Monday, 17 November 2008

Kids and blindness

I've been visiting a few schools in the Cambridgeshire area recently to observe lessons. I want to be a teacher and actually being in the classroom is really good fun. However, I still can't believe how many of the kids laughed or made comments about my hair, often to the effect of 'She's a man' or similar. Often these kids were boys with long hair. I really wanted to ask them calmly, 'Haven't you ever seen a woman with short hair? You ought to get out more,' but I guess it's no different to how frequently adults tend to slate people's appearance (often for being so mainstream rather than 'out there', in fact). I was also quite taken aback with what was essentially a form of bigotry amongst these kids, but I suppose you learn how flimsy your prejudices are one step at a time. I certainly have been, so blaming the children would be a bit hypocritical.

Has anyone ever found any fantasy literature with significant homosexual content? I'm not the widest ever reader of decent (non-erotic) fantasy, and I assume it must exist somewhere, but I'm currently trying to write something along these lines, about a made-up society that criminalises homosexuality and executes for it - and how it flourishes in a military school for girls, where all sexual stereotypes are stripped away and the body becomes simply a tool for work and violence, unsexed, streamlined. Of course it's the nature of society to recuperate these challenges to sexual values, and indeed some of the warriors who emerge from the school quickly become mistresses of the males in power - but what about the ones who find ways for their feelings to become acceptable? What if Twelfth Night meets the Taleban? What if, under the blind eyes of the law, the line between female and male can blur?

I'm getting a bit carried away with blurby hooks. But still. I think there are still stories to be told - or perhaps retold - to make people sit up and think. And that's why I'm in the business.

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