As a generation X-er I grew up in a world that was challenging sexuality but only encountered the instability of gender as an adult in radical new academic texts which were not then yet part of our everyday narratives. My daughter born between Gen Z and Gen Alpha is growing up in a world of gender fluidity and multiple pronouns.
Fiction is a realm within which we can imagine the limitlessness of our feminist realities. By censoring fiction itself in an anxiety to perform what we understand as feminism, is to censor our imaginations, its subtle negotiations with reality and its potential in generating desires and dreams we hardly knew of. Does this mean we don’t critique books and movies? Definitely not! Critique is fun. Critique is important. Critique is how we grow. But the judgement needs to stop.
What is fiction? Is it born of reality? Or does it birth reality, reflecting it back at me until I see the things I do not see? Until I find the person that is me? Until I dance my horse dance under moon, under stars, in a room full of people who like horse dancing just as much as they like the swirly skirt and the pot-bellied person doing the Bhangra.