Good day everybody!
I know this is a quicker post turn-around than I do, but after writing up my review yesterday on New World, it got me thinking about something that I’ve noticed more and more in texts (FYI: I consider texts to be anything in the social spectrum that can be evaluated, though in this case the easiest would be literature, movies, video games, anime, etc.) that there is an interesting trend. While we as a culture (at least in Western society) are headed towards a large saturation of dystopian texts, there seems to be a significant increase in one aspect of all those dystopias:
There is, if not complete equality, an abolishment to gender as a separating factor.
Consider the most popular dystopia of our current times, Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games. While one can argue that the main character of Katniss does have to go through quite a few public shows to change her image from “rough and tumble” girl into “lovesick girl” or perhaps “attractive girl” for the cameras/public, she is far from the last person to be presented such.
Finnick, the much swoon-worthy victor of the 4th District, not only is ‘styled’ by his managers to be a sex object – his costume is described as pretty much a fishing net that ties into a knot at the groin – but he is revealed to have been prostituted by the President of Panem. Johanna Mason is dressed sexily as well – but there is no commentary via either the authorial intent, nor the public in Panem, of either being more “shocking” than the other – both are regarded as sex figures.
More examples that come to mind immediately – New World’s casual acceptance of bisexuality/gender dissolving roles. The class system in the Divergent trilogy allows no difference for male or female recruits in Dauntless for physical weakness, and both abusive antagonists in positions of power are male and female. Howley’s Wool allots men and women equally to all roles, whether it be physical or beurocratic. Ready Player One has both male and female fighters on equivalent footing within the OASIS.
The thought I’d like you all to consider, is that in all of these gender-equal creations, equality comes at a cost of other human or social equalities being diminished or non-existant. What is it about gender equality/sexual equality that makes it so that one must focus on a larger, more evil issue in order to accomplish it? I’ve always been drawn to dystopias based on the merit that we find the distilled version of humanity within destruction or social dissolution. So why is it that in texts, we have these horrific worlds, but sexual equality?
I look forward to your thoughts!