“Shit!” she said. “Shit! Shit, shit, SHIT and CARROTS!”
— from: The moon who loves the stars who love the earth
Almost done editing 3 short stories, including “Scars in the fabric of time” and “Future History“. Now working on a story in fragments that takes “Dropping sexual gender bias” and moves my work a little step further along those lines.
The title is work in progress and reflects the fact that it plays on the moon and there is (probably) some triangle going on.
Trigger warning: contains mentions of genitals and explicit sex of non-standard non-heterosexual type.
The moon who loves the stars who love the earth — Fragment 1
Status: Raw, unedited first drafts
She leaned forward over the railing, looking at the girl who was standing out in the crowd below, dark curls, white face.
“She looks exotic,” she said. “Pale skin. There are not many Europeans here. Exotic but… bland. A bland face.”
“But look at how she moves, Eun-Soo.”
Eun-Soo leaned a few centimeters further forward, putting more strain on the arms, her eyes fixed on the girl below.
“I can see what you mean.”
Within the crowd, the girl seemed to be striding, gliding, perfectly female. She stopped for a moment, put one hand in the lush curls that were half-long, forming a cloud of golden hair around her face. Dark eyebrows, deep blue eyes, a full sensual mouth, dark stubbles shimmering through on the chin. Not yet aware of the staring eyes from one floor higher.
“She looks elegant. A bit skinny though.”
The coverall covered the slender petite body, the sleeves strapped up, revealing the sea-green inside. A tattoo emerging from the wrist, moving up the skin under the fabric. Two rings reflecting the light in multi-faceted stones embedded in silver and black.
“What does she do?”
“Engines,” Shri said.
“Hardly any breasts,” Eun-Soo said.
When she looked up, distracted or attracted by something else, Eun-Soo waved. A moment of bafflement on that pale, European face, then a smile revealed white teeth.
“She is at least happy-go around,” Eun-Soo said. “She reminds me of my cat… Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy. Happy, happy, happy. Let’s hope she is not stupid as well.”
“Let’s go down.”
I am taking on several aspects, including the depiction of “exotic” people and playing with current stereotypes in Euopean/American SF/F. The reversal of exoticness from a Euro/American centric point of view itself is one aspect and the beginnings of something I want to dive deeper into. I do not intend to leaving it at that, taking into account that simply reversing things is just as stupid and short-sighted as actually doing it. And taking into account many similar aspects as mentioned in this post : “Mixed race-people in SF/F” by Aliette de Bodard.
Quoting the conclusion of that post:
If you’re using mixed-race people in your fiction and feature ANY of those tropes, do please think for a moment of what it is that you’re saying (and I wish I could say it’s not the case, but I’ve seen all of these–yes, even the hybrid/mongrel–at some point in recent SFF, either in print or in other media).
The same goes for using topics like homosexuality, polygamy and anything else being touched in “The moon–“.
Playing more with breaking gender-stereotypes and the relative meaning of he/she, I give you:
“You are nice,” she said, touching the soft cheek of Shri, holding his hard, ball-less penis in her other, sliding one finger inside his vagina, making tiny movements. He smiled.
“I hate the moment we will be separated,” he said.
Shri wrapped his arm around her waist, kissed her chest, looked up.
“You are really nice. I love you, Shri.”
“Love you too,” he said softly.
“Fuck me,” she said, opening her leg, spreading her lips with two fingers.
He moved up, spat on his hand, put the spit on the tip of his dick, moved inside of her, slowly.
It is currently unclear and probably irrelevant for the story whether Shri is hermaphrodite by medical or natural means. There will be a scene Shri’s behavioral patterns switches to “she” and “it” and Eun-Soo does the same. To make things even more confusing for my dear future readers, the gender-bias associated to “he” and “she” will not be as you expect it to be, but completely arbitrary and personal to the one who observes.
Erasure by exclusion / exploring gender bias and gender roles
European and American mainstream culture is quite fixed in the assumption on gender roles. This makes it quite rare to find stories even moving slightly away from the generic “he is a person with a male body” and “she is a person with a female body”. By doing so, it excludes and erases a small but existing part of humanity from the map of literature.
“We have all kinds of exiting stories (in space) but you do not exist here (either).”
When you are part of the mainstream definition of humans, you will not notice this lack. Just as when you are a Person of White Color, you will not notice that many European and American movies, stories and series hardly represent the rest of the world AT ALL either. Except for being “exotic” or “special”.
Gender roles do not have to be bound to physical appearance. And in this story and the future history it is part of (the next phase in the world of “The decline of Europe”) gender indicators (he/she/it) are tightly bound to behavior and personal taste.
If that confuses you: that is perfectly OK.
By the way, “Eun-Soo” is — according to my incredibly deep research — a male name.
The thing with culture is: it is a tricky bastard. I have seen things done incredibly poor and painfully wrong in “The Windup Girl”, “River of Gods” and a third book I do not remember the title of, which is even more (probably unintentionally) racist in its assumptions than “Windup girl” and assumes China rules the world and Chinese cities cover Europe to cater an out-of-control over-population. .
One reason cultural representation goes wrong is lack of research. The second is lack of awareness. The third (especially with Windup Girl) is the unawareness of one’s own racism and racist stereotypical thinking. The fourth is the reason of use: “EXOTICNESS! SEE HOW I DO NOT WRITE ABOUT YOUR DEFAULT WHITE EUROPAN/AMERICAN PEOPLES!!!”
While that last point is not bad in itself, it can turn really awkward when those “peoples” never move beyond yet another set of stupid and invalid (“exotic!!!111!”) stereotypes.
Exploring ignorance, racism and the fall of empires
I intend to take on certain aspects of racism. One is the dumbing down it causes and is the effect of. The main starting point is that racism itself stems from and starts with ignorance. To allow racism you need to dumb down people and their thinking. Create black and white modes of thinking. Create modes of exclusive thinking where “A can never be B”.
What is happening in Greece with the Golden Dawn is one trigger for this. See: “How Golden Dawn is nurturing the next generation“.
The idea is that when an empire falls, racism and nationalism is one of the “patches” to deal with the lack of any other model to “feel good when pride is broken”.
Another aspect is the fear of “becoming the minority” as what gives right-wing parties in the Netherlands seats in Parliament. “BLA BLA ARE COMING TO TAKE OVER [bla bla something] AND SOON WE WILL [bla bla bla more nonsense]!!??!”. The thing is: this reflects only one thing to me: the cowardice bully who fears that others will do what he/she did to them. The eye of the beholder. Projection of their own personality, mentality and thinking patterns. I will not go into my despise on this.
The whole question of “pride” and “standing on the losing side” is one to examine closely and I will try to find some relevant angles for “The moon who loves–” that make sense.
Why I should not do this
Look at this advertismenet. Just look at it.
A rapping black bull. A girl-cow without an udder. A “Japanese” looking martial arts cow/bull? A Swedish cook? Human eyes in the red cow. How “inclusive!” Way to go, La Vache qui rit! Not racist or showing how ignorantly stupid your people — protecting your brand from any stupid stupidness — are at all.
If I am an idiot and/or a crappy writer or do a sloppy job, this entire thing will probably blow up in my face. (Rubs hands, wraps up sleeves, starts writing).
I was wondering if I would let the third character be Dutch. After collecting a set of cultural stereotypes from a well informed source (E.) I decided to go for it. Here is the list.
- Flowers / flower arrangements
- Plants / Eugenetics
- Graphic design
- Interior design
- Tolerance / rules / absence of corruption: you outsmarted mafia with governmental overtaking of prostitution and drugs
- Fresh attitude to allochtonen / feeling welcome
- Canals / water works / engineering/polders/renewable energy
- Drugs / attitude smart / overriding mafia / oversmarting the mafia
- Speaks language makes the same grammar mistake an american native would
- Beautiful white blonde blue eyes tall
- Liberal attitude to sex / a little bit gay guys and sassy whorish the girls
- Bikes / greenness
- Good with money. Wealthy country. Rich.
- Language dutch is not a language, it’s a throat disease
- No manners / blunt / toothpick in public / picking nose/barbarians (no Englishmen and no continental basically)
- Can not cook / Traditional food is horrid.
- Nordic decay – woman before 25 beautiful. After 25 ugly dykes. Cannot tell woman from husbands.
- Moirals like commune of hippies
- Unable to dress properly. No such thing as Dutch men with proper suit. No sense of fashion. Always cold
- No sense of family. No respect for family values. Kids outside curb young. No feelings of gratitude of parents. Godless. Horrid language / uncivilized. Is throat deciease.
- Cheap-ass. Do not share money, do not make gifts. Like Portugese, Scottish, from Liguria
- Euthanasia. Kill the sick.
I am going to have a lot of fun.