boobz

After reading The Female Man, having never read or heard of any other of Joanna Russ’ works, I wonder what her intentions were when she decided to write this science fiction/feminist novel. I have looked up a bibliography of her work which sort of proved my original theory to be wrong, which was that she may have just been trying to enter a genre which was male dominated, and be one of the few women to have written a science fiction novel, challaenging sexist views through its contents and dedicating it specifically to women only to cause even more controversy. Joanna Russ has in fact written many science fiction novels. I have not looked further into her works to find out if they are similar to The Female Man in more ways, and I am sure that I won’t later, but I’m sure that at least some of them have at least feminist undertones as well, as Joanna Russ the person seems to be an avid feminist outside of her literature.

From what I have discovered about Russ’ writing, I now believe that her agenda the drove the writing of The Female Man was for a large part her attempt to try and change the image of women in literature, especially in science fiction writing. The four main protagonists, Jeaninne, Joanna, Janet and Jael all have different views on femininity and womanhood and all are trying to define their identities as women.

Since the novel was written in the 1970’s when the feminist movement was at its peak, I think that Joanna Russ was probably trying to create characters who would act mirrors to her writinga novel in a male-dominated genre, as well as the women who were struggling to be heard in the feminist movement of the 70’s.