Join us as Anastasia Vitsky goes Outside the Margins.
#YesAllWomen Wonder “If I had been born a boy”*
Every 6th of the month, I will post a column for Outside the Margins focusing on F/F fiction. To read more on F/F, please visit this post I wrote for KT Grant’s Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event in January on the presumed “squicky” nature of F/F fiction. To learn more about me, please read Elegy of a Former Fiction Writer. I love to bake bread, and you can find my favorite recipe for lemon cooler cookies here. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to writing this column each month!
“If I had been born a boy, I would have followed in my father’s footsteps and become a tradesman. Because I was a girl, he sold me instead.” –Taliasman
When my mother came of age, she had three options for a career: nurse, teacher, or secretary. She became a teacher and hated it. She told me, “If I’d been a boy, I could have become an accountant, engineer, or physicist. Because I was a girl, I didn’t have choices.”
A generation later, I grew up with my own version of “If I had been born a boy.” As the girl in the family, I was expected to perform household chores, cross my ankles while wearing skirts, baby-sit, and remain sweetly polite at all times. My mother, who had grown up feeling unwanted as a girl, unwittingly carried on the tradition of limiting her own girl-child. “Boys are so much easier, “ she told me when I failed to meet her standards. “He’s a boy,” she explained when I asked why my brother could lounge on the couch watching football while I washed dishes after holiday meals. “It’s different for boys,” she said when privileges and freedom did not cross gender lines.
I fumed. And when I wrote Taliasman, the fairy tale realm offered depths to portray Talia, a young woman ravaged by the society and family that should have nurtured her. Instead of prosaic dish-washing, the daughter of a poor construction worker receives her own messages about gender-based worth. For her, however, the struggle is literal. Sold for not being a boy and stripped of self-worth, she despairs of finding meaning in her life.
Enter Queen Vina, a heavenly ruler who descends to Earth after receiving a talisman from the mysterious storyteller, Nicodemus. She searches for months before finding Talia’s cottage. When she offers a sack full of gold, however, she wins Talia’s body but not her heart. Furious, miserable, and betrayed, Talia locks Vina into a stalemate night after night. Vina offers love, but Talia understands only scorn.
When human trafficking and gender crimes still threaten women and young girls, the story of Talia becomes all the more relevant to our lives today. When wearing a mini-skirt deems women culpable for “illegitimate” rape, we must teach our daughters to value themselves.
If Taliasman makes you cry, I am pleased you care for Vina and Talia. If Taliasman makes you reflect on your own life and embrace the wonderful goodness of being a woman, I have done my job. Thank you for allowing these two women into your life.
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre: Lesbian Romance
Born to a destitute woodworker who wanted a son to carry on the family business, Talia grew up with one phrase on her lips: “If I had been born a boy.” If she had been born a boy, she would have been cherished, supported, and launched into the world with her father’s legacy. As only a worthless girl, she toils all day long to earn her handful of inferior grain. Far away in the heavenly palace, Queen Vina receives a mysterious coin necklace from Nicodemus, teller of stories. Compelled by the throbbing heartbeat, she scours the earth to come across Talia, enslaved to a family who never wanted her. Rather than admit her motives, Vina purchases the girl with a sack full of gold. Furious, betrayed, and homesick, Talia endeavors to share her misery with the entire palace. Vina, afraid to confess her love, allows herself to become trapped in the role of brutal slave owner. Talia, bred to expect nothing but misery, faces the first choice of her life. Will she accept love, even if it comes from an unlikely source? Or will she reject the one who offers her everything? A Beyond Fairytales Adaptation of Our Lady’s Child
If I had been born a boy, I would have followed in my father’s footsteps to become a tradesman. Because I was a girl, he sold me instead.
“No,” Vina corrects me when I bring up the story, which is not often. She doesn’t like the facts, and I dislike her pretty lies. “Your mother agonized whether to let you go, but she knew you would be better off here. She wanted to give you a better life.”
I would call Vina on her mistruths, but she claims I still reason as a child. All of my protests to the contrary serve to prove her right, at least in her mind. Only when I agree with her does she admit I am a full-grown adult.
“You’re happy with me, aren’t you?” Vina makes me sit next to her at the formal dinners she hosts most nights, and she dresses me in rich silks with real lace. If I tell her “no,” she sends me to my room as punishment for my petulance. If I resist, she gives me one of her lessons in obedience. Some are painful, some pleasurable, and all serve to narrow my world and make me focus on her. How could I not, when she owns me?
“No,” Vina corrects me when I call her my owner. “I set you free, and I gave you the life you never could have had otherwise.”
When I turned nineteen, no one wanted to marry me. My mother fussed with my “hope chest,” if it could be called that, and arranged the one cotton handkerchief as if it could attract a suitor.
“Let me stay with you,” I entreated, and I won. I always did. The house needed new walls, and I wielded the power tools.
“You’ve turned her into such a tomboy no one will want her,” Mother chided Father, and the truth stung. I could have cared for my parents into their old age, but they wanted me gone.
~ Anastasia Vitsky
About Anastasia Vitsky
Cookie queen, wooden spoon lady, and champion of carbs, Anastasia Vitsky specializes in F/F erotic fiction. She hates shoes and is allergic to leather. When not writing about women who live spankily ever after, she coordinates reader and author events such as Spank or Treat, Love Spanks, and Sci Spanks. Her favorite event is Ana’s Advent Calendar, a month-long celebration of books, community, and making a difference.
She is too afraid to watch Dr. Who, but she adores The Good Wife and anything with Audrey Hepburn. In her next life, she will learn how to make the perfect pie crust.
*This post appears by permission of Decadent Publishing, which originally posted the article here on October 22, 2014.
Anastasia Vitsky will give a wooden spoon and goody bag to one random commenter on this post. If you live outside of the United States, she will offer a comparable gift certificate instead.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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