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Is Tolkien Sexist? Go Not to the Elves.

I spent the better part of today writing out a "meta" (fan-essay) looking at the charge that Tolkien was sexist because the Fellowship and Thorin's company are all-male. I talked about gender among the Valar (looking at Yavanna/Aule, Uinen/Osse, and general descriptions from the Ainulindale), the Elves (looking at Aredhel, Galadriel, and general statements in LACE), and the Men (looking at Haleth, Tar-Zimraphel, and Eowyn). My conclusion is pretty much what the title implies: yes but also no, leaning heavily in the latter direction.

I'll probably write a more cleaned-up, less slangy version and post it at AO3 at some point, but in the meantime feel free to read it at

http://marta-bee.tumblr.com/post/109174369153/is-tolkien-sexist-go-not-to-the-elves

Also, dawn_felagund or rhapsody11, would SWG be interested in hosting a more formal version of this in the resource section? It's quite Silm-heavy, so if you want it, let me know.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
ericadawn16
Jan. 26th, 2015 05:44 am (UTC)
I thought this was an interesting study. I would have liked to see Elwing and Luthien included as well as the timeline to when certain things were being written. The Hobbit was in the 1930s in the thick of male chauvinism whereas each successive book goes a bit better for women which mirrors the world around him.

While Luthien's story is the oldest and modeled after his wife, the other stories in The Silmarillion were constantly being rewritten and do have more of a '60s feeling than the other two books. You spoke on that a little by saying how it's the book with the best females.

I was a little pleased that Peter Jackson included people of color in the last two films. The main drawback to having a land that's supposed to be the predecessor to ancient England is all Caucasians, but at the same time, I do wonder if that would have changed if situations were different or he lived longer. As it was, he wouldn't have had close acquaintances with people of color since Britain's class system wouldn't have encouraged it or allowed many of them to become university professors. Even South Africa was unofficially under apartheid when he lived there.
dawn_felagund
Jan. 26th, 2015 03:59 pm (UTC)
In short, yes. :) I have not been actively soliciting new material for References because of the constraints on my time these past few years, but we are still open to new submissions and I'd be happy to dust off a few reference readers for you if you decide you'd like to submit it. :)

Here are the Reference Library submission guidelines. If you decide you'd like to submit it, you can email it to me or to loremaster@silmarillionwritersguild.org.
rhapsody11
Jan. 26th, 2015 04:34 pm (UTC)
You can always add it as non fiction to the archive, or, if you'd like to.. submit it for the reviewing process :D It is up to you.

I am reading it and I can make many Silm suggestions for you to look at to bring in more fitting examples (with the Edain Morwen Eledwhen would make an interesting case study, or Andreth for first age), maiar Thuringwhetil and Mëasse might be interesting to have a look at for example. :)

marta_bee
Jan. 26th, 2015 06:39 pm (UTC)
Rhapsody, can you or anyone else point me to the texts I should be using. I know the Silmarillion versions, but if there's interesting material elsewhere, I'd love to look at it.

The essay needs to be reframed obviously. I can see a way to give it more structure. I'm not sure I'll discuss every major woman character, it depends on what helps me move the essay along, but I'd at least like to read it.
marta_bee
Jan. 26th, 2015 06:54 pm (UTC)
Rhapsody, can you or anyone else point me to the texts I should be using. I know the Silmarillion versions, but if there's interesting material elsewhere, I'd love to look at it.

The essay needs to be reframed obviously. I can see a way to give it more structure. I'm not sure I'll discuss every major woman character, it depends on what helps me move the essay along, but I'd at least like to read it.
lindahoyland
Jan. 27th, 2015 06:42 am (UTC)
This is fascinating. I'd never realised about Miriel, especially. An excellent essay. You should post it on MPTT.

I think you have a typo here "The bit about teachers and students always drove me up the wall because he had female students and actually had female riders call him to task later on."

Do you mean "writers"?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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