Feminist Science Fiction Analysis

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Science fiction is “a fiction of the imagination rather than observed reality” (Roberts, 2006, p. 1). It is a genre which enables readers to envisage and express new ideas of the workings of our society. According to Lefanu (1988), science fiction can be used “metaphorically and metonymically as powerful ways of exploring the construction of woman” (p. 180). Hence, I believe that portraying and imagining a new society through a feminist lens can be especially formidable. Feminist science fiction predominantly addresses the female gender role in society, exploring the construction of social gender roles. It extrapolates and addresses the issues that women face in the present world (Donawerth, 1997, p. 112). This can be illustrated through a utopian society where gender-egalitarian exist, or through a dystopian society where gender discrimination and inequalities are highlighted. In the feminist science fiction novel The Female Man (1975), Joanna Russ has constructed a fictional possibility of an all female society through the illustration of four different female characters from parallel worlds. The novel revolves around four different women: Janet, Jeannine, Joanna and Jael and their individual sufferings in dealing with men. It was written amid the second wave feminism with the intention to point out how malignant male behavior towards women is. Women in the novel want to free themselves from traditional social gender roles and grapple with the perception that they cannot
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