The past is a foreign country – isn’t that wonderful?

I think I’ve seen the #DiversityinSFF debate on Twitter about a month late (via Shannon Thompson’s blog – and thanks for liking my blog post on Facets of Ellen, Shannon).
Loving and reading about history – as I do – I think gives automatic exposure to “diversity”. Quote one: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”
Perhaps that’s actually the point about reading history: if the past was just like now, what would it have to say to us? It would be a very dull read. (Of course others say (quote 2): “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it“. This must be my day for quotes.)
So to contribute my little-and-late to the debate, here are two goddesses of war:
Pallas Athene, Greek goddess of just war and virginity. In Ancient Greek parthénos meant maiden, girl, virgin. The Parthenon in Athens is a temple to her virginity, which was celebrated by the Athenians. Perhaps not too surprising that after the Christians took away her cult statue they rededicated her temple to the Virgin Mary.
Ishtar, Babylonian goddess of war and sex. Ishtar was well known for her many lovers, amongst great gods and mere humans.
Aside: Famously, in what is officially the first known tale from history, the hero Gilgamesh refused Ishtar as a lover. Seriously? A god wants to be your lover – and not just any god but the god of sex – and you say… “No”? Silly, silly Gilgamesh. :-).
Okay, back to #DiversityinSFF. Isn’t fantasy the world of unbounded imagination? So I’d hope that at least SFF could go further than recorded history. Thinking (writing) aloud, let me see: a goddess of war, who is also goddess of peace? Or a goddess of defeat? Or a goddess who hates war and who hunts down warriors? A god of sex who is male (!) or asexual, or any other prefix that we can imagine before the words sexual or gender.
In stories we’re only limited by our imagination. So we have no limits at all. 🙂
There you go, debate settled: imagine anything and anyone. Come on, start now. How difficult can it be? 🙂
That just leaves me with a little time left over to solve world peace. With my name that should be no problem.