Bewildering Stories

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Challenge 62

Okay, readers, we’ve had some easy challenges; now for a hard one.

Has anyone noticed a thematic coincidence in this issue? Nobody planned it that way, but consider the following selections and you may see they all have at least one important element in common:

That’s not the challenge; it’s too easy. In each of those stories a woman or women are the main characters or at least play crucial roles. Now for the challenge:

Why should anyone notice? Well, normally I wouldn’t, but these are the days of women’s liberation and equality — or repression and servitude, depending on where you live — and it behooves us to examine our own cultures. In grammar, the masculine form has traditionally been considered the “default” or generic option while the feminine is a special case. It’s traditionally been the same for male and female characters in literature. Take your pick:
  1. What images of women do we find in issue 62?
  2. Can the male and female roles be interchanged without changing any of the stories in any substantial way?
    Yes, we’ve come a long way, baby!
    No, Vive la différence !

Now e-mail us and tell us why. Reminder: these are stories, not editorials or essays, and we can’t read anyone’s personal opinions into them.

Copyright © 2003 by Bewildering Stories

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