The real place I found that these two female characters are worth my time to look at and pick their personalities apart was when I connected them to the feminist theoretical pieces we have read in class.
In Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex patriarchal society emphasizes the justification of implication of the Other on to women which Beauvoir calls the “Eternal feminine”. She goes on to further compare the situation of women to that of the negro(a word which in itself carries an entire other set of issues and discourses).
“the submissive Negro-or on the merits of the woman who is “truly feminine”-that is ,frivolous, infantile, irresponsible -the submissive woman”(32).
Angela Carter’s Love is written in third person point of view allowing for interaction with the thoughts of Lee about Annabel. Another descriptive word I would add to this list is mysterious. Lee sees his wife as something weak, something “infantile” that needs taking care of. In some aspects she does need to be taken care of, but in her truest form lee should seek protection from her. Annabel manages to utilize his false views of her to take control of him and of herself. It is this usage of self-knowledge and knowledge of her husband that allows her to manipulate the situation which changes the structure of values in the novel for the couple. This turns love into a resistant text that emphasizes the power of woman over herself and over her body. Annabel shows this power by depending on her body as part of her identity as we see in her meticulous preparation before her suicide, then ultimately it is her own hand that takes her own life ending the life of that body.
No matter how creepy it is to think about, Annabel makes Lee Other in his own apartment, in his own reality because he is sucked into the life that Annabel makes for him. If this doesn’t give her control of herself and world, I’m not sure what would.
I do not respect her for terrorizing lives with her bad vibes but I can respect the character as a tool to make a point in feminist discourse.
I was also only able to come to a “we cool” level with Kirstin from Linda Nagata’s The Bohr Maker due to her impact in third wave feminism. Bell hooks in Feminist Theory: from margin to center states that
“As a group, black women are in an unusual position in this society, for not only are we collectively at the bottom of the occupational ladder, but our overall social status is lower than that of any other group”(14).
Not to say that I have read immense amounts of books, but I have read more than some people I know and have rarely seen a black woman like Kirstin as the main protagonist.
In all honesty no matter how brutal she was in regulating and enforcing her ideas as chief of police, she did it very successfully. Kirstin as a character undermines this idea as black women as on the bottom mentioned in the above quote. Rather she is on top and has more control over men and women than some men. This is a stab in the chest of patriarchal prejudice western thought. I am afraid of Kirstin because of her resilience, but also respect her for that same resilience. If I wanted a job done I would no doubt count on Kirstin to get it done and the some, but I would not want her prejudice around me or my cyborg friends.