Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Relations" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Okay, I'm back, and I've got five separate stories to write about, so these will be brief.

Here begins the legend of the Turkey Day Marathon

The first story, which I read on Friday, was a little disturbing to me, but not in any way that I think was intended. On one level, it's the story about a woman that possesses hereditary magical powers who uses these powers to make random people fall hopelessly in love with her, then bend them to her will, discarding them once they, as she puts it, "break" and cease to be interesting. Somewhat unsurprisingly, she ends up coming across a man that she cannot make fall in love with her. Instead, she falls in love with him (it turns out that his family have similar powers). The only difference is that he appears to be kind to her while she is cruel to her prey, and there is no indication that he will leave her. Sweet, isn't it?

Except that, read on another level, this story could pretty disturbing. It could also be said that this is a story of a strong (but admittedly evil) woman who goes through life taking what she wants, until she comes across a man that is stronger than her, whom she falls hopelessly in love with. He even draws her into a traditional role of wife by giving her the one thing she could never have before, a child (she was previously barren). And, as we all know, all any woman really wants is a strong man and a child. Barefoot and pregnant!

So, to say the least, this story bothers me a little. I won't go so far as saying that it's sexist, since it was written by a woman, but I'm not sure I agree with the message it seems to convey.

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