Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Recently, I introduced myself to someone I met at a publishing event and mentioned that I am developing a blog about science fiction and fantasy culture. The first question this young man asked me is if it’s unusual for there to be women in the science fiction and fantasy world. He admitted he’s not familiar with the genre, but he says he always things of pasty, geeky dudes when he thinks of science fiction and fantasy.

As a female who has been deeply involved in this topic since before I can even remember, this came as a surprise to me. Maybe it’s because many of my female friends are also interested in the fantasy and science fiction genre. Also, think about all of the wonderful female authors, actresses, and crafts people who contribute significantly to this field! I plan to profile many of them in the posts to come, and I really hope to see some female participation within the pages of this blog as well.

So, dear readers, are women still a minority in the fan base for science fiction and fantasy? How do you view the contributions that women have made to this genre? Why do you think people not familiar with the genre think this topic is exclusively (or mainly) for men? Please comment and let me know what you think!


11 thoughts on “Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy

  1. I get that this is the stereotype, but yeah, it surprises me to get that reaction. Even though I’m a big fantasy geek and a girl, I don’t actually get it too often, though.

    And now that I think about it, I know way more girls who are into Doctor Who than guys, so I guess it all depends on who you know…

    • Really? I don’t see the divide when it comes to Doctor Who (at least, not among my friends). Everyone I know who is into scifi/fantasy loves Doctor Who. I see more girls who aren’t into scifi get into that show though, if that’s what you mean.

  2. Interesting post, Ardi! I’m not a reader of sci fi/fantasy, but having worked in a bookstore for many years, I know I saw as many women browsing and purchasing from that section as men. And just like you, many of my female friends enjoy this genre as well.

  3. Interesting thoughts. Women in scifi / fantasy do not have a long history and I think that affects the cultural acceptance and perception of females in the genre. If you trace the history of fantasy, you could take it all the way back to the Illiad and Beowulf which were written by men. Moving forward, men continued to dominate the landscape mainly because only men were really being published. More recent classics were also written by men (e.g. 40,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Lord of the Rind, etc.). Moving into the TV era things like Flash Gordon and Star Trek became popular. Women became very much sex symbols during this time, skimpy outfits and seductive actions (Kirk sleeping with green chicks). Very recently though, women have been dominating scifi / fantasy. Things like Harry Potter which has become a cultural event in its own right and Twilight are massively popular. Women’s roles in scifi has changed since culturally we accept the fact that women can do math and science as well as men. I think women have contributed a lot to scifi and fantasy by bringing two things to the table, a more emotional view of events which creates tension and empathy for the charters and accessibility for more people to understand the constructs of the story. The result is a story with a better understanding of charter motivations and a world where the rules are better explained.

    • You bring up some excellent points about the history of scifi/fantasy. Now that women are beginning to dominate the field, I’m curious to see how that affects the way men contribute (re: empathy and accessibility). Thanks for your thoughts! Gives me a lot to think about.

    • Ah ladies, thank you so much!Chrome knows blue is my first love ^_^Vintage kimono are the best! … but modern ones easier to dress in… I want both in my collection *blush*Your English is great Aoki! Don’t apologize.Again thanks for making me feel good and give me a reason to post more kitsuke attempts ^_^

  4. Profile Jacqueline Carey. And, if we are going to include paranormal/supernatural in the fantasy genre, there are a whole bunch more women authors than men I think, especially as the genre crosses a lot of boundaries. Maybe its just me, but I consider fantasy genre to be wide encompassing and overlapping with other genres (romance, historical fiction). Anything with a bit of something not found in the typical real world is fantasy/sci fi to me.

  5. Firstly, I’d like to say I love this blog (I will be following you.)

    And to answer your first question, no. For me I meet a lot of other females interested in this genre, but I feel I actively seek them out.

    In the past, I do think it has been viewed as more male dominated. The image most have in their head when they think of someone is a geeky boy, as you have mentioned.

    But females are making great strides lately, it seems though it’s a lot more socially acceptable than it ever was before.

    P.S. I am a huge fan of Felicia Day, I searched her name and found your blog.


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