Edited 7/17/2013: Good news all of you Fairy Sex seekers! As of today, July 17, our latest book, Love’s Nest, is available on Ellora’s Cave (and now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and other stores!). It’s chock full of sex with fairies! So, while this actual blog entry is no doubt not what you are looking for, I believe that the book very well may be! So, check it out!
Last night, six year old Bikini Bird asked me, “Mom, why, in the old days, did women have to wear dresses all of the time? And what would happen to them if they didn’t?”
I told her that it was the culture of the time and I hedged a bit about what might happen if the women didn’t wear dresses. I told her, “Well, since it was considered the rule of the culture back then, if she didn’t, she might be shunned. Do you know what that means? It means they would ignore her, and not talk to her anymore.”
I did not add, “If she was lucky.” I did not say, “They might brutalize her or murder her for daring to wear a pants, for ‘impersonating a man’, for not providing easy access to what they believed belonged to them, for being different and other than the norm.” I did not tell her that it is theorized that women continued to wear dresses once men had started to wear pants because they were the garb of children and women were considered to be the same as children, and that both were considered property of the male – something that could be bought and sold. I did not tell her that men might have raped a woman for wearing pants, to put her in her place, or murdered her as a lesson to others. Or prosecuted her as a witch.
I did not tell her these things still happen today, and that they are happening to her in tiny ways that add up every time she internalizes the message that what matters about girls is what they look like. She’s too young to have her current world view, so full of possibility and confidence, shattered all at once, and we’ve come far enough now that letting her dream her dreams isn’t as dangerous as it once was. It is marginally safer, though still not altogether safe, to hope that she’ll get to live her dreams, and not have her sexuality, her womb, her body, and her life dictated entirely by people who want to rein it in and break it.
Wait, I know what you’re saying. I got into this post for the title. Sex with fairies! Where’s the sex with fairies? Come on, woman! Deliver!
In my recent research on fairy tales, I started to look into historical fairy lore and the way that fairies and the concept of them have been treated historically in the past. In today’s time, most people would concur that fairies are made-up, fictional creatures. (Note that I say ‘most’ not ‘all’ because some Pagans, Wiccans, etc, believe in the fae folk today.) But, not even two hundred years ago, people took fairies really seriously. Like deadly seriously.
Take the case of Bridget Clearly who, in the late 1800s, was killed by her husband because he believed she had been abducted by fairies and returned as a changeling. The post I just linked to is some fascinating reading, but I will pull out a relevant quotes:
In Bridget Cleary we have a woman who is seen as other, an outsider in her community because of her differences, differences which are particularly marked for a woman in nineteenth century Ireland where an assertive, opinionated and financially independent woman without children is very much seen as an anomaly. In the March 29, 1895 Cork Examiner special report on her death, the reporter, having interviewed locals, describes Bridget as
“a bit queer” in her ways, and this they attribute to a certain superiority over the people with whom she came into contact . . . Her attire . . . is not that of every woman in the same social plane (Bourke 2000, 43).
The Digital Medievalist goes on to discuss how the ‘cure’ that Bridget endured at her husband’s hands amounted to oral rape, as she was restrained and hurtful objects thrust into her mouth against her will.
Bridget Cleary was perceived as dangerous and engaging in risky behavior; Michael Cleary objected to her going to the rath, and did all he could to “bring her back.” Underlying his frantic, desperate efforts, almost certainly, was the fear that Bridget might not want to come back. In court testimony from Johanna Burke, Bridget is said to have told her husband, shortly before he set her on fire, “Your mother used to go with the fairies, and that is why you think I am going with them.” Michael Cleary asked Bridget, “Did my mother tell you that?” She said, “She did; that she gave two nights with them” (Folklore 1895, 375). There’s a very definite sexual connotation to “she gave two nights with them,” particularly given the numerous references to fairies taking mortal lovers in medieval literature and folklore.
The sexual nature behind the accusation that a woman has been abducted by fairies is clear. Women who might be perceived as possibly having a lover, of perhaps making a choice that includes sexual congress with an otherworld creature, or simply an ‘other’ human period, was too dangerous to allow to exist in the world. Any defiance had to be thwarted and throttled, and if necessary destroyed, even if it took the body of the woman with it. In Bridget’s case, she was eventually burned alive for being different.
This post may have focused on women, but it is true of boys and men who in any way break society’s rules for them, too, and perhaps dare to look like women. The world isn’t safe for anyone in this world who breaks the assigned gender norms – not then, and sadly not now either.
So, sweet Bikini Bird, my dear, back in the old days, when they shunned a woman, it didn’t mean that they just didn’t talk to her and that ‘nothing bad really happened to them’ as you put it. If a woman didn’t wear a dress or follow her gender norms to a T, she might have been ‘othered’ to the point of being seen as dangerous in society’s eyes. They might have decided she was raped by fairies and changed entirely from a human woman to a thing to be destroyed.
Sweet Bikini Bird, the truth is that happens even still. The truth is we humans are still cruel and vicious like that. The truth is we might no longer blame our fear and rage on fairies, as in the things with wings, but we do still sometimes blame it on fairies, as in boys who like boys, or on dykes, girls who like girls. Sweet Bikini Bird, sex with fairies is still rife with danger because of human fear of the ‘other’, and women who don’t wear dresses are still seen as ‘wrong’ and ‘too masculine’. Just look at Hillary Clinton and her pantsuits.
Oh, my darling child, people who are ‘different’ are at risk today of being killed by others hands or by their own in utter despair. This world, Bikini Bird, still needs so much more love. But I’m not ready for you to see yet just how unkind this world truly is at times. Let me instead fail to disagree with your assertion that today nothing truly bad happens to girls who wear pants…as I watch you put on your dress for school.