The Poisonous Palette

Maysil is 'just a woman' with no rights. So when she doubts her male dominated life and tries to break out of a cruel culture to discover the sinister truth about why she has no power, there is going to be trouble...

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2. Why men are 'better' than women

My husband, Erris, gave me a lecture earlier about how he is stronger than me and "the human race would be better off without needy women." I didn't dare to point out to him that without women the human race would become extinct because they couldn't breed, as last time I tried to argue with him he punished me by not hunting for a week. As women are only allowed out of the house once a month to go to the market to trade materials, I had to starve. That certainly taught me not to stand up to him.

I guess not all men are bad, but from my experience of them they are; first of all, my dad was eager to get me married when I was only ten (he didn't like having to look after a daughter when he could be focusing on his precious son) but, after a heated argument with the authorities and the 'Women Welfare Society', (though I don't see how they support woman welfare as they don't care that girls are forced into marriage at just thirteen) he had to keep me. However, that didn't stop him from choosing my dibby husband, who, at the time, was eighteen. I don't see how it is appropriate for me to be with someone eight years older than me, but, like my clearly annoyed mother, I never got a look in so here I am now, cooking badly hunted wild rabbit (the game he brings home are usually poached and not 100% dead) even though I ethically don't agree with eating others. I'd happily eat Erris though.

What I find really annoying is that women have no say in anything (I keep referring to myself as a woman even though I am still, technically, a teenager but society has changed the way I have to think) and until there are a lot of men that work in parliament and agree with the women, nothing can be done. It is, according to my dad and Erris, unusual for women to be so free thinking, but I have a suspicion that many other women also crave a chance to read, write and draw but, like me, don't dare to voice their thoughts. However, I am getting restless. It is getting more and more frequent that I get the urge to write in my diary. Maybe, if I work hard enough to conceal it, I can start a book, of art or words? Maybe, I can break through this layer of male domination. Maybe, just maybe, things could change...

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