US tab

Conclusion

These two texts demonstrate how feminist speculative fiction criticizes and raises awareness about the conditions of women in our world. Even though speculative fiction, on the surface, primarily concerns itself with worlds and situations far removed from our present reality, it connects to and comments on our own world and the conditions in which we live. Speculative fiction's distance from our reality highlights gender inequality by exaggerating seemingly normal elements of women's lives to show their unfair and oppressive nature. Through the experiences of the female characters in these speculative fiction worlds, readers can see the importance of feminism. These texts, although dated, still resonate with readers who can recognize their experiences in the stories of these women and see how far we have come—or not—these few decades. The messages of The Female Man and The Handmaid's Tale are even more crucial because they reflect conditions of women today.

But feminist speculative fiction is more than just a commentary. As we might expect, these texts have another purpose: to "inspire real-world change" (Barr 8). Feminist speculative fiction writers are not writing into a vacuum; readers can take what they learn from these texts and apply it to the real world, instigating change. As Marina MacKay explains, these texts "act upon us all" and "potentially change the world in the act of describing it" (14). By changing our perspective of our world, feminist speculative fiction can change the way we act in our world: "when we 'feel right,' we act rightly" (14). Once readers understand the underlying messages in feminist speculative fiction, they can work to change the world around them and act rightly for the inhabitants of our planet. Speculative fiction can inspire social change simply because it contains information about the conditions around us and criticizes aspects that need improvement. With this information, readers can investigate and discuss, potentially even fix, the persistent problems in the world around them. These feminist speculative fiction texts can ultimately cause awareness, action, and change. As Russ says while addressing her own novel, "Do not complain when at last you become quaint and old-fashioned...Do not get glum when you are no longer understood, little book. Do not curse your fate...Rejoice, little book! For on that day, we will be free" (214). When we can say that these depictions of reality no longer talk about our reality, and that feminist writings do not resonate deep within readers, we can celebrate the progress our society has made and know that these inequalities in the lives of people around us are dated and gone.

Works Cited >>