So one day a dwarf is talking to a human and finally realizes that when humans say woman, they generally mean “person who is theoretically capable of childbirth” because for whatever reason, humans assign social expectations based genital differences. (What a fucked up culture, the dwarf thinks.) But hey, better communication! So the next time the dwarf introduces theirself, they say, oh, by the way, I am what you call a “woman.”
And the trade negotiations just stop. They just stop cold. The tall people insist on speaking to the man, they insist on talking to the lady dwarf about all sorts of irrelevant bullshit, like recipes and childrearing and perfume
so the dwarf goes back home, enraged
and is like “BTW guess what happened, we’re all just going to be men forever now as far as the tall ones are concerned”
and everyone is justly horrified at this barbarism but they all agree to do whatever it takes to squeeze those tall bastards for all the resources they are worth
and the dwarves get surlier, and the trade agreements less generous
and the tall people are all “what a miserable and greedy race”
but really they’re just still nursing a grudge about how goddamn backwards and sexist the tall people are
because their best negotiator, one of their sacred cave people, got snubbed the instant she said she was capable of childbirth – and a mortal insult like that can never be forgiven
Because Pi’s tags are great:
#yes good #personal headcanon: dwarves have fundamentally misunderstood human pronoun usage #and gender roles #they are very perplexed by it #eventually they went ‘fuck it apparently ‘he’ is the correct word’ #‘it’s their language and they keep using it for us’ #so then you have this situation where dwarves are cognizant of the words ‘mother’ and ‘wife’ #but not the usual use of ‘she’ secondary headcanon specific to Tolkien dwarves #dwarves that choose to bear children are held in high regard #because they are making new dwarves it is the ultimate craft #that’s what mahal did you made a new person #it is very impressive #everyone is impressed
Just as an additional thought, we hear that women dwarves generally stay within the mountain and are a protected, guarded subset of the dwarves. There’s not many of them, so there’s an implication that women dwarves are too precious to be allowed out.
But what if this too is a mistranslation? What if the dwarves were talking to the Men and when asked “where are all your women?” they hit a wall. They whisper amongst themselves, and eventually come back with a question, “What’s a woman?” The Men are incredulous.
“Why, the members of your race that bear children, of course!“
More dwarven whispering.
They reach the conclusion that Men mean dwarves who are currently pregnant. Well! Of course those dwarves are currently safe within the mountain, well cared for and generally loathe to travel until the child is born. The Men take this to mean that all dwarven women are discouraged from traveling, and that their primary purpose is childbearing. Dwarves find this a satisfactory outcome, especially with the way Men treat their women, and so even when the misunderstanding becomes clear to them they never correct it.
I’m in love with this.