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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Feminist reading for our daughters - including science fiction

30 replies

Lucetalk · 24/05/2011 18:44

Why does this myth still exist that girls don't like sci fi? Why is there not more feminist slanted sci fi out there? And why are there no female gods in our culture? Would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

OP posts:
Lucetalk · 24/05/2011 18:45

would love to hear from mums who get involved in their daughters reading and what kind of literature they like them to red.

OP posts:
DilysPrice · 24/05/2011 18:50

To state the bleeding obvious.
The Female Man by the late lamented Joanna Russ is one of the finest feminist books in any genre.

DilysPrice · 25/05/2011 07:51

If anyone's interested, Woman's Hour are doing a panel on sf today.

TrillianAstra · 25/05/2011 08:32

What are you lookging for?

Feminist books suitable for teenagers?

Sci fi suitable for teenagers?

Sci fi suitable for girls - whatever that may be?

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is very good sci fi, suitable for about 12 up I would say. Not especially feminist, but if you think of "girls reading scifi" as being a feminist action then it'll fulfil your criteria.

Hullygully · 25/05/2011 08:40

Oooo, there is shitloads, but all mine isn't with me at the mo so will have to report back.

I cna remember "A Door into Ocean" but can't picture the rest of the shelf.

StewieGriffinsMom · 25/05/2011 08:54

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SmellsLikeTeenStrop · 25/05/2011 15:10

SWG, it's Trudi Canavan :D

Anne McCaffrey - I started reading her books as a young teen. The Tower and the Hive series has strong female protagonists who save the world etc.

Ursula le Guin - particularly the stuff written from 1990 onwards.

Robin Hobb

Terry Pratchett

SmellsLikeTeenStrop · 25/05/2011 15:12

''Sic Fi is one of the best types of pro-feminist books.''

Except if they're written by Robert Heinlein. I recall starting one of his books and then throwing it across the room in disgust over its portrayal of women.

TrillianAstra · 25/05/2011 15:26

Lots of the names you've said I woudl classify as fantasy not scifi.

Dragons., not robots :o

StewieGriffinsMom · 25/05/2011 16:47

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meditrina · 25/05/2011 16:57

Ursula Le Guin

And for teenagers, if you're covering fantasy rather than just scifi, then add Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber and Frankenstein.

meditrina · 25/05/2011 17:01

And for gods, you could try the Percy Jackson series - Annabeth is a strong character, as is Thalia, and there are female gods and monsters aplenty.

Also try Pegasus and the Flame by Kate O'hearn.

StewieGriffinsMom · 25/05/2011 17:06

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steviesmith · 25/05/2011 21:51

Science fiction should be the perfect genre to explore social constructs but while there is some good feminist sci fi but there's also an equally strong tradition of misogyny. Philip K Dick always amazes me; he can imagine all these alternate universes but they all have the same woman.

But you can go back to Mary Shelley or Charlotte Perkins Gilman for early pioneers. I always enjoy Margaret Atwood's science fiction as well although that's definitely on the softer side.

I've not come across much feminism in the geeky stuff which actually worries about the physics. I'd like to read some though.

steviesmith · 25/05/2011 22:01

Sorry I just remembered Kurt Vonnegurt. His books are perfect for teenagers trying to work the world out. There's no woman hating and no gods male or female.

hogsback · 25/05/2011 22:10

There was an excellent article in the Guardian a few weeks ago comparing how women are portrayed in literary fiction compared to 'genre' fiction such as sf and fantasy. Turns out that genre contains many more positive female role models than the serious stuff, possibly because it isn't written by Martin Amis paunchy, middle-aged misogynists.

Hullygully · 26/05/2011 09:30

I bow before Kurt. He is my god. Saw him lecture once and he did a brilliant thing on Metamorphosis and smoked throughout.

And agree with hogsback

comixminx · 28/05/2011 15:06

Nobody's mentioned the mighty mighty fine Octavia Butler yet - one of my favourite writers generally, let alone one of my favourite feminist sf writers. Beware - some of her novels are very grim (specifically the Parables series), but Mind of My Mind is one that I read while at secondary school - I loved it then and now. There is some sex in it, but it would be appropriate for a teenager I'd think.

AprilRose · 28/05/2011 15:25

I'd like to bring Robin McKinley to the table. Slightly more fantasy than sci-fi, her books are filled with strong female characters.

wildstrawberryplace · 28/05/2011 15:38

I loved Ursula Le Guin and I love her still, she is one of my favourite writers to this day - I devoured her books from about 12 onwards, loads of her earlier stuff that I pinched from my (feminist) mother's bookshelf - the short story collections like The Winds 12 Quarters etc, but also books such as The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, Eye of the Heron...

Marge Piercy - Woman on the Edge of Time. Classic feminist SF - tragic, moving.

Don't forget Doris Lessing's space fiction - not particularly feminist as such but leftfield and radical.

Yes to Robin McKinley too. At 13 I loved The Blue Sword and the one about Aerin.

I seem to remember a Virago Press book by Sandy someoneorother called "The Godmothers" - now that was a militant feminist classic of SF/fantasy!

God I miss my teenage reading - pretending to revise GCSEs and sitting at my desk with a mug of instant coffee and a packet of digestives, with a fat novel to savour.

wildstrawberryplace · 28/05/2011 15:40

Just noticed it's not just for SF - Martha Quest series by Doris Lessing was pretty seminal for me.

Also AS Byatt The Virgin in the Garden and Still Life.

PlentyOfPrimroses · 28/05/2011 15:51

Marge Piercy, Margaret Atwood, Suzette Haden Elgin

slug · 28/05/2011 15:58

Iain M Banks. Any of the culture novels.

meditrina · 01/06/2011 22:02
TrillianAstra · 01/06/2011 22:54

Oh I wish I'd known that earlier this week meditrina! I was nearby and could have popped in!

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