Because science fiction has a growing fanbase which includes teens and young adults, I think it’s important to critique how science fiction portrays women for the sake of girls and young women. If the only portrayals of women are overly sexualized, stereotypes, or helpless, how are girls and women supposed to view themselves in the culture of science fiction? If they cannot relate to or admire any of the women in the games, science fiction will remain a “boys club” leaving women excluded from a genre that have historically had a huge impact on, one in which they have been written out of.
I created this blog to explore how women are objectified and empowered in works of Science Fiction. I used the research in the Literature Review to guide my interpretations of the works. My goal with the blog is not just to answer what makes a woman objectified or empowered in a specific work; it’s also to show empowered portrayals that already exist. While it is important to critique the ways that women are objectified in science fiction, it is also important to explore works with strong, empowered women. The name of the blog is Damsels Out of Distress. This title is a twist on the common trope “damsels in distress” where women need to be saved by the male protagonist. The works of science fiction I use include not only novels, but also movies and video games because of their relevancy in American culture. Science fiction is not limited to novels; movies and video games are popular mediums for science fiction.
The exploration of the objectification of women in entertainment has been prevalent on social media sites, as well as forums for fans of video games and comics, and this, along with the growing popularity of science fiction created for young women and girls, led me to create a blog where I explore how women are portrayed in science fiction. This topic is especially prevalent in gaming, where women such as Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian are being targeted and threatened because of their push for gender equality in video games. I chose to use a blog to explore these ideas because it would more accessible to the audience of the works I chose to examine. Science fiction explores, critiques, and creates through technology, so it seems appropriate that I explore the genre through a blog that is accessible to the audience and fans of science fiction in order to help fans find works with empowered women in a genre that is historically male dominated.
I want to thank Kim Jaxon for all of her help on this project.