Short Story Strain (+Mini Reviews + Bonus! Cat Pics)

If any of you wonderful, loyal readers have explored my authors’s site, or read TMC’s last post at the very least, you know I write weekly short stories. Out of the three categories thus far, two are mere genres. The third is not. It’s an ongoing collection of short stories based on a sort of alternate reality of what our world would look like if women had taken control instead of men.

This is where things get a little sticky because of course one can’t really talk about sexism (or any other kind of -ism) without offending some party or another. Potentially both. My intent in this blog post is to attempt to explain the general points I’m trying to make with these stories, if you’ll allow me to take that liberty. So this post is actually less of a writing one, more of a social commentary. And it’s one that obviously needs to be stated.

To begin, it’s true that life for woman has gotten better… I speak about the U.S., where I have more expertise, but would tentatively say that this is true throughout the world. Tentatively. In the U.S., at least, women have claimed seats of political power. They can have jobs and go to college, are no longer required or even pressured to be a stay-at-home mom, and are obviously no longer dependent on men for their most basic needs.

But obviously there are still inconsistencies. The gender wage gap exists. On a smaller, but just as critical, level: boys cannot wear pink or play with dolls without risking ridicule. Women are still thought to be physically weaker, and even if that’s true in most cases, there’s also the point that lack of physical strength is thought to put someone at a disadvantage. And it does, because in a world that molded itself around the patriarchy, with show of strength as the way of proving who’s the winner, physical strength is how you survive. And logistics, of course, and creativity to a certain extent, because that’s how you won at war. Not simply with brute numbers but with smart employment of whatever advantages there are.

The problem with the patriarchy is that people assume it is the only way things could have gone. I admit that it’s a practical assumption, because exactly how many matriarchy societies are there? How many have there been throughout history? Compared to patriarchies, not many. Clearly patriarchal societies have some advantages. But it’s still a hurtful assumption, because it implies that even in the present climate, physical strength will always give you an advantage. It’s a male trait belonging to a world that, again, developed with male-dominant societies. It’s why “strong female characters” started off as pretty much just masculine females.

As we plod on towards the elusive equality, I wanted to consider how possible it would be to create a world run entirely by women, to determine what traits we had and now have that would give us an upper-hand both in this fictional world and in our own one. The two most problematic issues arise in the following questions:

  1. How are territorial borders defined and defended?
  2. Who raises children?

Basically, if roles are technically swapped, do the “physically inferior” women still leave the men to defend hearth and home but take advantage of some trait that gives them the upper hand? Or do the women go off to war, only to return home occasionally to birth children and leave the raising to the fathers while they go back into the fight? They’re issues that I have already started to tackle, using different countries as opportunities to try adjusting variables.

I fight for a realistic sketch, so it isn’t always a pretty view of the world. But be real. If I left out the less savory aspects, the experiment would be pointless because the world would not feel real and would lose its meaning.

Currently, of the two stories that I’ve written of the Matriarch series, both are set in a “medieval” kind of setting (for lack of a better term). Eventually, I’ll likely write a more modern take of the world, in which we see what affects these medieval beginnings have on how the man/woman interaction would work. Until then, revel in the sword-fighting and dark cunning of the times, and maybe let yourself compare this kind of world to the real version of our world. I won’t tell you what themes to take away from the story; only that it is more than just some far-reaching gender swap.

Book Review

Paper and Fire

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Author: Rachel Caine

Genre: Alternative world/steampunk/fantasy

Rating: 4 stars

This is the second book of the series. The first book was alright. Remember? I liked the concept far more than this particular execution. Paper and Fire was kind of similar, except I walked into this one having a sort of low expectation and came out fairly pleased with the result. Especially in the second half, the book grabbed my attention. It still reads a bit like pro-library propaganda, but oh well. It’d be a good read for anyone who has little to do and has nothing else to read.

Drama Reviews

Henry V

Author: Shakespeare

Rating: 4 stars

This is the second of Shakespeare’s Histories that I’ve read, and I think I liked Richard III better. This one’s got a pretty huge cast and felt kind of a slow read. But it does feature one of the most legendary battles of all time, in which a vastly outnumbered King Henry manages to beat the French at the Battle of Agincourt. If I had a time-travelling police box, that battle might very well be my first stop. People to this day don’t really know how Henry won.

King Lear

Author: Shakespeare

Rating: 3.5 stars

This is a play about a king who goes mad because his daughters “betray” him. Regan and Goneril are two annoying villains, but at the same time, the king goes mad. And… just some plot inconsistencies like that first scene involving the “test” despite already having divided up the land. I dunno, guys. It was just an odd play. Not my kind of odd, either.

Angels in America, pt 1

Author: Tony Kushner

Rating: 4.5 stars

I liked this play. It is about gay life in the… 80s?? Anyway, it was just really interesting and engaging. I think a few parts were a bit predictable, but mostly I thought the characters felt realistic and compelling. And really there were only a few moments in the play that felt kind of preachy. Honestly, this play seems like one of those important reads considering the times.

Writing Prompt

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“Two thousand warriors drew their swords for a war they would not win.”

— by: hollowayshideaway.com

BONUS! Cat Pictures 🙂

So recently my cat’s shown interest in going outside. Well, because he’s fat, I decided to oblige him and see how he reacted.

Over the course of three excursions, he’s become more and more happy to be outside, and no longer minds the harness as much. (But yes, do you believe me now? He is fat.) His new favorite pastime is munching on patches of grass. Why? I have no idea.

wp-1491072630461.jpg We also have replaced the furniture that we left behind when we moved back up to Ohio two years ago. Lucky is experiencing Couch for the first time. Naturally, he’s trying to claim it as his.

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