Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Frequent Contributor
Fanuidhol
Posts: 203
Registered: ‎12-14-2007
0 Kudos

Tolkien and the Female Gender

I think that this subject needs its own thread.  I decided to give it a broad topic title to include the subject of female fans along with female characters.  I hope the authors of various posts don't mind me copying their work over here. 
(a female) Fan
Frequent Contributor
Fanuidhol
Posts: 203
Registered: ‎12-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

[ Edited ]
Lorien wrote in "Who is the Hero of LotR?" thread on 3/8/2008:
 
"Copied from Re: FOTR: Book 1: The Shadow of the Past. TiggerBear wrote :
lorien
(chuckle) Not to quibble, but I'm female.
-----------------------------------------------------------

Sorry about that TiggerBear but it is hard to see if you are wearing a pink or blue bonnet on the Internet! I'm female as well.

Actually, I think I set up a male bias toward LOTR readers due to something I read somewhere (don't remember where now) that boys often read LOTR but girls did not so that males tended to be long-time fans whereas females were more late-comers to the books. It was probably attributed to the fact that there are few female role-models.

Actually, my full count is now up to four-and-one-half females in LOTR and none in TH. I don't think either Mrs. Maggot and Rosie even have speaking roles and are only referenced in the third person but they do appear briefly in the books while the Entwives and Dwarf women are so non-existent that they do not show up at all. My total list of female characters in LOTR:

Mrs. Maggot
Goldberry
Arwen
Galadriel
Eowyn
Rosie

I'm not sure right now (I haven't really gotten that far in my second reading of the books), that the only strong female characters are Galadriel and Eowyn. I think Arwen was developed into a strong character only in the Movie but I really don't remember. Eowyn had potential for being a heroine but her character, if I remember correctly, was somewhat diminished after her heroic battle and slaying of the Witch-King. "


Message Edited by Fanuidhol on 03-09-2008 07:51 AM
Frequent Contributor
Fanuidhol
Posts: 203
Registered: ‎12-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

OldBPLstackden... wrote in the "Who is the Hero of LotR?" thread on 3/9/2008:
 
"To Lorien ---
 
Ah, but you forgot Lobelia Sackville- Baggins ----
 
"The Hobbit" and LOTR  certainly do seem to be a very male-oriented, male-dominated set of stories ---
The Arwen character was definately "beefed-up" for the movie version --- it seemed like they tried to turn her into more of a "Woman Warrior" than her original character was ( perhaps as to not let the young girls in the audience feel so "left out"? ) ---
 
There was already a "Woman Warrior" character in the original story --- that was Eowyn, of course ---
but perhaps the movie makers decided only one was not enough.
 
I guess being a boy ( when I first read the stories ) made me more open to "recieving" the stories ---
My wife has inferred that books like Tolkien's were not the kind of books that girls ( generally
 speaking ) tended to gravitate towards ( based on her recollections ) ----
 
I really was not a very "macho" boy --- I was really more the quiet, reserved, well-behaved sort ( and always the bullied boy, never the bully -- never even a fighter  ) --- not very athletic, much more bookish --- I played "War" with my friends , though ---- I suppose that in some cases, it was easy for me to overcome my inadequacies ( or under-empowerment ) or my mundane life-style ( only in my imagination, of course ) by self-identifying with the heroes in these stories --- ( Like Bilbo ) ----And this would certainly have easier for me to do, being a male --- and, possibly, the stories even provided an outlet for suppressed violence and hostility ( look at all the orcs who get their heads chopped off ) ----
( Sorry to wax a little too psuedo- psychological there )
 
Anyway, I remember reading a review of the LOTR movies ( just after the first installment had been released ) where the critic criticized the movie-makers for not understanding where Tolkien was coming from when he wrote the stories --- mainly, his experiences in The First World War - where the loyalty and comaraderie of one's fellow soldiers was what was so important --  ( this was the reviewer's opinion ) ---
and, consequently, why there were very few female characters in the stories, very little romance, and positively no sex.
 
I think that the concept of that "loyalty and comraderie" does get emphasized more as the movie progresses, though - especially in the relationship between Frodo and Sam ( and even Gollum, perhaps? ) ---
 
Again, A Very Good Evening To All,
Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
Fanuidhol
Posts: 203
Registered: ‎12-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender



Lorien wrote in "Who is the Hero of LotR?" thread on 3/8/2008:
 
"Copied from Re: FOTR: Book 1: The Shadow of the Past. TiggerBear wrote :
lorien
(chuckle) Not to quibble, but I'm female.
-----------------------------------------------------------

Sorry about that TiggerBear but it is hard to see if you are wearing a pink or blue bonnet on the Internet! I'm female as well.

Actually, I think I set up a male bias toward LOTR readers due to something I read somewhere (don't remember where now) that boys often read LOTR but girls did not so that males tended to be long-time fans whereas females were more late-comers to the books. It was probably attributed to the fact that there are few female role-models.
 

I'm curious to know if that article was based on an assumption by its author or an actual "scientific study".
I've got a "scientific study" on an Internet community in my back pocket (naturally -- where do I come up with such stuff? LOL)
 
On another Tolkien discussion board, I have witnessed a few times when a gender neutral name has confused fellow posters.  You should have seen the PM's and E-mails flying when one particular poster's gender came to light.
 
 
My feeling about the gender issue is that there is a stereotype at work when the "fantasy genre" comes up in conversation or articles.  In my experience, some women have tended to dismiss Tolkien right off the bat by using the "I don't read fantasy" defense.  On one occasion, to a high school English teacher, I said that LotR was more in line with "heroic romance" a la the Arthurian cycle.  She seemed to consider that for a moment, but, I don't know if my comment really did any good.
 
Fan 


Frequent Contributor
Fanuidhol
Posts: 203
Registered: ‎12-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

[ Edited ]
Lorien wrote:
Actually, my full count is now up to four-and-one-half females in LOTR and none in TH. I don't think either Mrs. Maggot and Rosie even have speaking roles and are only referenced in the third person but they do appear briefly in the books while the Entwives and Dwarf women are so non-existent that they do not show up at all. My total list of female characters in LOTR:

Mrs. Maggot
Goldberry
Arwen
Galadriel
Eowyn
Rosie

I'm not sure right now (I haven't really gotten that far in my second reading of the books), that the only strong female characters are Galadriel and Eowyn. I think Arwen was developed into a strong character only in the Movie but I really don't remember. Eowyn had potential for being a heroine but her character, if I remember correctly, was somewhat diminished after her heroic battle and slaying of the Witch-King. "

There may be no females in TH because that story was written for Tolkien's sons.  Females are mentioned early on in "The Unexpected Party" chapter.  Belladonna (Took) Baggins didn't have adventures after marriage.  Gandalf was responsible for "lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures".  Hobbit females do have stories to be told...
 
As for females in LotR:
Arlo mentioned Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, already.
I'll add Ioreth (woman from "House of Healing" in Minas Tirith).
And Shelob!  Can't forget that Shelob is a female!
 
Rosie does have a small speaking part.
 
I can't check my source on this (I believe it to be "Women are from Lothlorien, Men are from Gondor" now found in The People's Guide to JRR Tolkien, but used to be on Theonering.net) but I remember reading once that some of Tolkien's male characters are forgettable or interchangable (I felt that way about Merry and Pippin for years), but that each of Tolkien's females are unique.  I like that.
 
Arwen.  You have to read beteen the lines about her character.  Fortunately, someone did already back before the first movie came out.  Michael Martinez is a controversial figure in Tolkien scholarship.  But even if you agree with less than half of what he says, there is much value in this article.  You, also, have to realize that a little bit of what Martinez writes in this article comes from Tolkien's work post- LotR, therefore perhaps, not written in stone.  I have quoted most of the article, but not all  There are SPOILERS in this article and the quote that follows:
 
"There doesn't seem to be much to say about Arwen at first glance, but then, you have to wonder why she gave it all up for Aragorn."
 
"When Elrond discerned Aragorn's love for his daughter, he summoned the young man to him and said: "You shall be betrothed to no man's child as yet. But as for Arwen the Fair, Lady of Imladris and of Lorien, Evenstar of her people, she is of lineage greater than yours, and she has lived in the world already so long that to her you are but as a yearling shoot beside a young birch of many summers. She is too far above you. And so, I think, it may well seem to her...." Elrond certainly tried to let Aragorn down easily, but the plan may have backfired on him. Or perhaps Elrond's doubts were irrelevant. Aragorn had grown up in Elrond's household. He knew Elrond's ancestry. Arwen would not have been the first Elf woman to love a mortal man, if her heart turned toward him."
 
"Relationships among the Elves were deep and more fully committed than those among men. Even among the Dunedain it was not unknown for a man to have more than one spouse (Turin I, 6th Ruling Steward of Gondor, was married twice). Rare though it may seem, men were far more likely to take second wives than were the Elves. In fact, among the Eldar, only Finwe was known to have taken a second spouse. That is not to say that the Dunedain couldn't love each other as fully and deeply as the Elves. But apparently the Elvish custom was deeply rooted in a mating of souls, as much as in a mating of bodies. It should therefore be unusual that an Elf would want or love a mortal in that fashion. Perhaps even unnatural, in the sense that the Elven souls were predisposed to seek out mates which were likely to spend the full span of time with them, rather than souls which would fleetingly pass by, leaving behind only a few memories."
 
"She didn't just grow up in the house of Elrond, she lived there for thousands of years. Although she may have had special duties among the Yavannildi (the Maidens of Yavanna, who grew and harvested the special corn from which Lembas was made), Arwen seems to have been in a position to earn the greatest of Elven educations. Elrond was not simply the chief master of lore among the Third Age Elves, he was the central figure of Eldarin scholarship in Middle-earth. Many great and wise Elves visited or settled in or near Imladris. Arwen would have had access to the greatest Elven minds of her age: Elrond, Galadriel, Cirdan, Celeborn (yes, Celeborn), Glorfindel, and others. She would have heard first-hand accounts of Elvish sorcery, warfare, and scholarship. And the lady travelled around. She must have crossed the Misty Mountains dozens of times to visit her grand-parents after Celeborn and Galadriel settled in Lorien. Did she, perhaps, also visit Lindon? With her family background and likely education, Arwen may well have been high in the councils of the Eldar. She was probably considered one of the Wise. Does that mean she might have been a member of the White Council itself? Why not? She was a politically savvy Elf-princess. After all, she made that banner for Aragorn. And Aragorn's banner is not just a jewel-encrusted flag waving in the wind. Think about it. Aragorn unfurled the banner at Erech but there was no visible device upon it. It just seemed black to his living companions. But apparently it helped convince the Dead that he was indeed who he was. What would a banner made by an Elven princess mean to an army of ghosts? Elves were enchanters. They made things the old-fashioned way: magically, as far as mortals were concerned. Arwen's pedigree for sorcery was no less impressive than her noble lineage. She was the great-granddaughter of Luthien Tinuviel, the Half-maian princess who was regarded as the greatest of all Elven enchantresses. ALL of them. Luthien and Luthien alone was able to put Morgoth to sleep deep inside his own fortress of Angband. No Elven king or prince ever saw the inside of Angband except as a prisoner. Only Luthien's mom, Melian, performed a greater feat, surrounding Doriath with a "girdle" of enchantment which protected the realm from Morgoth and his servants. Arwen was also descended from Galadriel, whose daughter Celebrian married Elrond. Galadriel's enchantments were nothing to be ignored. Where Luthien was remembered for tearing down the walls of Sauron's fortress on Tol Sirion, Galadriel laid bare the pits of Dol Guldur, Sauron's ancient fortress in southern Mirkwood. Luthien wove a cloak from her own enchanted hair which made her invisible, so she could escape from her guards. Galadriel didn't weave any cloaks of invisibility, but she used a silver basin to spy on Sauron and watch events unfold in the world outside Lorien, and she captured light from the star of Ëarendil in a phial of water for Frodo."
 
"Arwen had also spent many years among the Elves of Lorien. Should one wonder if she didn't learn to put her thoughts into all things she made, as they said they did when Pippin asked about the Elven cloaks which were given to the Fellowship? Those grey cloaks were undoubtedly the same kind of enchanted clothing worn by the Grey-Elves of Mithrim, whom the Noldor met first upon their return to Middle-earth. So Arwen probably put a lot of thought into that banner for Aragorn, and perhaps it had something to do with inspiring his followers when it was displayed. Arwen did watch over Aragorn from afar, according to Tolkien, and she could see deep into the hearts of others. Both abilities seem to be inherited from Galadriel, who studied under Melian (and undoubtedly Luthien). When Frodo was preparing to leave Gondor, Arwen bestowed upon him the courtesy of taking ship with Bilbo when her father finally chose to leave Middle-earth. In one of his letters (246), Tolkien wrote that "it was Arwen who first thought of sending Frodo into the West, and put in a plea for him to Gandalf (direct or through Galadriel, or both)". Imagine the goings-on in Gondor after the royal wedding. Here are Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn, and many other great Elves come to celebrate the marriage of Aragorn and Arwen. Aragorn is busy putting his realm into order, arranging treaties with foreign nations, and so forth. What is Arwen doing during all that time, sitting by the White Tree and singing it into good health and blossoming? No. She is meeting with Galadriel and Gandalf, asking for a special gift for the Ringbearer. What other pleas did she make? Was she perhaps instrumental in persuading Thranduil to give Legolas leave to bring part of their people south to live in Gondor? Arwen became Queen of Men and Elves, not just Queen of Gondor. Surely not contented with being an enchantress, mover, and shaker, Arwen also practiced something of the healing arts, and she seems to have raised horses. She gave Aragorn his horse, Roheryn, the name means "hose of the lady", and she gave Frodo a small white gemstone on a silver chain which helped to comfort him when he had fits of painful remembrance of his past wounds and loss (of the Ring). "But she doesn't wield a sword in the stories!" people say. No, Tolkien never put a sword in Arwen's hand. This is the most grievous blow to the legends of Middle-earth, it seems. That Arwen, daughter of Elrond, who undertook dangerous journeys across the Misty Mountains, and who engaged in secret arts to help her beloved gain the throne of Gondor, and then helped him rule Gondor and Arnor for over 100 years, should in the upcoming movies be seen with sword in hand, facing down the Nazgul upon the Road from the Shire to Imladris. Whatever is the world coming to?"
 
"Arwen should not be regarded as a frail and helpless flower guarded in secret dells and meadows. Elrond was concerned for her safety, that is true, and she would have not have journeyed alone, but like her mother before her would have been accompanied by Elven warriors and perhaps Rangers. She was often compared to her foremother Luthien, not just because she looked like Luthien, but because she was wise and well-learned in the lore of the Elves. Arwen's role in the book may seem small but it is crucial to the final outcome of the story. She is the means of Frodo and Bilbo's salvation. Her sacrifice is essentially unrewarded, for in the end she loses all that she has gained: love, life, and Middle-earth. If therefore Peter Jackson wants to put a sword in her hand, I don't think J.R.R. Tolkien -- who wrote of the armed and armored Idril, who sent Luthien on the perilous journey into Angband in quest of a Silmaril, who carefully recorded the attack on and capture of Arwen's mother Celebrian as she journeyed through the Misty Mountains -- would greatly object to the portrayal of a skill she probably possessed in his own conception. The changes in story were inevitable. But the change in character may not be as catastrophic as some people believe." 
 
I'll leave Eowyn for another time.
Fan
 
 
 
 
 
  
 


Message Edited by Fanuidhol on 03-09-2008 09:52 AM
Frequent Contributor
lorien
Posts: 770
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender



Fanuidhol wrote:
I think that this subject needs its own thread. I decided to give it a broad topic title to include the subject of female fans along with female characters. I hope the authors of various posts don't mind me copying their work over here.
(a female) Fan





Not at all. Excellent topic. I can already see I missed a lot. No time right now but I will be back later to add my comments to thread. I may have to do a bit a research as well since I'm pretty fuzzy on many things.
Frequent Contributor
lorien
Posts: 770
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

I see there are many females that I overlooked (but that might be revealing in itself). Many seem to be only introduced characters and not fully developed. From my brief reading of the Children of Turin and Beren and Luthien, I can see that the Silmarillion has many more strong women. Since I haven't read the Silm yet I will not be able to comment on that work or the extra tales. However, there may be much on this topic in the LOTR to keep me busy for awhile.

Tolkien's male dominance was probably a product of his time. If he were writing LOTR today, some of the emphasis might have been different. He may have replaced either Pippin or Merry with a female hobbit. At least one member of the Fellowship would have been a woman--I think he would have made Legolas a woman. I could also see some of the "bad guys" as women such as Sauraman.

Most of the men are also not typical "macho" types, especially in the sense of the mythic hero. Certainly none of the Hobbits. Of the Fellowship, I would consider Boromir the most "macho". Possibly Legolas as "superman" but I think that was mainly movie interpretation. I'll have to wait until I get further along in my reading. As an axe swinging warrior, Gimili might be but a lot of that seemed more for show. Deep down he was a sentimental softy who was very content with three strands of Galadrial's hair.

In fact, most of what I would consider "macho" types are bad guys like the Uruk-hai and other Orcs. Battle scenes seem to dominate the series, but as I look over the Table of Contents, it might be more impression (again a movie influence) than actually took place. There are very few chapters devoted to battle in the books.
Frequent Contributor
lorien
Posts: 770
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

Lobelia Sackville-Baggins

I thought I would start with Lobelia. Now this is a person definitely presented in a negative way. But maybe not totally so. She is determined and efficient. And she did wait a long time for Bag End. In the end she did not inherit it as she hoped but paid for it, and apparently fair money that worked out well for Frodo. I think Tolkien is softening our opinion here by being a bit sympathetic.

Book 1: Chapter 2
"Ours at last!" said Lobelia, as she stepped inside. It was not polite; nor strictly true, for the sale of Bag End did not take effect until midnight. But Lobelia can perhaps be forgiven; she had been obliged to wait about seventy-seven years longer for Bag End than she had once hoped, and she was now a hundred years old.

Book 6, The Scouring of the Shire
So ruffians come up to Bag End to put up some sheds for Sharkey but Lobelia meets them on the lane with her umbrella in hand to challenge them.

'"I'll give you Sharkey, you dirty thieving ruffians!" says she, and ups with her umbrella and goes for the leader, near twice her size. So they took her. Dragged her off to the Lockholes, and her age too. They've took others we miss more, but there's no denying she showed more spirit than most.'

--------------

Now her son Lotho (Pimple!?) had political ambitions in The Shire but he didn't fair too well in the end and was killed by Wormtongue.
---------------------

Book 6 The Gray Havens
Then there was Lobelia. Poor thing, she looked very old and thin when they rescued her from a dark and narrow cell. She insisted on hobbling out on her own feet; and she had such a welcome and there was such clapping and cheering when she appeared, leaning on Frodo's arm but still clutching her umbrella, that she was quite touched, and drove away in tears. She had never in her life been popular before. But she was crushed by the news of Lotho's murder, and she would not return to Bag End. She gave it back to Frodo, and went to her own people, the Bracegirdles of Hardbottle.
-----------------------

So in the end Lobelia showed her "true quality" as one of the few hobbits with the gumption to oppose the ruffians of Sauraman. She kept her dignity at the end, and generously gave Frodo back Bag End (hey she had paid good money for it!).
Frequent Contributor
lorien
Posts: 770
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

My feeling about the gender issue is that there is a stereotype at work when the "fantasy genre" comes up in conversation or articles. In my experience, some women have tended to dismiss Tolkien right off the bat by using the "I don't read fantasy" defense. On one occasion, to a high school English teacher, I said that LotR was more in line with "heroic romance" a la the Arthurian cycle. She seemed to consider that for a moment, but, I don't know if my comment really did any good.

Fan
-----------------------
Now that you mention it, Fantasy Fiction does seem to be regarded as "inferior" and not "real" literature. Kind of treated like Westerns or Romance novels. Just escapist fare. Even though there are serious scholars of Tolkien's work, I think many people, who have not read anything by him, dismiss his works
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

Fan ---
The article by Michael Martinez concerning Arwen made me feel like a Bad Little Male-Cauvinist Piggy ----
( In light of some of my previous "uneducated" comments concerning Arwen --- and her role in the movie ---and her place in the book ) ---- I'm not sure how much of that background information can be found in The Appendices of LOTR --- but, it looks like a lot of that history came out after LOTR, and ( as I've mentioned before )  I never finished tackling "The Silmarillion" ( and have never even begun any of the subsequent books ) ---
 
Still, I feel us ( amateur, non- "Tolkien Scholar" ) "Tolkien Purists" who whined that "Arwen doesn't carry a sword in the book - but they put that in the movie" should still be excused --- Although it was inevitable that changes to the original work were going to crop up in the movie version, one kept hoping that there would not be too many alterations --- too many derivations from "The letter of the Text"   --- Certainly, putting Arwen in there where Glorfindel was supposed to be should not be considered one of the major offences along these lines --- I can think of at least one other change that seemed to me totally nonsensical, illogical and uneccessary ( and that instance had nothing to do with Arwen ) ----
 
Good Night To All, Ardo Whortleberry     
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

I meant "Chauvinist", of course ...
Maybe there was  even evidence for these aspects of the Arwen character  in the main body of the story in LOTR --- but they were never too obvious to me ( in my readings ) --- it would almost seem like one has to do a lot of "digging" to unearth what seems so obvious to Mr. Martinez --- I'm not saying that his thesis is invalid in any way --- I just don't think those aspects of Arwen's character exactly "jump out at you"
when reading the story --- Ardo
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

I grew up as a tomboy. Tolkien's books were enjoyable despite the few female characters, simply because he at least avoided the delicate helpless too pretty princess mold. In such high fantasy novels of the period most authors depicted women as something pretty and other wise worthless. CS Lewis skirted the edges, when I read the end of the series his treatment of Lucy made me literally burn my copy in disgust when I was 10. Tolkien never made me feel as belittled as most authors did.


The movie's depiction of Arwyn though different, did not seem out of character. But a lot of young little girls just now reading the books are disappointed.
Frequent Contributor
BarbaraN
Posts: 519
Registered: ‎11-08-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender


TiggerBear wrote:
I grew up as a tomboy. Tolkien's books were enjoyable despite the few female characters, simply because he at least avoided the delicate helpless too pretty princess mold. In such high fantasy novels of the period most authors depicted women as something pretty and other wise worthless. CS Lewis skirted the edges, when I read the end of the series his treatment of Lucy made me literally burn my copy in disgust when I was 10. Tolkien never made me feel as belittled as most authors did.


The movie's depiction of Arwyn though different, did not seem out of character. But a lot of young little girls just now reading the books are disappointed.




That is a good point. His women may be few but they are not just "pretty little things" without brains. Most are very strong and independent. Gollum's mother was a formidable person. Even the more housewife type such as Mrs. Maggot I think would be independent and strong minded if the occasion warranted it. The only one I'm not sure of is Goldberry but I want to read the background on her before I make some judgment. I believe Tolkien has more on her in one of his "other" tales somewhere.
Frequent Contributor
JesseBC
Posts: 278
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

I knew a handful of girls in late grade school and junior high who were into Tolkien and other fantasy authors.

There were probably more that I didn't know about because most kept their reading preferences a secret due to the strong social pressure against it.

A pre-teen/young teen girl who read fantasy was ostracized by other girls for not reading the popular teen romances and wasn't likely to get the hoped-for attention from boys, who weren't yet mature enough at that age to realize that it makes sense to have a girlfriend who likes the same books you do.

Tolkien is too advanced for young children and, by the time they're old enough to read it in about 6th or 7th grade, the gender role pressure is so intense that few girls would have ever outed themselves as enjoying something that didn't conform.

Sadly, a lot of people never really outgrow this.





Fanuidhol wrote:


Lorien wrote in "Who is the Hero of LotR?" thread on 3/8/2008:
"Copied from Re: FOTR: Book 1: The Shadow of the Past. TiggerBear wrote :
lorien
(chuckle) Not to quibble, but I'm female.
-----------------------------------------------------------

Sorry about that TiggerBear but it is hard to see if you are wearing a pink or blue bonnet on the Internet! I'm female as well.

Actually, I think I set up a male bias toward LOTR readers due to something I read somewhere (don't remember where now) that boys often read LOTR but girls did not so that males tended to be long-time fans whereas females were more late-comers to the books. It was probably attributed to the fact that there are few female role-models.

I'm curious to know if that article was based on an assumption by its author or an actual "scientific study".
I've got a "scientific study" on an Internet community in my back pocket (naturally -- where do I come up with such stuff? LOL)
On another Tolkien discussion board, I have witnessed a few times when a gender neutral name has confused fellow posters. You should have seen the PM's and E-mails flying when one particular poster's gender came to light.
My feeling about the gender issue is that there is a stereotype at work when the "fantasy genre" comes up in conversation or articles. In my experience, some women have tended to dismiss Tolkien right off the bat by using the "I don't read fantasy" defense. On one occasion, to a high school English teacher, I said that LotR was more in line with "heroic romance" a la the Arthurian cycle. She seemed to consider that for a moment, but, I don't know if my comment really did any good.
Fan





Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

I knew a handful of girls in late grade school and junior high who were into Tolkien and other fantasy authors.

There were probably more that I didn't know about because most kept their reading preferences a secret due to the strong social pressure against it.

A pre-teen/young teen girl who read fantasy was ostracized by other girls for not reading the popular teen romances and wasn't likely to get the hoped-for attention from boys, who weren't yet mature enough at that age to realize that it makes sense to have a girlfriend who likes the same books you do.

Tolkien is too advanced for young children and, by the time they're old enough to read it in about 6th or 7th grade, the gender role pressure is so intense that few girls would have ever outed themselves as enjoying something that didn't conform.

Sadly, a lot of people never really outgrow this.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
(chuckle) Well where I grew up just getting caught reading would label you as different. Just had to prove different did not mean unpopular.
Frequent Contributor
JesseBC
Posts: 278
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

True enough. Unfortunately, some people never outgrow that either.





TiggerBear wrote:
I knew a handful of girls in late grade school and junior high who were into Tolkien and other fantasy authors.

There were probably more that I didn't know about because most kept their reading preferences a secret due to the strong social pressure against it.

A pre-teen/young teen girl who read fantasy was ostracized by other girls for not reading the popular teen romances and wasn't likely to get the hoped-for attention from boys, who weren't yet mature enough at that age to realize that it makes sense to have a girlfriend who likes the same books you do.

Tolkien is too advanced for young children and, by the time they're old enough to read it in about 6th or 7th grade, the gender role pressure is so intense that few girls would have ever outed themselves as enjoying something that didn't conform.

Sadly, a lot of people never really outgrow this.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
(chuckle) Well where I grew up just getting caught reading would label you as different. Just had to prove different did not mean unpopular.


Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

True, some people never grow past 6th grade.
Frequent Contributor
lorien
Posts: 770
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

[ Edited ]
The gender problem I'm finding in LOTR is not so much how he defines women but the lack of females to begin with. There are only four major females in the whole book. I think when we get down to Lobilia Sackville-Baggins and Shelob we are really hunting. So I was wondering what sort of females could he have included and yet be consistent with the semi-feudal times he is writing about.

I would have loved Denethor to have a Lady Macbeth wife. She could have been the one who got him to look into the palantir.

Message Edited by lorien on 03-26-2008 07:57 PM
Frequent Contributor
lorien
Posts: 770
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

I just thought of another good one. Sam could have been Frodo's wife. Tolkien could have kept almost all the situations and dialog the same. (I doubt if she could have carried him or all the pots and pans and probably would not be calling him sir.) But I could see everything working from Frodo trying to leave without her at Parth Galen to her defending him against Shelob. Some of the scenes would have been more touching--like their talks together and them thinking they were going to die together on Mount Doom. But I do think she would have gone with him on the ship to Gray Havens (after all Samantha was a Ring bearer).



lorien wrote:
The gender problem I'm finding in LOTR is not so much how he defines women but the lack of females to begin with. There are only four major females in the whole book. I think when we get down to Lobilia Sackville-Baggins and Shelob we are really hunting. So I was wondering what sort of females could he have included and yet be consistent with the semi-feudal times he is writing about.

I would have loved Denethor to have a Lady Macbeth wife. She could have been the one who got him to look into the palantir.

Message Edited by lorien on 03-26-2008 07:57 PM


Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Tolkien and the Female Gender

I've never checked, anyone know if or how many daughters Tolkien had. Would this have made a difference in the books?
Users Online
Currently online: 3 members 619 guests
Recent signins:
Please welcome our newest community members: