The NY Magazine recently featured them most feminist moments in sci-fi, a category defined here as 'the depiction of fictional worlds in which science (including space travel), technology, and/or pseudoscience feature prominently and necessarily in the story's telling.' The list of powerful women include Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley, Star Trek actor Nichelle Nichols, Alien actor Sigourney Weaver, The Empire Strikes Back writer Leigh Brackett, and MacArthur Genius Grant winner and writer Octavia E. Butler. Evidenced by this impressive list, sci-fi has pushed against misogyny and other forms of oppression, such as racism. Through the construction of alternative realities, sci-fi gives hope to all humans, and thereby eliminates the shackles that constrain the current human experience and characterize present realities.
But sci-fi history actually has featured ahead-of-its-time, female-identifying authors and creators who have challenged conventional notions of race, gender, and sexuality head-on for centuries. Their contributions are so essential (some are by far the most out-there in the canon) that without them, the genre could not possibly have grown into the blockbuster behemoth it is today. Like many sci-fi creators, this radical group’s explorations weren’t limited to faroff planets; they dove into the sticky, difficult, often ugly realities of their own worlds, many of which are still with us today. They tackled misogyny, homophobia, racism, and the dangers of conventional gender roles — concepts often foreign to the world they inhabited. While their efforts were not always celebrated in the mainstream, they opened the possibility of a better future and pushed the conversation forward....Below, a rundown of some of the most feminist moments in sci-fi history: