What are your views about women and power?
In the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy women are prominent. Especially prominent are the women who compose the defense force of the Tethyan people. The term Andromeda has several meanings, with one of them being Ruler of Men. I operate intuitively and seized on the name. Primarily my attraction to it had to do with power, not my belief that either men or women should rule the other.
The story is about the future of humankind and preservation of our precious Earth. That meant that I did not see the women as floating around looking beautiful. They had to be strong and willing to do what was necessary. And I realize that some people will take exception to how they are characterized especially at the beginning. But I recognized this is a thousand page trilogy and they had to be how they had to be and develop as needed.
The Reality of Men Behaving Badly
The bad guys were set up with specific general characteristics. Terrorists and out of control strong men were the most obvious choices but I chose a different type. One comment was that they are just too obviously bad. They were never meant to be complex. They are foils for the story. But these characters were people typical of many many business people who work within established societies and behind the scene exploit humankind. Little time was spent to make them complex because they were very much not to the point. We see these men everywhere in the day to day machinations of our societies. They take elevated positions but many of them prove ruinous for society and for a time at least they stand as gods until they are unmasked. One obvious way to deal with them was to have powerful women monitoring their activities from the inside. Yes, that often meant in bed at times. With the information they had, these women could provide valuable intelligence and, in the end, could bring the men down. No, women are not powerless and they don’t have to be obviously confrontational in many circumstances.
The Dawn of Diversity
That does not put these women up as paragons of virtue but, at the same time we have to be realistic that the simplistic days are over. We are accepting more powerful women and they are not cloaking themselves the way they have been formally. They are speaking their mind, showing their power, often to the intense dislike of many men and some women.
So I designed the women of the Andromeda to be reality figures in the world as it is now. Later they would assume more complex identities and powers just as the story develops and evolves. My interest was in showing the diversity of women, their strength and their talents. And that means they may go outside the ordinary bounds of how “women are supposed to be”.
Revising Our Judgements
In fact these women grew on me. As I wrote about them, inside my head, their background and history was developing. At some point I’m going to do a novella for each one of these interesting women, each in their own special way. They are not uncomplicated goddesses. They are real people who serve using their special talents and they lead us toward our future. Value judgements of many kinds need to be laid aside because we are exploring not just the future of humankind but also the talent and future of womankind.
What do you see ahead for women?