I’m reading a Marion Zimmer Bradley novel called The Ruins of Isis. The premise is a great one. An ancient planet ruled by women who subjugate and own their men. It was written in 1978 and speaks volumes about that time and about human relations in general. It flips things on its head and shows how ridiculous the whole idea is, for anyone. Male or female.
I have always been a feminist. Vehemently so. I can’t/won’t accept a world where I am not considered an equal. I remember telling my husband-to-be that I would NOT stay home and be some kind of brood mare for him. I glared at him as I did so, as if he was suggesting just such a thing (he wasn’t). I had reason to be so forceful. I’d watched my mother being dominated by my stepfather–who had control issues to say the least. She fought the good fight but he wore her down. On the flip side, my father’s mother is the matriarch of our family. She rules, and everyone else follows. My father, as a result, is very gentle, when I flipped his car and nearly killed us at 12 years old he went home and took a shower then went and waxed his truck, very unperturbed. This feels right to me. Not some sort of domination between the sexes but a mutual respect and kindness. Does this mean that some men will have to take a backseat to their dominating nature? Probably. But a good man won’t mind that or even take note of it.
When this book was written equality between the sexes was still a new concept and the subject needed to be addressed, nay it needed to be described in just this beautiful and detailed way– showing how much had been accomplished and how far away we still were from a state of gender balance. This is such a tightwire balancing act so deftly done that I am in awe of MZB’s skills. After all, who was she following after in the Sci Fi field but the likes of Asimov and his tired male centered sexist view of the universe (so bad in fact that I wonder if he ever had a decent relationship with any woman?–If you don’t believe me read ANY of his short stories or novels and count the females who aren’t wives, mothers, or coffee-getters. You’ll find the total to be a very sad, and very telling, zero.) From Asimov’s world to what we enjoy today is yet another world away. We’ve come a long way and I can’t help but think that books like these and other pioneers helped to pave the way. For them, I’m grateful.
As a child of the 80’s and 90’s I benefited greatly from these ‘new’ ideas. My children will benefit even more. What about YOU? Do you take it for granted? Do you think it’s a tired overdone subject? How has feminism affected you?