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For one of my graduate seminars a few years ago, I presented a paper on images of women's non-violent power in feminist science fiction. This presentation originally included examples of violent characters but, after being inundated with post 9-11 media images that unquestioningly glorified violence and reinforced a "might makes right" ideology, I felt I had to focus my energies on non-violent examples. It was very disheartening when, after I presented in my class, my classmates kept suggesting that I talk about Buffy, Xena, and Storm from X-Men. When I reminded my classmates that my focus was specifically on women's non-violent power they responded with "well, Storm doesn't use a gun." Apparently, Storm using lightning to "splat" someone isn't considered violent so long as she's not holding a howitzer. This got me thinking about how we define violence, and also how we define power; if every suggested example of a powerful female character in mainstream entertainment media is a violent woman, then there must be some connection to how society views violence as power. In this essay, I will discuss this equation of power with violence and the implications on women of violence being gendered as masculine. This discussion is set within the specific theoritizations of "tough women" in media and will explain why many theories which classify tough women as "symbolically male" are inadequate models for studying women's power. After a brief examination of various constraints and/or possibilities visual media have versus literature, I will then offer alternative definitions of power that do not rely on violence and illustrate those non-violent examples of power through various feminist science fiction (FSF) texts. I focus mainly on The Handmaid's Tale (both the novel and the film) due to its uncanny appropriateness given the new security policies and laws surrounding women's rights in the United States, and on one television episode of Enterprise which, while not necessarily a work of feminist science fiction, certainly lends itself to a feminist analysis. I also analyze such works of literature as Egalia's Daughters, Herland, and the Native Tongue trilogy. These SF and FSF texts both provide the necessary distance from our culture to examine its constructions of power, critique the policies that such systems of power have encouraged, and also privilege such modes of non-violent empowerment as invisibility, ecofeminism, and story telling.

Técnicos y profesionales
22 marzo

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