How have women shaped science-fiction and fantasy? Ask the author’s they’ve influenced.
image via youtube screen capture
“The most important political problem in the modern world is the position of women. I think all of the other oppressions, whether it be homophobia, whether it be racism, or what have you, are all modeled on the oppression of women."
That's acclaimed author Samuel R. Delany, speaking about the role women have played in the genres of science-fiction and fantasy, where he, and the other authors featured in the following video, spend most of their time.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_SYdtyKlsk&list=UUuIr3-fiokQ2CELiOtZ69Iw expand=1]
With its frequent bent toward the aspirational— by describing worlds that should be rather than the one that is (in this case, the one that is inherently biased against women)–the genres of science-fiction and fantasy make a natural home for authors whose voices might otherwise be marginalized. Which isn’t to say there is perfect gender parity in sci-fi and fantasy today. Of the thirty Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Masters there are only four women: Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, Connie Willis, and Andre Norton.
Still, by highlighting the foundational roles of women in science-fiction and fantasy, we can begin to move toward addressing the issues of gender inequality that continue to affect not only the genre, but our society at large.
If we don’t, as Delany himself says, “we’re not going to survive as a species.”