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Genderfucking, Futanaries, Blasphemy and the Journal Entries - Elf M. Sternberg
Genderfucking, Futanaries, Blasphemy and the Journal Entries
More than once, The Journal Entries has wandered into Star Trek territory, commenting on social issues and having characters deliver silly speeches that would probably have been better left on the floor. I have returned to the Sterlings mini-series (a series in which the Pendorians discover a Terran colony where everyone is, on the surface, apparently feminine) to see if I can polish out the Polly & Zia subplot (and with it, by necessity, the Dove & the Twins subplot) and get them ready for release, when a ridiculous idea hit me last night as I fell asleep.

One of the joys of being able to read Japanese is that the literature is even weirder and wilder than the anime when it comes to erotic themes. But the biggest message that comes through loud and clear in all of Japanese fiction is a deep misogyny; it's rare to find stuff that isn't brutal in its reduction of the feminine to mere component parts. Even stuff presented as "nice" doesn't seem to appreciate female sexuality all that much, so it's especially nice to come across something where the woman is actually empowered in some way.

I think the whole futanari thing is weird because the whole idea is basic: give women penises and see what happens. It's fascinating to see where different writers will take this, but most of them do realize one thing: giving a woman a penis doesn't empower her the way men are empowered because she still looks too much like a girl. Polly & Zia is a futanari story where I've tried to stay away from power differentials based on gender assumptions. The power differentials there are cultural, personal, and caused by each character misunderstanding the other's motives.

My sleepy hallucination was about the opposite. I think it's the Stranger's fault (the magazine, not the Billy Joel album);they had an article entitled, "He's Having My Baby." I thought, why have I never seen stories where there are major, masculine characters who are equipped with vaginas? I realized that I shouldn't really write the story: I'd already done it once going one way and it would be way to Star Trek schlock to suppose the Terran galaxy coincidentally had another isolated colony that had gone in exactly the opposite direction. But I think the real reason is that a guy with a vagina is a threat: it's perceived culturally as a loss of power and a manifestation of castration fears. I then realized that that was something I just had to play with.

So it's been with me all day: how would I write this story? I started to play with the compare and contrast game: The Sterlings wanted to emancipate women from a masculinist culture, but they had no desire to actively denigrate men (although their culture evolved a revulsion toward masculinity); the Adamists, on the other hand, created a culture that actively pursues an agenda that is both anti-feminine and anti-female. The Sterlings relied on young girls being easier to oblige into modesty, whereas the Adamists would have to take into account boys' more common inclinations to crudity and thrill-seeking inquisitiveness. There would have to be a more rigidified mechanism for introducing the two "sexes" into society without each individual automatically knowing what sex the other (apparently masculine) person is.

I had to do some driving today, which gave me some thinking time, and then it all came together in an instant. Backstory, setting, characters, all dropped right into my lap in the milliseconds after I had a title. And the title said it all:

The Perfect Burqa.

My mind is all twisty now. I go lie down now.

Current Mood: amused amused

6 comments or Leave a comment
dakiwiboid From: dakiwiboid Date: July 23rd, 2007 01:28 am (UTC) (Link)

The best part of having a penis, I think...

would be simpler pissing without resorting to appliances or anything. I'd disturbingly pragmatic.
mundens From: mundens Date: July 23rd, 2007 01:41 am (UTC) (Link)
But I think the real reason is that a guy with a vagina is a threat..... I then realized that that was something I just had to play with.

I agree, I'd have to play with it to! :)

From: (Anonymous) Date: July 23rd, 2007 02:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I've run across a few scattered stories like that on asstr.org, quite a while ago. Don't have the links, though.

I don't exactly find it particularly threatening, either...
sierra_nevada From: sierra_nevada Date: July 23rd, 2007 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
You heard about the imam of the Red Mosque in Islamabad who was preaching a theocratic takeover of Pakistan and exhorting his followers to martyr themselves in defense of the mosque against the Pakistani Army ... was caught trying to sneak out of the mosque before the final battle, dressed in a burqa?

Highly embarassing for him - he was forced to recant on national TV, but I think his message was even more undermined by his unwillingness to martyr himself along with his followers.

It's a pity we don't have the Minbari tradition of the Starfire Wheel.
antonia_tiger From: antonia_tiger Date: July 23rd, 2007 07:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Read the description on this costume for Poser.

The gendershift of the pronoun, between the two paragraphs, is disconcerting, even with the first paragraph being readable as gender-neutral. But there is the picture beside it, and the Poser character it is designed for, and neutral-he just isn't an option.

fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: July 23rd, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I happen to know men for whom the possession of a vagina is a not insigificant part of their sexual fanatasy "set". Not "to be a woman", but "to be a man, which this part as well".
6 comments or Leave a comment