A Bleak Outlook: Are contemporary Feminist (Dys)topias Failing Us?

“Two years ago, the United States Congress ratified the Personhood Amendment […] Abortion is now illegal in all fifty states.” (Zumas 2018) This presentation examines a paradigm shift in Feminist Utopian Writing Tradition: the emergence of the Paratopia. introduced by author Leni Zumas, “Paratopia” refers to a form of dystopian writing which builds upon realistic scenarios, contemporary events, political trends, and, or social constructs to create narratives on the basis that they could happen in an imminent future and in some effects are happening or already happened. With reference to the Atwood Principle and Tom Moylan’s concept of the Critical Dystopia, I will question the use of (hyper)realism in contemporary feminist dystopias by examining feminist dystopian novels published in the years leading up to the Overturning of Roe v. Wade, namely Red Clocks (2018) by Leni Zumas, and VOX (2018) by Christina Dalcher, and interrogate the paradox of realistic speculative/dystopian feminist fiction. I argue, however, that this paradox can be detrimental to the socio-political relevance feminist dystopian writing is inherently affiliated with, particularly in the current political climate.

Hylda Djermoune , She/Her, PhD Student, School of English, Irish and Communication, University of Limerick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *