Playing With / Fair for Its Day

Basic Trope: A work or part of a work seems laden with Values Dissonance to modern readers, but it made perfect sense (or was even a bit radical) in the time and place it was written in.
  • Straight: A set of laws gives its women certain rights (such as initiating divorce, partial inheritance, prohibiting the killing of a baby girl just because it's a girl, etc.) but not all the same rights or treatment as men.
  • Exaggerated: The work specifically mentions things (such as how women are to behave, how men are the head of the family, etc.) that sound very backwards to modern readers used to gender equality.
  • Downplayed: Family politics in the story shows that the father commonly has the highest rank in the family, rather than the mother.
  • Justified: Some changes were needed, but people are slow to affect change. Giving women some rights is better than giving them no rights at all.
  • Inverted:
    • The laws in question give women the same rights and responsibilities as men, and thus make perfect sense in the modern age, but did not when the work was written.
    • The work opposed White Man's Burden. It was derided as a callous 'leave them to suffer in savagery and damned as heathens'. Later people view him as forward thinking because he respected them enough to consider it the choice of the natives if and how they adopt the advantages of more modern societies.
  • Subverted: The work sounds like it was written in The Dung Ages or even belongs in a historical Dork Age.
  • Double Subverted: But it was, in fact, really radical and controversial for its time.
  • Parodied: The work ends up being a, not entirely accidental, Unintentional Period Piece with how society works, including people reacting, in story, to things the way society at the time would have.
  • Zig Zagged: Initially a work appears to have potential Values Resonance on a topic, with some arguments provided in favor of equality or fairness towards a discriminated group, but the person making the argument uses questionable logic and reasoning or is ridiculed and dismissed despite having surprisingly well-thought out arguments. However, characters who dissent with the idea acknowledge that just because it was refuted at that time doesn't mean the current orthodoxy will remain forever, and remain open to certain possible future developments or advocate limited or conservative change... though enacting the idea in full would be unrealistic and radical.
  • Averted: The work makes perfect sense to modern readers.
  • Enforced: A period drama deliberately invokes this values dissonance in its characters for authenticity, but goes as far as possible to the fair side as to not completely alienate the audience.
  • Lampshaded: "Do times not change, and attitudes not adjust? Why, we've just given women more freedom than they have had before, and maybe one day they will have even more freedom than that, and this freedom will seem small."
  • Implied: The work hasn't survived but commentary about it has. Whatever it said it was considered backwards by many later critics except for those who pointed out its views were sadly better than most at the time period.
  • Implied: A fictional work Striding Through Gomorrah is judged as dubious when it is mentioned only to be defended as 'good for its day about it'.
  • Invoked: Someone is less-than-satisfied about how women are treated in his/her society, and wants to do something about it, but knows that doing too much would be too radical for people to accept.
  • Exploited: A modern writer wants to avoid Exceptionally Tolerant protagonists but doesn't want the reader to lose their sympathy over his bigotry. So while Captain Bob looks down upon prostitutes as 'ruined' he snaps at anyone who refers to her children negatively for their origin. Making him considered hot-tempred historically and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold to modern perspectives.
  • Defied: This person writes in laws and edicts that specifically grant women the same rights, treatment, and responsibilities as men, and if people don't like it, too bad.
  • Discussed: "Dear reader, if you are living in a time when the views expressed in this work are outdated, my apologies."
  • Conversed: "That poem was so sexist." "It was, but compare it to everything else written back then."
  • Deconstructed: Even if it was comparatively fair, the work's Values Dissonance is so bad (e.g. the "moral" of the story is a racist sentiment) that the work is far too offensive to be taken seriously.
  • Reconstructed: But still, it gives valuable insight into the context the work was made in.
  • Played For Laughs: The edicts are similar to "Blue Laws" that made perfect sense to the society in question, but sound absurd and nitpicky to modern readers.
  • Plotted A Good Waste: The writer uses a conservative point of view in a controversial issue, so this view will probably be out-of-date soon.


"This site may seem oppressive, what with requiring editors to sign their edits with a screen name, but compared to similar sites of the time that required e-mail addresses, it was very much Fair for Its Day."
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/PlayingWith/FairForItsDay