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The Female Man

|| The Female ManJoanna RussBantam Books1975

From Wikipedia: The novel follows the lives of four women living in parallel worlds that differ in time and place. When they cross over to each other’s worlds, their different views on gender roles startle each other’s preexisting notions of womanhood. In the end, their encounters influence them to evaluate their lives and shape their ideas of what it means to be a woman.

The character Joanna calls herself the “female man” because she believes that she must forget her identity as a woman in order to be respected. She states that “there is one and only one way to possess that in which we are defective … Become it” (p. 139). Her metaphorical transformation refers to her decision to seek equality by rejecting women’s dependence on men.

I didn’t and don’t want to be a ‘feminine’ version or a diluted version or a special version or a subsidiary version or an ancillary version, or an adapted version of the heroes I admire. I want to be the heroes themselves.

Joanna Russ, The Female Russ