At Femme Hive a charming creature by the name of Lene Preuss led a fascinating ‘speculative fiction’ workshop on the theme of femme/feminine/feminist utopias in contemporary science fiction. I was in the erotic utopia group ( well, who wouldn’t be?!) which was really interesting in thinking about how queer and marginalised identities might imagine sex and sexuality in a fictional future society. There was also lively discussion about the portrayal of women, and the dominance of heteronormative values in mainstream science fiction and in the world of on line gaming . Here’s a summary of the discussions kindly shared by Lene please feel free to add your thoughts and views below. A speculative fiction group has been set up following t he workshop so maybe we will see some new writing representing alternative future fictions published here sometime!
In a utopic society, your sex, gender and desire could be fluid
Sex can be more conscious, aware and deliberate instead of having the compulsory nature it oftenhas today. (Queer sex is ahead of mainstream culture today, because not so much can be assumed and more aspects have to be negotiated.)
What is sexual intercourse anyway? There are so many aspects already. Ideally, every individual would get to define what sex means for them, just as people already define what their gender is.
Explore many many more genders! There are more axes to gender than just the continuum between male and female.
Develop multi-gender identities, both in the sense of having multiple genders at the same time and consecutively
Cyborg identities could mean direct, physical integration into a mixed human/computer network. That could have huge implications – remote sex and sex with AIs are just two.
Technological assistance in (temporally or not) changing your sex and gender identity such as gender changing underwear. Transformers go!
Sex could be just easy, less possessive, controlling and abusive, without inhibitions, taboos and shame. What if authenticity were installed instead?
On the other hand: Embrace the darkness of desire, it is what makes sex so powerful as well. The authentic darkness can be very bright!
Aspects of Utopia
What is a utopia anyway? One person’s utopia can be another one’s dystopia.
Story-wise, utopias are boring. People want drama which only arises out of adversity.
A society of total acceptance could lead to total stagnation. If everything were perfect, where would be the need for growth?
Removing the need for reproduction was a common topic, but it could lead to a whole lot of other problems (cloning, racism, disablism, genetic engineering, …)
Queer/feminine friendly societies
Need to constantly reevaluate and challenge norms and hierarchies – otherwise the abolition of old norms can lead to new norms that are just as oppressive
Would an “ideal” society be genderless? Hardly, but genders would be freely choosable
Technology offers many new possibilities for liberty, but only if guided by a utopian value system. Technology can just as easily be used to oppress. Technology for liberation of queer/feminine folks already exist, but is mostly used for cementing gender norms. Values come first!