There is a movie, District 9, where some aliens become stranded on Earth and are confined to a slum in Johannesburg, South Africa. They are derogatorily referred to as “prawns” because they resemble giant walking shrimp. Their liv…
OMG, you’re right! Only you Estwald…only you! I saw district 9…I never thought of it like that, but you’re right! It’s the hood meets sci-fi!
You’re right about the sci-fi characters though. I loved the oankali/human contrast. Because I felt like it really allowed the reader to explore human nature from an entirely different perspective.
As for fantasy, those characters tend to be just fantastical…which is to say they do fantastic things. Everyone knows Khaleesi, rides dragons — but her basic human nature is the same as anyone else’s, pretty much. All the GoT characters are fundamentally human, they just live in a world that has magic and features different than the ones in this world.
It’s a world where ravens work like cell phones, and I’m actually not buying it. I think the writers are confusing our times with midevil times, and the way they misuse those ravens…well, I am actually thinking about not finishing the series, believe it or not. My intelligence has been insulted. This is why you have to be really careful with world building. Even though the world is different than ours, it still has to have consistent and reasonable rules.
Yeah…I’m going to try and finish the True Love Story…which is about as basic as a piece of fiction can get. But if I finish it, then, maybe I will have the skills to complete at least the first novel in my fantasy-sci-fi series…which, I’ve outlined the hell out of it. I have so much material that I have collected on how to build this world, set about 2000 years into the future.
To me, characters are easy…characters you just base on actual people and tweak them.
But the world building…that is so hard. So many details you have to remember, and since it’s not based on our world, they are easy to forget.
Like for example, in the world I am building, people have DNA signatures that allow them to have access to certain parts of the world, or not. This works in a very technical way…I don’t always remember all the technicalities of it, and yet I need to remember them every time a character moves from one part of the world to another. Characters cannot just pop up wherever they want in the world I am building…there are rules to movement. (Just like in our world, but even more so.)
If I disregard that, and just have the characters move all Willy nilly, I’m going to have a situation where I am using ravens as cellphones and my readers will be insulted.
World building is hard. And yet…I love it!
Sexism…feminism. I figured out the problem. No I really did. I get it. It’s so simple, so obvious. I figured it out outlining A True Love Story. Which is based on stuff that actually happened, so that’s why I can figure stuff out writing about it.
Sexism is related to SEX. And sex and the way to pursue it, is pretty, deeply hardwired into the human experience. Especially, the male human experience. Feminism-pushes against that. So…feminism is pushing against deeply ingrained, evolutionary behaviors (men -or really males of any species pursue sex in certain ways) if you push against that, if you try to check those behaviors, you will meet extreme resistance, (which feminists clearly do.)
But the bigger problem is, when it comes to sex, and even reproduction, humans are gaming the system. Males of any species typically have to work hard for sex, to prove they are fit to reproduce. Females…pretty much just have to look a certain way.
But the more sophisticated humans become, with all out technology and tools, the more we can manipulate the hell out of the basic requirements and systems.
So like my boyfriend, he was a pretty sexist dude, and by that I mean he wanted to exercise total control over me and the way I moved through that hood, to keep me safe.
Here is what he didn’t realize, (at least I don’t think he did) because I was at the highest socioeconomic status that you could be at, and still be in the hood, I was already pretty damn safe. My higher class was an equalizer…which is to say, I lived in a home, with a stepfather who had guns. I had several uncles, who had guns. Nobody in that hood was ever bothering me too much, they knew better, especially since I was also tied to the white middle class — nobody hood dared to fuck with the white middle class.
So all of this is to say, I had the luxury of feminism. I could say to my boyfriend, “I will exercise certain rights, irrespective of what you want and feel.” Because I could do that, and continue to be safe. A lot of girls in the hood could not do that. They had no choice…in fact they would be lucky, to have a boyfriend like him who would be that protective(exercising total control over them, to keep them safe.) And believe me, he was highly desired because of or despite all of that.
We fought about the clothes so much, because he was afraid someone would rape me if I wore anything too revealing. That was a real fear for him. It wasn’t a real fear for me because, I had such a large extended family and connections to very powerful resources, random on the street rape was not likely to be an issue for me.
But…he also didn’t want no disrespect. And…that’s a whole other bunch of drama that you’d have to be hood to understand.
He also didn’t want me on any other man’s radar, because he didn’t want any competition. Especially not any real competition…the Jack and Jillers…so funny to me now that I realize why he was so angry about being at the Jack and Jill party. (Jack and Jillers are extremely affluent African-Americans). He didn’t want to compete with those men. So what does he do? He attacks me for wearing clothes that get their attention.
Now…if you’re in a third world country like India, or just the American hood in the late 80s, all my boyfriend’s behaviors make total sense. You wouldn’t even call these behaviors sexist really. He was just trying to protect me and his relationship to me, and in a certain sense, himself in as much as he viewed me as an extension of himself (which he totally did.)
But to me, a young woman, trying to exercise control over my own life, and coming from a socioeconomic background where I was encouraged to exercise that control (by white women teachers at my prep school, my own father), I classified his attempts to protect/control as sexist.
The truth is his actions were both protective and sexist. It just depends on your perspective and where you stand in society. The higher up the socioeconomic scale women are, the more protected they are, the more freedom they have, thus the more they can wrestle free of the control of men. Men don’t like this, because men believe, like deep, deep, deep in their DNA, it is their JOB to control/protect women.
But…it’s a double edged sword, control/protect. Yes, my boyfriend was ridiculously protective. No one was fucking with me on his watch. And…that was cool.
But the costs associated with that protection. He made me miserable trying to control every damn aspect of my life.
So my ultimate point is, certain human male behaviors are obsolete under certain conditions. We’ve come to a point where, based on level of affluence, some women don’t want or need them. These women often become feminists and attract other women who feel oppressed by men who behave like my boyfriend did.
And…these women have a point. My boyfriend was growing ever more aggressive over his inability to control me, it was leading to an unstable and probably violent dynamic in the relationship. Did I deserve to be beat because I wouldn’t do the things he requested? A lot of people would say yes. And I can actually understand that perspective. The way I acted in that relationship, believe me, I know a lot of people who would have said, “He should just beat her ass, that will show her.” And they would say that about me because I refused to comply with or abide by these rules, that many women would have just been fine to go along with.
But women who have experienced this sort of oppression and certainly the feminists would say no, I didn’t deserve to be beat no matter what the situation. I agree.
At 17 years old, I intuitively believed that the relationship was going to get physically violent. I didn’t know why. But I was terrified because of the violence he engaged in with other men. I thought, it was just a matter of time before he turned that aggression on me.
But, even before that happened he was psychologically violent. He knew how to get inside people’s heads to get them to do what he wanted. And he was in mine…and I felt under attack.
So…I say all of that to say this, women subscribe to feminism to defend themselves from attack: physical, emotional, psychological. And when those dynamics get set up in intimate relationships -physical, emotional, psychological abuse — it is devastating-to the man, the woman and especially the kids. It is an extremely devastating dynamic. I know.
My father beat my mother. I lived through that, and based upon those experiences, I decided to be as unlike my mother as I could possibly be. I wanted to be strong, independent, outspoken in all the ways my mother was not. And for me that started with never submitting to the will of a man.
So me and that boyfriend went at it, because he was determined that I would submit and I was determined I would not.
In the end it was draw…but man, there’s just so much more to this story. Which is why I write about it.