"Binarist analysis of gender and Norse magic doesn’t hold up to scrutiny because 'multiple gender conceptions and same-sex relations... are cross-culturally consistent [which defies and] deconstructs the simplistic Western conflation of gender and sex' as simply male/man and female/woman the binary being forced onto the data is a construct that did not exist in the society being analyzed.”
I could get into a fanatical gush about how neat it is that someone’s actually written an academic paper looking at these areas of the mythology that have always fascinated me, but I won’t. Because I could literally talk about this stuff for hours.
I’ll just leave this with a quick reminder to think about things beyond the binary of male/female (or black/white or straight/gay, or, you know, any other binary system you can think of) when you’re writing. We have a tendency to take the lazy way out and utilize the binary systems we grew up with, partially because they’re easier and partially because we just don’t think about this stuff. But if we as creators want to make things that truly resonate with our audience and represent the world in a realistic way (yes, even if you’re writing fantasy), we need to remember that nothing fits into the nice little binary boxes.
Let’s build more fictional societies where gender identification and presentation isn’t confined to just ‘male’ or ‘female.’ Let’s create more characters that refuse to stay on a spectrum with only two points. Most of all, let’s stretch ourselves as both creators and human beings, and try to look beyond the false binaries all around us.