Feminism In Octavia Butler's Speech Sounds

Words: 1137
Pages: 5

In the male-dominated world of science fiction, female in speculative fiction (including science fiction) are not well represented. However, in the last few decades, the rise of feminist science fiction (SF) subgenre emerged in the scene. Women use science fiction in order to shine a light on many feminist and social issues of our time. Feminist SF tends to focus on theories of gender and sexual inequality, race, reproduction, sexuality and even economics. Because the work tends to target a dominant culture, feminist SF is at times controversial and most of all very political. Authors like Joanna Russ, Octavia Butler, and Pamela Zoline are among some of the notable authors who have utilized these recurring themes through the use of utopia; …show more content…
It is an introspective work about how the female voice plays a part in society. Butler highlights the recurring theme of gender and sexuality in a post-apocalyptic world that depicts a dystopian society because it represents chaos, lawlessness, disorders, and the human struggle. The story is set in post-war Los Angeles where a widespread pandemic has affected the population’s ability to speak and communicate. Butler describes this pandemic as a disease or a disorder that influences the population; "[a] new virus, a new pollutant, radiation, divine retribution,… The illness was a stroke-swift in the way it cut people down and stroke-like in some of its effects” (Butler 571). “Speech Sounds,” it would seem, to be a criticism of a society plagued with the disease of sexism and oppression of women. It illustrates that women’s are only to be seen but not heard. The heroine of the story has been knocked down so much so that she was left with two choices in her life; to commit suicide or continue on with blind faith. Butler must be writing about her own personal struggle in society as a Black, author in a White, male-dominated world of science fiction. Opposite to Joanna Russ’ story of total gender equality in a utopic society, Butler explores a world where oppression is prominent. It criticizes a society