Talk:Women in speculative fiction

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When I looked at this title, I *thought* it would be an interesting essay on representations of Women in Science Fiction, which the title kind of implies. Instead, this is an article on Women Science Fiction Authors. All qualms about separating this from articles on Science Fiction as a whole aside, I think that this needs a new title and an appropriate article (I am not volunteering, because I don't think I could do justice to it) written in its place. I would assume that that article would not just include the treatment of Women in SF by women authors, but also some kind of "change over time, with influx of more female authors..." as well as treatment in art by people like Vallejo and Frazetta. Still don't see any justification for separating it. Anybody looking up Sci Fi will just miss out, I guess. SO I guess, even though it's important enough for an article, it's not important enough to be read by anybody that doesn't think to look under Women. JHK, feminist and proud of it.

Women in science fiction should be a big article; it badly needs writing. Please see Sex in science fiction which overlaps some of the themes of sexuality and gender that are relevant. The Anome
<2 cents>Please note: Judy-Lynn Del Rey known as an editor (I think also writer). If we have an entry on Women Science Fiction Authors without one on Women in Science Fiction, somebody is sure to produce an example of a woman noted for being the latter without also being the former. </2 cents>

<Eloquence> Moving this here; articles should not contain editorial instructions:

Subjects to be covered:

  • representations of women in Science Fiction by mostly male authors
  • treatment of women in SF by women authors,
  • change over time, with influx of more female authors...
  • treatment in art by cover artists like Vallejo and Frazetta

I think there is a lot to say about the general portrayal of female characters - in the early days, mostly sex symbols and love interest, typically needing endless rescuing from the monster. Some femme fatales. Typically films, comics and cover art show women who conform to current stereotypes of beauty, usually in clothing that is skimpy, tight, or both. Some stronger characters with their own agendas now seem to be emerging - e.g. Ripley in the Alien films, or Starbuck in the remake of Battlestar Galactica, Female leads in Star Wars offer interesting material - e.g. contrast Pricess Leia in the 1980s films with Padme inthe more recent batch.

Also female fandom. --lquilter 13:19, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Unsourced tagEdit

I've tagged this article as unsourced, since it provides no references to back up any of its contents. Valrith 22:34, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

"Women's literature" as an area of studyEdit

(I am posting this message on the discussion pages of several likely articles and lists; sorry for the cross-posting):

I'd like to invite anyone interested in women's writing to read and comment on a draft article, " Women's literature in English." It began in response to the recent removal of " Woman Writers" as a category. It's close to being finished, but a few more eyes would be really helpful. Thanks! scribblingwoman 16:06, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Update: I just (finally) submitted the category for review for reinstatement. Fingers crossed. scribblingwoman 15:10, 18 March 2007 (UTC)


I realize the change I made is fairly significant, but as it stood it was taking a very much minority view (by a critic I'd never heard of) as normative. Women certainly made great contributions to SF before the 1960s, but the genre being "male-oriented" than is the mainstream view and needed a bit more play.--T. Anthony (talk) 08:21, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

I'll add a cited ref for it being male orientated. It is indeed the mainstream view, as per sourcesYobmod (talk) 08:27, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Done - i know some wont like this fact (that SF was traditionally male orientated), but it is verifiable from genre critics. Without this, the lead makes it sound like genre lit was always a bias-free land of equality (like some kind of lesbian SF utopia in fact!). White washing the fact that publishers targeted men doesn't help anyone. I think mentioning that women often felt forced to write under pseudonyms, and the award discrepancy in the past sould slao be in the lead imo. Yobmod (talk) 08:35, 25 August 2008 (UTC)


"However, some critics have argued that the reputation is unjustified. Eric Leif Davin, for instance, documented almost 1,000 stories published in science fiction magazines by over 200 female-identified authors between 1926 and 1960.[Argues? 1]"

Is the above really his position? Can someone check the cite? 1000 stories over so many years is a very small amount! It is difficult to compare it to the overall number of stories during the same period without original synthesis, but this looks more like an argument that women were massively unrepresented by publishers at the time (due to publisher / reader bias?). Yobmod (talk) 08:51, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

I have seen critics, including women, say that the idea women were rare than is exaggerated or overblown. I'm not sure if this is his argument or not, I was just maintaining that as it seemed to have a source and I didn't want to overdo the editing of an article relatively new to me.--T. Anthony (talk) 11:03, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
agree with keeping the info - this i believe. I just wonder if the author really argues against SF being "for boys", or is simply pointing out the facts. SF was also predominately white-dominated; mentioning the number of black authors wouldn't argue against this, it just rounds out the picture. Just changing the "almost" to "only" in the above quote would make a huge difference to the meaning, so it needs more contextYobmod (talk) 11:18, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
You probably have a point. I wonder if we should mention Cele Goldsmith Lalli. I believe she was one of the first major female editors in the genre and started several women authors out.--T. Anthony (talk) 11:33, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I think Judy-Lynn del Rey is also a very important figure in early SF. All the best: Rich Farmbrough22:19, 20 October 2014 (UTC).
  1. ^ Eric Leif Davin, Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1965.


What is the point of this article? If there is an article Women in science fiction, then why there is no article Men in science fiction? Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 11:28, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Men represented virtually all editors and most major SF writers before 1959 so it's not of historic or cultural interest. The subject "Women in Science Fiction" however is, it has its own article in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.--T. Anthony (talk) 11:32, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Feel free to write the "Men in SF" article, if you can find sources. The unbalanced state of academia simply means that this area has been studied, hence there are reliable sources to write an article from. Print encylopedias of SF include "women" entries, but not "men".Yobmod (talk) 11:35, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
If anyone is still interested, i started a section on Portrayals of men at the Gender in SF article. So far only paragraphs on fetishization of men, and misandry in feminist SF. Any (cited!) additons are welcome.YobMod 16:07, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Removing cited contentEdit

User:Sappho1 has been removing cited content about early women writers, with no explanation. As 2 editors have reverted this multiple times, i think there is no consensus for this removel.

Is there a reason for removing it that i cannot figure out? Unless a reason is given, such removals should be undone, and if they continue, then warnings be given out. I am working on this article in parallel with the Gender in SF article and women in comics, so i notice any changes quite quickly, but if anyone else sees this happenning, reverting has consensus at the momentYobMod 08:42, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

So i guess the explanation is that they have read Partners in Wonder. However, Davin is in the vast minority in his views, so while they should be noted, they do not wipe out all critical thought from other commentators.YobMod 21:38, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I suspect Sappho1 may be Davin. --Orange Mike | Talk 03:07, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Connie WillisEdit

It is disappointing that this article makes no mention of Connie Willis at all: with ten Hugos and six Nebulas[1], I believe she is the most-honoured science-fiction author ever (of either gender) (also see this list). Surely this is worth a mention? (I can't figure out how/where to work this in, but it would be nice if someone did.) Shreevatsa (talk) 02:59, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Actually, that would be Ursula K. LeGuin. --Orange Mike | Talk 03:09, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Oh, guess I was counting only Hugo and Nebula awards (see this table, sort by (say) total fiction awards won: Willis has more Hugo noms, Hugo wins, more Nebula wins; LeGuin has more Nebula noms, more "other major awards", more Locus awards, and of course lots of other honours.) Anyway, it's worth a mention :-) Apparently Willis has sometimes been called anti-feminist; that might be notable too. (I'm not an SF expert, so I can't judge...) Shreevatsa (talk) 18:19, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't know that I'd call Willis anti-feminist, but she has a rather prickly relationship with a lot of the organized feminist SF community - there have been clashes in the past. I don't know if that's really worthy of mention (no reliable sources, for example), or if it constitutes undue emphasis. --Orange Mike | Talk 13:32, 27 May 2009 (UTC)


It would be nice if there were citations supporting the claims in the final paragraph of the "Fans" section. I, and am sure many others, have not seen a significant amount of notable people making such claims. So, it's either too minor a view to even be worthy of inclusion, or otherwise, there should be some reliable sources. The author is an admin on the site, so maybe I'm wrong, but generally claims like those should be backed up by citations (plus it shouldn't be from biased sources, such as hard SF writers themselves). Also, since when has biology been deemed as a "soft" science? Natural sciences are generally "hard", and biology is varied enough to include such "hard" things a genetic engineering and biophysics. Personally, I think the entire paragraph is pretty useless, especially since it pretty much admits that it's not actually based on any research, but some citations will help. I had initially removed the paragraph (with my other account (not a sock puppet, but one that I was using after I "retired", and one which I won't be using anymore. I edit Wiktionary as well, and had been signed in with that account), by mistake), but restored it after finding out that the author is a veteran here (and I realized I misinterpreted the intentions), and I hope that we'll get some citations here. Though, I am going to remove "biology" from soft sciences. Feel free to re-add it with a citation. Bloodredchaos (talk) 21:34, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

I've expanded on the paragraph, attempting to explain that soft sc-fi and fantasy are seen as being more "woman friendly" than hard sci-fi, instead of just distinguishing between, "women's" and "men's" genres which seems a bit childish, and might even seem offensively elitist to some. I know that there are women into hard SF as well. Plus it wouldn't make sense as soft sf and fantasy are still male dominated by a fair margin. It doesn't seem like a view that any respectable person would have. I know that its intention was not to marginalize, but to explain that there are certain people who wrongfully hold those views, but it's really too minor to be of any importance (I certainly haven;t seen much of it, and I've been in the speculative fiction "scene" for nearly ten years now. Plus, you'll find a minority of people making weird claims about pretty much anything (for example there are people who feel My Dying Bride isn't doom metal, but because the view is only held by a tiny few people, there's no need to mention the fact), and it doesn't seem very encyclopedic to include those views. Hopefully people will be able to improve on it, as I'm not really much of a writer. Bloodredchaos (talk) 13:24, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

WorldCat GenresEdit

Hello, I'm working with OCLC, and we are algorithmically generating data about different Genres, like notable Authors, Book, Movies, Subjects, Characters and Places. We have determined that this Wikipedia page has a close affintity to our detected Genere of science-fiction. It might be useful to look at [2] for more information. Thanks. Maximilianklein (talk) 23:46, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Expansion and RenamingEdit

I think renaming the article could be a good idea to avoid some confusion that's been mentioned above. I DO think there needs to be a "women in the sf community" article, and the "Gender in Science Fiction" article probably can/will serve the purpose of talking about female characters in sf.

What this article really needs is expansion -- there's a list of Nebulas won by women, but that should probably be joined by a section on the Hugos or else deleted. There's other notable honors that women sf authors/editors/etc have received that could be valuable as well.

The history of the treatment of women involved in the community is where this perhaps needs the most fleshing out. There's a lot of interesting ancedotal stuff in old sf books if you go digging (and I may or may not have ten or so different humorously unintentionally misogynistic/pandering author's notes from anthologies from the 1960s copied down). And it's still a really relevant topic (see: the recent SFWA scandal.) MSK 04:53, 11 June 2013 (UTC)Meagansk — Preceding unsigned comment added by Meagansk (talkcontribs)

Handmaid's TaleEdit

Doesn't count as speculative fiction ? --Anne97432 (talk) 08:03, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Who says it doesn't? Even Atwood at her silliest didn't deny that it fell in the broader class of spec fic; she just argued it was not science fiction because (to quote her deathless categorization) it didn't involve "talking squids in space". --Orange Mike | Talk 18:14, 13 August 2013 (UTC)


It would be well worth including Doris Lessing in this article. Possibly the most interesting thing about Lessing's contributions is that academia started to consider the genre as respectable - indeed, creating names such as speculative fiction and alternative reality as "grown up" alternatives to "science fiction" and "fantasy". All the best: Rich Farmbrough22:15, 20 October 2014 (UTC).

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