Aliens and Caribbean Women: Feminst Friday discusses Feminist Fiction


Feminist Friday

Caitlin Yamada

Imagine a future where women are trading language and knowledge with aliens from distant planets. That’s what the group at today’s Feminist Friday did. 

Twelve people attended The Margaret Sloss Women’s Center’s second Feminist Friday, discussing feminist fiction at 1 p.m. at the Women’s Center.

Lorraine Acker, director of the Women’s Center, lead the discussion and spoke about how she is a reader and one of her earliest introductions to feminist writing was through fiction.

“During my undergrad, I took a class on race, class and gender, and one of the books the professors assigned was ‘Sula,’” Acker said. “It got me thinking more about some of the writings out there that talk about women’s lives.”

Acker opened up the discussion by asking what brought the attendees there.

Shaina Destine, resident librarian, said she started reading with the books that were assigned in grade school, but slowly found the genre that really resonated with her.  

“I almost exclusively only read books that have strong female protagonists and preferably strong female protagonists of color,” Shaina Destine said.

It was brought up in the group that science fiction allows a space for women to be the focus and even male writers are providing this space. 

Attendees listed several different science fiction authors and books, which sparked a conversation on feminism in science fiction and the future. 

“Sci-fi kind of creates this feminist reality that doesn’t exist, really thinking about what the future can look like,” said Shaneda Destine, lecturer of sociology. 

“The only world that would center us is a world that doesn’t exist,” Shaina Destine said. 

Acker asked the attendees when they were introduced to feminist writing or feminist authors.

“For me it didn’t start with feminist writing, it started with feminist characters,” said Paulina Padron, junior in animal science. “I remember reading about Hermione Granger and being like this is who I want to be. She’s so unapologetically smart and opinionated.”

“I wanted to read more books about how I felt, how I thought,” Shaina Destine said. 

Historical fiction books were also brought up with having a large quantity of feminist books and authors. 

“I am a Caribbean woman, so growing up I was always looking for books by Caribbean authors, so when I discovered Marlon James and he writes this historical fiction about these women, I felt like these are my people,” Acker said. 

The attendees shared book recommendations back and forth and how these books resonated with them. Below is a list of books mentioned throughout the discussion. 

The next Feminist Friday, “Overcoming Imposter Syndrome,” will be Dec. 1 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature Dr. Dawn Bratsch Prince, associate provost for faculty and professor of Spanish. 

Feminist Books and Authors mentioned:


Anita Diamant- “The Red Tent”

Aran Shetterly- “Americano”

Ayana Mathis- “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie”

Beverly Cleary- Ramona series

Derrick Bell- “And We Are Not Saved”

J.K. Rowling- Harry Potter series

Karen Russell- “Swamplandia!”

Marlon James- “The Book of Night Women”

Octavia Butler

Roxane Gay

Samuel R Delany- Babel-17

Sister Souljah

Toni Morrison- “Sula”

Ursula Le Guin- “The Left Hand of Darkness”

Yaa Gyasi- “Homegoing”