The Gender Politics of Science Fiction

very much enjoyed the essays in Lady Science by Anna Reser and Lelia McNeill
over the topic of how science fiction has the ability to reshape the concept of
gender. In the first essay we look at the story The Conquest of Gola which
takes place on an alien planet where women and men have completely opposite
gender roles as those seen on our planet. In this tale men from earth have
invaded and are attempting to conquer this alien matriarchal planet. The tale
of this story like many in the world of science fiction allow us to view the
context of our society from nearly infinite possibilities. Often when looking
at what could or might be we are often allowed a look at what currently is. In
the context of women in science fiction as with the tale of Gola we are allowed
to display the general sexist and masculine tones that are predominate in
society. The fact that a society that is run educationally and economically by
women is displayed as an alien race shows how sometimes foreign the idea of
women in power can be. Science fiction has the ability to look way beyond what
may be technologically possible it also allows us a tool for seeing what may be
social possible in light of new technologies or discoveries.

is very predominating in the second essay which covers the tale of a book 2312
which looks at futuristic human society which has colonized many different locations
in the solar system. In this book people have the ability to physically alter
and enhance themselves including the ability to obtain parts and traits of both
genders. In this context we are allowed to see the possibility humanities faces
when we eliminate bilateral gender identities as well as specific gender roles
for each gender. This is predominating is so many science fiction tales. I
cannot think of many sci-fy shows that at some point do not run into a women
dominated alien society or the protagonist has to deal with unexpected gender
reversals where male and female heroes have to have an experience in the
opposite gender. I really enjoy the show Futurama and in an episode in the
later season the main characters along with some additional cast crash on an
alien planet where a rock like intellectual lifeform is confused by the duel
gender nature of humanity. With the aliens abilities, In this episode the
characters face a time where they are removed of all gender characteristics and
another time where the male and females are switched gender and have to live
life as the opposite sex for a while. In the case of no gender it gets into the
idea that humanity would be much friendlier and productive without the
struggles that come with gender struggles and sexuality. In the case of gender
reversal both men and women of the show are shown that there are difficulties
and displeasures to both genders. By the end of the episode both male and
female characters have more of an appreciation for the opposite gender. Science
fiction is often I feel only thought of in the context of thinking about what
might be technologically possible or improbable but it allows us the freedom to
look at any aspect of humanity and place it in the context of a space epic or
alien monster movie. Whether gender politics, class warfare or the regulation
of the environment science fiction provides tales A-Z which also address many
relevant social issues.


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