Thursday, March 15, 2018

In the future, women still do all the cooking

Nothing annoys me quite so much as science fiction writers who can imagine almost any aspect of human existence transformed, and yet still have women stuck in the bloody kitchen.

Sometimes it's not even overt. The biases and limitations of a writer emerge in reading between the lines.

Let me show you some examples from a book I'm reading at the moment. (Which I'm enjoying, I should add, apart from this).

The two main characters are addressed as 'Miss G' and her boyfriend 'Mr M', by other characters in the book. So her age, marital status and sexual history are still considered relevant in this future society on another planet, while he is simply an autonomous male adult. Business as usual.

Her mother is 'Mrs G', implying that she has changed her name on marriage. She works full-time; her husband works off-world. Mr M spends a lot of time at her place and she feeds him. Why? Because his mother 'isn't around' and his dad is a 'Bad cook. Worse jokes. You know. A dad'.

A dad who lets another woman take care of his son, because dads don't do kitchens and young men couldn't possibly fend for themselves. Please.

Lift your game, science fiction writers.

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