A reader’s perspective of the dynamics of power.
Power seems to be an interesting thing. I’m not sure how many people sit around and think about how much power they actually have, or maybe they do. I guess I should say, I don’t usually sit around and think about how much power I have. But in reality, it seems it plays a large role in our society. I mean you hear about it all the time in regards to Wall Street or money or political clout or even professional athletes. If you look up the definition in the dictionary (or on-line since I’m thinking most of us don’t actually have physical dictionaries at our disposal anymore) power seems to have different meanings. The first one I kind of like, it’s the “ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something.” For me that seems like an inner strength and definitely something I would want listed on my resume! A different definition talks about, “the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy.” That is scary! I mean should anyone really control someone else? But then that is what the military is all about right? Or most professional job settings for that matter? The person in charge has the power to assign tasks to junior personnel. That’s why they get paid the big bucks right? Well who wouldn’t want to be that person in charge!?
In Rebekah Weatherspoons’ At Her Feet Suzanne Kim didn’t want it. Instead she asks Pilar to take it. And in a way, wouldn’t it be nice for someone else to make all the decisions for you? I totally didn’t appreciate my childhood when my mom picked out my clothes for me (plaid pants), decided what was going to be in my school lunches (hard-boiled eggs and bananas), made me take a bath when I was too stinky (basically every night), and told me when it was time to go to bed. But, after so many years of adulthood and making my own decisions as well as accepting all the consequences, could I and would I really be ready to give up that power to someone else? There’s just something about those consequences that seem to make us the person we are today and yet, Rebekah Weatherspoon, allows for all of these to factor in as she explores the power relationship between these two women.
There was a power relationship in Kenna White’s Comfortable Distance between Dana and Shannon that showed up a little differently. When you are in a relationship with someone should there be any power of one individual over the other? I mean I definitely ask Kim her opinion about outfits when we are going out. In large part because I don’t want to be wearing the wrong thing for the activity, but another equally large part is that I want to make sure I look like I’m worthy of being with Kim. Would it be considered a power position that Kim could veto an outfit? Or what if Kim started with just laying out my clothes or telling me specifically what to wear- would that be a power play? Makes for an interesting storyline where the emotions can get ramped up pretty quick.
So what about the other power, the one about doing and accomplishing something? The one that goes on the resume? How about the resume of Thalia d’Angelis in Nell Stark’s The Princess and the Prix? Talk about accomplishing something! This woman is the first woman on the F1 podium. Seriously awesome story and actually made me want to watch a Formula One race just to appreciate the skill and detail that Nell Stark uses to create this character. No doubt, this woman has the power to be a kick-butt driver. One that is equal to her male counterparts. So why are the expectations for her at such a different standard? It’s almost like that other kind of power coming into play. Something that is happening today with the US Women’s National Soccer Team. A team that has surpassed their male counterparts in regards to success yet an organization has the power to pay them less for their accomplishments. After reading The Princess and the Prix I had an even greater appreciation with all that is happening in the balance between men and women in the professional sports arena.
The power of accomplishment and the power of control is also explored in Karis Walsh’s Worth the Risk. Kate Brown has accomplished something in her life as an equestrian. Everything except one last challenge that she hopes to take on and conquer as soon as she gets the funding. Enter the person with the money- Jamie Callahan. Power of accomplishment against power of control. Is it even a fair fight? It seems like it could be the most frustrating thing in the world to have a plan, a goal and to see the path to that goal. Yet there is that one unknown and one person who can put a bend in that path because they have a say in how that path is travelled. Sort of. It was an interesting combination in my opinion all wrapped up into a fun lesfic read.
All this power by all these amazing lesfic authors. Power does actually seem to be in our everyday lives. So how does it play into your lesfic reading? What stories have you noticed a power dynamic and what type of power dynamic has it been? Our lesfic authors are pretty awesome at these wonderful stories and giving us all something to think about.