Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Throwing flaming bottles into the chinks of the masculine world machine

Yesterday, reprinted from the Boston Review a lengthy, interesting review essay by Elizabeth Hand titled Femininjas: Women in fiction fight back. Referencing Tiptree's "The Women Men Don't See," Hand writes:
What women do in the books mentioned here doesn’t consist of survival so much as sabotage. They throw bricks and rocks and flaming bottles into the chinks of the masculine world machine, then pick up a gun and fire into the turning gears. If rape and other sexual violence, religious servitude, and the politically determined inaccessibility of contraception can be seen as acts of war, stories like these may not just be a means of escapism. In the mind’s eye, they might be weapons, to be picked up, opened, and deployed.
She remarks, "One would think the critics had never seen a woman in pants before, let alone one who can hold her own against the patriarchy. And perhaps they never have, in which case introductions are a couple thousand years overdue..."

She's absolutely right that women retaliating with violence is an old theme. What that last paragraph of her essay, quoted above, does, though, is suggest some sort of approaching critical mass. Medea, after all, symbolized male fears of what a woman betrayed might have it in her to do. Full on attack of "the masculine world machine" suggests something else entirely.

1 comment:

MJ said...

Thanks. I like this. And Tiptree was so right -- may we have more stories as good as that one is.