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Found Feminism: “What Science Fiction Means”

2011 June 6

This image has been shown widely on the internet for a few weeks, but I keep coming back to it.

I think I want it on my bedroom wall, maybe a metre or two high.

An illustration of a young girl standing on a flying shark, in space. She is holding a ray gun and a sword, and the shark is firing a laser which has been mounted on its head. There is a sense of them flying at great speed, and the girl is laughing or shouting joyfully. Drawn by artist Egypt Urnash.

'What Science Fiction Means' - copyright Egypt Urnash

Fantastic artist Egypt Urnash drew this for free, as a “t-shirt design for a college SF club”. It was then linked to by Major Internet Deity Warren Ellis, who knows groovy stuff when he sees it, and subsequently the design is now selling as framed art prints and t-shirts.

Why do I love this so much?

Possibly because it could have been titled “What I want to be when I grow up” (and still apply to me and most of Team BadRep now, if we’re honest). It has a shark with a frickin’ laser on its head, which is always good for +10 points, but it’s got to be the sheer joy on the girl’s face. I think I just have an innate love of anything which could legitimately have the caption “YEAH BABY, YEAH!”

At a time when women seem to be shockingly under-represented in Sci-fi (way beyond the ratio of actual female authors to male) and hearty debate on whether that’s because of sexism or other factors, I’m delighted at anything which tells young women they have a central place in SF. (The first link references Joanna Russ’ “How to suppress women’s writing”, which we mentioned ourselves recently.)

Women of all ages should be holding the rayguns and riding the space-sharks, dammit. After all, WisCon (‘the World’s leading feminist science fiction convention’) has just finished, and once again shows the potential of the genre not only to excite and speak to everyone, but to be a blank slate where current prejudices don’t have to be brought along. SF could be a feminist’s best friend.

Egypt’s site here contains the full-size original, as well as other Awesome Art which you should go and look at.

  • Found Feminism: an ongoing series of images, videos, photos, comics, posters or excerpts – anything really, which shows feminist ideas at work in the everyday world. What’s brightened your day? Share it here – send your finds to [email protected]!
7 Responses leave one →
  1. June 9, 2011

    I can envision Laser Shark Girl as a Tank Girl companion.

    I hear the British Library’s ‘Out Of This World’ exhibition has a few thoughts on feminism in Sci-fi (I know they’ve managed to tie the Bronte’s in with the likes of War of The Worlds). I certainly hope so.. shall find out for myself in a couple of days time!

  2. Sara permalink
    October 22, 2011

    It’s really great to see that our symbol( for Simmons’ science fiction and fantasy club) is so well like. Moreover as a symbol of strong women in science fiction.

  3. Tiffany Tan permalink
    October 25, 2011

    Hey! I’m one of the members of this college Science Fiction and Fantasy club that originally came up with the concept of this logo. Unfortunate the facts are all wrong here. We did not hire him to redo our logo. In fact he literally just find our logo online and fell in love with it, so he decided to redo it. I think his rendition is awesome but we had no idea of this artist’s existence. Here’s the original design. http://simmons.collegiatelink.net/images/W170xL170/0/noshadow/Organization/f82569f419dd436e968459068a006653.jpg

    • Miranda permalink*
      October 25, 2011

      Thanks for that!

      We were paraphrasing Urnash’s description here: http://egypt.urnash.com/Illustration/shark-sf

      While I hope no one is making money off someone else’s design in a way that has disadvantaged anyone, the artist describes it as “pro bono”. Although selling shirts of the design would not of course be “for free” unless they were for your society, I thought they were?

      I love the art and the concept drawing – has anyone from Simmons approached Urnash about it?

    • May 9, 2012

      Just a note to say Egypt Urnash has a much bigger website now, and a comic due out! Hooray!

      http://egypt.urnash.com

      (And that she uses female pronouns, not “he”: http://egypt.urnash.com/about.html )

    • May 9, 2012

      Aaaactually the sequence of events is this:

      A guy who knew someone in that SF/F club posted the logo to Reddit, asking for reworks. I, and several other people, did just that for the hell of it. Mine seemed to be the winner; I sent my image off to the folks in the club with a note that I’d love to have a copy of the shirt and never heard anything back. I posted it on my site; five months later Warren Ellis linked to it.

      So quite literally the club, or SOMEONE involved with the club, put out a call on the Internet and asked people to rework it. Whether or not the leaders of the club at the time knew of or approved this, I have no clue.

      • Miranda permalink*
        May 9, 2012

        There we have it, folks.

        Thanks, Egypt. We at BadRep Towers continue to want to wallpaper it everywhere. It’s awesome.

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