Thetta considered all that Aorle had said. It was not how she was accustomed to thinking about such things, but it made a certain amount of sense. Should she accept these behaviors that she’d always railed against? Respecting women, offering them allegiance and service -- that all sounded good. Clearly, Aorle intended no contempt. But was it still there, whether he intended it or not? Would this different way of treating women, however honorable its motivation, ultimately hinder the goal of true equality?
“We both agree that women should be allowed choice. So if the women in this compound choose to have doors opened and chairs held for them, as I suppose they will, I won’t counsel them against it. In truth, I think you’re right. It will do them good to be treated kindly.”
“However, for myself, I request that you and the others forgo such gestures.” To Aorle’s credit, he hadn’t yet addressed her as ‘My Lady’ or tried to hold a chair while she sat down. But Thetta thought it best to nip any ideas in the bud. “If these behaviors are truly gestures of respect, then you will show your respect by considering my preference. As you said, you do not treat all people the same, so there is no reason to suppose that all women must handled in the same manner.”
Thetta nodded in understanding when Aorle spoke about the disappointment he’d felt. Although Thetta would never admit it, armed combat had not turned out to be everything she’d hoped for, either. At first, it felt good to prove her equality on the battlefield. Every chest pierced, every belly slit, was like a blow struck against those who oppressed her sisters. But after awhile, she noticed that killing men didn’t heal those that they’d already harmed. It didn’t even seem to protect other women from similar injury. Instead, each fight caused her to witness fresh brutality, which just made her angrier, and angrier, and angrier...
After a moment of respectful silence, Thetta tapped her fist against her chest. “I see that you are deep in your thoughts. Thank you for speaking to me of these things. I will go now, and begin selecting candidates for training.”