Feminist Utopia/Dystopia

Science Fiction Sub-Genre

Young Woman Covered by futuristic Lines of Lights
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Feminist Utopia

Feminist utopia is a type of social science fiction. Usually, a feminist utopia novel envisions a world in stark contrast to patriarchal society. Feminist utopia imagines a society without gender oppression, envisioning a future or an alternate reality where men and women are not stuck in traditional roles of inequality. These novels are often set in worlds where men are entirely absent.

Feminist Dystopia

Often, a feminist science fiction novel is more of a dystopia. Dystopic science fiction imagines a world gone terribly wrong, exploring the most extreme possible consequences of current society’s problems. In a feminist dystopia, the inequality of society or oppression of women is exaggerated or intensified to highlight the need for change in contemporary society.

Explosion of a Subgenre

There was a great increase in feminist utopian literature during the second-wave feminism of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Feminist science fiction is often seen as more concerned with societal roles and power dynamics than the technological advances and space travel of “typical” science fiction.

Examples

Early feminist utopias:

Contemporary feminist utopia novels:

    Feminist dystopia novels:

    • Walk to the End of the World by Suzy McKee Charnas
    • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

    There are also many books, such as Joanna Russ’ The Female Man, that explore both utopia and dystopia.