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ace manifesto, of sorts (Day 6)

Awhile back, I mentioned writing an ace manifesto for Darcy, because (1) it struck me that I'd mostly written and therefore read him that way, (2) the assumption that he's this super-macho ultra-heterosexual manly man has always annoyed me, and (3) the assumption that all characters are straight and sexual until proven otherwise annoys me even more.  I didn't actually do it, because strangers scare me and also, I've been busy writing research papers and I was rather meta'd out for a bit there. 

However, I, uh, may have written have written it in fic form.  And by "may," I mean that I don't clearly remember writing it, but hey look, what's this on my hard drive?  I suspect it was very late and I was very sleepy, given that the awe-inspiring title was "acemanifesto_fic (Darcy)," but in any case, here it is.  

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Title:  Anomaly

Fanverse:  canon-compliant

Blurb:  For Darcy, Elizabeth is different in every possible way.

Characters:  Fitzwilliam Darcy

Pairings/tags/warnings:  Darcy/Elizabeth, asexuality, demisexuality; I might have achieved my lifelong ambition of ruining everything

Length:  one-shot (637 words, not counting footnotes)

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Fitzwilliam Darcy was a man of principle and integrity, austere in his habits and discriminating in his tastes.  In addition to this, he was detached, cool-tempered, and unsociable by disposition.  He would not have known how to seduce a woman even if he had ever felt inclined to do so.

He never had. 

He admired women, after his fashion.  Certainly he enjoyed the sight of handsome features or an elegant figure as much as the next man.  Yet somehow that enjoyment had never transformed itself into anything beyond the pleasure he found in his grounds, or elegant architecture, or a fine illuminated manuscript, much less desire.1

He needed to marry, of course.  Eventually, he would: but not now. 2 He was young and healthy, and he did not want – he meant, he did not intend to marry before Georgiana came of age.  It would be a cold, comfortless duty that impelled him to take a wife, but his duty to Georgiana was nothing of the kind.  He could not imagine that any woman, however amiable, would appreciate coming second to his sister. 

It would be best if she married, perhaps at twenty or one-and-twenty.  It was young, but not too young, and they should be able to find someone kind, gentle, and accommodating in that time.  However rare such men were, he knew they existed – why, he knew one of them already, in his friend Bingley.

Bingley, in fact, would be very well-suited to her. 3 Perhaps – in time – well, in five or six years, he would do what he could about it.  Bingley might even be willing to take Georgiana’s name, and their children could inherit Pemberley.  Darcy wouldn’t need to marry at all.

Then he met Elizabeth. 

He didn’t remember meeting her, but he didn’t remember most insignificant things. 4 He knew her now and he had not before, so clearly they had met at some point and were now – acquaintances?  Not friends, but –

It took him a ridiculous amount of time to understand what they were.  In twenty-seven years of life, he’d never been more bewitched5 by a woman than he’d been by a glade of trees, and now he felt something different. It was strange, foreign, bewildering.  For the first time in many years, he had no idea what he should do, or say, or think.

He couldn’t bring himself to speak to her.6  He had never been shy, but this was different, it was –  he’d never felt anything like this before.7  He didn’t know how one went about being infatuated.  So he worked up his courage by way of listening to her, and talked eagerly when she finally spoke to him

He wasn’t in love with her then and he didn’t want to marry her.  He didn’t want to marry anyone.  But nothing other than marriage ever occurred to him, either.8  If he couldn’t marry her, he couldn’t have anything with her – and he certainly couldn’t marry her, until he could.

It took the utmost force of passion for that, just as he said in his letter.  It wasn’t that he’d wanted to marry, or that he required a – a companion.  He’d never wanted any of that, and he still didn’t, apart from Elizabeth. It wasn’t him, it was her.  Something about her was different, or made him different, or – or something, but it wasn’t passion in general.  Just her.

Much later, when he was safely married, he looked at Elizabeth and said, “I have never – ”

Then he stopped, because that sentence could only lead to I have never lain with anyone else, and that wasn’t what he meant at all.  He had no words for what he did mean.  Perhaps it could never be explained or expressed aloud – least of all to Elizabeth.

At any rate, it no longer mattered.  Everything was different now.
 

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Day 6: What is your favourite female-driven show?

So, I went through the very short list of shows that I watch, and Bones is really the only one I could call 'female-driven.'  Even that's a stretch; IMO, while it is feminist to its core, it's less female-driven than both male- and female-driven.  Simply the fact of having about equal proportions of male and female characters with about equal narrative importance comes off as female-driven, but -- eh.  No.

Then I had to try and remember the shows I watched as a teenager and even earlier - very few of which were female-driven - and finally, out of the fog of memory (and male-dominated everything) one shining example emerged.  Not from my adolescence, not from my preadolescence, but from very early childhood:

She-Ra: Princess of Power.

I loved She-Ra. Princess Adora.  Whomever.  First of all, she was a blonde girl who didn't sit placidly in the corner -- I was blonde as a child, and the "blonde = boringly good, redhead/brunette = ambiguous but interesting" thing pretty much always annoyed me.  I grew up on Disney and while I loved Cinderella and Aurora and Ariel and Belle, come on.  Éowyn wins points for me on this factor alone, but I was a bit young for Lord of the Rings then.  So she's blonde and pretty, wears gold and white, heals with the purity of her spirit and, oh yeah, she totally kicks ass.

She has epic superpowers, royal heritage from another planet, a determination to do right FOR GREAT JUSTICE, and a mild and gentle alternate identity in what passes for a normal world.  It's like Superman, only a girl and it's fantasy, so she also has a supercool pony who magically transforms into a flying unicorn, a magic sword that unleashes her powers, and a secret twin brother who breaks her free of her brainwashing, but doesn't really define her character in any other way.  In fact, after she reunites with their parents, she decides she has to go off and do her own thing all on her own. So, pretty much a direct aversion of Female Success Is Family.  It's more like Female Success Happens, and also there are relatives out there somewhere.

Also, her local Reasonable Authority Figure is a woman and queen regnant.  Her milder best friend, Glimmer, is a girl and a princess.  Who likes purple.  Her archenemy, Catra the awesome, also female.  (You can tell Catra is evil because she wears black all the time.)  I'm pretty sure Spirit/Swift Wind, the magic pony/unicorn/pegasus thing, is female too.  Okay, she has some kind of flying sidekick with rainbow ears who's a boy of sorts -- oh yeah, and there's Bowman too.  I don't remember anything about him except Adora rescuing him a few times.  The local sage is the Sorceress, who I only remember being like BUT THOU MUST without ever explaining anything, but she was cool.

There's only one remotely memorable guy, apart from He-Man himself, and that's the hilariously over the top Hordak.  He teamed up with Skeletor back in the day, and then double-crossed him and kidnapped Adora and raised her to be an OTT Tykebomb, and then there's something about some artifact that's powered by will or something.  Oh, and his voice is hilarious

Oh, and in my favourite of the books (why yes, there were books!  and crossovers! and tiny 80s action figures that gave Adora red hair damn them), there was this sort of nice but also sort of creepy widower wizard guy in this castle where there's no time or something, and he holds Adora and Glimmer captive because he's so lonely, and they get to wear these awesome pimped-out dresses and there's a little girl (his daughter?) who will presumably never grow up and between the three of them they convince the depressed wizard to let Adora and Glimmer go out save the world some more. 

Also, it sort of doubled as a pride parade, which was cool too.  Quite apart from the colour schemes, pretty much everybody checked everybody else out all the time. The Les Yay between Adora and Glimmer, and Adora and Catra for your daily dose of Foe Yay, was pretty much epic. 

Also-also, Adora had one of the best battle cries-cum-transformation-sequence-initiators ever:  BY THE HONOUR OF GREYSKULL, I! AM! SHE-RA!

She-Ra = endless win.

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1Given the very first scene and several afterwards, it's obvious that Darcy appreciates beauty in women. Well, in the sense that a caustic art critic "appreciates" Thomas Kincaid. Later, it becomes evident that his preference for elegance and prettiness is not remotely limited to human beings.

2Marriage is clearly not high on Darcy's list of things he ought to try out before thirty: He really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger. (P&P, Ch 10)

3From all Bingley's connections her [Georgiana's] brother was particularly anxious to conceal it [her elopement], from that very wish which Elizabeth had long ago attributed to him [Darcy], of their [Bingley's family] becoming hereafter her [Georgiana's] own. (P&P, Ch 45)

He's not doing much to bring the pairing about, apart from being a bit more invested in Bingley's affairs than he'd be otherwise, so I tend to think this is some long-term planning. In canon, of course, there's no implication that his shipping is motivated by anything other than Georgiana's welfare; it's a bit less altruistic here.

4This is entirely my own take on events, mostly because I doubt that first scene had any particular significance for Darcy, yet it's often treated as if it must have been as deeply imprinted on his mind as Elizabeth's. Since we have little idea of the timeline for Darcy and Elizabeth's early interactions and none at all about when they were even introduced, canon does allow for this interpretation. Barely.

5Bewitched is the word Darcy himself uses for his feelings, in Ch 10 (see below).

6He began to wish to know more of her, and as a step towards conversing with her himself, attended to her conversation with others. (Ch 6, P&P) Darcy seriously has no clue how to express attraction normally: perhaps because he's that inept, or perhaps because it just hasn't come up before, and he never really expected that it would.

7Cf Ch 10 -- Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. This implies that he's felt something for other women, which (1) I'm here interpreting as a squish mixture of purely aesthetic and platonic attraction, and (2) is entirely eclipsed by even his early, comparatively weak feelings for Elizabeth at this point. It's one explanation of how he's so utterly blindsided by even the slightest trace of attraction.

8He wisely resolved to be particularly careful that no sign of admiration should now escape him, nothing that could elevate her with the hope of influencing his felicity; sensible that if such an idea had been suggested, his behaviour during the last day must have material weight in confirming or crushing it. Steady to his purpose, he scarcely spoke ten words to her through the whole of Saturday, and though they were at one time left by themselves for half an hour, he adhered most conscientiously to his book, and would not even look at her. (Ch 12, P&P)

It's amazing how many fanfics interpret this as "I should totes make her my mistress, but she might not go for it."
 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
elizabeth_hoot
Mar. 21st, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
Ooh, a P&P question!

This issue is sort of straightforward, but also sort of not, because it's property law -- so it'll be a bit rambly, sorry! Also, I have no real knowledge of British law aside from Austen, so I mayn't have understood everything perfectly.

The thing with Rosings and Longbourn is that not all inheritances were created equal. Sometimes a landowner would set up an entailment -- a legal device that, among other things, restricted inheritance of his property to certain people: direct descendants, direct male descendants, male descendants of any kind (nephews and the like), all sons except the second (or whichever), even female descendants, though that was very rare.

In the Bennet case, an earlier Bennet laid out an entailment that said something like "my property will pass to heirs male of my body, and if there be no heirs, to my nephew So-and-so Collins and heirs male of his body." If I recall correctly, entailments usually lasted three generations, so it was probably Mr Bennet's father who set it up.

Other kinds of entailments didn't specify heirs male, and of course some properties weren't entailed at all. Lady Catherine informs all and sundry that the de Bourghs didn't think it was necessary to entail Rosings away from women -- so either it's not entailed at all, or it's entailed to male and female descendants alike.

Lady Catherine may or may not have inherited it herself, by the way. It may legally be Anne's, but Lady Catherine has her under her thumb; it may be Lady Catherine's for life, then go to Anne's; or Lady Catherine might have inherited it in full. We don't anything except that it's not a fee tail male (the kind of entailment that's on Longbourn).

(For a really thorough explanation, there's this essay: http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/printed/number11/redmond.htm )
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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