Term Paper: Women Science Fiction Writers

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[. . .] .. [and who] will surely be punished for it by being taken less seriously than if she had taken the trouble to write badly."

Davidson says "Generally, Piercy is right." In Barr's introduction to her book, she details how and why she decided to take up work as a feminist science fiction critic; she said she realizes that "foot binding can be used to explain how feminist science fiction enables readers to better interpret patriarchy." Davidson says that "foot binding" analogy "becomes old rather quickly." Moreover, Davidson describes Barr as "not an easy critic to read," and so we have a feminine science fiction critic criticizing and being criticized by a feminine science fiction writer and a reviewer of feminine science fiction criticism and literature.

This competitive and sometimes contentious dynamic is not negative; it simply shows that the growth of the female science fiction genre is genuine, because there will never be absolute harmony and agreement among members of any literary group, be they men, women, transvestites or even aliens from another planet. Competition and challenges are healthy, and indicate that there is power emerging from this genre.

Another scholarly dip into the waters of feminine science fiction is found in an article in NWSA Journal (Rudy, 1997). Rudy states that she found Marge Piercy's Woman on the edge of Time and Ursula Le Guinn's The Left Hand of Darkness to be "instrumental" to her development as a feminist. The writer begins her article by setting the stage for her discussion of the two above-mentioned novels, saying that a lot of feminism debate of late has centered around "new reproductive technologies."

The "natural' process of childbirth has been overtaken," Rudy writes, "by new technologies to ensure the survival chances" of the fetus. Rudy goes on: "These interventions function as an extension of male power and control over women because men basically control the technology."

And with this belief expressed up front that men control new technologies which promote the survival of the fetus against any and all odds, Rudy states that these male-manipulated technologies (like vitro fertilization, artificial insemination by husband or donor, gametic intrafallopian transfer, and surrogacy) have "transformed pregnancy into a precise, mechanized affair." And as for feminists, they are "deeply divided" over how significant these changes are in the larger scheme of feminist things.

In leading up to her discussion of Piercy's book, Rudy states that these technological "interventions" are looked upon by many feminists as "invasive, misogynist, and unnecessary" - and really when it comes down to it these interventions are simply an extension of "male power and control over women."

That said by Rudy, she goes on to note that the two above-mentioned books of feminine science fiction books "could give us clues about how to solve our dilemmas today." By reading a few of feminism's "imagined alternatives to patriarchal structures," Rudy continues, "we will be able to see how we might escape the sexist problems and assumptions of our own world."

In other words, the development of feminine science fiction may actually offer answers to hitherto unanswered questions, and potential solutions to problems created by technology's delving into human reproduction today. In conclusion, the greater questions of how women perceive emerging and potentially manipulative reproductive technologies may well shape how the entire world sees not only birth, but life.

Here are some of the questions that Rudy asks - which she says she was inspired to ask through reading Piercy and Le Guin - and which all humans in leadership positions should contemplate: What does it really mean to be a woman, and does childbearing relate directly to whatever it means to be a woman? Do mothers always have to be real women? Who should be primarily responsible for the job of raising these children, once they are out of the womb? What kind of a world do we want to create for the children of our future?

References

Davidson, Phebe. "Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science fiction and Beyond." Belle

Lettres: A Review of Books by Women 9, 27-29.

Piercy, Marge. Woman on the Edge of Time. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1976.

Rudy, Cathy. "Ethics, reproduction, Utopia: Gender and Childbearing in 'Woman on the Edge of Time' and 'The Left Hand of Darkness'." NWSA Journal 9 (1997): 22-39.

Seabury, Marcia Bundy. "The monsters we create:… [END OF PREVIEW]

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