The future should be synonymous with progress, right? Moving forward. Getting ahead. But I’m going through The Reader, and in some areas, especially freedoms for women, our galaxy is going to slip backwards.
It reminds me of the day, just as a young child, that I learned the Milky Way wasn’t expanding through the universe in the direction it should be going. Instead, it is sliding toward some force known as “The Great Attractor.”
Molly’s plight reveals a galaxy isn’t just physically moving in reverse. Many options open to women in our time are not open to her. When I read in her diary that she went through history books for feminist inspiration, it sickened me.
And it’s not just Earth. I don’t want to get into the second entry in her narrative, but one of Molly’s alien friends deals with a very similar problem. In her case, males claim to elevate women above themselves. To prove this, they remove all possibility of women coming to harm, which constricts their personal freedoms.
Is this what 25th-century humans are doing when they tell Molly she can’t fly starships into battle? But, if it’s about protecting her… why can she be a navigator in one of those very starships? Isn’t she equally in harm’s way? And with less control over her own safety? What if she can fly better than anyone else in the fleet? I think the hypocrisy reveals the true reason for limiting her choices: they don’t think she’s good enough.