Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Science Fiction for Men or for Women?

by Miki

I visited Yolanda´s blog this morning -by the way, go and have a look, it is ALWAYS very entertaining, intelligent, and there are great illustrations there… – and this question came to my mind. I think I have noticed in my life that generally men love Science Fiction, and women don´t. Kevin and me are a typical example of that.

If I am right why is it so? The reason why I don´t like science fiction is that it is too far away from reality, and I can´t identify myself with any of the characters or with what is happening. Of course I have day dreams, but never ones which are not, at least, grounded somewhat in reality. I have to make a choice in my life, between all the things I want to do, or to think, or to imagine, and there are so many of them. Our time is limited. I consider, for myself, everything which is out of reach in this reality as wasted time. But of course,I understand that science fiction can be very exciting, for scientists on one part, and dreamers on the other part. All the male scientists I met in my life, and there were a lot, adored science fiction, and the female scientists didn´t !!!

I think the reason is that women are normally not such dreamers nor as childlike as men, their feet are much more firmly planted on the ground and reject, like me, a life in the clouds or even further away in the universe….

Advertisements

March 4, 2008 - Posted by | Art, books, culture, life, media, men, movies, random, Vive le difference, women | , , , , , ,

26 Comments »

  1. Of course, with every observation of a pattern or a tendency for something to unfold a certain way, there are just as many exceptions. I’m not a great fan of science-fiction (or westerns, a literary and cinematic genre commonly associated with males), but I don’t dislike it as much as romantic comedies.

    I may be more likely to watch a romantic comedy (if it features a particular storyline or actor) and then feel disappointed or completely unmoved..than I would a science fiction. But, if i were to watch a sci-fi film (2001: A Space Odyssey, Serenity), I’d probably be more pleasantly surprised and enjoy it.

    I know more males who are grounded in reality. Not only do they not daydream, but their imaginations are severely lacking–they don’t read for pleasure unless it’s newspapers.

    If you look at fan culture, those who write fanfiction, make fanvids, attend anime conventions, dabble in cosplay, etc etc, you may find a smaller gap between number of males and females.

    Comment by sittingpugs | March 4, 2008

  2. Welcome to cafe crem sitting pugs! it’s interesting to see different perceptions of the male/female condition here. your comment about males reading just a newspaper for pleasure is such a generalisation, yet I admit to knowing many guys who think a whatcar magazine is advanced literature. For myself, it most certainly doesn’t apply, as I have always been a voracious reader, of fiction and non fiction, autobiogs, from both male and female authors.

    With regard to Sci-fi being a no-go area for women, Miki, I would have to beg to differ. As a boy, my mum and i would sit and watch the (very far-fetched and surreal for the time) Avengers. My Dad would continually wander past grumbling about how stupid and unrealistic it was. I always remember my mum saying “but we don’t want realism, we have enough realism to deal with in life, THIS is escapism!” wise woman, my mum.

    Comment by kevmoore | March 4, 2008

  3. I am female, and I am a fan of science fiction. Certainly if you look at convention attendance for the more literary side of SF, the higher percentage of attendees are male, but attendance at conventions for televised SF are around half and half.

    It’s said so often that it’s become a cliche, but shows with “strong female leads” draw in more female viewers. Stargate, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Firefly and the reinvented Doctor Who all feature female characters who are not relegated to making tea, twisting ankles, and screaming for help, and women don’t feel belittled by watching them.

    Therein lies a large hint at why SF used to be seen as a male-only interest: Women’s perceptions of it (often not helped by the leering of male fans) was that it was sexist, derogatory toward women, and couldn’t portray a female character as anything other than helpless tits and arse. With feminism (or at the very least equality) gaining strength, women were less willing to sit back and accept such poor representation.

    Fandom still contains the outdated mindset here and there, the occasional wanker who will dismiss your opinion the moment he realises you have breasts, but for the most part it’s moved on, just as Science Fiction itself has.

    Comment by Trudi Topham | March 4, 2008

  4. Kevmoore, thanks for the welcome. I know that males reading just a newspaper for pleasure is such a generalisation. I also know plenty of people who might read literature but refuse to keep up with anything outside of celebrity news. So…the permutations and combinations abound.

    Comment by sittingpugs | March 4, 2008

  5. welcome Trudi! reading your post, I see the similarities between sci-fi and hard rock music, in the way it has taken women a long time to gain acceptance in the genre.unbelieveably, in music, there were great all-girl bands at the beginning of the seventies (Fanny, Birtha) but they barely created a ripple. Thankfully, the music, rather than the gender , is now doing the talking. With regards to your point about female leads, I agree. I think a major turning point, way before the current “serious” doctor who assistants, was the introduction of Captain Kathryn Janeway at the helm of the starship Voyager. Make no mistake, this was a bold move, and in my view, a good one. but if you think how long it took to really get a meaty role for women in straightforward drama (Helen Mirren, Prime Suspect) it’s no wonder we had to wait a while to see it in sci-fi!

    Comment by kevmoore | March 4, 2008

  6. @Sitting pugs: you raise a good point with the masses desire for celebrity news. This is an area that drives me crazy! In an age where people just want to be famous, as opposed to famous FOR something, we are deluged with the most vaccuous procession of one-dimensional fame junkies ever to walk the red carpet. The merry-go-round that takes soapstars real life indiscretions, and feeds them to the gutter press, generating more fame, and then more viewers for the show, is killing drama, killing news, and frankly, killing me. In the UK, there was an awful woman who couldn’t string two words together who rose to fame on the back of the excreable reality show “big brother”. Her name was Jade Goody. A comedian friend of mine used to tell a joke that I think perfectly illustrates where we are in 2008. it goes:
    “I hear Andrew Lloyd Webber is writing a new musical about the life of Jade Goody. it’s called SUPERSTAR? Jesus Christ!

    Comment by kevmoore | March 4, 2008

  7. Hmm.. interesting, I dont usually like sci-fi but if its a movie like I am legend, I’d watch it for Will Smith, and I was once in love with a sci-fi book in my teens called ‘dream weaver’ .. only becuase it was semi sci-fi/semi romance.. so there you have it.. oh and written by a woman.. it was amazing, but I detest star wars, star trek sort of stuff and all the women I know personally, they agree.

    Comment by supersizeme | March 4, 2008

  8. Miki, I have to concede that your observation has a lot truth. I am a Piscis, so I am a dreamer, and maybe that is why I like Sci-Fi. I also had a father that tought me English by buying Sci-FI (out of space, spaceships, monsters) comic books when I was a child and we used to have long conversations about the universe, space, civilizations, cavemen, etc. He was a self made man and read a lot. He also invented a story about a tribe of cavemen that he would tell us at evening every day. After many years I learned he was making it along all the time. On those times there was no TV, then the TV came (and we grew up) and we stopped gathering after meals to listen to his stories.

    I think all that imbued us four with a sense of wonder about the possibilities of the future. and the mysteries of the past.

    I also like westerns and many women don’t like them. But I also like poetry and suspense and romance. It’s nice to be open to many influences.

    Comment by anangeli | March 4, 2008

  9. But I also want to make the point that reality is made of past dreams. Been a dreamer does not mean that dreamers are not anchored in reality, on teh contrary, they may be creating teh reality of teh future. That is what is wrong with the American culture right now. We are made to believe that dreams do not count, theyrae not valuable, when it is what reality is based upon.

    If Dr. King did not have a dream, we would not have had civil rights ( or would still be fighting for them) . If president Kennedy had not dreamt of the moon,we would have never put a foot there. We need both dreamers and pragmatists and if one person can live in both worlds, the better centered he/she is an can consolidate apparently divergent facts to understand the world we live in.

    Some dreams are unmaterialized realities.

    Comment by anangeli | March 4, 2008

  10. You have a point there, Miki. Could be true, at least at statistical level… Like Kevin, I’m a voracious reader and in my youth I was a fan of science fiction (by the way I liked a LOT John Stead and Dianna Rigg! in the Avengers! what I like most in it was the British humour!!!) and I’m more a fan of the humoristical totally wacko type of SF – authors like Philip K. Dick, Asimov, are more likely to be mine than the hard-core science fiction – scientific stuff – like the writer of 2001 – space odisey… There are some rare writers – Kurt Vonnegut Jr is one of the best, more fantesists than scientifics – which appeal a lot to me. What I like most, apart humor, is the total liberty (I don’t give a rat’s arse about “science”!) of some good SF writers. True, there are nor a lot of good female SF writers: except Ursule K.Leguin (?) I don’t remember one… But I have some sf women friends…

    Comment by iondanu | March 5, 2008

  11. I had a chuckle reading your post Miki. I mean, this, by the girl who is currently painting inspired Fantascapes with “unreal” other-worldly characters, who looks at a tree and now sees figures where the branches used to be, who writes fantasy children’s stories, who totally beguiled me some months ago with her paintings done for The Little Prince on his little planet. But that’s all right. I’d just call you well-rounded on the masculine-feminine sides.

    My only objection to Science Fiction is when the hero is not a girl, although I must say I set that issue aside when I was 13 years old and read the Lord of the Rings trilogy and learned to write Elfin and make Hobbit seed cakes and joined the Tolkien Society of America. But then we know that I’m a dreamer, and never professed to be anything else!

    Comment by Susan Cornelis | March 5, 2008

  12. Danu, in the realms of science fantasy, there are several good female writers I enjoy, – Margaret Weiss (writing with Tracy Hickman) and Janny Wurts spring to mind.
    BTW Have you read Terry Pratchett? his humour is really off the wall!

    Comment by kevmoore | March 5, 2008

  13. This is such an interesting discussion! I don’t really think of myself as a big sci-fi fan, but now I’m recalling, back when I watched TV, how much I loved Star Trek Voyager, and X-Files. I think Trudi makes a great point–strong female characters make a difference in what I watch. And I have to confess, I’m more of a “head in the clouds” kind of girl 🙂

    Comment by shelleymhouse | March 5, 2008

  14. @Shelley
    it is always wonderful when you come down from your cloud and visit us in Cafe Crem… 🙂

    @Susan
    Well, Susan, I am really not a dreamer, as I explained it in my post. But I do have an active fantasy, and the ability to see or feel many other worlds, past, present or future. But i don´t really spend time within them… I may paint them, and write about them, but then it makes them become part of reality, because the paintings and the words are real, and this is something I love again!
    When i say I am not a dreamer, I simply mean that I don´t like to spend time dreaming of totally impossible things… it is hard enough to find time and energy for all the possible things!

    @anangeli
    I totally agree with you, and I have no doubts that dreams are necessary for progress. But as I said: only the dreams which have somehow, any real chance to be realised. The men went to the moon because it was technically possible….
    In fact I spend my life fighting for my dreams!!! But I would never said that i am a dreamer, on the contrary: I live to realise my dreams…

    Comment by Miki | March 5, 2008

  15. @sittingpugs
    as Kev Moore said: welcome to Cafe Crem, it is nice to see a new face here, and to read such a great comment to my post. Thanks!
    Strange how our experiences with men and women can be so different! Always when I watch at young couples outside – and I do it many times because it fascinates me- it is always the same pattern: the women are worried not to ruin their hair and outfit, or spend their time on the mobile phone, while the men are kicking coca cola tins or skimming stones across the water for example…
    Male friends between them are much more childlike too…
    I really think that in the right context, men, even older men, are more likely to behave like children, and always ready to abandon their newspapers for a ball! Some od them are just too scared by the conventions…

    Comment by Miki | March 5, 2008

  16. @Trudi
    Welcome to Cafe Crem too, and congratulations for your publication “Pantechnicon”.
    I am very impressed to meet a woman so deep involved in Science Fiction and to see that the world is much more complex and exciting than I thought…
    For my part I never had a problem to be considered as a sex object, in fact I found it always pretty cool! When one is self confident enough about the own intellectuality and abilities, then to be found sexy on top of it is simply GREAT! But I accept that other women don´t find it great at all.

    But anyway… this is surely not the reason why I don´t like science fiction, as I explained it in my entry. And I even doubt that this is the real reason why other women might not like them either…
    Feminism is surely good and has brought a lot of positive things, but one shouldn´t embrace everything into it and make it the new world´s credo!
    I am personally shocked that nowadays always more film and series appear with female lead characters everywhere! At the end it is going the same wrong way as before, with females instead of males!
    But i guess, one day, the world will find the right balance…In the meanwhile, I am extremely happy that we still have some heroes like Jack Bauer!!!!

    Comment by Miki | March 5, 2008

  17. @Supersizeme
    Let us look a good romantic film together, Supe, I LOVE THEM!!!! But they must have an happy end, after some troubles, ok?

    Comment by Miki | March 5, 2008

  18. I love fantasy and science fiction…I am such a dreamer by nature…

    Comment by psychscribe | March 5, 2008

  19. Oh dear, the world has really changed since I was out last time!!! All women love science fiction and are dreamers, now… 🙂

    Comment by Miki | March 5, 2008

  20. Thanks for the welcome, Miki!

    Strange how our experiences with men and women can be so different!

    If we consider factors such as geography and demographics, there might be sufficient contextualization for those differences.

    Atlanta, GA (my center of operations) evokes X images and offers Y encounters, whereas Tuscon, AZ or Milwaukee, WI or Washington DC would entail others–and possibly drastically different in some respects.

    Comment by sittingpugs | March 5, 2008

  21. Kev: never heard of those writers?writeressess(?)…shame on me! But I will search for them… In fact, good writers (both men and women) are quite rare so any hint could be a neat discovery…

    Comment by iondanu | March 6, 2008

  22. One of my favourite authors, quite inspired by tolkien, is RAYMOND E. FEIST. His classic debut “MAGICIAN” is well worth a read. It forms part of a great trilogy. A second trilogy, dealing with the origin of some of the enemies in the first trilogy and the planet from which they come, is co-written with JANNY WURTS and tells a wonderful story froma woman’s perspective of her struggle to gain control of her family following the death of her father. great reading!

    Comment by kevmoore | March 6, 2008

  23. I have always loved science fiction. If there are more men interested in it, it’s probably because more men than women are interested in science. I don’t know why that is, however.

    I recently read the whole book “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells to my third-grade class, and they absolutely loved it. It was one of my favorite movies as a kid. The book was even better. My kids at school were really excited, and the girls were every bit as much excited as the boys. I think sometimes children have to be introduced to a genre to appreciate it. Few teachers introduce kids to science fiction in elementary school.

    Eileen
    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas
    elementaryteacher.wordpress.com

    Comment by elementaryteacher | March 7, 2008

  24. Ah, well, current psych-talk posits that the reason more men are into sciences than women is the drive to find a mate. Men set out to prove themselves better partners than other men, so they find a field they have some affinity for, then really go for it.

    Women can sit back and pick-and-choose the cream of the crop. A woman who is attracted to physically powerful men may go for a football player, and a woman who is attracted to intellectual power will net herself a scientist 🙂

    Comment by Trudi Topham | March 12, 2008

  25. @Trudi
    Nice to see you back here.
    I am myself one of these scientists, have been all my life attracted by intellectual men and have been married to 2 scientists (not at the same time though…)!
    And what is the end of the story? I have finally found MY BIG LOVE, and he is a rocker!
    The reason being, that beyond intellectuality, there is a kind of natural intelligence, which I value so much more and which is so useful and powerful in the everyday life. And more adapted to real love…
    And why am I into science? I just find it fascinating, and relaxing, and beautiful too. And honest.
    I knew many male scientists in my life, and I am sure that the reason why they were into science had nothing to do with the drive to find a mate. Their reasons was the same as my, and deep curiosity, incessant curiosity for the world too. And I would even say that scientists are generally more lonely than other persons…
    Funny these psychs sometimes… in fact “our” Psychscribe is the first I have met, who seems to understand a lot from her profession”

    Comment by Miki | March 12, 2008

  26. I agree with you, Miki, about scientists (and people who are interested in science, too) being more curious that the average person (being one of those curious people, myself…)

    Madame Monet
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine
    winewriter.wordpress.com

    Comment by wpm1955 | March 17, 2008


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: