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One of the best things, in my mind, about science fiction is the fact that we can build that new world in whatever shape we like. Unless it is specifically a dystopian society, there’s no reason to have a world filled with sexism.
As a self-declared feminist, I want to see future worlds populated with women who can fill all the possible roles in society. I want every girl and woman to be able to read and experience science fiction and see themselves reflected in the mirror of the story. While it is debatable how successful this has been in recently released media, there are some great examples of diversity in women’s roles from the past.
(Source http://www.liveluvcreate.com/image/oh_look_at_that_its_all_my_favorite_fandoms-437636.html )
Star Trek - I don’t often spend time reminiscing about my Star Trek watching days, but thinking through all these amazing role models reminded me of just how good we had it while these shows were on.
Lieutenant Uhura was the first woman I remember in science fiction. Seeing her there on the bridge was my earliest indication that women could do anything. She inspired a generation of women to reach into science careers. Sally Ride was one of the astronauts she recruited, and Mae Jemison credits Uhura as one of her inspirations.
Deanna Troi reminds us that the traditional feminine intuition is also a source of strength and power. Tasha Yar kicked butt as the chief security officer, and did it with a sweet short haircut I envied in middle school. Dr. Beverly Crusher was smart and skilled, and never took second fiddle to anyone. She did all that while managing to raise her son. Captain Kathryn Janeway FINALLY showed that the Enterprise could be in good hands with a woman at the helm.
A mechanic, a courtesan, a corporal, and a savant. Each of these ladies is highly respected by the rest of the crew, even though they are wildly different in their talents and passions. Kaylee can fix anything mechanical. She occasionally substitutes frilly ball gowns for her practical clothes. Inara is sought out for her beauty. Her job is to bring pleasure and culture to her clients. She’s also keenly intelligent, artistic, and intuitive. Zoe brings military training and discipline to the group. Yet she’s also happily married to a man she respects - and who respects her. River is an enigma. She moves like a dancer, is profoundly gifted, and fights like no one I’ve ever seen before. Four women. Four entirely different ways to BE a woman.
(Posters available through ThinkGeek)
The Razorland Trilogy by Ann Aguirre
Looking for something more recent? Sometimes in the shape of a novel (or trilogy)? Check out the Razorland series by Ann Aguirre. I loved this whole series, and the final book just recently published. While I enjoyed the action, the dystopian setting, and the creepy “Freaks”, my favorite part of this series was the way that all the ways of being a woman were respected. Deuce is a Huntress - a warrior. Yet she has nothing but honor for the women she meets who are healers, mothers, and artisans.
Check out my reviews of
Book 1 - Enclave
Book 2 - Outpost
An interview with Ann Aguirre as part of the Outpost Blog Tour:
Book 3 - Horde (not yet reviewed here on my blog)
This list barely scratches the surface of all the wonderful women of science fiction. Which franchise do you love for the way that all types of women are celebrated?