You know I used to love Tamora Pierce books when I was younger and adored that they were all about strong women and multi faceted women and now I realize that they’re basically the poster child of white feminism?
All four of the main heroes (This is going off of the Tortall books only) are white and average looking, if not more than that. Three out of the four protagonists are nobles and come from wealth. Most of the main characters in all the books except Trickster are also white.
Not to mention all the stories get packaged at the end with a nice romance and marriage and children. (Except Kel) Beka randomly marries Farmer and wants children. Alanna randomly marries George and wants children. Aly marries Nawat and has children.
Everything ends so perfectly. All the main characters are a little samey in that way. I just can’t enjoy them as much as I used to.
Daine is explicitly (and confirmed by Pierce as) mixed race, and there’s (iirc) room in the text to read George as non-white and/or mixed and thus Aly as some flavor of mixed, as well. It may also be worth noting that all the protagonists are surrounded by people, including women, who are not white and are major characters on their own, not that that invalidates your point.
Three of the five protagonists are nobles and come from wealth — Beka and Daine are not and do not.
I can completely understand not going for the romance and marriage plus children ending most of them get; that’s totally fair and up to your taste in books. Emelan is, indeed, more progressive in all of these categories.
Hi, yeah, um I specifically stated I was talking about the Tortall series of books which include Trickster, Beka Cooper, Protector of the Small, and Alanna the Lioness. Besides all the raka characters in Trickster, there are not many explicitly non-white characters in the books. The most notable being the Bahzir in Woman Who Rides Like a Man.
Also the characters are all typical ‘strong female’ characters. The only one who really differs from that is Aly. They’re all strong physically and good at fighting and hobbling and running. All traditionally ‘masculine’ things. I like Aly the best though seeing as she’s got smarts and spy skills as well so she’s different.
They’ve also got a lot of harmful ‘white savior’ tropes like how Alanna saved the Bahzir from the evil shaman and from the black city and all that shit. And how Aly basically saved the raka from enslavement and being the inferior race.
There may be room to read George as mixed race but Aly is described as pale skinned. My points are very valid as a criticism of Pierce’s work and a comparison drawn to white feminism.
Except Daine is part of the Tortall series. Her books are set between Alanna and Kel. There are quite a few explicitly non-white characters in the Tortall books.
Alanna: Thayet, Buri, potential to read George as mixed race (which, despite the kids being white passing, would still make them also mixed), Hakim Fahrar, Mari Fahrar, Halef Seif, Hassam ibn Farid, Kara, Kourrem, Ali Mukhtab, Akhnan ibn Nazzir, Alexander of Tirragen, Farda, Ishak, Kylaia al Jmaa (the Shang Unicorn) is mentioned by Liam to Alanna. She has her own short story.
Daine: Daine, Numair, Onua, Kaddar, Weiryn, Harailt of Aili, Daine and Numair’s children (Sarralyn and Rikash), Sarge, Ozorne, Tano
Kel: Lalasa, Gower (I don’t think this is ever actually confirmed though), Zahir, Eda Bell, Hakiun Seastone, Seaver of Tasride, Qasim, Shinkokami, Yukimi, Prince Eitaro.
Aly: Dove, Sairai, Sarugani,
Topabaw, Zaimid, Boulaj, Chenaol, Junim Crow, Nawat Crow, Ochobai Crow, Ulasu Crow, Junai, Ochobu, Ulasim, Ekit, Hasui, Jafana, Lokeij, Rihani, Vereyu, Visda, Fesago, Ysul. And like, countless others.
Beka: Tunstall, Okha, Jurji.
Gods who aren’t white: Mithros the Sun God, the Trickster, the Graveyard Hag, Weiryn, Jaguar Goddess, Chavi West-Wind, Sakuyo, Shai South-Wind, Yahzed, Yama, Oinomi Wavewalker, Vau East-Wind, Lushagui, Bian North-Wind. There’s also a goddess which Lokeij mentions and compares Sarai to, but I can’t remember her full name. Gunapi the sun rose? I think.
Don’t forget about Tortall and Other Lands, the book of short stories.
So I’m not trying to say that there aren’t problems with the books, because there are, like the white saviour tropes which you mentioned, but you’ve only included four series, when there are five (so far).
In reality it’s more like: there are five female protagonists. Four of them are white, one of them is mixed race. Three of them are from nobility, two of them are not. Of the three who are nobility, one of the lines is of old wealth, one of them was newly raised to a barony, and can only just about pay for everything of this higher station. There are lots of characters in the books who are not white, as well as some that are white.
Some of the characters find romance, some of them don’t. Alanna has two other relationships before she decides that the man she wants to be with is George, and she changes her mind from when she was 12 years old that she wants children.
Daine gets with Numair but waits until they’ve been together for 8 years to get married.
Kel experiences multiple crushes and one flings and ends the series alone.
Aly flrts with lots of boys, finds herself in a rebellion and gets with Nawat and has children.
Beka flirts with Rosto, has a fling with Dale, almost marries someone, and then ends up with Farmer (who takes her name).
Also, Daine is not the ‘strong female charater’ stereotype.
I think the books that have the worse cases of white feminism are Song of the Lioness, and a lot of the reason for that is because they were written in the 80s. A lot has changed in 30 years, and Tamora Pierce is no exception. That’s pretty much my only contribution to this argument, other than Tammy on Tumblr is literally the best and her willingness to learn from past mistakes and improve on what she’s writing is the primary reason I love her, her books and anything she’ll write in the future.
Yeah, these books… Daine might be mixed race (and definitely is part of the Tortall books), George might have the potential to be read as mixed race, and Kylaia might have her own short story, but these books are pretty freaking white. The side characters of color are, of course, wonderful and much more plentiful than the vast majority of other western fantasy books, and I love every single one of them, but it’s still very noticeable that almost all the protagonists are white.
Are there good messages in these books, still? Definitely. But it’s important to note that many of the messages only apply to straight, cisgender white women - take Ilane’s sex talk with Kel, for instance. Is it great to tell young women that wanting to have sex with different men before settling down to marriage? Obvs. But the reality of the matter is that women of color are sexualized and WOC who choose to have a lot of sex will be treated much differently than white women who make the same choice. The talk also doesn’t take into account girls who fall outside heterosexuality, who might face more stigma for sleeping around.
There’s more leeway when it comes to the portrayal of class, and I think it’s important to note that although many of the protagonists may be considered more masculine than feminine, femininity is not put down as lesser. But the choices Tammy’s made when it comes to deciding the backgrounds of her protagonists means that quite a few girls - girls of color, trans girls, queer girls, disabled girls, neuroatypical girls, fat girls - looking to enjoy a good read won’t be able to find themselves in the Tortall ladies.
So really, when it comes down to it, the likelihood of me recommending the Tortall books to any girls who don’t fit inside that cishet, neurotypical, thin-ish, able-bodied, white box are pretty slim.
Anonymous said: Chooch, I feel I'm horribly uneducated on the Israel/Palestine situation. :( I mean, I understand the basic conflict, but I know there's much more to the issue and I have no idea where to start looking. Are there any links/articles/videos on the topic that you've found particularly accurate or informative? Zayn's tweet definitely makes me want to learn more on this issue.
Here is one of the biggest benefits to having zayn tweet this; uninformed people decide to figure out what’s going on. Unfortunately, I’m not the best person to talk to about this, but I’ll try my best. I also know that twerk-it-larry is pretty informed on the situation and has faced it first hand.
So, Zayn Malik tweeted this today:
Until1946, Palestinians lived all over the country, some Jewish people did too, and they actually lived pretty peacefully.
After WW2, the British, finding that Jews felt unsafe in Europe, decided to establish Israel as their state. Over a million fled to Israel from 1948-1970.
Here’s whats happening now:
The current escalation was caused when 3 Israeli teenagers were kidnapped while they were found on Palestinian land. Israeli government was quick to blame Hamas, the people in power in Palestine, they later admitted that that it was a lone act, in other words, Hamas wasn’t involved. In other words, you could make the argument that Israel blamed Hamas in order to justify the planned attack.
Further, the Israeli government was well aware the teens were dead, but acted as if they didn’t:
Yet for the next two weeks authorities put on a phony rescue effort, instituted a gag order to prevent the public from knowing the truth and rallied the Jewish domestic and diaspora populations in anticipation of their move against Hamas.
In a nutshell, the conflict is about two peoples, living in peace. One side does something, and the other reacts.
I’m not saying Palestine is innocent in all of this, but they are definitely the disenfranchised population. According to Human Rights Watch:
World Report 2014.
Israeli forces killed more Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and demolished more Palestinian homes than in 2012. Israel continued to build settlements in the West Bank, violating international law. Palestinian security forces in both the West Bank and Gaza enjoyed virtual impunity from criminal prosecution despite credible allegations of torture. In Gaza, Israel and Egypt impeded rebuilding of the devastated economy by blocking virtually all exports. Israeli and Palestinian security services in the West Bank and Gaza arrested people arbitrarily and unlawfully restricted people from protesting.
I have general knowledge of what’s going on, so here are some more links to explore and stay updated:
*Note: this is really general, I hope its informative, but please don’t let this post be your sole source. Please do your own research, come to your own conclusion.