Can't Live with them, so We'll live Without them!: Women Only Worlds in Science Fiction

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Why Women-Only Worlds?

After the havoc wreaked by communism and socialism during and after World War II, utopian fiction became much less popular. After all, communism and socialism were often used as the foundations of these supposedly ideal societies. Dystopias that showed the chaos and hellish living that resulted from attempted utopias became much more popular. However, many feminists argued that the utopia was not completely out of reach. They believed that the existing systems and the typical utopias were both flawed because they were based on masculine values; if feminine values formed the basis of the society, a utopia could be in reach.

But what are masculine and feminine values? These different perspectives on morality are often referred to as the justice and care perspectives, respectively. In the typically male justice perspective, rules are emphasized and followed as the basic for social interaction and moral decisions. This perspective tends to focus on the individual and his or her needs and rights. On the other hand, the typically female care perspective emphasizes relationships and connectedness. According to the care perspective, people are not entities unto themselves; they are bound together by their relationships. Based on this idea, moral decisions should examine the potential impact on the society as a whole and should always take care of the weak members of society. Mizora: A Prophecy by Mary E. Bradley Lane featured an all-female utopia dedicated to the care principles. In this society, women were nurtured both as individuals and as an interconnected community. Communist practices were adopted, not out of a sense of fairness for the individual, but so that all women in the community could benefit together.

The lesbian separatist movement also impacted the development of women-only worlds. Some feminists feel that heterosexuality has become a mechanism for male dominance. These women argue that homosexuality is the only way women can become free of the patriarchy. After all, women who form attachments to other women instead of men are free of the emotional entanglement that often leads to male dominance.These women seek to make men an unnecessary part of society; the all-female world established on feminine values is their ultimate dream.

The specific reasons why women choose to portray women-only worlds in their writing are varied. However, much of the attraction to this genre can be traced back to these ideas.


Last Update: 3 Dec. 2009