The Wilding still isn’t available to the public yet, but I’m getting responses from test readers now. One of the themes readers are picking up on is the novel’s strong feminism.
This is a deliberate choice I made as an author for three reasons.
First, let’s get this out of the way: I am an unabashed feminist. If we carried cards, I’d have one and a name tag. There was a time when I thought it was cool to bash feminists because I hung out with boys I wanted to impress and those boys thought feminists hated men. I’m no longer interested in impressing boys by putting down feminism. I’m interested in impressing boys by showing them how kickass girls are and how we’re more alike than different. And if I need to assign a label to myself to help them understand saying putdowns like “throwing like a girl” and “being a girl” are offensive, so be it. I grew up outdoors and playing sports, and now I work in a field dominated by men. I cuss; I spit; I burp; I fart; I scratch places I shouldn’t in polite company. All of those things don’t make me manly. They make me human.
Second, why would I go through the trouble of imagining a whole different world and society, and then bring in all the hangups of sexism? It surprises me when so many fantasy pieces not only use the Medieval era time but also bring in problems like sexism and racism. If you imagine another world, there are going to be so many things that transform the society living there. It’s like the sit-com premise that if you go back in time and step on a bug, then when you come back to the present, humans all have three eyes. Human nature is not inherently sexist, so why do we always assume a fantasy world must have sexism?
That brings me to my third and final point: The Wilding is set in the horse nation of Eachann. Has anyone ever seen sexism in a band of horses? If anything, a band is a great example of feminism. The alpha mare is as important as the stallion. There is a division of sexes, yes, but no one is more equal.
Basically, what I’m saying is this: why not create a world without sexism? It’s like a world filled with horses. What’s not to like?