The Straight Mind

While researching The Female Man on JSTOR, I found an article by Susan Ayers relating The Female Man to a 1979 essay called “The Straight Mind” by Monique Wittig. The comparison is a good way of articulating what Russ was doing in The Female Man and how it related to what people at the time were talking about in regards to gender and sexuality. The main point of this essay is to show how both the fictional work by Russ and the essay by Wittig were being used in the 70’s to change the culture and conversation surrounding the role of each gender in society.

Ayers uses information from The Female Man and “The Straight Mind” to show the consequences of falling into the roles that society has placed on men and women. Ayers discusses how the world’s of Jeannine and Joanna are so similar to ours in that the women’s sexuality is to be subservient to men. She quotes a monologue of Joanna that sarcastically puts into perspective the role of women as motherly and helpful for men. She points out the consequences to both men and women of falling into the straight mindset. Finally, she looks at how each of the four world’s in The Female Man have dealt with the problem of the straight mind and points out that none have come to a good conclusion.

This article shows that The Female Man was effective in it’s time period in questioning and raising a debate about the straight mind that society pushes on everyone but ineffective in offering a solution.


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