I do roller derby. I eat food.
Okay but what about the lesbian communes?
Things are bleak in Edna Lepucki’s California, what with the ever-present threat of rape and mutilation from the Pirates* and everyone accepting that survival means reverting back to a more traditional gendered division of labour.** Do you think any feminist/lesbian communes still exist in this scenario? You know, the old school radicals who sort of threw up their hands and said, “welp, the world is fucked, let’s get as far away from it as we can and start over.” Because I’d be tempted to set out in search of one, or start my own.*** Women who’ve been living off the land for decades would probably know a thing or two about survival, and probably about defending their land from intruders and equitable division of labour. (You know they’ve put A LOT of thought into division of labour.)
I think the first thing that got me into dystopia was feminist science fiction (e.g. Marge Piercy), so while I think Lepucki’s world is definitely realistic and possible, and really only a step away from ours, when I imagine the future I like to think about how our understanding of sex and gender could be different.
*Did this remind anyone of the reavers in Firefly?
**Ask me why I think this is bullshit.
***Hell, sometimes I’m tempted to do it now.
Because one of my favorite things to do is to find new people to follow and then prowl through their archives, I happened across this amazing bit from our fellow Reblog Book Clubber youngadultescent, stemming from an earlier discussion on how male Unlikables and female Unlikables are treated differently by audiences (and reviewers, I would argue).
I see a lot of myself in Frieda—not just in her personality, but in the way she handles her relationship with Cal. So when Sara Sklaroff wrote in the Washington Post that “[Lepucki’s] protagonist, Frida, isn’t much of a heroine. She’s annoying, self-centered and tragically naive,” it really struck me off-guard. No, she’s not perfect—but neither is Cal or Micah, and there’s not a quibble about them.
In fact, I would argue that there’s a humanity, a core to Frieda that really comes across in the story, a realness that I’ve not experienced in a long time. She’s not a caricature. I want to see more characters, but especially more women, like Frieda.
Ding ding ding! Pretty tired of seeing people criticize women for acting like people.