish I say mi mujer [my woman], which really does have a different ring to it. Woman and wife are the same word in Spanish. There are a lot of gender issues in that language. But then, wife means woman – we've just forgotten. A midwife is with woman.

It feels different when I speak Spanish, when I call my wife mi mujer, like she's mine. Part of me is repelled by it. Part of me thinks it's deeply romantic – we said the words when we got married, gave ourselves to each other. I'm happy to be hers and feel lucky that she's mine. It's just a pity that the Spanish word for husband doesn't also mean man. I'd be delighted for her to call me my man.

Receiving a gift doesn't mean you own it.
 

Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

Supreme Litopian
Laureate
#15
Nicely said, Rich.

RE Bible. Lots of horror...also great poetry. I asked for that verse of Ecclesiastes for the funeral of one of my children, our second child, who died the day he was born. Those words were absolutely perfect; stern, even harsh in their honesty, but ultimately deeply comforting.
 

Amber

Venerated Member
Benefactor
#17
Nicely said, Rich.

RE Bible. Lots of horror...also great poetry. I asked for that verse of Ecclesiastes for the funeral of one of my children, our second child, who died the day he was born. Those words were absolutely perfect; stern, even harsh in their honesty, but ultimately deeply comforting.
I don't think I can really understand how sad this must be. I'm sorry.
 

Robinne Weiss

Supreme Litopian
#18
Gosh, is it? Rude? I say husband, him indoors, Il Matrimonio, Il Sposo..(maybe sometimes Il Bastardo) only and simply because he is my husband, we chose to get married, pay our £50 or so down at the registry office, in a truly Dracula like fog, then home for a big party, I iced the cake myself, only time I ever did, and the following Monday my 5 year old told everyone at school how Mummy got married at the weekend (what a slapper). It constitutes no slur on anyone else, what the heck. Just a fact of the law. I'm not going to start referring to him as my partner now. Guess I'd just have to sit on my own in the rudie-pants corner like a billy- no- mates, along with those terribly rude married gay couples who refer to their husbands and wives.
It's sort of the way I feel about it, too. He's my husband, why should I not call him so? And plenty of people here do use spousal titles, but it's not a given that someone's not married when they say 'partner', nor that they are legally married if they say 'spouse'. It's pretty fluid and relaxed for most here (hence the fact Jacinda's marital status never even came up during the campaign), and many err on the inclusive side and just say 'partner'.
 

Amber

Venerated Member
Benefactor
#19
Gosh, is it? Rude? I say husband, him indoors, Il Matrimonio, Il Sposo..(maybe sometimes Il Bastardo) only and simply because he is my husband, we chose to get married, pay our £50 or so down at the registry office, in a truly Dracula like fog, then home for a big party, I iced the cake myself, only time I ever did, and the following Monday my 5 year old told everyone at school how Mummy got married at the weekend (what a slapper). It constitutes no slur on anyone else, what the heck. Just a fact of the law. I'm not going to start referring to him as my partner now. Guess I'd just have to sit on my own in the rudie-pants corner like a billy- no- mates, along with those terribly rude married gay couples who refer to their husbands and wives.
You have a point... you went through with it ... why not use the title? That thing people do when they say "it's only a piece of paper" ... well it goes both ways ... if "it's only a piece of paper" ... then get married. The fact is, pieces of paper change lives. Although, also nothing wrong with not wanting that piece of paper. I'm pretty certain I don't want to ever get married again. Yet, I won't mind being with the same person for a very long time.

The characters in the show seemed to take marriage super seriously without getting all 'God decrees' about it ... which I can't stand. They might have a child with their partner but not get married. If they did get married, it was a really huge decision.

Having a child was a big decision too but it seemed clear to me that it didn't mean they would be romantically involved forever ... it meant that they would share parenting forever ... but not necessarily be lovers. There seemed to me an expectation that both parents would be involved even if they broke up.

There was one couple who lived together until the man, who was much older, died. The only reason they lived together was so that they could co-parent. They became really good friends. The couple had met while on a cruise and the woman got pregnant. The man's entire family welcomed and her child. I thought that was so cool -- and smart. I liked the way it didn't matter how the children came into the world, they were welcome.

The United States has such a Puritan streak. There might be some families with a more positive attitude but it's not a given as it seemed to be in Australia. Also, because there are whackadoodles everywhere I'm sure there must be some in Australia. But I enjoyed my imaginary trip there.
 

Carol Rose

Guardian
Staff member
Ambassador
#20
I didn't realize you'd gone through that, @Katie-Ellen Hazeldine. I am so sorry. :(

I refer to my husband as my husband, and he refers to me as his wife. We've been married 30 years and we've been together for 35. We don't need labels to define us as a couple, but we are legally married, so that's how we refer to our partnership. :) I never once questioned whether that was PC, but then, I am old school. :)
 
#21
Regarding votes for woman, in England men from the 'lower class' only got the vote a few years before women did. It wasn't just a male/female thing, but a class issue. Only 30% of the male population could vote as you had to OWN property to be allowed to vote. That wasn't truly abolished till after the first world war, and women got the vote in 1918, I think. But in almost every culture men 'owned' their women. Prejudice abounds, and I am pleased I was born into an age and a culture where there is at least the pretense that it doesn't. But where better to highlight these issues than in fiction?
This is how Islam led the world with women's rights
 

Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

Supreme Litopian
Laureate
#22
@Carol Rose Everyone has their griefs to bear, has to find their own ways of doing so, but also, as in those verses, there is nothing new under the sun, and that's the collective wisdom in poetry, songs...and I feel, ultimately, why we read, or write, why I later learned to read cards for people, to experience that connection with ancient touchstones and know ourselves rooted, cradled in earth and time.

@Amber 'Whackadoodles'..hehehe :) There is nothing like a zealot, a fundamentalist, for whackadoodlism and they come in all stripes.


@rachel Pre-Norman Conquest England was more gender egalitarian than the many hundreds of years that followed. Progress, like Time itself, is NOT linear.