Australian feminist writers

Category:Australian feminist writers - wikipedia

Two australian examples depict future Utopian societies brought about by political reform and franchise for women: Henrietta dugdale 's a few hours in a far-Off Age ( 1883 ) and Catherine helen Spence 's a week in the future (December 1888-July 1889 Centennial Magazine ;. A radical example of a female utopia built on appropriate technology and science is "Sultana's Dream" (1905 The Indian Ladies' magazine ) by bengali writer rokheya shekhawat Hossein. This utopian tradition in women's writing had been mostly forgotten in subsequent decades until its rediscovery by feminist scholars in the 1970s. The early 1980s saw the consolidation of feminist criticism as the Academic journals ran special issues on women's sf: "Science fiction on Women Science fiction by women" (March 1980 Science fiction Studies ) and "Women in SF" (Spring 1982 Extrapolation 23). In one of the first detailed studies of the topic, In the Chinks of the world Machine: Feminism and Science fiction ( 1988 ; vt Feminism and Science fiction 1989 sarah Lefanu, makes a distinction between feminist sf and "feminized sf". The latter, she argues, while it challenges established sexism by valuing women and feminine values over men and masculinity, and has been an important influence on the development of sf as a whole, does not dispute the man/woman paradigm or question the construction of gender.

The imprint also included the work of lesser known authors such as Rosaleen love from Australia, and Elisabeth Vonarburg and Candas Jane dorsey from Canada. A good sample of the range of contemporary sf that could be considered feminist can be seen in the output of Aqueduct Press, a dedicated publisher of feminist. Aqueduct has produced some of the more radical and overtly feminist texts of the last decade, including Jones 's Life ( 2004 duchamp 's Marq'ssan series; as well as work from feminist writers of colour, such as Andrea hairston, vandana singh and Nisi Shawl. The impact of feminism in the field has also extended to studies of sf (see critical and Historical Works About sf ). Feminist approaches to sf criticism have now become common, with house numerous monographs and collections, and hundreds of articles on the subject. Early examples were mostly critiques of the way women were represented in sf (see women in sf coming as often from writers as critics: Russ 's "The Image of Women in sf already cited; beverly Friend's "Virgin Territory: Women and Sex in Science fiction" (December. From the late 1970s, the focus of critics turned towards sf produced by women and feminist writers. An important part of this work was the recovery of "herstory documenting the work of earlier women writers such as oore, and situating feminist sf within a longer history stretching back to nineteenth-century Utopian works that arose as part of the movement for women's rights. Unlike the utopias of male history writers, these fictions always question the sexual status quo and foreground the position of women. Mary e bradley lane 's mizora (november 1880-February 1881 Cincinnati commercial ; 1890 ) and Charlotte perkins Gilman 's Herland (January-december 1915 The forerunner ; 1979 ) depict an all-women society and show its superiority to societies in which men rule.

australian feminist writers

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Thus it is increasingly difficult to identify a coherent sub-genre of "feminist sf" even as more feminist writers have entered the field. Additionally while there are strange a number of sf writers might consider themselves "feminist they do not necessarily always produce overtly feminist work. Nevertheless, there are certainly a greater number of works in the field that could be called "feminist-friendly". For some, however, feminism in sf has lost its radical edge, with writer and sf critic Gwyneth Jones arguing that we are seeing a retreat into what she calls "fem-sf a conciliatory nod towards gender equality which is more concerned with fantasies of tough heroines. Part of the problem may lie in the kinds of books publishers think will appeal to readers. While some are more open to feminist and other overtly political texts, there have been few publishing companies which have explicitly associated themselves with feminist products. A crucial role in this regard was played by the sf imprint of the uk publishing house, the women's Press. Under the direction of Sarah Lefanu the imprint brought together an eclectic range of texts, some reprints of classic feminist sf texts by russ, Charnas and gearhart, others originally published as straightforward sf, as for example a door into Ocean ( 1986 ) by joan. The women's Press also published books by writers who had not necessarily been seen as feminist writers, such as Josephine saxton, tanith lee and Carol Emshwiller, and reprinted the nineteenth century utopia, charlotte perkins Gilman 's Herland (January-december 1915 The forerunner ; 1979 ).

australian feminist writers

Feminism in Australia - wikipedia

Often texts include a dystopian society or element to balance out a more Utopian one, such as in piercy 's Woman on the Edge of Time ( 1976 where the contemporary world of piercy's narrator is rendered dystopic against the freedoms women enjoy in Mattapoisett. Suzy mckee charnas 's Walk to the End of the world ( 1974 ) is a stark dystopia which pushes ownership of women to its limits, resulting in a form of animalistic Slavery which contrasts sharply with the women-only society of the sequel, motherlines (. Other works imagine societies where women are stripped of all civil and political rights, as in Margaret Atwood 's The handmaid's Tale ( 1985 and suzette haden Elgin 's Native tongue ( 1984 where women's groups develop rebellion through the formation of a woman's language. Another common approach in feminist sf is the defamiliarization of traditional gendered roles, often through the depiction of Alien societies with different gender structures and/or biologies. Examples include many of le guin 's hainish stories, herryh 's Chanur novels, and much of Eleanor Arnason 's work, such as a woman of the Iron people ( 1991 ring of Swords ( 1993 and other Hwarhath stories. Some works play with our understandings of Gender by depicting races with only one gender, plan such as le guin 's The left Hand of Darkness ( 1969 or with no gender, as in Gwyneth Jones 's Aleutian Trilogy ; or explore races with multiple genders. Less common are texts which deal directly with political and occasionally violent struggles between the sexes; powerful examples are found in Gwyneth Jones Aleutian trilogy; Charnas 's Holdfast series, l timmel Duchamp 's Marq'ssan Cycle, and Carol Emshwiller 's "Boys" (January 2003 Sci fiction ). While feminism has been incorporated into the field to the extent that active female characters are more common, it is harder to identify a core group of contemporary texts that are "representative" of feminist sf than was the case in the 1970s. This is, in part, due to the proliferation of political positions now encompassed by feminisms, and an increasing focus on the ways Gender intersects with race, class, sexuality and age (see race in sf ; see gay and lesbian sf).

1972 ; vt Gender Genocide 1973 see sex Sociology.) Some role reversals directly swap the positions of men and women, and are usually written as straight satires, such as Gerd Brantenberg 's Egalia's daughters: a satire of the sexes ( 1986 ; vt daughters. In Capovolta ( 1992 ). The complicated reversal of patriarchy found in Ursula k le guin 's "The matter of Seggri" (Spring 1994 Crank! 3 postulates a skewed Gender imbalance which has "produced a society in which. Men have all the privilege and the women have all the power". A similar gender imbalance produces a world where only women marry and men must focus on producing children in Elisabeth Vonarburg 's In the mother's Land ( 1992 ). A number of works play with the notion of biological determinism to suggest that males should be segregated to protect society from their aggressive natures, as in Pamela sargent 's The Shore of Women ( 1986 sherri s tepper 's The gate to women's country. Dystopian worlds are also an important thread of feminist sf (see dystopias these work to critique various elements of gendered relations through exaggeration.

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australian feminist writers

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Drawing on ideas about the use of technology to free women from the "slavery" of reproduction outlined in Shulamith Firestone's The dialectic of Sex: The case for Feminist revolution ( 1970 piercy's text is unusual in depicting an integrated two-sex society. Many of the other texts in this group turn to separatist societies to imagine different roles for women (see gay and lesbian sf). The point of these field texts is not to advocate a separatist politics, but rather to allow female characters to inhabit all the roles normally ascribed to men. Examples range from the essentialist split between the sexes in Amelia gearhart's The wanderground ( 1978 ) (where women live a pastoral existence in touch with nature and eschewing Technology, while men are confined to cities to the more complex female-only societies of Charnas 's. (in Aurora: beyond Equality, anth 1976, ed Vonda McIntyre and Susan j anderson; 1989 chap dos).

Marion Zimmer Bradley 's The Shattered Chain ( 1976 ) includes the breakaway female-only society of the Free amazons, who offer an alternative to the repressive lives led by women on the rest of Darkover. As Russ noted, the societies in these texts were often sexually permissive and open to alternatives to heterosexuality, both to explore different sexualities for women, but also to disconnect sex and sexuality from reproduction (see sex ; gay and lesbian sf). The use of separatism to better explore women's relations to politics, power, and sex has been explored in more contemporary texts, wilbur most notably in Nicola Griffith 's Ammonite ( 1993 where a sex-specific virus has killed off all men on the planet jeep, and joan. Other interesting examples of women-only worlds include the comedic daughters of a coral Dawn ( 1984 ) by katherine v forrest and Retreat: As It Was! ( 1979 ) by donna j young. Texts which explore some measure of sex segregation often place women in charge of the public sphere, thus effecting a "role reversal" where women hold power, as in jayge carr 's leviathan's deep ( 1979 ). (Misogynist examples of this theme, or what Russ terms "battle of the sexes" texts, include Thomas Berger 's Regiment of Women 1973 and Edmund cooper 's Who needs Men?

Writers such as Octavia butler, suzy mckee charnas, le guin, vonda McIntyre and joanna russ led the way in challenging traditional understandings of Sex, gender roles, sexuality, and race. Importantly, unlike the realist consciousness-raising fiction which arose out of the women's liberation movement, feminist sf did not focus solely on exposing the ways patriarchal society had limited women's lives, but asked what could be done differently. If we had societies that were not built on unequal relations between the sexes (and races) what would they look like? How would they function? Would science and technology be done differently? Feminist writers seized on sf's potential to critique contemporary social roles, mores and Politics.


For feminists, sf offered the possibility to challenge the notion of women as "other" to men and conduct what le guin calls "thought experiments" about how the sexual order might be differently structured. Such experiments could include deliberately exaggerated or reversed sexual orders, which worked to defamiliarize the existing relations between the sexes (see sociology ). One of the major challenges of modern feminism has been to the idea that gender roles and relations are in some way permanent, arising from a natural and immutable law, based on biology. These ideas can be challenged through inventing societies which encourage or demand different roles for women: imagining women performing work traditionally thought of as masculine; re-thinking traditional notions of reproduction and parenthood; presenting different models of marriage, families or communal living. Many of these themes are seen in the group of 1970s utopian texts (see utopias ) identified by russ in her "Recent Feminist Utopias" ( Future females: a critical Anthology 1981. Edited Marleen Barr ). Works such as piercy 's Woman on the Edge of Time ( 1976 ) re-imagine a low-tech egalitarian society where childrearing, parenting (and even breast-feeding) is shared by men and women and people's roles are not determined by sex, but by ability.

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This stood in stark contrast to what Russ believed sf should be about: "science fiction writers have no business employing stereotypes, let alone swallowing them goggle-eyed". One of the primary concerns, then, of the feminist writers coming to sf in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was to write women into sf futures; to create active female characters rather than the unbelievable or unimportant caricatures too often standing in for womanhood. As Ursula k le guin argued in "American sf and the Other" (november 1975 Science fiction Studies 7 "The women's movement has made most of us conscious of the fact that sf has either totally ignored women, or presented them as squeaking dolls subject. Perhaps the most obvious attraction of sf to women writers feminist or not is the possibilities it offers for the creation of a female hero. The demands of realism in the contemporary or historical novel set limits which dubai do not bind the universes available. Although the history of sf reveals few heroic, realistic, or even original images of women (see women in sf the genre had a potential recognized by the women writers drawn to it in the 1960s and 1970s. The desire to write (or read) about women who wield swords, pilot spaceships or simply lead lives from which the threat of male violence is absent might be seen as escapist, but such imaginings can also be read as part of a political agenda. As Pamela sargent wrote in a letter to Frontiers: a journal of Women Studies, fall 1977, "Science-fiction writers are limited only by human potential, plan not human actualities. Sf can serve to show women, and men, how large that potential can be".

australian feminist writers

The impact of feminism on the sf field can be observed not only in sf texts themselves, but also on the development of feminist approaches to sf criticism and history, as well as conversations and debates in the sf community. Despite the reputation sf has as a mind-expanding, possibly subversive, always questioning form, these strengths were seldom brought to bear on the subject of male/female relationships, sexual roles or the idea of "woman's place" prior to the rise of the women's Liberation movement. Amis pointed out in, new Maps of Hell ( 1960 "Though it may go against the grain to admit it, science-fiction writers are evidently satisfied with the sexual status quo." he was referring, of course, to male edition sf writers. With a very few exceptions examples include Philip. Wylie 's, the disappearance ( 1951 john, wyndham 's "Consider Her ways" (in, sometime, never, anth 1956, ed anon) and Theodore. Sturgeon 's, venus Plus X ( 1960 ) the men who tried to imagine alternatives to patriarchy did so only to "prove" how nasty and impossible life would be without the "natural" dominance of woman by man. (For more novels featuring women-ruled societies see sociology.) A decade later, author and academic joanna russ made a similar argument from an explicitly feminist perspective, in "The Image of Women in SF" (1970 The red Clay reader 7; February 1974 Vertex ). Russ charged sf with a failure of imagination and "social speculation arguing that the lack of believable female characters in sf resulted from an unthinking acceptance of cultural conditioning and Clichés.

Centre at the actu and researched the socialisation of women's labour. Gimenez, martha ( ) Argentinian Marxist Feminist marxist Feminism site ebert, teresa ( ) Argues for a feminism based on historical materialism, against the postmodern feminism of people like judith Butler, which she calls ludic feminism. terea ebert home page linda Nicholson ( ) Historian who has contributed to uncovering the role of women in history, and analysed the historical development of the women's movement itself. full biography seyla benhabib (1950- ) Turkish feminist, social philosopher and Critical Theorist. home page cornell, Drucilla ( ) American Ethical feminist, professor of political science, women's studies, and comparative literature at Rutgers University. March 04, 2018, tagged: Theme, although a genre defined and long dominated by men, sf has a particular affinity with feminism. This became clear in the 1970s with the publication of such challenging books. Walk to the End of the world ( 1974 ) and, motherlines ( 1978 ) by suzy mckee, charnas, the female man ( 1975 ) by joanna. Russ and, woman on the Edge of Time ( 1976 ) by marge, piercy.

full biography, sheila rowbotham (1943- british socialist feminist; wrote for the Trotskyist Black Dwarf before publishing Womens Liberation and the new Politics arguing that women were oppressed in cultural as well as economic terms. A pioneer of womens history. full biography, angela davis (1944-). A member essay of the cpusa for some time, davis is a supporter of Cuba and an active campaigner for radical alternatives to prison. Her criticisms of the exclusive focus of the modern women's movement on the concerns of middle-class white women was influential. full biography, laura limpus ( shulamith Firestone (1945- radical feminist who argued that the concept of class should be expanded to encompass the notion of women as a sex-class, and thus utilise the ideas of Marxism and class struggle to understand the nature of women's. full biography marlene Dixon ( ) Socialist Feminist who argued both against the overreaction of feminists against socialism and the antipathy of socialists to feminism.

Blog: 50 great reads by australian women in 2016

Betty Friedan (1921-2006 psychologist, a student of Kurt Koffka, who criticised Freudian psychoanalysis for make its rationalisation of sexist attitudes; exposed the deep crisis affecting American housewives, excluded from the workforce and confined to housework. full biography, clara Fraser (1923-1998 socialist-feminist, founder of Freedom Socialist Party in seattle. Kate Millett (1934- radical Feminist, who argued for the expansion of the conceptions of historical materialism to include the processes of domestic labour and reproduction. May have coined the word sexism. full biography, germaine Greer (1939-). Australian Radical Feminist, full biography, juliet Mitchell (1940- new zealand-born, British feminist who endeavoured to reconcile feminism with psychoanalysis. Barbara Ehrenreich (1941- american Socialist feminist and journalist.


australian feminist writers
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Feminism at Feminist Utopia ( site that offers various feminism and activism resources ) (Colleen McEneany) Terry Threadgold, cultural Studies, feminist Values: Strange bedfellows or Sisters in Crime? (1996) ( Australian Humanities review ).

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  2. The symposium explores the important contributions made. Australian women academics, activists, writers and artists to feminist and ecological issues.seeks to develop the concept of a distinctly australian, feminist, ecology. Outstanding collection of feminist, sF, compiled based on recommendations of other feminist, sF writers.edited another, daughters of Earth: Feminist, science fiction in the Twentiet Justine larbalestier.

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