Posts Tagged ‘journal6’

Journal 6 – Dealing with the feminist question.

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

This is mostly stuff I posted about last time, but clearly, it would’ve been more relevant here. I’ll just keep it a little more brief.

I think the science fiction we’ve read has done a mixed job dealing with women’s equality. The Dispossessed, for instance, I think did a great job. It set up disparate societies that all held different beliefs, and the culture clash between different citizens was really fascinating–especially in the beginning when Shevek and the other doctor (it’s been a while; can’t remember his name) are talking about working with women and they engage in a philosophical discussion about the issue. They each challenge the other’s beliefs–“Surely you can’t believe that…”–and it’s really interesting to read. It comes down to the age-old discussion of whether or not women are equal on a physical level rather than just a social level, and I thought that Le Guin did a great job writing it.

On the other hand, I thought that Sawyer did an exceptionally poor job in Hominids. He introduces a character by having her get raped without any justification of her presence in the story, forever branding her in the reader’s mind as nothing more than “the one who got raped.” He has the men on the human side all functioning as either rapists or chauvinists, all judging Louise for her “incredibly sexy accent” or her beautiful body, and even Louise spends an entire paragraph simply thinking in her head about her bra and lacy panties and how they’re all about to get wet. And on the Neanderthal side, the women all live in a separate city so that they can all have their menstrual cycles at the same time and the men don’t have to deal with it. Adikor thinks he’s in the clear because he can’t smell period blood in the air, and hopes that all the women being on their period at once won’t affect his trial. Honestly, it’s all pretty disgusting. If Sawyer really is a feminist as Professor Rochelle mentioned, he did a pretty poor job expressing his views.

I don’t really remember most of the other stories dealing with equality of women. I guess you could argue that Cold Equations doesn’t do women justice either by treating a 17 or 18-year-old woman like a little girl, but that’s about it.

Journal 6

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Kat Tarr

One thing I have noticed in all our novels for Science Fiction, is that we have not had a novel based around one solid female main character. Despite most of the novels claiming to be feminist (some doing this to varying degrees of success) not a single one was entirely from a female perspective. The thought struck me as odd, considering the novels for the most part had strong female characters in them.

 
Hominids though as a piece of Science Fiction, failed this rather brilliantly. Mary was a terrible caricature and fell flat on her face with the author’s poor introduction and development of what a woman was like. Even his Neanderthal females felt lacking, what with everything they did being directly linked to a man in their life; they had no agency of their own. The author did such a poor job of writing Mary’s point of view chapters that I felt bored out of my mind, and I thought the entire novel was across a few months, not ten days. The fact that she fell in love so shortly after being raped was a poor choice; not realistic at all. If I had to judge the Science Fiction genre by this book alone I would swear off it for being a pile of pretentious junk. The author clearly was too busy smacking his readers upside the head and making his target audience feel like terrible people.

I’m sure there are more Science Fiction books out there with a strong female hero or lead, just not the ones we’ve been reading.  The Dispossessed had Tavek as a strong female character but she wasn’t the main character. We followed Shevek around the entire time, followed his life story and saw things from his eyes.