Author Topic: How can gender politics influence a world based on magic?  (Read 478 times)  

Offline yog-sogoloth

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How can gender politics influence a world based on magic?
« on: September 16, 2018, 09:46:28 am »
Witchcraft in this world is practiced openly. Magic works through long, complicated rituals that require multiple components. Some of the most powerful of these demand human "sacrifice", in which an individual contributes their mana (life energy) is used to fuel a spell. Mana is continuously produced by the body in order to keep a person alive and functional. It exists in various quantities in different places, such as the heart, blood, intestines, liver, etc. Testosterone is an important signalling hormone in a mana production pathway. Physically large and athletic young men produce the most Testosterone. Mana builds up over time and can be boosted before harvesting after a testosterone spike (battle, ritual dancing, sex, etc). 

This would naturally make fit young males the most powerful witches in the setting. However, due to conditions in biology, the "magic gene" is linked to the xx chromosome and production of estrogen. This prevents males from conducting magic and links witchcraft to a female occupation. This setting follows a religion in which god, originally a perfect entity, was forced to split himself into two separate beings and reincarnate into mortal forms. These two beings would be the primogenitors of the human race, leading to the condition that we are divine beings due to having god in each of us. In the end of days, god will reform in a rapture - like event and we would leave our mortal bodies behind and rejoin as one.

This has produced a physically hyper competitive world in which the magical edge outweighs the physical and reproduction power disadvantage. How could this affect gender politics of society as a whole?

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    Offline cjmichaels

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    Re: How can gender politics influence a world based on magic?
    « Reply #1 on: September 16, 2018, 10:28:39 am »
    How does magic determine what sex the user is?

    Is it based on the level of testosterone?  Progesterone? Could a savvy pill-popper (or plant-eater) get around limits that way? What happens when someone is born with an ambiguous sex?  Does the magic know even if the genitals aren't clear?  What happens to the XXY crew?  Do they get all the magic?  None of the magic?  What happens during pregnancy?  Or while healing?  Oooo, does this mean that uterus having magic users have a differering amount of ability based on where their body is in producing hormones?

    The answers here will help set your created society, imho.


    Offline erikhanberg

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    Re: How can gender politics influence a world based on magic?
    « Reply #2 on: September 16, 2018, 11:12:56 am »
    Before you investigate the gender politics of the world, get really clear on your own. They say writing is telling secrets about yourself. Your own biases and assumptions become clear over time. So the important part isn't just the gender politics of the world you create, it's what you the author think of it.
    « Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 11:16:54 am by erikhanberg »

    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: How can gender politics influence a world based on magic?
    « Reply #3 on: September 16, 2018, 01:02:49 pm »
    Quote
    However, due to conditions in biology, the "magic gene" is linked to the xx chromosome and production of estrogen. This prevents males from conducting magic and links witchcraft to a female occupation.

    I'm a little unclear on the above. So ... males can produce the highest levels of magical energy, but they can't "conduct" it as well as women ... meaning, they can't actually use all that power very efficiently? Is that it? Women don't produce as much power, but they can use what they produce better, whereas men produce more but waste a lot of it because of poor conducting?

    If I have it right, that seems like a pretty nice piece of world-building. I think I'd automatically move toward a system where male and female witches partner with one another, so that the better conducting woman is able to draw on and use the more powerful male's energy, such that a linked pair can produce the strongest magic. That could lead to all kinds of interesting conflicts.

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    Offline Flay Otters

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    Re: How can gender politics influence a world based on magic?
    « Reply #4 on: September 16, 2018, 07:14:22 pm »
    Women are the wombs that produce. They are also the witches that cast spells.
    Men are strong and strength is prized for its Mana.
    Women wield spells but they are difficult to cast (not like H Potter wand-waving).
    In this society women need men as fathers and to physically protect them, and provide power for their spells - spells to help the in-group in general I imagine.
    So the society would have to be a classic male protector/female nurturer model, but with an overlay of female power separate and more powerful than a man's, but unable to be utilized without the protection and mana of the men. Symbiotic.
    Unless a group of solely women were to prize themselves higher than the men, and kidnap other in-group's males to use to perform their own gynocentric magic, and kidnap young females to become members of their group. Essentially parasitic - even if they were to breed their own children within the group.
    And unless a group of mostly men were to prize themselves higher than the women (as ascetics or warrior priests), denounce female magic and seek to destroy the witches for unnatural heresy (and wielding power over them). They would have their own women as wives/wombs who would eschew magic and support the men politically. In the same way, the all-women group might have their own men as, essentially, eunuchs to provide physical protection.
    That's gender politics in your world as described.

    Offline C. Gold

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    Re: How can gender politics influence a world based on magic?
    « Reply #5 on: September 16, 2018, 08:18:54 pm »
    I see reverse harems forming around strong witches who collect men to supply them with mana and protection.
    Slave trade revolves around young boys. Buy them young, train them to be good mana receptacles. 
    Girls who show ability would be killed if they were from poor blood lines. Only the 'best' would be nurtured to become witches.
    Women are worshiped or feared by most men but there are a few rebels who want to change the order and rid the world of magic.

    Offline Flay Otters

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    Re: How can gender politics influence a world based on magic?
    « Reply #6 on: September 17, 2018, 05:42:54 am »
    I see reverse harems forming around strong witches who collect men to supply them with mana and protection.
    Slave trade revolves around young boys. Buy them young, train them to be good mana receptacles. 
    Girls who show ability would be killed if they were from poor blood lines. Only the 'best' would be nurtured to become witches.
    Women are worshiped or feared by most men but there are a few rebels who want to change the order and rid the world of magic.

    Excellent points.

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