Egalia’s Daughter by Gerd Brantenberg is an interesting and informative feministic fantasy novel that illustrates the paradox of human nature. Brantenberg uses satire to espouse that social prejudices are not caused by physical characteristics of individuals, rather, they are due to cultural, historical, and economic reasons. In this novel, Brantenberg reverses the contemporary gender-roles in order to deconstruct the conventional prejudices that prevail towards the two sexes. Consequently, the novel realigns the ordinary social setting from being patriarchal to matriarchal, which enables the author to critic the biases that prevail in the current society.
Petronius, who is the male protagonist in the novel, illustrates the gender biases that exist in the current society. In the beginning of the novel, he asks his mother Ruth Bram if he can become a seaman when he grows up. Unfortunately, she rebukes his idea and alludes that he is destined to stay at home and take care of his future children. Bram’s view is in line with that of Egalsund, the matriarchal society where she resides. In this society, women are the head of the family and the government, while men take care of children. Bram’s remarks clearly show that Petronius does not have a say over his future. Interestingly, just like women in patriarchal societies, he can be passed over for a job or any promotion despite his skills or effort. This form of bias is commonly referred to as “the glass ceiling.” Therefore, like most women in patriarchal societies, he may be paid less than a woman and be subjected to more scrutiny and criticism because of his gender.
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