The Female Man

2014 among others will be also known for the long and unstoppable discussions on feminism. All over the news there were articles on feminism, some being pro and some against it. Being a regular reader of the portal ‘Huffington post’ I remember almost every week there was an article on this issue: Beyonce is feminist; Beyonce is against feminism blla blla blla…

But what is actually feminism, it is still unclear if you ask me. Yes ‘feminism’ is for sure the terminology used for advocacy of women’s right in all aspects, or as we would like to hear if it is the notion of being equal to men. However, every person understands equality differently.


Today, however I won’t be talking about feminism, but rather about a feminist science fiction novel written by Joanna Russ ‘The Female Man’. The title female man belongs to Joanna who call herself a female man, because she believed that in order to be respected she should forget her identity as female, and in order to act like someone else you have to be ‘someone else’.

The book is a fascinating examination of gender roles and believes. It shows the lives/stories of 4  women living in totally different worlds:

Joanna – living in 1970s in a world similar to ours

Jeannine – living a world where the Depression has never ended

Janet – a woman living in Whileaway distant utopian future, where all men have died from a gender-specific disease over 800 years ago, and the all females are lesbian, but can give birth thanks to technological developments), and

Jael – a heterosexual woman who has sex with Davy, an adolescent male in her home. She lives in a place where men and woman are engaged in a battle for 40 years now, but they still participate in trade with each other, women usually trade children in exchange for resources.

Each of the characters in the book visits one another’s world and authors describes excellently the misunderstands, and misjudgments  for one another, through which she is able to openly criticize the society. The book is surely written in blood and tears, you can feel that and this is the power it makes you feel while reading it. I’m aware many people have negatively judged the book, especially for its complexity in reading it. She changed quickly between characters, and in every case she refers to them as “I” so sometimes you get confused to whom she’s referring to. Nonetheless to me it has presented so strong emotions that for sure it will remain as one of my favorite book.


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