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Old Nov 11 2005, 10:36 AM   #1
c_ris
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On Pern, then there is a distinct divide between what women do, and what men do. There is very much ‘separate spheres’ in which men and women work, with relatively little overlap. Men are shown to focus much more on the political aspects, such as running a Hold or a Craft or a Weyr, whilst women are much more home-oriented, for example, looking after the children, cooking, cleaning, etc.

This appears to be especially true in the Holds, where women do appear to do all of these jobs, almost to exclusion of all men, apart from a few male drudges to do fetching and carrying. This is also true in what we see of the Crafts, especially in Dragonsinger and Dragondrums, where pretty much the only women in the Hall, bar Menolly and the /paying/ students, we see work in the kitchen or have other ‘womanly’ jobs, for example Silvina as Headwoman (which is pretty much domestic management) and Dunca who looks after the girls.

Even in the Weyrs this aspect continues – the Weyrwoman’s job is to look after the internal management of the Weyr, such as food, general healing, cleaning etc – and making numbweed, which appears to be pretty much a female-only exercise in all places. Even Lessa focuses mainly on her ‘sphere’ – and gets told off for straying into F’lar’s.

Of course, to all of this we have exceptions – Jancis as a Smith; Nerilka taking active management responsibilities, though mainly in domestic management; Janissian as Lady Holder in her own right. But, the vast majority of women, even if free in other ways, work in the ‘female sphere’ exclusively.

I wonder if Feminism will ever arise on Pern?!

But not just women – men work almost solely in the ‘masculine sphere’ – that of the politician, guard, Steward, Lord… We see very few – if any – men doing work in ‘female sphere,’ with men doing the jobs which require ‘muscle’ more often than not, be it intellectual, political, or physical.

If anything, it actually seems to me that whilst women are ‘restricted’ on Pern as to their jobs, they are generally restricted through simple biological fact, much less through social discipline, as we /do/ get women doing ‘a man’s job’ as it could be called, such as Jancis as a Smith, and gold riders taking part in fighting Thread.

There is certainly social division along the lines of gender, but I wouldn’t say that this comes about for much more reason than simple common sense and a will on the part of the individual to do what they are best suited for.
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Old Nov 11 2005, 10:57 AM   #2
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I could take a bit longer to think about this and reply more, but can't concentrate right now. I just wanted to point out that as a low technological society, they are physically restrained as to what men and women can and can't do. The men /need/ to be available with their muscles for a lot of work (I'm assuming) and while they're doing this work, they of course, can't be inside cleaning and cooking.
I'm definitely all for equality, but in this sort of society it's difficult.
For us nowadays we have machines and technology to do a lot of things for us, so it's much easier for a woman to do a 'man's' job. I don't want to delve too much into the fact that there aren't a lot of men doing 'women's' jobs because it's seen as below them etc

I hate that where I live, I do most of the vaccuuming, cleaning, and dishes etc, I'm home more often, and I'm more responsible too. I'm sick of it, I hate doing it, but it needs to be done, so what do you do? You do it.
Most men I know don't think like that...
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Old Nov 11 2005, 02:03 PM   #3
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my bf does ...

partly cos I forget!

the problem with trying to get more females in masculine spheres in Pern is that you might get the situation I've come across a couple of timeswhere women are given fluffy advantages to get them into physics or engineering!

What I found interesting over the trip I've been on is that in places like Cardiff and Swansea where there're more girls doing physics you get girly groups, while in Aber there're only 2 of us and we tend to mix. The other girl's bf does physics, and I tend to mix in a group of blokes anyway! To be honest i find girls too girly now (they scare me! )
I suppose where there are a few girls and they are accepted theres more equality than in lrg groups where the essential girliness creeps through!

feminism on Pern would be interesting...
practically impossible in the weyrs at least during the passes though poss. post fall weyrwomen will gain prominence over weyrleaders due to their expertise!
in the holds and halls... yeah I can see it creeping up slowly poss with some suffragette type ideas!
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Old Dec 12 2005, 09:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by c_ris
I wonder if Feminism will ever arise on Pern?!
An interesting idea.
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Old Aug 20 2015, 05:38 PM   #5
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Larad's sister contested his claim to the title, but was not even allowed into the Conclave Chamber. Perhaps she was the first woman to claim a Hold, but I doubt that.
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Old Aug 21 2015, 03:46 PM   #6
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Feminism as we know it, probably not. The Pernese don't seem to go in for philosophy or much for organized political movements, and they're not big fans of literature, either. You need all of those to get "feminism" in a form we'd recognize.

Ninth Pass Pern definitely is moving in the direction of more jobs opening up to women, and more prestigious jobs. There are women on fighting dragons, women in crafts from which they were formerly barred, and women running Holds in their own right. Plus, with the new crafts arising out of AIVAS-tech, and new kinds of communities forming once Thread is gone, there are brand new roles that have never been gender-coded because they haven't existed since the days of the colonists.

That doesn't mean this is the first time in Pernese history women have had economic freedom and high social standing, though. We've got a bad habit of viewing the past as a march of progress, where a group gains rights or benefits and never loses them. Entirely the opposite is true. History is a rise and fall and rise and fall for any group you want to name. Women in different times and places have had more freedom or less freedom, and gender roles have continuously evolved.

I'd be very surprised if Pern went 2,000 years with no women Holders, even if male heirs have always been preferred. For that matter, my money is on the odd female green or even blue rider popping up throughout the centuries, and just taking an honorific like a man and getting put down in the records as just another dragon rider, without starting a trend or leaving a unique legacy.
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Old Sep 19 2015, 04:26 PM   #7
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Larad's sister contested his claim to the title, but was not even allowed into the Conclave Chamber. Perhaps she was the first woman to claim a Hold, but I doubt that.
Larad seems to have had a number of sisters, but I don't recall any mention of brothers. His father apparently treated Thella more like a son than a daughter, clearly preferred her to his quiet, thoughtful son, and even looked the other way when she beat a drudge to death.

I wonder if Tarathel died while only middle-aged, without having named his heir, and Thella thought he would have named her instead of Larad? Perhaps it had become customary for daughters to inherit only if there was no son.
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Old Sep 20 2015, 01:43 PM   #8
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Perhaps it had become customary for daughters to inherit only if there was no son.
Lords Holder have a fairly free hand in naming their heirs; I don't think it's written into law that the firstborn son gets everything. I can't see there being many situations where a girl inherits simply because there are no boys, like how England got its queens. If a Lord runs out of sons, he can always name a nephew, a cousin, a fosterling (who would promptly marry a woman of the Blood of whatever Hold he's inheriting).

I think it's more likely that, when girls inherited, it was simply because the Lord liked them better and thought they'd do a better job, or because the named heir was an idiot and the lady won the support of the Hold, or because she pleaded her case better before the conclave.
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Old Sep 20 2015, 04:42 PM   #9
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But Thella didn't even get a chance to plead her case before the Conclave. She was told (whether politely or dismissively) to take her "rightful" place with her stepmother, sisters and aunts. So at that particular time, woman were simply not considered eligible as Holders.

I don't think the firstborn son was ever the automatic choice as heir to an estate on Pern, though it may have happened that way sometimes during an Interval. A Hold needed a strong leader during a Pass, and a reasonably competent farm-manager at other times (to make sure everyone was fed and housed, etc).

I wonder why Thella didn't just ask Larad for a small hold of her own when she didn't get awarded the main Hold? Or why he didn't give her one as a consolation prize (and to get her out of his hair)? It was quite usual for a Lord Holder to settle any spare siblings in their own hold. She was looking around for a place even before she was declared holdless. But I guess he thought marrying her off would serve the same purpose without giving up one of his own holdings.
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Old Sep 20 2015, 09:24 PM   #10
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But Thella didn't even get a chance to plead her case before the Conclave. She was told (whether politely or dismissively) to take her "rightful" place with her stepmother, sisters and aunts. So at that particular time, woman were simply not considered eligible as Holders.

Yep. Time and place matters. Women were in a pretty bad position on Pern late in the 8th Interval and early in the 9th Pass. Remember the man who was surprised when Lessa took a letter from him, because everyone knew women couldn't read? And of course most Crafts weren't admitting women at all. Maybe in another era, Thella could've made it to the Conclave -- though maybe enough people had figured out she was psycho that nobody wanted that!

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But I guess he thought marrying her off would serve the same purpose without giving up one of his own holdings.
Getting her a husband would've also made her someone else's problem, which Larad had to see as a bonus.
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Old Sep 20 2015, 09:57 PM   #11
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http://www.pern.nl/bloodlines/bl_telgar.htm wasn't she agree to marry Derabal before his father death?

Also she checked the records that a Benamin Bloodline pg 46 The Renegades of Pern.
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Old Sep 21 2015, 01:26 AM   #12
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You're right, GinnyStar. She said "You will not marry me off to some . . . senile old man, just because Father agreed to such a travesty in his dotage."

So she's claiming both that Derabal is senile (at 34), and that her Father must have been senile to agree to the marriage. I don't know if that means her father was in fact elderly or she was just being nasty.
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Old Sep 21 2015, 07:43 PM   #13
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Also she asked about Contract Law, under the Charter, also, but Thread came and changed all her plans, about turning into a holding.
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