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Feminist Utopian Fiction

Originally posted by Satisfying Andy Licious
I think it is symptomatic of feminists that so many of them consider "fair" to be "anything that benefits me." Putting the blinders aside, you can't arbitrarily discount those novels in which the world is greatly improved because there aren't any men in it.

They aren't being arbitrarily discounted, they're being put into their proper context as a minor part of the feminist canon. BTW, which specific novels in your OP do you feel advocate the idea that society would be improved by the removal or reduction of the male population?

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And you're missing the point by trying to postulate some unifying theme, because the term "feminist utopia" is a pretty self-explanatory term.

Is it? Someone else has put forward the definition of "feminist utopia" as "a society in which both genders are perfectly equal." Somehow, I sense you would disagree with this definition. Rather than simply state that the defintiion is self-explanatory, perhaps you could offer your definition of the term?

This field also has come to include feminist dystopia as the logical other side of the coin.

I suppose this is semantics, but wouldn't a feminist dystopia be an oppressive society ruled by women? When people call 1984 a communist dystopia, they aren't implying that it's a bad society to be a communist in, they're saying it's a bad society because of communism. Properly speaking, a feminist dystopia would be a bad society because of feminism. A book like The Handmaid's Tale would really be a masculinist dystopia, as it portrays a society that is oppressive because of men. Well, like I said, just a minor semantic point.

Sometimes they're polemics, sometimes not. There are the utopian polemics ("this would make things better") the dystopian polemics ("this would make things horrible") and the ones that just want to spin a good yarn.

Again, which of the novels that you listed in your OP fit into which of the categories in the quoted section above?

In drawing up this very brief list of feminist utopian fiction, I was careful to be balanced and fair - presenting ones that fantasize about men ceasing to exist alongside books imagining better, fairer relations, and noting the non-feminist use of such themes as well. My list is brief, it's hardly definative, but you can't just kick out the "all men are gone" books, as they are central to the field.

Are they? I don't think you've shown that to be true. Example: You mention Nicola Griffith's Ammonite, apparently as an example of anti-male feminist fiction. (If this isn't the case, I apologize. As I've said, I found your OP to somewhat ambiguous) However, the book is anything but: the "all-female" world is primitive and barbaric. Literally: one of the major subplots involve an all-woman barbarian invasion of (also all-woman) settled lands. Another character is a hunter who makes her living hunting down the last few sentient, aboriginal inhabitants of the planet, and using their body parts as tools and clothing. (You really don't want to know what she made her purse out of). You might not have meant this as an example of anti-male fiction, but the fact that you included it at all in a list about feminist utopian fiction, when there is absolutely nothing utopian about it, makes me question how many of the other titles you mention ought to properly be included in this thread.

Originally posted by DanielWithrow
Speculative fiction is a great way, IMO, to explore ideas for different political/social systems.

If it explored, say, how wonderful it would be if certain minority groups ceased to exist, we'd probably call it racism. When feminists write about all men ceasing to exist - it gets on a syllabus.
Maybe, maybe not. It all lies in the execution. There's a short story, "Love's Last Farewell, " by Richard Bamberg, where a "cure" for homosexuality is discovered. The story's basically a conversation between the last living homosexual and a young reporter. The reporter has a lot of reasons why the "cure" was a social good, none of which are really refuted in the story, but the author makes it unmistakably clear that the "cure" was nothing less than genocide, even if no one was killed to effect it.

Similarly, I wonder how many of the novels that present an all-female world that is "better" than the current one are necessarily promoting that as social policy, or are instead trying to present a "peace, but at what cost?" scenario. Probably not many, but it's not a decision I would want to make without first hand experience of the individual text.

And, all of that aside, which specific work of anti-male feminist fiction is being taught in colleges? You've provided a list of novels, and a conclusion, but you haven't shown that any of the novels you listed support that conclusion. Which specific books have you read that lead you to the conclusion that anti-male sentiment is a significant portion of feminist speculative fiction?

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1. That happened before YA even existed, so it's not exactly current events. It does not, in any way, mean that it's not significant, but it's just not discussed right now.
2. You're on the board now; why not open up a dialogue about it? Or does one have to be a feminist to protest rape?
3. Just because it isn't discussed on this board doesn't mean that feminists don't discuss it. The Feminists on GWS don't represent every feminist.
There's a women's magazine called Glamour where, in every issue, they go to a different country to help oppressed women. Feminists don't do photo-ops. Th…

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