Marching into the future...

I almost posted a picture of Margaret Atwood's brilliant dystopian novel, The Handmaiden's Tale, today.* After many years of feeling "well, we're past all that...." debates about the rights and capabilities of women have been playing loudly again on all possible channels.

Many have been spinning out in various gaming and writing channels about the engrained conventions of high fantasy (and the games derived from it) that far too often can't envision women being other than walk-on characters who fill up the background as the male heroes go on their merry adventures. Things have been getting a little better, but having one arrow-welding female be front and center does not make a 50/50 world. You need female villains, sidekicks, random innkeepers, and all the rest of the slots automatically filled by male critters (human, elf, dwarf, or other).

Still, I'm an optimist about the future. I think more women are staking their territory daily in the gaming industry. More are into writing "high fantasy" and other forms of fictioneering that turns the conventions on their head. More are acting editors of their own imprints...and buying more works that allow both sexes to have equally exciting adventures.

Many of the men that I write with or around are backtracking into their own fiction to change that automatic "he" into a "she" -- and finding it adds some interesting depths to their tale.

 I think we are inching closer to judging people's capabilities by factors other than biology.

When this pictured baby marched bravely into a new year, it would take women eight more years to finally win that right to vote. But they did win that right. The "equality" on her sign may take a bit longer...but it's coming.  I may even live to see a woman elected President of the United States some day, a vision rooted in conference held in Seneca Falls back in 1848.

Until then, and after then, I'll keep telling the type of stories that I enjoy. Stories about women (and girls) who aren't afraid to march into the future. Who may get set back, bumped around, or even pursued by werewolves, but know that at the end of the day, being female is no detriment to having adventures.

Onward, fellow adventurers of all creeds, races, and sexes, onward!

*If you've never read The Handmaiden's Tale, buy it from a favorite bookstore or borrow it from your local library. It's truly one of the classics, a vision of a near future as depressing as George Orwell's 1984...and just as relevant today.


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