[LMB] Kareen in Barrayaran Society (was Levels of Sexuality)

Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com
Thu Jan 6 21:57:27 GMT 2011

--- On Thu, 1/6/11, Tracy A <greenlady31 at hotmail.com> wrote:

> The sexuality discussion brought to mind a question I've
> had for a while - does Kareen suffer any societal
> repercussions when she's on Barrayar for her "Betan"
> choices?  

What kind of repercussions are you thinking of?  She doesn't aspire to be a debutante or a grande dame or whatever the modes of Barayaran high society would provide; she only cares not to lost family and friends.  (One could argue, and she probably would, that friends who cut her because of this weren't true friends anyway.)

Success is its own reply to those who would criticize her.  She's a bridge between Barrayar as it was, and the future, with galactic contact and involvement. Only the dinosaurs would really mind.

> The fact she and Mark are still
> unmarried in Cyroburn means she doesn't have the automatic
> shelter of being a Vorkosigan's wife - has she been harassed
> by those who assume she's promiscuous?  

There are enough men on Barrayar who would harass any woman on any pretext, or none. And enough who would not. I don't think her circumstances would change the balance any, especially since her lover is a Vorkosigan.

> Cut out of
> friendships because she's assumed to be a bad
> influence?  

Maybe, but at the same time, she's an example of liberation and affluence among Barrayaran women - a group in which neither is common.  I can imagine her being admired by those who don't share their father's prejudices.  In the short run, maybe a problem - but again, I think even the prudes would hesitate to offend the Vorkosigans and their circle.

> How many obnoxious Vorlings have quietly
> disappeared, their bodies never found?

LOL!  We'll never know.
> Or has Barrayar changed enough that the only flak she gets
> is from people she doesn't care about anyway?      

I imagine that's the case. Or simply that - she doesn't care anyway: she's got more to worry about than old-fashioned Barrayaran customs.  She's grown beyond them.


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