Lesbian Resistance to Feminism in Annalinde Matichei’s The Flight of the Silver Vixen
AbstractSince the 1970s, lesbian SF has been largely treated as a sub-genre of feminist writing, obscuring incompatibilities between currents within lesbian culture(s) and a “majority” feminist politics of “egalitarian, communal and democratic values” (Andermahr 109–10). These tensions are critiques in Annalinde Matichei’s The Flight of the Silver Vixen (Sun Daughter Press, 2011), which draws on lesbian literatary conventions alongside motifs from Britain’s “Aristasian” subculture, which understood itself as “a ‘women’s movement’ [that] is not part of the liberal consensus, but is royalist, elitist and aristocratic…” (Rosetti) and which, on that basis, opposed what it understood as “feminism”. Among their strategies of resistance was the depiction in SF of a society with two “feminine” sexes, in which romantic relationships between ostensibly female characters could be depicted in the complementarian terms of Traditionalist discourses, rendering lesbian separatism not only compatible with, but metaphysically interwoven with, monarchism, classism, imperialism, and Perennial philosophy—a world in which lesbian transgressivity was nullified. Matichei draws on Traditionalist understandings of sacred play and second wave feminist concepts of performative identity to redefine transgression from an act of protest to a discipline of archetypal enactment, exemplified in her protagonist Antala FiaMartia. FiaMartia transgresses her own world’s norms by deserting a military academy, leading a motorcycle gang, and stealing an experimental starship but, once in possession of the Silver Vixen, finds herself assuming the rôle of responsible captain, in which she transgresses our world’s feminist ideals by respecting caste divisions, removing “blondes” from important business on her ship’s bridge, and keeping fealty to the (blonde) monarchy. Matichei’s strategies for inscribing lesbianism on her characters while sublimating their transgressivity and harnessing it to the reproduction of their social order exemplify the Aristasian strategy of resistance to feminism and open the possibility of a non-feminist—even anti-feminist—lesbian literature.