Like lots of people, I’ve been thinking about all the accusations of sexual misconduct that have come spilling out into public notice ever since the Harvey Weinstein story broke – hardly six weeks, yet what feels a lifetime ago. Like many women, I’ve wondered if we will look back on this historical moment as a paradigm shift in what is considered acceptable behavior.
It’s important to be realistic about the limits of such a shift. Some men will still behave like jerks, whether through groping, leering, impolite remarks, or rape. There will be still be painful, awkward episodes among all genders of misread social cues, attempted flirting gone horribly wrong, unreciprocated workplace crushes, etc.
But is it too far-fetched to imagine a world where the goal posts have moved? Where the default of people’s conduct and their expectations of other people’s is different than today? It’s a topic that science fiction has not ignored. Continue reading