Monday, October 19, 2009

Feminization of Science Fiction and Fantasy?

by Sylvie Bérard

I just came across this link, that made me jump: The Feminization of Science Fictiom (and Fantasy). According to Whiskey, author of the article, women have been changing science fiction to a point that it has become almost unrecognizable and, well, it is not that it is bad science fiction per se but... and blahblahblah... (*sigh*). Maybe the author just wanted to be polemical, but he is also being very misogynistic in his text.

I do not have time to respond right now and not even to summarize the article, but I wanted to share this enlightening piece of prose, and my perplexity (to say the least), with you.

Oh, and those of you who are on Facebook can go read Bitch Magazine's reaction to it:
The Spearhead on Sci-Fi: NO GIRLS ALLOWED!


  1. Why give him the link? People like that thrive on attention.

  2. Maybe you have point. But I just thought that was an interesting insight in that "culture", and they have also received a few interesting replies. Plus I am not sure that our clicks make much of a difference..

  3. I'm trying to think if I've ever seen the word 'feminization' used in a context that's not misogynist outside of academic feminism. This guy's not smart enough even to start an interesting discussion -- although I did enjoy the one poster's comment about Mary Shelley ruining sf by inventing it!

    Here's a better question: Is there a sensible way to ask if women's visible presence as writers has actually changed the genre? I think Justine Larbalestier has done an excellent job of establishing that there has always been a significant presence of women readers. I can't think of a way to pose this question that doesn't assume differences between male and female writing. And most of the time, despite Kristeva and theories about l'écriture féminine, I find that distinction deeply spurious. I suspect that if one gave people random samples of fiction with no names attached, unless they had incredibly obvious markers (Mills and Boon style romantic potboilers, for example), it would be very hard to tell what was written by whom.

    I would contemplate adopting the slogan 'always feminize,' except for the fact that so many people have such deeply reductive notions of what 'feminine' means.

  4. Hey, Sylvie, sorry if I came across as grumpy. Not grumpy at you--I'm just so very tired of people like this throwing up (in many senses) up rubbish on the screen and getting attention.

    Mutter mutter.

  5. You may have been grumpy, but you are right: no need to give them the attention they are craving.