Feminist Utopia In Tom Moylan's The Dispossessed

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In his book, Demand the Impossible: Science Fiction and the Utopian Imagination, Tom Moylan highlights Joanna Russ’s The Female Man (1975) along with Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed (1974) and Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) break free from traditional Utopia. Moylan argues that their works are “critical utopias,” depicting the female writers’ awareness “of the dangers of presenting a utopian blueprint, and used their novels to criticize not only the society within which they wrote, but also the possible utopian alternatives” (225). Accordingly, he delineates the difference between the traditional Utopia and what he calls ‘critical utopia:’ A central concern in the critical utopia is the awareness of the limitations of…show more content…
Russ’s narrative presents different gender structures as the outcome of different cultural and social constructions. In her utopia, she creates new female monsters that wage a war against the imposed understanding of their bodies/identities and challenge the restrictive gender constructions by producing alternative ones that violate the patriarchal dichotomous thought. She even goes beyond that to create a “female body politic” that Armitt designates as “the grotesque Utopia.” Joanna, in this sense, is ““larger than life” becomes, not a terrifying Gorgon, but an empowering utopian possibility, a being not simply physically larger than the norm, but in reputation legendary and thus fabulous” (14). Her grotesque body, thus, is a “carnival force, which in its excesses, forms the epitome of all that most threatens order” (14). This grotesque Utopia experiments with the established gender categories to undermine the pre-given female

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