Earlier, I saw a Twitter post in response to The New York Times attributing the creation of Science Fiction as a genre to the author H.G. Wells. Not to diminish his success in the genre, but that attribution is utterly false, as most would agree, since the preeminent Science Fiction origin novel is Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley.
Along with this erasure comes the exclusion among many of the literati of the incredible impact of authors who are female. Octavia Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Margaret Atwood all invested their extraordinary skill in the genre, showing visions of the future as poignant and vital as any other work. Where Fahrenheit 451 showed the dangers of myopic thinking and unchecked authorities, The Parable of the Sower did much the same, even getting closer to the dangers of such life by showing it from the perspective of people already at the mercy of great hardship rather than from the affluent perspective of a well-to-do person already high on the social ladder. Science Fiction has long been the means we as a society have used to explore the potential horrors of the future if left unchecked in the hands of those who view the humanity of others as less than themselves. These concerns and warnings are at the heartbeat of The Lathe of Heaven, The Handmaiden’s Tale, The Power, and The Hunger Games, all written by women authors, or as I like to say, authors. Yet our societies at large continue to hide these works away, calling them of less value than literary fiction for reasons never of any deeper explanation than a handwave.
Along with the erasure of women in literature, we are now also experiencing an erasure of women’s rights in the United States of America. The decision by the Supreme Court removed a long standing precedent of protections for women’s reproductive health. Some may think this does not affect them. Some may say these changes are a benefit, protecting the life of the unborn. However, the simple truth is that roughly one out of every four pregnancies’ ends in a misarrange, and of those , roughly one third will become septic and lead to the death of the carrying woman without the medical removal of the fetus. Access to safe, legal abortion protects women from the dangers of pregnancy, all pregnancy. It is not simply a medical procedure for destroying a fetus; it is one for securing the life of the mother. And the choice to obtain one should be the mothers own decision, as it involves their own mortality.
The disparity of equal treatment for women has been and remains a long battle, one we must all become advocates for. Every single person is affected by this battle, and we cannot stand idly by as the humanity of women and girls are stripped away by the powerful, disconnected few who claim authority. The freedom of our human species is common heritage. If allowed, the defunct, patriarchal, dogmatic insanity of the few will lead all of us toward an ever darker future, the very futures warned against in the novels of countless science fiction authors, both male and female; a future where the power of the elite is absolute.
We must stand together. We must rise together. We must all fight for the freedoms of every person. We have lived under this acceptance of treating any other human being as less for too long. Allowed concessions because we ignored the plight of people who present different than ourselves. This must end, or the warnings of our authors of Science Fiction, many of whom are and were women, will continue to come true.
If you want to take action, consider learning more here, and signing the petition. Improvement begins with you.