Ida: a feminist book review
As I am a shadow judge for the Inky Awards, I thought I’d better start posting about the books from the Inkys that I’ve already read. The first book I read from the Gold Inky Award longlist was Ida by Alison Evans – so I’m doing a feminist review on it!
WARNING – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.
This should be interesting, as I haven’t yet done a feminist review on a book with characters with more than two genders. So, just to clarify, the definition of feminism is equality between ALL genders. This includes genderqueer, genderfluid, etc. Cool. Let’s get started!
Ida explores the life of a girl who thinks she can travel through time, when in reality she is traveling through alternate universes. In terms of discrimination, Evans focuses more on the fact that she is discriminated against because she is Asian, and fat, than that she is female, and there’s not really much of a storyline I can explore in terms of equality and feminism there, as she is treated pretty equally compared to some of the other characters in the book. There is no plot-line about whether she makes less at the company she works for than the men, so it is assumed that those troubles aren’t paramount in her life.
Daisy, on the other hand. There’s an underlying storyline about how Daisy (Ida’s partner) doesn’t enjoy staying at home, and the assumption is made (through dialogue and things left unsaid) that Daisy’s parents don’t accept their genderqueer identity, treat/see them as a female, and are unhappy about Daisy’s relationship with Ida, a woman. None of this is said outright, just inferred, which is a great representation of the response of today’s society to LGBT+ people.
Through Daisy’s (and Frank’s, and Ida’s) storyline, Evans is talking about intersectional and inclusive feminism – feminism that not only advocates for equal rights for all genders, but also understanding how people experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity, when things like race and orientation play into it, and advocating for rights for everyone, which is some really great discourse and something I’d love to see more of in books.
Alison has stated, ‘Seeing the ways growing up within a gender binary seems to hurt everyone, not just trans people but cis people as well. We’re supposed to fit these roles and when we don’t, we’re punished. No one should be expected to do anything just because of the sex they were assigned with at birth, and everyone should have the same opportunities’, which you can see in their writing and inclusive array of characters (and is a great feminist stance!!! More snaps for Alison). While science fiction is the main storyline in this book, I would say that feminism and acceptance is definitely the underlying plotline, and it provides an intelligent critique of modern society and feminism that isn’t intersectional.
This was a pretty short review, as the issues that are discussed in this book are more LGBT+ and race oriented than feminist, so I’m going to do another, general review on one of my other blogs soon.