Thread: Adult Topic!: Afra: Questionable attraction?
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Old Jul 30 2008, 08:44 AM   #12
Kath
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

Quote:
Originally Posted by draconichybrid View Post
Actually, in Towerverse, sixteen seems to be the age of majority. So think of Damia and Tirla as eighteen-year-olds if it helps.
*snip the rest*

I'm a Brit - legal sex at sixteen is not an issue as far as I'm concerned, and as for the idea that sex and sexuality might be unnatural... well, that's just laughable. I don't even have a problem with teens having consensual sex with each other when they're underage, providing that it's not the result of peer pressure, mutually unrealistic expectations and ignorance of one's personal comfort zone and/or needs within a relationship... which, sadly, it so often is.

What you've done here is to TOTALLY miss my point. I don't have a problem with sex. I don't even have a problem with large age gaps. And I certainly don't think that any of the female characters was at all unwilling, at any point. I do have a problem with the portrayal of a large number of characters ending up in the exact same type of relationship, especially when said characters have demonstrably limited experience in certain aspects of life and their idealised older male partners ought to know well enough to back off for a while to give them room to grow up. Not only does it show a chronic lack of imagination and pre-disposition towards outdated romance-novel tropes on Anne's part, but it also cheapens the hard-won talents and independence won by these wonderfully strong women (who can only find fulfilment in the arms of an older man) and weakens the character of their menfolk.

I'll give you the point that on rare occasions people's personalities don't alter substantially once they hit their teens, but the maturity, wisdom and experience that allows one to make cogent decisions alongside a partner of any age isn't something that gets handed to us on a plate the moment we hit [insert birthday of choice]. Yes, Tirla knew the mechanics of sex and the typical failings of the human species, but what did she know of relationships in the context of sexual and mental equality? Nothing. Nada. Zip. And what does she get out of it? A relationship with an in-built imbalance of power and a life spent dutifully popping out kids that bears more resemblance to Mama Bobchik's than it does Rhyssa Owen's.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly understand the appeal of a submissive relationship and/or a strong partner - I fit the mould far too well myself. If you're both strong and submissive, often you can't let your walls down with anyone weaker than yourself, and age/experience is often a good substitute for genuine strength of character in a partner. In Damia's case, it was probably the only solution available to her given her Prime capabilities, and at least Afra waited until after the Sodan episode before their relationship kicked off. it did, of course, have an incredibly maturing effect on Damia, and gave her a huge boost in her understanding of herself as well as of the rest of the universe, removing many of her illusions.

But.

The issue isn't just Damia's attraction to Afra, or the fact of their relationship after the Sodan incident, but the attraction Afra felt towards her before that point - when Damia WAS mentally immature. This is also reflected in Sascha's attraction towards Tirla, who while mentally mature was chronologically and socially (outside the context of Linear Society) HUGELY inexperienced, and in Sodan's abuse of Damia's youthful weaknesses.

Physical attraction is one thing, but conscious attraction towards an incomplete personality without the compensating awareness of and refusal to abuse one's power to take advantage of them (and I don't mean in the physical sense, note) is quite another, and IM(NS)HO deeply, deeply flawed. A stronger character would hopefully, as I suggested early, back off and let them grow up on their own terms, without stifling them in the hothouse of a rushed relationship. Lack of maturity (be it physical, mental, social, educational or whatever) on the behalf of one partner in a relationship can affect the well-being of both of them - stifling growth on one side, and trammeling the other with rose-tinted lack of realism.


Oh, and it's Sascha, not Scharla
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