I really enjoyed the short story “Sultana’s Dream,” as well as the article written about it. I thought it was a very interesting story, and, as the article said, it was definitely ahead of its time. Nowadays it’s nothing groundbreaking, addressing the age-old question of “what if the tables were turned?”
One thing I think is really interesting about the story in and of itself is that it depicts women as, morally, no better than men. In “Ladyland,” women are put in the same position that men are in the real world. Instead of being kind, benevolent rulers, they lock men away the same way women are locked away. I think that there’s an interesting commentary there about humanity’s tendencies.
Something the article said that I do not agree with is its way of calling “Sultana’s Dream” a “feminist” work. On one hand, it certainly is, because it is a critique of the way women are treated in society. On the other, though, I could see people using this as evidence to point towards the idea that feminists are simply “man haters.” I do believe that this short story does a lot for the feminist movement, but I fear that calling it outwardly feminist may add fuel to the fire of anti-feminism.
“Sultana’s Dream” is a feminist work for sure, but I don’t think that it depicts a feminist society. In fact, I think that saying the ladder is dangerous to feminism as a whole.
One thought on ““Feminist” Work?”
Yep! I think it’s better described as a Feminist Satire. The treatment of men in the story is an inversion of how women are treated in India in the early 20th century. I read it less as a recommendation for new social policy and more of a revelation of how baseless the current gender inequality is.