Essay 2

Submitted By gswords1
Words: 891
Pages: 4

Georganne Swords
Dr. Brown
English 1102
24 March 2013
No More Mr. Nice Girl A lot of science fiction stories someone would read in the seventies would talk about women being some sort of fantasy and in every case, the reader would be a man, trying to generalize women into this particular category without saying so. What Joanna Russ did was different. She wrote a science fiction short story that empowered women and gave them an identity instead of being something pretty to look at or fantasize about. When It Changed deals with feminism, where a world of women can take care of their families without needing (or wanting) a man to do it for them. This world of an ideal life without the need of the opposite sex is disrupted when a group of men from Earth come in search of, you guessed it, women. The character Janet proclaims, “Take my life, but don’t take away the meaning of my life” (515). I believe Russ used that statement towards the end of the story to tell her point, which wasn’t very clear in the very beginning: to give women’s life a purpose. The story begins with Janet; thinking to herself about her wife’s erratic driving, with one of their children in the car. Janet casually starts describing her life and without even realizing it starts describing herself. Without saying it clear cut, the reader gets an inkling that she probably takes on the man’s role in the relationship as Janet describes jokingly how her wife, “will not handle guns” (508). This makes the reader inadvertently associate Janet as the go-to woman when something needs to get done. As the story progresses Janet and her wife first see the men, Janet’s first thoughts are that they’re “bigger than we are…bigger and broader” (509). As Janet is describing the men it is the first time the reader can sense that Janet feels as though she is inferior and meek. It’s the way she is sizing them up that makes the men appear larger-than-life to the reader, probably more larger than they are. Feeling inferior and little isn’t something that Janet or any of the other women have ever had to deal with because of the lack of gender roles. As the reader gets further into the story, they can sense that the men believe their ways to be strange and wonder how women could have survived without them. Readers don’t know what year this is based but seeing as men got wiped out thirty generations ago, I would imagine it to be sometime in the very distant future. Women “continue to be more likely to assume primary caretaking responsibility, whereas men continue to be more likely to assume primary breadwinning responsibility” (488, Psychology). This ideal ology is how the women of Whileaway can assume how gender roles were back when there were men and women living together. As the man keeps asking questions about them and where the men were, they find out how men were wiped out in one generation and the men seem to have a hard time figuring out how women survived on their own for so long. This seems to be a common theme as their conversation goes on and it’s very clear how these men perceive women: inferior; despite all that they have been through. The women come to find out why the men are really there and are