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2009-07-09 02:42 am (UTC)
Joining the discussion very late here (work has been somewhat hectic for the last couple of weeks), but jetsilver's comment pretty much summarises my reaction to the book, too.
I also wanted to add something about the dubcon/noncon sex with Laur. I definitely thought it was problematic, but I got the impression that Russ recognised that, and was purposefully mirroring the stereotypical boy-pressures-girl dynamic (by "stereotypical", I do not mean "false", by the way) and, in doing so, trying to illustrate some of the wrongness with that dynamic.
I could be wrong about that. I'm keeping in mind the year the book was written, and the fact that at that time compared to now, more readers in the general community would have seen lesbian sex as "wrong", "unnatural" or "sinful". Perhaps Russ wanted to use this reaction to mirror what was/is maybe seen as perfectly normal and natural between het teenage lovers. I don't know whether that technique succeeds, necessarily. But given the rest of the book, I can't believe that Russ could have missed the problematic dubcon/noncon just because both participants were women.
Wrt trans issues: yes, what lauredhel said; I agree that there is an erasure of trans issues in Manland.
Also, did anyone else find it interesting that in Janet's time, surnames still used the "-son" suffix? That seemed to say to me that Russ was saying something like: even though that society got rid of men, it did not get rid of patriarchy completely (not just because of the fact that the suffix was "-son" rather than, eg, the Icelandic "-dottir", but also because the suffix was used at all - ie the importance of lineage). (PS I've just finished reading Woman on the Edge of Time and I think it provides an interesting contrast on that point.)
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