Gritty Girls Undone: The Unraveling of Gender Fluidity in Pat Cadigan's Synners
Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in English
This project seeks to analyze a significant gap in current scholarship: critique of representations of gender fluidity in cyberpunk author Pat Cadigan's novel Synners (1991). The thesis argues that while Cadigan's novel is an important experiment, it lacks consistency in postulating a working gender-fluid society. Drawing upon the work of Judith Butler, Kaye Mitchell, Karen Cadora, and other important feminist critics, this thesis analyzes Cadigan's attempt at positing a fictional world in which gender is not fixed such that individuals can move back and forth between masculine and feminine positions. In Synners the female characters are represented as assuming dominant masculine roles, while male characters display those traditionally feminine. While this strategy works well in the first part of the novel, Cadigan's finale collapses. I conclude that the novel, while not wholly successful in its attempts to imagine a gender-neutral world, is an important example of feminist cyberpunk's explorations of gendered identity.
Pat Cadigan, cyberpunk, science fiction, gender, identity
English Language and Literature
© Arminda Apgar
Apgar, Arminda, "Gritty Girls Undone: The Unraveling of Gender Fluidity in Pat Cadigan's Synners" (2006). MSU Graduate Theses. 1085.