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GENDER IN HIS DARK MATERIALS

I recently read a blog that reviewed the His Dark Materials trilogy negatively when it came to gender portrayals. I posted an excerpt from the blog along with some thoughts over at midsummeroath HERE and was wondering what other fans of the series thought about the sexuality and gender of the characters and if the series can be interpreted in a feminist light.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
weave
Oct. 16th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
the person who wrote that obviously had agenda in mind when she wrote that and if she could have looked beyond her nose she would have seen that lyra was far more powerful a character in the books; she was the gears of the operation, will was just the pendulum.
this sort of thing makes me increasingly suspicious of women labeling themselves feminists.
muse_mistress
Oct. 16th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)
I agree completely. Will and Lyra were most definitely a team - I can't imagine ANYONE really dominating Lyra. She has such a strong personality.
noblealice
Oct. 16th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I find it hard to really believe Lyra will marry someone else because they'd have to be very passionate to match her. She is such a FORCE to be reckoned with.
noblealice
Oct. 16th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
Well, I don't think you should blanket all feminists under one banner. Like you said, obviously this women had an agenda, but that doesn't lessen her opinion or feminists on a whole. I just feel bad that she missed out on a great read with three-dimensional female characters.
i_said_boourns
Oct. 16th, 2009 06:53 am (UTC)
Ugh. How can you honestly make a fair assessment of gender in this series without taking into account the witches or, as you point out, Lyra's universe's version of Eve?

This is so insulting to Lyra. Both she and Will are strong in different ways, and just like you said, they learn from each other.

And don't even get me started on Mrs. Coulter. She is my favorite character, and while I can see how her sex appeal plays into her power, it's not the sole reason. She even admitted in one of the books she went into The Church because being Mrs. Coulter (as in having married her husband, therefore using her sex appeal), wasn't enough. Yes, others found her attractive. Of course they did, she was repeatedly described as being very beautiful, so it just sounds like this author has a problem with the fact that she's power hungry and attractive.
noblealice
Oct. 16th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
I like women who KNOW they have sex appeal and use it positively. It IS possible and that's something Marisa Coulter has done. I agree, she's such a fascinating character and I like how she's sorta at war with her maternal side. The scene in the movie where she smacks her daemon away and then hugs it is GOLD. So much said in that little moment with Nicole Kidman's facial expressions.
toomundane
Oct. 16th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
Funny :P I just thought the other day that HDM has way better female characters than many other books. It's a shame that the person that wrote the comment in question read the trilogy in such an overly feminist viewpoint that she lost a wonderful reading experience, and such amazing female (and male) characters.
noblealice
Oct. 16th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I feel sorry for this person too. I guess it just proves that everything is up to interpretation.
stop_theworld
Oct. 29th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
Haven't read the post yet, but I'm astounded that anyone is able to interpret the series in a non-feminist light. Of course Lyra is a feminist character. Pullman has a history of writing books centered around resourceful, independent, courageous females, and I'm extremely surprised someone would suggest otherwise.
noblealice
Oct. 29th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
All I can think is that they liked Golden Compass/Northern Lights and then HATED The Subtle Knife because the narration was suddenly split between Will and Lyra. I mean, after his introduction, her 'screen-time' per se is cut in half, but I don't think it diminishes her CHARACTER and how awesome she is.

I wish someone would write a (non-LJ)blog post saying how FEMINIST FUN TIMES this trilogy is. I know I would rec it to the WORLD!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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Phillip Pullman and His Dark Materials
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