Updated: Oct 6, 2020
WOMEN AND YOUR WORLDS
Mary Shelley was only nineteen years old when imagined and wrote the story that will be considered the initial mark of science fiction in literature. According to biographies about her, Mary would have been challenged by two poets, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley (with whom she would marry) to write a horror tale.
The story known worldwide but not always associated with the authorship of a woman, tells the path of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who gave life to a “monster” in a conflicted relationship that highlights human dilemmas.
The literary genre inaugurated by a woman was soon dominated by men and reflects in publications and stories the characteristics of a machist society. “The foundation” by Isaac Asimov, considered by critics (also for the most part men) as one of the main works of science fiction, has only one female character who does not even have a line in the narrative. Thus, women were being deprived of this segment and consequently of the right to share their imagined worlds.
Several women have faced (and face) prejudice and the barriers imposed to publish science fiction stories. Even so, we can celebrate these women who dared to create new worlds or as in the case of Margareth Atwood, author of the “The Handmaid’s Tale”, who decided that this story would be based on real events, providing us with a despotic story that causes us true amazement at the possibility of happening - or rather, repeating itself.
Another great author, who besides the gender barrier also crossed the race barrier to become a great writer. Octavia Butler, author of classics such as “Kindred”, “The Parable of the Sower” and “The Parable of the Talents”, manages to transpose their experiences bringing reflections on racism religion and the future (or past) of human society.
Ursula K Le Guin a renowned science fiction writer, delivered a memorable speech on the importance of imagining during the National Book Awards (USA) in 2014:
“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.” Very current speech for the period of world pandemic that we live. In fact, moments that are very similar to science fiction narratives. Events that change the whole human trajectory that forces us to reinvent. So, let us continue inspired by these women who are ahead of their time, imagining other eras, other worlds, other people, and let's imagine, let's create, write, publish, read, invent, in short, move on.
Some references from authors have been presented here, which have become more popular lately recognizing that there is a production of women to be explored and encouraged, as it is incredible to exist in a world that includes the existence of worlds where the anarchist Shevek discovers the Theory of Simultaneity, where we can accompany Lauren founding the city of Acorn and creating Earthseed community, recognize many of the paths that led Offred to resist, and discover a monster too human like Frankenstein.
Feminist lawyer active in the area of family law and defense of women’s right.
Librarian, English Teacher and Feminist master student with project in favor of the end of violence against women.