A Call for Contributors

Greetings –

This is an open invitation to SCAdians who have Non-Christian personas to aid me in an on-going project.

I hope to feature a series of articles here on my website – Ouyang’s Desk – regarding the portrayal of religion in SCA personas/research. This includes garments, accessories, names, bardic, and other outward active portrayals, as well as research that might be presented for display.

I am interested in showcasing what are modernly minority religions, whether or not they were minorities in period or in a person’s region of interest. The fact that they are minorities now means that the majority of people do not have a good working knowledge of that religion and its symbols and other indicators. I see this primarily with Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but it could also be applied religions considered “pagan” by period, Christian authorities.

For example – while interfaith marriage in Judaism was historically frowned upon (as it was in many religions), the concept of being “ethnically Jewish” is a Nazi concept, stemming from historic antisemitism (see the Nuremberg Race Laws). To assume that all Jews everywhere in period were the same is erroneous and problematic – Judaism in period, in terms of foods, dress, and culture, was not a monolith. Middle Eastern Jews, Spanish Jews, English Jews, even Jews in northwestern China had the same religion, but differed in terms of dress, music, food, and other aspects of culture that were informed by their ethnicity and region.

There is also thought and discussion to be had regarding the portrayal of a culture wherein which the dominant religion is not one that the individual personally practices or adheres to. Religious practice also changes over time – so someone who identifies with the same religion as their persona is going to observe differently than their persona would have.

Lastly, in terms of oppression and other issues, how do we balance respect for history with recreating “only the best” of the middle ages, when events and issues like pogroms, inquisitions, and the Crusades, mean something entirely different for non-Christian personas?

Please consider this an open invitation for you to share your thoughts on this subject with a wider audience. I’d ask that you include information about your persona (SCA name with any titles, time period, region, etc.). Ideally, articles would be 500-2,000 words in length, and include citations if necessary. If you’re interested, I encourage you to reach out so we can start working together to make the SCA a more informed and inclusive experience for everyone.

If you have any questions or would like to contribute, I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours in Service,

The Honorable Ouyang Yingzhao
OVO, BF
Meridies


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On Being a Tricenarian and a SCAdian

tri-cen-ar-ian, n. (pl. tricenarians).
1. The highest rank and pay grade for prefectures in Ancient Rome.
2. A person in their thirties, a person aged between 30 and 39 years (inclusive). 

Wiktionary entry for “tricenarian.”

I’m 34. Being 34 is pretty great, considering. I have a good job in my field of study, solid social groups orbiting my place of worship, hobbies, and workplace, a fantastic spouse, and two beautiful and intelligent children.

From an SCA perspective, I feel like I’m on track with the rest of my age group. I’ve served as a Greater Kingdom Officer (Parchment), helped foster community growth in both of my areas of interest (Sinology and scribal arts), teach every chance I get both at events and online via posts and PMs, been inducted into the GOA Order/Order of High Merit for Arts and Sciences (Bridgit’s Flame and Velvet Owl, respectively), etc. I’m not burning the candle at both ends in the “rising star” or “mover and shaker” style per se, but I think I’m carrying my weight in terms of the care and feeding of SCAdians.

Known World Cooks and Bards, 2014 (Northshield) – Me, at the back of court, with my 4 month-old son and my veil askew because that happens when you are at an event with a small child. Also this dress doesn’t fit me anymore, because babies make your arms buff. Also eesh, I’m so glad I have rimless wireframes for events now. Photo by Deonysia of Rye.

The thing is? It’s hard.

It’s not hard in the sense that I have to exert a great amount of effort. It’s mostly little things here and there, or relatively short, frantic pushes toward a deadline. I don’t feel overburdened by the effort.

It’s not hard because people are hard to deal with. I am incredibly thankful to have an amazing support system, so that in the rare case where I come up against someone who breaks Wheaton’s Law, I have people I can turn to for help, even if it is just a hug.

It’s hard because I have to balance SCAdian-hood with Life. We always say “real life comes first.” Because it does. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t this overwhelming pressure to be involved and help direct the course of our community. Pressure to be active and present and available to new people. Pressure to volunteer to judge or teach, or to enter something in a faire, or to make progress on your project, or to donate something. Most of this pressure, at least for me, is an internal response to external stimuli. My apprentice contract stipulates that I need to teach, enter a faire, or “share my skills” with both my kingdom and the Known World at least four times a year. It also states:

Ouyang is required to find balance between studies and family life so that the former does not overtake the latter, as is virtuous.

It’s that balance that’s hard. It’s knowing that I need to have garb sewn for my daughter before the event that’s a week away, but that my son really wants me to play dinosaurs or legos with him.

It’s that balance of only going to one event a month, and then only if that event isn’t farther than 2 hours away so that I can easily day-trip – and if it is longer, making sure that my (incredibly capable and amazing partner and co-parent) husband doesn’t have something else on the schedule and is okay with me not taking the smallest child with me on an overnight.

It’s the balance between feeling like I am being generous or selfish with my time, depending on how I spend it.

It’s the balance of managing my finances so that I have enough to spend on the hobbies, projects, and interests that bring me joy (including event travel/costs) without shirking my financial responsibilities to my modern household.

It’s the balance of not letting myself get so mired in a research question, Thread of Drama, or other online interaction that I keep my nose buried in my phone while grocery shopping with the family.

It’s a balance of spending time at an event with my children who just want to run and play versus doing what I want to do – teach, attend a class, volunteer, etc.

Are these things that people younger and older than me deal with? Things that non-SCAdians deal with? Things that SCAdians who play as a family deal with? Probably. But I can’t speak to those experiences. All I know is that my age, the perceived expectations associated with my 8-year tenure in the SCA and my chosen journey, and the fact that my husband does not share this hobby makes this feel like a heavy weight.

And I wanted to say to others who also feel this weight – I see you. I don’t know what the answer or the fix is, but I see you.

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staaaaaaaaahp: [Ladies in Pants, 2]

runic-keyblade:

scareferencedesk:

sca-nerd:

Can we PLEASE stop telling new or interested women in the SCA that they can’t wear pants? And don’t you DARE play that, “striving to be historically accurate” card on me. It is perfectly accurate for women to wear pants! And besides, it’s not about WHO is wearing the garb, it’s about the garb itself.

There is no restriction. You are welcomed and encouraged to wear whatever period and style you have an interest to wear!

If
the persona you wish to play wears pants, then by all means wear pants.
If you as a PERSON are more comfortable in pants, then wear pants! As
long as you are making an attempt to have the garb be period, then you
have met the expectations of the SCA.

I can document pants for ladies.

Come at me.

I also have cookies. 😀 <3

…documentable pants for ladies? 

tell me more >.> 

@runic-keyblade You have to go east of Constantinople – fair warning.
I’ll compile some options and work on a post.

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What it means…

amalie-of-beckenham:

Being Royalty in the SCA is more than just a fancy title.

It’s about making moments. You get the rare opportunity to make someone’s SCA history. To make someone’s day. To surprise them unexpectedly. 

The above photo was taken at Pennsic in the hair braiding shop just outside of MidRoyal. One of my staff noticed that someone we had on our award list was there and they weren’t staying for court. I was able to open court right there, with my herald, and give this young lady her AoA. 

This is one of my favorite moments in my time as Queen and I’m so thankful someone was able to take a picture of it.

If you are lucky enough to be in the same position I have been in, remember that it’s not about you, it’s about everyone else. Be the Queen/King in their story. It’s their story, you are just one of the many characters in it.

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