Science fiction is one of the best genres for exploring gender. While other genres can be used to explore what gender means for its time and place SF is able to explore gender as it could be. What we would like gender construction to be or just explore challanges to how we percieve gender.
From genderless scentience like in the case of Le Guin’s story to the stigma surrounding gender association. Their is mentions made about third-genders in SF works like Star Trek.
In other SF films gender and human perception of it is explored in more depth. Films like Enemy Mine explore, sex, gender identity and the biology behind this. Having what viewers originally assume to be a male characters pregnant and then give birth challanges what viewers may assume a man to be or look like in ways other genres may not be able to.
While many other genres are able to challange gender identity through use of characters fighting or submitting to certain gender role SF is able to challange them in different ways. By showing men in women in already altered gender roles or by showing dystopias where the worst aspects of gender identity become obvious such as “The Girl Who Was Plugged In”.
SF can and sometimes is one of the best forms used to challange the status quo of gender idenity. In other ways it may just fall short of this such as the episode of Star Trek finally centered around someone of a “third gender”.
In this episode what starts off as a member of a Star Ship fighting against the ill treatment of this “third gender” falls short. The character Tucker seems to be fighting against the slavery of this third gender. In the end this episode cautions against interferance even in issues we would otherwise consider morally wrong. A strong emphasis is instead put on not forcing our cultural ideas on others even if they culturally practice enslaving a preportion of their own population based on gender.
SF can be used to challange the status quo of gender, enforce it or to emphasis non-interferance but I still would like to believe it can play a larger role in gender exploration then many other genres.
What do you think is SF the best genre for exploring gender identity?