What Else Is Out There? American Women’s Progressive Era Utopian Societies in Outer


  • Alicia Matheny Beeson


Utopian and dystopian texts typically fall under the larger umbrella of science fiction and fantasy, as they create alternative worlds that could include various governmental structures, environmental situations, technological advancements, and more. Many American utopian texts written in the Progressive Era explore a revision of current or future American culture, a remote society on Earth, a depiction of the afterlife, or a discovered society on another planet. For Progressive Era women writers, revisions to gendered norms in their utopian literary works were common as many fought for greater equality with men in their own world. Setting the society on another planet can interestingly pose gender equality as an otherworldly, alien phenomenon; however, outside of not only American but potentially also human constructs, this framework allows authors to imagine entirely new systems that promote gender equality. When the setting is on another planet, authors are not bound by any cultural, legal, or religious boundaries, other than those that permeate their minds while constructing these new worlds.