1. Emily Everheart

    Emily Everheart New Member

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    ancient cultures and modern sexuality

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Emily Everheart, Nov 7, 2016.

    I have a character in my story. she has been brought from one world to another and in the process has lost her memory of the world before. she still has a sense of normality and everything from that world, but here's where things get interesting. The previous world was mid evil ish, and the world she's going to is... Lord of the rings... ish?
    Explaining my ishes
    The mid evil world is similar to ours in the mid evil times, except women don't have such an absolute lack of power, and religion doesn't control the masses. They have no real technology, but they can build using stone, forge steel, and have a basic understanding of how things work. No technical knowledge like we do. What I mean by this is they know not to touch fire because it's hot but they don't know what makes fire hot or the biological aspects of fire.

    Lord of the rings ish. Fantasy setting, fantasy races, creatures, monsters, that whole jist. nothing specifically LOTRs." have a moderate bit of technology, but it's more so magically driven technology than science bound. their lightbulbs are stones that get bright when power is directed at them, and their stoves are... pretty much the same as the lightbulbs. Runes, stone, glyphs, magic, that whole lot.

    In the fantasy world, she meets a girl, who is a homosexual. The girl hits on her, but she doesn't quite get it, mainly because of the world she comes from doesn't have homosexuality. She's already culture shocked by the fact they don't see at night by candles and torches, how should my character... interpret the homosexual female advances of this human girl.
     
  2. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    First point: Sexual Orientation ≠ Romantic Orientation.

    The two generally overlap – I personally am asexual/aromantic, and the two most common combinations are heterosexual/heteroromantic (≈80%) and homosexual/homoromantic (≈5%) – but that's not guaranteed: some people are bisexual/homoromantic, or heterosexual/aromantic, or asexual/biromantic...

    Talking about non-straight orientations as being "sexual" orientations only makes it sound like non-straight orientations are about sex in a way that straightness allegedly isn't: "straight couples love each other, gay couples fu screw"

    Which only makes the reality that pedophiles are disproportionately likely to be straight harder for conservatives to accept: "Straight men love women and not girls, but gay men would just as soon screw boys as they would screw other men" and other garbage like that.

    Losing interest (and not just because I'm not straight: a lot of people who are would still react the same way), but I almost made a bunch of biphobic mistakes in my own first novel-length work.

    Why exactly was this choice of worldbuilding important to you?

    If "the world she comes from doesn't have homosexuality," then she's not gay, and her getting hit on by a girl would be like me getting hit on by anybody.
     
  3. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    Are we talking medieval or literally mid evil?

    Sorry, I was just too confused by the settings to even get into the real question...
     
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  4. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    And back with a topic related answer:

    I can't really see a world without non-hetrosexual people. So to state that there is no homosexual people in the whole wide world just seems like a weird detail. It might be uncommon, and she might never have met a homosexual, or maybe not even heard of other sexualities than the ones involving one male and one female (preferably married, making babies).

    How she would react? Well, that all depends. Is the thought that she'll fall for it (she might have had warm feelings for females before, but shrugged it off as friendship because she "didn't know you could feel love for a woman", or is she just going to shrug it of as a weird occurrence? She might take it as a cultural act of friendship, she could find it a bit weird that this woman treats her like a man normally would. In that case she could either act hostile or just like she would if a man she did not fancy approached her.

    I mean, is she going to react positively, negatively or just like it's another weird thing happening to her in this new world? Depending on that we might be able to help with they "whys" of her reactions.
     
  5. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    As I understand it, our world didn't have homosexuality as a static identity until fairly recently - or at least, if it existed it wasn't acknowledged. Homosexuality was seen as a behaviour (and more or less socially frowned upon depending on the time period) but there wouldn't have been a concept of someone being gay or lesbian or anything else from the QUILTBAG.

    So possibly the medieval girl wouldn't have known about lesbian behaviour just from being raised in a world where she didn't know much about anyone's sexual behaviour, and wouldn't have contemplated lesbians as distinct people because her culture wouldn't have had that concept.

    In which case - how does your character view her sexuality in general? How does she view differences in general? If she's the sort of person who's comfortable with sexuality and interested in learning new things, I can see her being intrigued and maybe experimenting to see how she liked being with another woman. If she's generally uptight about her sexuality and/or close-minded about new ideas, I can see her being shocked/angry/dismayed...whatever fits.
     
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  6. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I'm struggling to understand the title of this thread. It seems to imply that same gender attraction is "modern" and not common in ancient cultures, when as far as I've read the opposite is more true.
     
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  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    One does not simply forget several thousand years of animal instinct.
    Throughout even the early days, humans have been doing it with each other
    in all manner of MM, WW, MW (or WM if you like). So what is the question?
    People get horny, and lonely and then...
    Even in the past people were having relationships of both typical and a-typical.
    No one really spoke about the matter, as it is a human thing and we can all
    understand that two people who like each other can do whatever the hell they
    want.
    Though it was less common than now for previously straight people to switch
    teams, pretty sure they did at some point or another.
    Just cause they didn't write it down for posterity, there were homosexuals and
    bi-sexuals in the past. We are basically the same people with better tech is all.

    So it is possible to be sexually and/or romantically attracted to the same sex,
    even if the default position is heterosexual. So yes you can have it in these ways
    as long as it works for the character. Though I think people who switch teams
    find it a bit awkward at first, but they make it work.
     
  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Are you sure that you mean steel, as opposed to bronze or iron? Steel is quite modern, in historical terms.

    In either case they have some idea what makes fire hot, because they can forge metal. So they know what fuels to use to make a fire of a particular range of temperature, they know how to control it--they likely know more about fire than the vast, vast majority of the modern population. They do have technology, it's just not the kind of technology that makes cellphones.

    Re: "mainly because of the world she comes from doesn't have homosexuality."

    I have trouble with the idea of a world without homosexuality. It just doesn't seem likely.
     
  9. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    There's nothing wrong with this. That's the girl's perspective of her world. Maybe it's true, because the gods of that world have made it so only heterosexual love and heterosexual lust is possible. Maybe it's not true, but it's what the girl has been raised to believe and she's never met anyone who wasn't heterosexual. Either way, it's legit.

    Don't let the PC police tell you what your fantasy world can, can't, or even "probably must" have.

    The people who have "problems" imagining a world without homosexuality are dishonestly pushing an agenda. Thousands and thousands of popular, well-written stories, novels, and series have zero homosexuality in them. No mention of it, no even arguably homosexual characters, nothing. People didn't and still don't have a problem imagining those worlds.
     
  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Are you accidentally or deliberately misunderstanding what people are saying?

    Sure, the character might not have heard of homosexuality. She also hasn't heard of electrons, DNA, or quasars. The question wasn't what she's heard of, or what's included in the words of the novel, but what exists.
     
  11. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    Nonsense. None of you have anything relevant or valid to say about "what exists" because:
    Brought not from this world. Not from your world. From one of the author's worlds, where homosexuality does not exist. The author said it doesn't exist in that world, and so it doesn't, and nothing you or any other misguided SJW might say can or should be able to change that.

    People can go pretend Frodo and Sam or Kirk and Spok were gay until you are blue in the face, but if Tolkien or Roddenberry, respectively, were alive to say they weren't, that would be the end of it. Authors are the gods of their worlds, and their words are the truths of those worlds. End of argument.

    An essayist might want to create a world without homosexuality and then drop a LGBT group into it, just to make a point. Here, the author is doing the opposite - taking a character from a world without homosexuals and dropping her into a world with them. I don't see why anyone would have a problem with that.
     
  12. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    While I agree with the basic point, that doesn't mean there's not an issue here. The fact so many people have said they'd struggle to believe homosexuality didn't exist even in a fantasy world suggests there's going to be a world-building problem for the author to overcome - it's clearly not something they'd assume from the narrative, so unless it's made clear in some way, they wouldn't understand the character's reactions.

    As to the OP's question, I imagine there'd be confusion more than anything else. If she's from a world where homosexuality doesn't exist, it's probably going to take her quite a long time to work out that the other woman is hitting on her because it just wouldn't occur to her to interpret her actions this way. She'd probably need to be told it was a thing before she started interpreting any of it as romantic/sexual attraction.
     
  13. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    So an author wants to write about a world where gravity doesn't exist, or plants don't exist, or anger doesn't exist or love doesn't exist - oh, the characters are still humans, and everything's pretty much the way it was in our medieval period... just this one difference. Don't worry about it. And you think that would create realistic fiction?

    Ease off on your "PC" and "SJW" bullshit and think about it. When one aspect of a culture or world is changed, there are ripple effects. Readers who use their brains will want to know how/why the change occurred and what is different about the world because of the change. That's the essence of compelling world building - the world has to fit together for reasons, and those reasons should be something more than just "it'll create a funny scene".

    Hopefully this author isn't writing her story to "make a point". Hopefully she wants to create an intriguing world that allows her to build an interesting story. People aren't being "PC" or "SJW"s by pointing out that there's a flaw in her current setup.
     
  14. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    It's been done. All of those. In published works by major authors. Clearly, you haven't read enough speculative fiction.
    No surprise you think only your position can be right.

    It may be popular to think homosexuality is innate to mammals. But maybe it isn't. Sure, there's chimps that will stick their penis into any orifice it will fit in. Lots of hetero guys will do that too. Is that what being gay means to you?

    Fact is, homosexual-looking activity in other mammals isn't about sex, much less love. It's about dominance and hierarchy.
    And it's certainly conceivable that homosexuality, if it's genetic, is an evolutionary debacle, a dead end for the genes that carry it, a lethal recessive trait that will disappear from the gene pool with the next big crisis that shock-treats it.

    But those aren't popular ideas. And they're dangerous ones, because they are fact and logic based. No one's allowed to think that anymore, are they? Much less say them.

    Yes, let's not have authors trying to make a point. Orwell, go back to the kaleidoscope and write romances like a good author. Bradbury, no one wants to read about your book-burning firemen. Swift, get all that political commentary out of that Gulliver book. Don't you idiots know you're not supposed to write a novel to make a point?

    Have I made my point, SJWs? No, not to you. Never to you.
     
  15. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I could write a setting where black people are psychologically incapable of living any life except that of chattel slavery: lacking the intelligence for anything beyond manual labor, lacking the emotionality for selling a daughter away from her parents to be painful, and lacking the self-reservation to mind when their masters decide to hang them from trees for entertainment (obviously not as punishment for disobedience, they would lack the personal identity to do anything except follow whatever orders they are given).

    That is a very specific fantasy, and anybody in their right mind would wonder why it was so important to me.

    What.
     
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  16. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    That's... nothing like a fact.

    A brief bit of Googling suggests that homosexual activity in animals is still in the 'we don't really know' camp. Describing homosexuality in people as 'an evolutionary debacle' is something I find it hard to produce much response to beyond 'what the actual fuck'.
     
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  17. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    LOL. Google for it? The wonderful thing about Google is that you can prove anything you want by "googling."
    "Elvis lives" for example - plenty of websites for that, I'll bet. Aliens landed in Roswell. Cold water boils faster.
    Sturgeon's Law is writ across the whole of the Internet - 95% of the Internet is crap.
    Even more so these days, when the SJWs actively campaign to destroy the real lives of anyone who publicly disagrees with them.

    When you have a narrow conceptual framework, it's only human for you to not accept the truths that don't fit it.
    It takes a rare and special kind of brutality to be truly honest with yourself. Few people have experienced enough to have it.
     
  18. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    If you did it correctly, it could be a heart-wrenching indictment of slavery and racism.
    But you seem to lack the creativity to do that. Perhaps you should stick to comic books and melodrama's then, where the message is spelled out so the children can understand it, and you don't have to trust your readers to have a soul.

    One could hope this was shackabuku (sp?) but more likely it's "sheilds up, prepare to repel uncomfortable truths."
     
  19. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    Are any of those websites Wikipedia? Because that's the one I linked. You should try reading a bit of it, it's quite good. Maybe start with the article on Elvis, you'll see how it says he died in 1977.
     
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  20. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    You'd be more persuasive on this point if you conveyed it with a bit less terrified shrillness. My main reaction to your posts here is an impulse to back away from spittle.
     
  21. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    By going out of my way to make them right?

    What?
     
  22. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    Things went a bit sour overnight. I pity the OP when she comes back.

    And while I questioned the fact of a world without homosexuality as well, the OP haven't really got back to us, so she might've just have meant where homosexualty was seen as an unknown "behavior" that wasn't very well accepted (like in the medieval, I guess, along what Bayview said). That leading to that our heroine is confused on what is happening.

    So, this discussion has gotten far off rail.

    Still off rail, but:
    I, myself, think there is a difference between describing a world where there is no homosexuality what so ever, and to write a story where there is no homosexual characters or mentioning of the topic what so ever. The former probably has an agenda, the later probably just don't feel the need to include a non-heterosexual character and it's probably not even a really active choice.
     
  23. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As seen in the near immediate derail fiasco above (smh), expect this to be a hot topic, no matter what way you engage it.

    My 2p...

    Firstly, as you can see from the above, there is going to be a certain layer of disbelief that you're going to have to get past in the reader who lives in this world. That's fine. Suspension of disbelief is always a task in anything fantasy or science fiction. You don't have to create a mechanism for why there is no homosexuality in the medieval world. Even if there were a mechanism causing this, your medieval female MC is not likely to know it given the level of scientific savvy you already mentioned her world possesses in the OP. It's not something she will be able to explain. It's just not a part of the world she comes from. You can give this to the reader through her engagement of the other female she meets in Fantasy World. It will be part and parcel, so to speak. It just won't be something that's ever occurred to her as possible, anymore than the cow in her field at home chatting her up one day as to the quality of grass growing in the field.

    So, to the question...

    How would she react? Well, you've eliminated two factors that would be real-world factors for us, the readers. You've made it clear that homosexuality just doesn't exist, so there's not going to be any sort of prohibition against a non-issue, right? You don't create laws against things that simply, flatly don't happen. You've also made it clear that religion doesn't control the masses, so the modern, Western, Abrahamic proscriptions don't apply either. She's not going to be worried about sin or going to hell, or anything like that because this is also not part of her world. Such worries would be anachronism.

    She's likely to simply be confused at first.

    And then it depends on how ardently Gay Fantasy Girl hits on Medieval Girl. I mean, its one thing to fend off a single event that just doesn't register. It's quite another thing to deal with something that's persistent. So... one time event, or persistent? That's one question I have. If Gay Fantasy Girl backs off once she realizes this ain't gonna' happen, it may not be an issue that you will be able to believably sustain throughout the story, if the story is longer, meaning by this that other factors of the plot are going to be more important and overriding than this feature of Gay Fantasy Girl's gayness.

    Gay Fantasy Girl ~ "You want to make out?"
    Medieval Girl ~ "With whom? There are no boys here."
    Gay Fantasy Girl ~ "With me, silly."
    Medieval Girl ~ "Girls don't do that with other girls where I come from."
    Gay Fantasy Girl ~ "They don't?"
    Medieval Girl ~ "Nope."
    Gay Fantasy Girl ~ "How boring."
    Medieval Girl ~ "Be that as it may, we just don't."
    Gay Fantasy Girl ~ "Are you not allowed?"
    Medieval Girl ~ "Um.... No one ever told me I couldn't. We just don't. Do you guys do that a lot here?"
    Gay Fantasy Girl ~ "Maybe not as common as doing opposites, but samesies totally happens."
    Medieval Girl ~ "Kinda' hard to wrap my mind around that, but... still no. Not interested."
    etc. etc. etc.

    How long can you keep that up as something the story continues to engage? You already have a setup where Medieval Girl very probably doesn't have any sort of heavy cultural training against this, so it's just going to be something she's never encountered before. I've never gone mountain climbing before, but if you have and we become friends, and you mention it, and you ask me to go do it, I may or may not give it a shot, but again, there's no overarching cultural direction telling me do it or don't do it. It's just something I've never considered and never engaged in before. The fact that there are no currently presented sociocultural factors in the life of Medieval Girl to direct her reaction to Gay Fantasy Girl's advances would, to me, make those advances just another strange facet of this Fantasy World to which Medieval Girl has been whisked off to. I'm gay myself, so it's a lot easier for me to relate to Gay Fantasy Girl off the bat, but if I were Medieval Girl experiencing this portal happenstance, there are soooo many other things that would be occupying my mind: food, water, shelter, I don't have any money, I don't have anything to trade, what the actual fuq are those giant, scaly bat-looking things in the sky? Are they breathing fire???
     
  24. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    @Wreybies Would someone form the medieval days know the phrase 'making out'?
     
  25. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, and I don't expect someone from Fantasy World to use the word samesies either. :bigwink: Just trying to bring the mood back into line along with the original topic. :whistle:
     
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