iewi: feet (Default)
Something to consider when writing a fantasy where there are two sentient species that coexist is that for about 5000 years, Neanderthals coexisted with modern humans, and either went extinct or interbred themselves away as a separate species. Below are two separate hypothetical family trees for the genus Homo (yes, I know, ha-ha).

Chris Stringer's hypothesisReed et al.'s hypothesis
(The darker image is Chris Stringer's, the lighter with tan is Reed et al.'s. Neither endorse this bit piece I'm writing.)

Note how shortly (in evolutionary terms) after H. sapiens arrived, other species in the genus went extinct. This isn't the case for everything, even everything that interbreeds, but it certainly is something to consider.

Toodeloo,
iewi: feet (Default)
One thing I notice when I read graphic novels or watch television set as a fantasy (looking at you, Game of Thrones) is that the women are hairless. Completely hairless, except for the hair on their heads and maybe some unobtrusive hairs on their arms. When this happens in a pseudo-Western-European fantasy, it shows me that the author/adapter either didn't research whether or not women shaved in the era in which it was set (the answer is, for medieval Europe, no, no they did not), didn't care (or wanted the women to look "pretty" according to modern standards of beauty), or didn't think about this. These are all stupid reasons, and people should start thinking through this.
It makes little sense for women to shave because:
  • Women didn't, as a rule, go into battle, where hair gets pulled, and thus needs to be minimal
  • No one except for intimate partners and certain servants would actually see a woman's legs or armpits
  • Hair actually keeps you warmer in the winter, which is important in pre-central-heating Europe (of course, you have the Roman version of central heating, but no one really used that anymore. I don't know why.)
  • The only implements they would have had to shave with would be distinctly non-safety blades.
  • This is before knowledge of germs, so the above blade would probably be unsanitary, leading to possible infection and death every time you nicked yourself (And guess when you nick yourself the most often? Oh yeah, when you have to shave in an awkward, fatty place. Like the back of your legs (especially since the medieval standard of beauty included some fatty padding. See Renaissance/Medieval paintings of women))
  • If you were a common woman, you wouldn't have time to shave.
So, there would be no reason to shave, and plenty of reasons not to do so. This is an example of why you should think through like everything that you believe or do. Because then when you try to write a different culture, you fail.

Sorry for the rant.
Bye,

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iewi

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