The fifth part of the ongoing series, in which John Wright makes it clear that the Strong Female Character in SF/F is nothing less than the written feminist version of Soviet Realism:
Now, I do not mean to sound cynical, so I will ask rather than speak my opinion. Is there any strong woman character which meets with the approval of the Politically Correct who also happens to be, as the characters in Lewis and Tolkien, reflect a Christian worldview, or, as happens in Burroughs or E.E. Smith, to reflect what one might call the traditional heroic worldview, a worldview reminiscent of the Stoic and Military virtues of the ancient Romans and Greeks?
I have heard some Leftists praise the female characters of Robert Heinlein, who, with one exception, I myself find to be somewhat demeaning to women. (The one exceptions is Cynthia Randall in ‘The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag’, perhaps the only honest portrayal of a woman throughout his whole oeuvre.) Others despise his portrayals.
My cynical question is this: when they ask for ‘strong’ female characters, are they actually honestly asking for strong female characters, Deborah from the Bible, Antigone from myth, Britomart from poetry, or are they only asking for Leftist female characters, poster children for Leftist causes?
If so, what they are asking for is Political Correctness, which means, substituting true narratives about the real glories and sorrows of the human condition for a false narrative, an advertisement for Leftwing political causes, which tell lies about the glories and man, bemoan with crocodile tears only the sorrows of their particular mascots and special causes, and make false promises about the cure for the world’s pain.
If so, they are giving up art for an ad.
Myself, I want to see women writers not because they are women, but because I would like to have the genius of distaff half the human race writing new and brilliant science fiction stories for us to enjoy. But, as far as I can tell, this is akin to the complaint that Science Fiction is meant for juvenile audiences. That has not been true during my lifetime. I have not seen even the slightest trace of the all-boy club mentality ever, neither in any writer nor in any editor nor in any reader.
I have seen plenty of people like me, who are annoyed with the cheerless preachy monotony of Political Correctness and would like the dullards to stop ruining good stories with their sucker punches and pauses for their political advertisements, but, hey, the PC types answer any criticism of PC by calling the complainer a sexist, or saying he is paranoid, or saying that PC does not exist. Any lie will do, just so long as it is an accusation.
To tell the truth about what they are doing, which is informal censorship, that is, thought policework, is the one thing they fear.
As I said before, they think they are fooling us into thinking they are honest and compassionate people, and we know they are not, and they know they are not, but they do not know we know, so when one of us mentions, for the umpteenth time, that the Emperor has No Clothes, they react with exaggerated fear and fury. Because they are afraid of anyone, no matter how humble or obscure, who punctures their little daydream of make-believe, their land of colored cloud where they are the saints and the saviors of the world.
The fact of the matter is that those who demand Strong Female Characters don’t actually want genuinely strong women possessed of the feminine virtues. They simply want to substitute a nominal woman for a man and claim the masculine virtues for their Mary Sues in order to make themselves feel better about themselves.
Remember, most Pink SF is written in order to let the gamma male or shambling shoggoth author retroactively triumph over his persecutors from junior high and high school. Hence the lack of credible action and the interminable focus on “witty” dialogue that always allows the author stand-in to come out on top. To say nothing of the inevitable love triangles focused on the Mary Sue. It is wish-fulfillment of a very different kind than the adventurous fantasy of Blue SF.
Now, few Pink SF writers go so far in their wish-fulfillment as McRapey, who in addition to having male infantry soldiers swapping blow jobs as currency has now apparently paralyzed his female characters in his next novel. (A subconscious confession due to the weight of all that Rohypnol plaguing a guilty conscience?) The two primary focuses of the fantasy in Pink SF are the sexual desirability of the author/Mary Sue and the belated revenge of the author on his real-life enemies. These take the place of the Blue SF triumph of the protagonist over the environment, his fictional enemies, and himself.
Knowing themselves weak in life, the writers of Pink SF stride confidently through their fantasies as the demigods they wish themselves to be. And anyone who dares to observe that those fantasies bear no resemblance to reality is not merely mean, but indubitably evil.