At my final meeting with my smaller writing group, we got into an interesting conversation about future societies, religion, technology and gender roles. It was fascinating to hear the different views.
It began with one of the submitted pieces which had a future human, non-earth society in which a restrictive polygamous religious community, equipped with high tech gear, had a gender role division where women were entirely subservient to men and a scarred woman would be given only as a third wife and possibly beaten and/or treated as the family drudge.
Now I can’t speak for the others in the discussion, but from my point of view this society was problematic for a few reasons. For a start it’s a projection forward from our own society, which has for the past century been slowly shifting away from treating women as subservient, rights-less chattel. Also, the more technology we have developed, the more empowered women have become because they’ve been freed from the time-consuming tasks for which they were previously responsible.
I could see that those things might be negated if a religious ‘prophet’ claimed this was what their deity decreed.
Interestingly though, I think what I and another crit-er objected to was exactly what made it so believable to those in the opposite camp; it is almost a stereotype. It is a familiar idea of a repression. It’s a familiar organisation for religious society. It’s a familiar image of polygamy.
This left us with an interesting contrast between ‘it’s happened before it could happen again’ and ‘it happened in the past but you’re writing about the future’. An excellent debate was had! One of the things I will miss about not being in crit-groups anymore.