Talk:Feminist science fiction

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Part of a series on
Sex in speculative fiction

Weak and misleading sentence[edit]

The passive voice in the sentence mentioning "the feminist panel" at the 1976 World Science Fiction Convention suggested the possiblity that Susan Wood resisted the formation of the panel, rather than instigating it. I've reworked the sentence for clarity. Perinteger 04:24:18, Jul 9 2008 (UTC)

Extending content[edit]

If there is a request to extend content why is the first revision in a long time just to trim content? And the previous content specifically highlights the idea that women authors in scifi are shunted to fantasy instead and Maya's work specifically counters that tendency if it is one. As such this isn't just promotion of an individual author over the rest. The content should be extended after all....--Smkolins 19:50, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

"Women's literature" as an area of study[edit]

(I am posting this message on the discussion pages of several likely articles and lists; sorry for the cross-posting):

I'd like to invite anyone interested in women's writing to read and comment on a draft article, " Women's literature in English." It began in response to the recent removal of " Woman Writers" as a category. It's close to being finished, but a few more eyes would be really helpful. Thanks! scribblingwoman 16:00, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Update: I just (finally) submitted the category for review for reinstatement. Fingers crossed. scribblingwoman 15:01, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

'Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) is often considered to be the first modern work of science fiction[3] and writers such as Clare Winger Harris and Gertrude Barrows Bennett published science fiction stories in the 1920s.'

The fact that women wrote science fiction seems to belong to the history of science fiction, as this is surely a different issue to whether these works are feminist. Being written by a women does not automatically render the work feminist. 03:09, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

[citation needed][edit]

"Women writers are often regarded as outside the mainstream of science fiction,[citation needed]"
~ I don't think that a citation is needed here at all. It is a common stereotype that science fiction is a predominantly male pursuit, and to ask for a specific citation is fairly pointless. Given that this page isn't likely to be one often looked at, I am going to remove the "citation needed" tag myself. It can always be added again later if someone comes up with a good reason for it to be. Branfish 01:33, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

The good reason is that it's a claim made in a Wikipedia article, and needs to be backed up by a citation, as per WP:CITE. Given that I think that it's false, I especially expect a citation. --Mel Etitis (Talk) 10:28, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Whether or not you agree that women writers are regarded as outside the mainstream of science fiction, I think it's fairly undeniable that the are often regarded as such. Branfish 00:42, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words! It's not acceptable to simply assert that something is "often" done without any sources. Elrith 22:20, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Without a citation, the assertion seems unhelpful to me. I've rm'd it (WP:V) but will have no worries if it comes back with a supporting cite. Gwen Gale 22:39, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

This clause no verb[edit]

worlds free of sexism, worlds in which women's contributions (to science) are recognized and valued, worlds in which the diversity of women's desire and sexuality, and worlds that move beyond gender.

Worlds in which the diversity of women's desire and sexuality what? Is this a transcription error, or did she really not supply a verb here? The Wednesday Island 18:29, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

I just looked on Google Books. If that is indeed a correct scanning of the book, the text is ".. worlds that explore the diversity of women's desire and sexuality.." (emphasis mine)
link to Google Books: [1] Jimw338 (talk) 01:54, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

Strange Sentence[edit]

Feminist science fiction in the medium of film and television, is the focus of identifying the tensions of feminism within those types of works

What does this sentence mean? 'FSF is the focus of identifying tensions of feminism within FSF.' This seems, to me at least, a completely circular definition. 02:55, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Sexist Bias[edit]

'Ironically, it was oftentimes the male characters, particularly Gurio Umino, who needed saving.'

Ironically, suggesting this is ironic is quite sexist-masculinist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 03:15, 27 July 2007


While Frankenstein could certainly be considered science fiction, I don't detect anything "feminist" about it; it just happened to be written by a woman. Does it really need to be mentioned?Tomgreeny 00:04, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Your statement that you "don't detect anything "feminist"" about Frankenstein is WP:OR. Cheers. Gwen Gale 23:49, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
The page starts by saying "Feminist science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction that focuses on the examination of women's roles in society." - does Frankenstein really focus on women's roles in society? I've read the Wikipedia article on Frankenstein and the analysis presented there has little or no reference to women's roles in society (or at least no more than any other work of fiction). Your statement that Tomgreeny's comment was WP:OR seems in itself to be incorrect or based on opinion. 11:08, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
The article doesn't assert that Frankenstein is FSF. As background and introduction to the topic, the article asserts, with a supporting cite, that Frankenstein is the first modern work of science fiction. Gwen Gale 12:11, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
even more precisely that many scholars consider it to be. ... but fyi, user:, although it is not made out in the article, there is a strong case to be made that frankenstein does constitute "feminist sf" -- it is very significantly about male appropriation of female reproduction. --lquilter 14:44, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
The case is stronger if limited to parturition (no need to qualify it as female) and not reproduction. Males can reproduce, but can't give birth. But maybe that's WP:OR. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:14, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Can't speak for lq but I think the metaphor deals with this straight on: a male "appropriates" reproduction, hence it can be taken as FSF. Gwen Gale 12:14, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Is there a citation we could use to support putting Frank in the booklist? Gwen Gale 14:55, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

flags on bibliography?[edit]

I'm sure this is a broader issue on wikipedia, but -- flags representing author's, what, citizenship? country of origin? place where currently live? Why is this helpful on the bibliography? Plus -- it's visually distracting, inconsistent, and vague. --lquilter 15:04, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

It's an extension of the little flag icons one sees in biographical articles. Those are helpful but I agree they can distract in a list. Dunno if it's policy, dunno if someone got excited and did it when there was no consensus for it... Gwen Gale 15:05, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

film section[edit]

Hi. User: just reverted multiple changes in one fell swoop diff , including the in-line flag removals discussed above (see WP:FLAG), edits by SmackBot, edits by at least one other editor, and a variety of minor edits that I made, apparently just to take out without discussing the first paragraph of the film / tv section that I rewrote. That was a vastly overbroad delete, so I reverted it; however, I invite the user to discuss the section here. described my new first paragraph as "mostly personal essay", an assertion with which I disagree, but let's talk about it. I have no vested interest in any particular take on the section, but here's the first paragraph (internal cites omitted here) that had created, followed by my problems with that paragraph, my new first paragraph & rewritten paragraph, and what I was trying to get at:

Television and film have offered opportunities for expressing new ideas about social constructs and the ways feminists influence science. Feminist science fiction provides a means to challenge the norms of society and suggest new standards for how societies view gender. The genre also deconstructs the male/female categories, showing how female roles differ from feminine roles. Hence, feminism influences the film industry by creating new ways of exploring masculinity/femininity and male/female roles.

Here are some of the problems with this paragraph:

  • It fails to introduce the topic in any meaningful way, either by transitioning from feminist SF generally to film/TV specifically, or by introducing feminist SF in film & TV.
  • The previous first sentence used a lot of jargon, had very little content, and was frankly both too specific and inaccurate ("feminists influence science"). "Television and film have offered opportunities for expressing new ideas about social constructs and the ways feminists influence science."
  • As followed by the second sentence, those two sentences were horribly clunky together. ("Feminist science fiction provides a means to challenge the norms of society and suggest new standards for how societies view gender.") In fact it sounds like two topic sentences strung together; plus, it is a normative statement about feminist science fiction, rather than stating, for example, "Scholars have found that ..." etc. It also doesn't relate to film & TV but is a general statement about feminist SF.
  • Sentence 3 of the original first paragraph is also generic to feminist SF, not specific to film & TV; and sentence 4 suggests that feminism influences the film industry which is, frankly, not speaking of the genre of feminist science fiction. "The genre also deconstructs the male/female categories, showing how female roles differ from feminine roles. Hence, feminism influences the film industry by creating new ways of exploring masculinity/femininity and male/female roles."

I thought to take a first draft approach at trying to introduce the subject of feminist SF in film and TV with this paragraph:

While feminism per se has been rarely treated in mainstream film and television, both feminist themes and the influences of the feminist movement can be seen in media science fiction. Most recognizably, feminism has driven the creation of a considerable body of action-oriented science fiction with female protagonists: Wonder Woman[1] and the The Bionic Woman during the time of the organized women's movement in the 1970s; Terminator 2 and the Alien tetralogy in the 1980s; and Xena, Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer[2] beginning in the 1990s.
However, feminists have also created science fiction that directly engages with feminism beyond the creation of female action heroes. Television and film have offered opportunities for expressing new ideas about social constructs and the ways feminists influence science. Feminist science fiction provides a means to challenge the norms of society and suggest new standards for how societies view gender. The genre also deconstructs the male/female categories, showing how female roles differ from feminine roles. Hence, feminism influences the film industry by creating new ways of exploring masculinity/femininity and male/female roles.

In the rewrite, I led off by pointing out that "feminism" per se -- as a social movement, characters of explicit feminists -- has rarely been handled in mainstream SF, but that feminism has significantly influenced mainstream SF media. I'm not thrilled with foregrounding action heroines, but I thought it was worth it to start, since it is, in fact, that area of media SF that has gotten the most attention as "feminist". Then I rewrote the other paragraph to try to make it flow better. Now, I didn't plug in the cites in the first paragraph, but "personal essay" is a bit of a mischaracterization, IMO.

Since editor didn't like my new material + rewrite, let's talk about a better structure for this section. What does it need to do? What material needs to be included? And how best to introduce it?

--lquilter 03:37, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

I was waiting to see your answer to the blanket revert. I think it'd be helpful to keep this revision and edit forward from here. I'm not thrilled about the weight given comic/action heroes either, at all, but lots of readers (and editors) think of them and truth be told, they do have a cultural influence (as comic books in the 1930s and 40s had an influence on creators of MsSF in the 60s and 70s). Lastly I tend to agree with the article's current take on the influence of FSF and think the only weakness is the lack of a citation to support the section's opening sentence. Gwen Gale 10:17, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Saying that "feminism per se has been rarely treated in mainstream film and television" is a POV claim that needs to be cited. Otherwise, it's an original-research conclusion.
Saying "feminism has driven the creation of a considerable body of action-oriented science fiction with female protagonists" is also POV. Marketing has driven it, as well as audience research, and the creative whims of writers and producers. Nobody created "The Bionic Woman" for feminist reasons; they created it because the character proved popular on "The Six Million Dollar Man." They would have spun off a series with any popular character on the show. We can't make assumptions, no matter how reasonable they seem, because we simply don't know what was going through the creators' heads — unless, as in Whedon, we have an interview or other citation telling us.
The first sentence of paragraph two is a conclusion. It doesn't need to be there. You can start with to sentence two ("Television and film have offered opportunities for expressing new ideas about social constructs") though the second part of sentence two ("and the ways feminists influence science") is confusing and off-topic; this is about science fiction, not science, and that's a real distinction. A woman scientist in "Battlestar Galactica" is not Madame Curie or a modern-day AIDS researcher hitting the glass ceiling.
RE: "The genre also deconstructs the male/female categories, showing how female roles differ from feminine roles." First, it's a subgenre, and we don't need to use that grad-student jargon. Second, you can skip the jargony phrase "deconstructs the male/female categories" and just say "Feminist SF highlights differences between female roles and feminine roles." Simpler and to the point. Good writing is clear writing.
RE: "Hence, feminism influences the film industry by creating new ways of exploring masculinity/femininity and male/female roles." The word "hence" signals a conclusion. We don't make conclusions on Wikipedia -- we present facts and let reader make own conclusion. And saying that feminism influences the industry is POV. Feminism may have some impact on audience perceptions of male/female roles, but that, too, needs a cite.
I hope I don't sound harsh, but this is why I said you wrote an essay. The paragraphs work to make a conclusion, and that's just disallowed. Instead, why not give concrete examples, i.e., something like (the following made up): "In 1954, the syndicated drama 'Rocket Man' featured Lt. Jane Doe, the first female military officer in American television. Her duties, however, were limited to such-and-such. ... Then in 1969, producer Gene Boysenberry created Capt. Jane Rocketwoman, commander of the Space Marines, in 'Semper Si Fi,' explaining that, 'I felt it was time a woman officer show leadership in combat situations, at a time when women were not allowed on the Vietnam battlefront.' ... The producers of "Zhora," the Emmy Award-winning Best Miniseries about an alien ruler, said at the awards ceremony that they believed their efforts had helped to foster a new understanding of the way women lead, as opposed to men".
These are quick and clumsy examples (I have to run to work) but you can see the difference of just giving facts and not drawing conclusions. -- 13:30, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
In other words you're asking for citations, is all? I agree that jargony words like "deconstruction" can be unhelpful and even misleading but those are easy to smooth out. Gwen Gale 13:32, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
"Deconstruction" etc. were not my adds; they were just material I left in. The best response to lumpy text is to do more smoothing. My suggestion wasn't a miracle of prose, but with all due respect, it was better than the preceding version that created by chopping up the material before that. Which was also lumpy and jargon-ridden. ... I'd be pleased to see more cites for the "conclusions" that I added (which are not radical OR conclusions but obvious and frequently made observations in the literature) but I wanted to get text out there to start laying the foundations for a readable and logical section. So do please feel free to add text, edit text, or add cite-needed templates; or do a wholesale rewrite. I think we can all work better with some of these comments laid out clearly, and hopefully others will also weigh in with commentary that will help all potential editors. --lquilter 16:22, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Ok so I say keep Laura's text and get a couple more citations to support it. Gwen Gale 19:01, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
At least until we get a better intro. --lquilter 19:43, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
To respond to User:Lquilter's remark that his conclusions were "obvious and frequently made observations in the literature" — if they're frequently made, then they should be easy to cite. As for whether they're obvious — according to Wikipedia policies and guidelines, that's POV, because what's "obvious" to one person is simply an interpreted conclusion that may not be "obvious" to someone else. See WP:NPOV and WP:NOR#Synthesis of published material serving to advance a position. I understand that any sociopolitical topic is more highly charged than an entry on copper or zinc, yet these policies are important. They don't allow received wisdom of "what everybody knows". In the long run, that's a good thing. -- (talk) 03:46, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Just FYI, Lquilter is not a "he". ... We have no disagreement that assertions should be cited in the article. --Lquilter (talk) 16:24, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:TheLeftHandOfDarkness1stEd.jpg[edit]

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I moved these lists here for citing and deciding which examples are actually important to discus.

Examples in prose[edit]

Examples of comic books and graphic novels[edit]

In film and television[edit]

Fallout 3[edit]

I think this needs to be added. The game is about as truly equal with the sexes as any post-apocalyptic science fiction likely seen. Brotherhood of Steel Knights, Raiders, Traders, Soldiers, Monsters, all are just as likely to be female as they are to be male. There seems to be no distinction in terms of bias from anyone in the game regarding gender, your main character can be female, and there seems to be absolutely no implication that total anarchy has lead to widespread abuses and rape of women in the Wasteland (the game is rated M). Just the typical murder and mayhem on everyone equally. AndarielHalo (talk) 16:16, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

This isn't, of course, simply a listing of science fiction that is "equal with the sexes" or "feminist". Rather this is an article about the genre of sf committed to engaging with feminist ideas. Non-sexist depictions are pretty common in SF -- what in particular engages with feminist ideas in Fallout 3, and, as importantly, where has it been discussed as part of the canon of feminist sf? (Because we can't put it in just because we think it's non-sexist or feminist; it has to be citeable.) --Lquilter (talk) 00:06, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Buffy & Xena = Science fiction[edit]

Article just gone retard. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:30, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

William Moulton Marston and Wonder Woman[edit]

Not entirely sure why this is presented as an unequivocal positive, since he was a notorious female bondage devotee, and it showed in the comics written by him... AnonMoos (talk) 13:07, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Consider adding C J Cherryh[edit] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:08, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Cold Comfort Farm[edit]

The reference to Cold Comfort Farm is interesting, but since I haven't read the book, I'm not sure how it's relevant to SF. It's not clear to me, for example, whether CCF satirizes the general 1930s view of the sexes, in which case it doesn't seem like a particularly relevant reference; or whether CCF satirizes, in particular, the 1930s view of the sexes common in pulp SF -- in which case it's a (marginally) relevant reference, but needs a footnote or a little more explanation. A page citation at the least? --Lquilter (talk) 19:12, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

IP editor[edit]

An IP editor keeps deleting has now twice deleted what seems to me to be a relatively non-controversial lede sentence, which basically introduces the section. The most recent deletion (see diff) has an incomprehensible edit summary that does among other things mention me for self-referencing. It's true, I did self-reference. The IP editor had deleted material as "unreferenced" in an earlier edit (see diff). I reverted the blanking, which was not well-described by the edit summary, and then went through and cited the material that was unreferenced, and pulled the cites from other wikipedia articles. (See diff encompassing several individual edits.) I didn't add any new "self-referencing" cites; just copied from previously cited material in WP. The specific material with the reference to my cite is on Susan Wood (science fiction). I didn't add it, and it's fine with me to delete it; I think the material is adequately cited otherwise.

That's all just by way of explanation since it seems the IP editor is suggesting something faintly improper. or whatever.

But mostly I just want to document this in case the IP editor would care to discuss, or if some other editor wants to handle the issue. --Lquilter (talk) 19:22, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

  • First (and later) edits: It was a removing of unsourced stuff, because it was unsourced. (Maybe the template citation needed or moving to talk page could be better, but now it's too late anyway.)
  • Frankenstein resp. "connection? (regarding Frankenstein; as women writer + SF =/= feminist SF)": A science fiction (SF) story written by a woman is not necessarily feminist science fiction. So the connection is vague. As the article doesn't claim that it's FSF, it's not wrong.
  • Self-referencing: There was no saying that it's wrong even though it might have some negative connotation. Technically anyone could self-reference and do it in a way so that others do not notice that there is a self-referencing. The mentioning simply had the reason that I don't know and don't judge whether or not it's ok with WP rules or whether or not the source is credible.
  • "Women writers have played key roles in science fiction and fantasy literature, often addressing themes of gender"
    • "writers" (plural) and "key roles" (plural, kind of judging): A story written by a woman or feminist (or man, but that's not the topic) doesn't necessarily play a key role in SF or fantasy literature. I couldn't name two women who wrote at least one story which played a key role in SF or fantasy literature. (I couldn't name a man either nor do I know events/stories which played key roles in SF or fantasy literature, but that's not the topic.)
    • "often": "often" is vague word. It could be understood/interpreted as it's used to emphasise something, or even misunderstood as "more often". As there are more women than feminists, it seems more likely that there are more normal SF stories written by woman than FSF stories wirtten by woman. So it seems more likely that something like "sometimes" is more fitting. A more neutral word - especially without any source - might be "also".
    • To sum it up: it needs some source/reference. A more neutral and more trivial way - so there should be no need for any reference - is something like "Women [also] wrote science fiction and fantasy stories, and also science fiction and fantasy stories addressing themes of gender".

-IP, 06:48, 15 January 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

  1. ^ The original creators of Wonder Woman explicitly stated that they wanted a female hero.Empty citation (help) 
  2. ^ Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy, has frequently self-identified as a feminist, and established that his motives for creating the character of Buffy were feminist.