One thing I’ve always loved about the Wheel of Time is that the women are well-rounded and exquisitely developed. While there is one glaring smack in the face to feminism that threads itself throughout the series, I can manage to ignore it most of the time because I love the story so much and because most of the women are portrayed as powerful and equal.
Min Farshaw is introduced early in the series as a blunt-spoken, dagger-wielding young woman who wears men’s breeches and keeps her hair cut short. She gets a lot of flack for her personal choices, but from the get-go she can take care of herself. The evolution of her character shows some softening in her mode of dress, but in the sense of her fire and determination, she’s anything but soft.
Min sees auras around people. Sometimes it shows her when they’re going to die or who they’re going to marry, or something as simple as a color she can interpret. When I first read the books, I disliked Min. She is straightforward and sometimes a bit rankling. I remember being jealous on behalf of Elayne and Aviendha for the amount of time she gets to spend with Rand, which is silly.
As I re-read the books, however, Min grew on me. She is the product of a humble upbringing, raised by aunts in the mining district of Andor. She supports and protects herself, and she has an independence that is admirable even in a world where women are portrayed as equals with the men, more or less. As a child, I always wanted to play with trucks and Ninja Turtles, but I remember being constantly told by boys that those were boy things, and I should go play with dolls.
I resented that.
I can relate to Min on that level, of being pushed and prodded into what others expect of you, whether it’s gowns or dolls or a certain career path — and I imagine it’s much the same for everyone. All of us at some point have had to put up with someone plunking us into a box based on our gender, our race, our sexual orientation, or any number of other factors that people like to stereotype about others.
Min digs in her boots and hangs onto her daggers — staying steadfast about who she is in spite of people telling her that the way she dresses is vulgar. She just looks at them until they’re finished and keeps doing her thing. Even if you’ve never read the Wheel of Time series, there is something to be learned from Min Farshaw, and that is why she is today’s Wednesday Woman.
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