The Guardian (among others) raised a fantastic point recently: females who travel through time are practically non-existent.
I think time-travel is one of those really awesome science fiction concepts that can range so delightfully from glorious cheesiness to romantic to heart-pounding. It’s a genre I enjoy. But I realized…they’re right.
The time travelers/time travel media I could name:
- H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine
- Doctor Who (twelve incarnations, all presenting as male)
- Marty McFly (Back to the Future)
- Captains Kirk, Picard, Sisko* (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
- The Kid in King Arthur’s Court
- Hot Tub Time Machine
- Kate and Leopold
- The Time Traveler’s Wife (I don’t know if I’ve actually seen this or just saw the trailers…)
- Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures (Be Awesome to One Another)
- Groundhog Day (I don’t know that it’s technically time travel though)
- 13 Going on 30
- Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Out of that whole list, only 13 Going on 30 and Harry Potter have ladies. And I don’t really think 13 Going on 30 should even count, because she doesn’t just time travel, she also inhabits an older hot-bod version of herself.
That means the only time-traveling lady I can think of is Hermione Granger. And, let it be noted, unlike a lot of the guys who are motivated to time travel by wanting to get a girl, Hermione is into time travel so she can study. Like a boss.
That’s a pretty sad list. Why aren’t women given the chance to travel through time? Is it the cultural notion that explorer = male? In other words, we’re sending men to travel through time because they’re the hunters?
Well that sucks.
It is in this spirit that I issue a challenge: Write a time travel short story in which the lead is female.
That’s it. Take her wherever you like. Explore new worlds and the same world but in different times. Make her good, make her bad, make her lovesick, make her vengeful, make her confused. I don’t care! Just make her!
Leave a comment here when you’ve written one to let me know!
*Granted, I do know that time travel as a concept occurs fairly frequently in Star Trek, in several of the movies and shows. And I think I’ve seen every episode of the original, TNG and Voyager. But the only times it seemed really significant were the Tribble episode of Deep Space Nine (Sisko), Star Trek Generations (Picard), and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Kirk). And it’s the menfolk who are the focus of all those episodes.