Civic Imagination: Wheel of Time On Amazon Prime and Feminism

The Wheel of Time is a new show on Amazon Prime that was released in November 2021. It is based on the novels by authors Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson and is set in a whimsical and fantasized world where mythical creatures like dragons and ogres live among others. Those who can conjure magic and channel it are called Aeis Sedai and Moiraine Damondred, played by Rosamund Pike, is one of them and her goal is to find the Dragon who is prophecized to be a man or woman who can channel and is the most powerful channeler that has ever been known, reincarnated. This is where the story starts.

Photo Credits: IMDB.com

Aeis Sedai can only be female and hold a lot of power over the land, in fact, it is called the One Power and these women can tap into the source and use it however they like. They live in the White Tower located in the White City. Instead of kings and queens and other nobility, these women are the nobility. The Amyrlin Seat is the ruler of all of the Aeis Sedai and she is responsible for maintaining peace and carrying out justice when it comes to the One Power. The Council is the group of 13 women who are superiors among their Ajahs, the name of the seven groups of Aeis Sedai with different disciplines. The Seven Ajahs are discernable by the colors they wear, Blue, Green, Yellow, Red, White, Gray and Brown. They provide guideance to the Amyrlin Seat in making decisions. There are no men guards, Aeis Sedai are appointed Warders who are men who serve them to fight by their side no matter what and are extremely loyal to these women in power, but women are the real military milita in this world.

Pictured is the counsil in the series, and the Amyrlin Seat sits in the thone in the foreground. Photo Credits: ScreenRant.org

This whole notion of women in power and men serving beneath them is putting current gender roles in it’s place. Though it is a fantasy world, the politics are a reimagined alternative to how our current government is run. Instead of founding fathers, there are these powerful women who have existed for centuries and who have shaped history and time in this series. It’s a powerful and provoking message and holds the feminist agenda at the forefront of the story. Although we have made a lot of progress in getting women in politics, we are still far from an ideal political arena where women and men are equals in terms of the power they hold and authority. UN Women found that “As of 1 September 2021, there are 26 women serving as Heads of State and/or Government in 24 countries. At the current rate, gender equality in the highest positions of power will not be reached for another 130 years.” This is a systemic issue that requires a deep change in the way we educate young women on their potential and enforcing change by fighting against the patriarchy that has run our government and society for far too long.

Women empowerment is a necessity and we can achieve this by simply raising our concious to acknowledge and call out behavior in all aspects of our life that is inherently sexist or anti-feminist. We need to make these changes on a fundamental level to promote diversity in our politics. The UN Women data also states that by expanding participation, “Women demonstrate political leadership by working across party lines through parliamentary women’s caucuses—even in the most politically combative environments—and by championing issues of gender equality, such as the elimination of gender-based violence, parental leave and childcare, pensions, gender-equality laws, and electoral reform.” We need women in politics because they will fight for women related issues that men otherwise wouldn’t simply because it is either not an issue for them or it is something they don’t see as being as big of a problem.

In this MS Magazine article, “66 countries have outpaced the United States in women’s representation—not because their women are more qualified or ambitious, but because they have implemented electoral systems and policies to ensure more level playing fields and greater opportunity in the electoral process.” The United States has a long ways to go, as they also stated, “Even with these increased resources to support women running for office, at our current rate we won’t reach gender parity in political leadership in our lifetimes.” This is unfortunate, but true and it’s only because we don’t have incentivized programs that ensure women are appointed roles of leadership in politics.

Although in Wheel of Time, they don’t need incentives to ensure they hold power, they simply do it by holding the magical power in themselves. It is enlightening and satisfying as a woman to watch a series that does feature women in direct power without needing to systematically break down a patriarchy to attain gender equality. No matter how mythical it may be right now, feminism is at the core and is not a hidden agenda.

Women hold the One power, but men still control much of this world. and they are rarely kind to little girls who show a spark of being greater than they are.

Liandrin Guirale, an Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah. Season 1, Ep. 5 36:51

This type of female run leadership can be seen in a variety of women run organizations and non-profits that each aim to advance women in different aspects of life. To name a few, the list includes the following:

Yes, we do see women in leadership who run these amazing “women helping women” organizations and they are thriving and progressing every day to impart change in society. We have made a lot of progress in the time since the Women’s Rights Movement of the 1960s-70s, and most notably is recently, Vice President Kamala Harris being the first woman to ever hold the title of Vice President in history. We still have a long way to go before we see a congress full of women or women holding more state and local government positions than men. So, no the image of an all women counsil in the Wheel of Time is not a completely reimagined scenario because I believe we will get there, it will just take some time and change before we see women holding more or equal to the authority and power men currently possess in today’s society.

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