Gender Equality at Magic University

I guest blogged this time at the online home of Catherine Lundoff, award-winning author of fantasy and alternative sexuality books like A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace and Other Stories and Silver Moon, and editor of Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades: Lesbian Ghost Stories and co-editor, with JoSelle Vanderhooft, of Hellebore and Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic.
The topic I decided to tackle: equality of gender representation.
I wrote about how for me it started with the world-building and things I did in my magical system to balance gender roles: “Many real-life sacred and magical systems create special roles for women (i.e. “Earth mother”) while fiction and literature as a whole tend to give male characters agency but not always female ones. While I made it that some things are easier [in my magic system] if one is biologically equipped in certain ways, it’s not a requirement–i.e. if your sex spell requires a phallus for ritual purposes, no one said it had to be a biological one.”
But what about the question of gender-balancing in the cast? My main character is male, after all…
MU1_new_cover_100x150I wrote: “Geena Davis founded a think tank in Hollywood to study representation of female characters and they found that in crowd scenes there would only be 17% women. Another study showed that in real-life groups of people if there were 17% women and you asked the men how many there were, they would say the group was 50/50. Whereas if you had 33% women, they would say there was a majority of women. They also found that 17% of cardiac surgeons and tenured professors were women. “Is it possible that 17 percent women has become so comfortable, and so normal, that that’s just sort of unconsciously expected?” Davis on NPR. (https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=197390707) When I heard that I panicked. I had been striving for racial and ethnic diversity among the characters, but I couldn’t remember what the gender balance was. Might I have unconsciously shorted the women’s ranks?”
Go on over to Catherine’s blog to see the results and please leave a comment there if you found the essay thought-provoking!
Gender Equality at Magic University

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