Posted by: hellonhairylegs | September 8, 2008

Male Escapist Fantasy

Unfortunately many talented (and published) writers are male and they use their stories to create dream worlds. Predictably many of these worlds involve oppressing women. We don’t have too many high expectations because texts written within a patriarchy will inevitable betray their context. They still don’t have to make things even more crappy for women. Dudes, you’re not fooling anyone when you create a world in which polygamy just has to exist because so many of the men are being killed in your protagonist’s stupid wars. And FYI, I’d rather read about political intrigues than intra-species rape.

Has anyone else noticed the obsession with slave girls? Fantasy worlds teem with swords and slave girls where as in the realm of science-fiction you get slave girls and spaceships. Then of course you have the men travelling back in time in a fusion of those genres who create topless barmaids.

Is it so hard for male authors to realise that their readers might not be interested in chapter detailing the poor put upon hero’s attempt to mediate conflicts between his wives? The message that many of these authors are sending to men is “while creating a storyline I’ll be sure to create something you can wank at” while the message to women seems to be “women can read?”

Male escapist fantasy is just another day at the office for women.



  1. Ugh, I hate that. It’s not just a feature of Sci-Fi/Fantasy, I’ve seen it in even non-fiction wherein the male narrator explains his oppressive treatment of his female “slave” (in all but words) in a way that is supposed to be titillating. No thank you.

    Literature that is woman-friendly is hard to come by. Even the majority of stuff written by women is trash. Is it too much to ask for a story with a love side-plot that isn’t focused on the female passivity and the male “uncontrollable lust”? The way most authors write love and relationships is sick to the point that I’d lock away my children if a man confessed he was an author.

  2. This is evident in historical fiction and ‘classics’ a lot, too. Take something like ‘Birdsong’, in which the female wants to be virtually taken and almost possessed by her lover. It’s a lot more about being ‘taken’ than pleasured.

  3. Ugh. It seems that our sexualties have all been so screwed up by all the texts we read/ see that it is hard to see how anyone has a functional sexual relationship.

    I expect crap in historical fiction etc, but people writing fantasy and sci-fi are creating whole new worlds. They have to actually think about how their societies work. That so many of them fall short of anything new in terms of oppression says a lot about the authors.

  4. I like how they write sci-fi dystopia as an excuse for porn instead of genuine reflection on the human condition.

  5. As someone who loves to read, this is one of my biggest frustrations. The majority of novels, and a good portion of nonfiction, is complete trash. Even if something is widely believed to be good, odds are it is misogynistic bullshit. I mean, come on, people think Philip Roth is a good writer.
    And you are totally right about sci-fi authors. Really? It’s a completely new world in which everything is different from our own except that there’s still a patriarchy? Way to break new ground there, buddy.

  6. I think the funniest thing is when they create alien societies that are exactly like their perception of ours, down to the two-party political system and nuclear family.

  7. I noticed that. I stopped reading Piers Anthony once I realized what a dirty old man he is- and that’s before I heard about the book ‘Firefly’! (Go on, look it up and see what it’s about and what he says in the afterword. I dare you. Don’t eat first.)
    I found some of the 5th Milennium stuff by Shirley Meier to be tolerable- female heroes, yay! And Pratchett’s usually pretty good about keeping that crap out of his books- no naked slave-girls, unless it’s a deliberate parody of the exact books we’re talking about here. I appreciate Pratchett.

  8. I know, Piers Anthony has way too many issues to go into in one comment. I used to be an avid fan but the misogyny was toxic. Especially in that book about Satan, although I’ve totally forgotten the name.

    I’ll look Shirley Meier up, I’ve totally exhausted the Pratchett supply in the local libraries.

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