I'm writing a story, and it's like this so far: A boy watches his family get slaughtered before him, he has to become a slave to survive, and then somehow ends up in the position to save a kingdom.

Now, that's not the part I'm worried about. What I'm worried about is if the society (and culture) is too sexist. Here's how it goes:

(Hierarchy) Fertile women are the most valued, barren women the second most valued, children third, fertile men fourth, and barren men third. Trans people are allowed to transition, but only to a certain point and have a certain role in society. Trans women must wear a band around their arm and are in a social position that is less than children, but higher than fertile males. Trans men are looked down upon even more than a barren male, but hold the same position as an asexual male. Homosexuals can exist, but it depends on your gender for what your social position is. Lesbians are looked upon higher than fertile women or heterosexual women, but gay men are looked down upon more than fertile men, but not as much as barren men (since they can have sex with women, but don't want to). Asexual men are looked down upon more than gay men, but not as much as barren men (due to the fact that they don't want to have sex at all). Girls are seen as higher than boys.

(Values) Fertility, gender, sexuality, birth status, and age are valued very much, depending on which group it is. A fertile person is seen higher than a barren person, a woman is seen higher than a man, a lesbian is seen higher than a heterosexual woman, a heterosexual woman is seen higher than a heterosexual man, a heterosexual man is seen higher than a gay man, a cis woman is seen higher than a trans woman, a trans woman is seen higher than a man, a fertile man is seen higher than a trans man, a trans man is seen higher than a barren man, women are seen higher than children, children are seen higher than men, and so forth.

(Political power and representation) Women are leaders much more often, while men are rarely leaders and sometimes not even allowed to be leaders. Men are common soldiers, or other workers. Women can choose to be common soldiers, but it's looked down upon.

(Child preference) Girls are preferred to boys, and even though there are about 108 boys born for every 100 girls, boys are usually killed off or left to die so that there are about 73 boys for every 100 girls (42.2% of all surviving children). When they grow to the age of 16 (adult in this world), there are about 61 boys for every girl (37.89% of all surviving people at this age). As it people get older, there is a 2% decrease of men each year.

There is also rampant misandry, wars (there is almost never a time when there isn't some sort of war going on), great divide between rich and poor, queen bee syndrome, more violence, and more.

My purpose in writing this is to have a story in which people can see a boy rescue a kingdom, but I also want to show people the effects of misandry and other discrimination without shoving it in people's faces, but still show that it is there. I'm also expierimenting with what a matirarchy would most look like.

My question is, Is it too sexist? If so, in what ways? How can I fix it? Etc.

I know that some people will say that it's too much no matter what, but that's not the point of my question. The point is to see if it's TOO sexist and how to fix that.

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    I personally don't think it's too sexist (unless you want to get ugly with misandry), but this looks too convoluted, and an average reader may be detracted by that.
    – Alexander
    May 19, 2020 at 23:33
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    I think whether this is "too sexist" has almost nothing to do with the structure, rules and customs of your fictional society, and almost everything to do with the way you present it to the reader. There's a big difference between, say, the following example presentations: a) this society is a perfect utopia; b) this society is a reflection of the way real men suffer horribly at the hands of those evil feminist women in our modern world; c) this society is a dystopia which treats some of its citizens horribly based on factors they cannot control, so they need to fight for justice. May 20, 2020 at 0:12
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    Seems like more of a worldbuilding question so I have nothing to add beyond agreeing with @DM_with_secrets any 'sexism' is in the story you tell. It's pretty standard that any re-imagined society would have flaws otherwise where is the conflict –– except… why are lesbians better than hetero women? Because of male contact and male cooties…? Isn't that contradictory to the whole fertility-thing? I think there are some flaws in your hierarchy, hard to say what angle you're trying for with your setup, but the presumption is it's a dystopia…. It's pretty much always a dystopia.
    – wetcircuit
    May 20, 2020 at 18:04
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    If I'm going to be honest, I have to admit it telegraphs like a sexist strawman argument in the vein of "The Pre-persons" by Philip K Dick..., but I'd wait to hear who the characters are and the main conflict before I committed to criticism. The reason is the focus on fertility-as-value – that is what guys write when they try to write about women… Like giving Black Widow™ a broken vagina instead of a character flaw (or a character). it's a flashing red light (and inherently anti-feminist so it raises lots of worldbuilding questions), but I assume it's intentional to attract a certain reader.
    – wetcircuit
    May 20, 2020 at 18:57
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    That's obvious, the worldbuild-y dichotomy is: 'how did the world get to be this way' when it doesn't seem to resemble what women want now (it's not satiric progression of today's world taken to the nth). Again, always the assumption of dystopia, but I don't understand how a society with lesbians at the top hasn't been (re)structured around a lesbian value system. That's why it rings like a strawman argument or a transgressive sex fantasy – both of which are 'allowed' to be as sexist as can be… The only reason to worry about being labeled 'too' sexist is if you want it to be taken seriously.
    – wetcircuit
    May 20, 2020 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


I do not think that a sexist world is necessarily bad in a book. Margaret Atwood has written books in worlds sexist and otherwise discriminating and gotten praised for it. As long as your character is not a supporter of an this institution - e.g. he feels he should be equal, he has male best friends - or you show that the system does not work, it should not be badly received by a majority of readers.

However, this may not be true. Many people may still find this very sexist and evil. Therefore, I would suggest possibly marginalizing the description of the social position you have here. Ignoring the intricacies - only telling the reader that women are in charge, and that some women are better than others, may allow your readers to ignore the discrimination.

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    The point of the story isn't going to be the matriarchy. The matriarchy is going to be a part of the story, just not the point. I'm expiriementing with how a matriarchy would most likely look like. It's not going to be that obvious, but people will still be able to tell it. Thanks for your feedback, it really helps! May 21, 2020 at 16:37
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    "I do not think that a sexist world is necessarily bad in a book. Margaret Atwood has written books in worlds sexist and otherwise discriminating and gotten praised for it." Right, this is the big idea: a book set in a sexist world is a completely different thing from a sexist book. May 22, 2020 at 10:07

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