Feminism in Gibson's Neuromancer

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Feminism in Gibson’s Neuromancer

Regarded as the beginning of the “cyberpunk” movement, William Gibson’s classic novel Neuromancer, confronts the pronounced societal issues of feminism of the time. By distorting the female traits of his characters, Gibson illustrates that gender equality is only achieved when the female persona is able to transform away from both the desired and rejected feminist attributes imposed by societies fixed gender roles.

Although the Cyberpunks are almost always male, Gibson’s portrayal of the female character, Molly, is quite rare and illustrates the perceptions of women during the time. Quite opposite to the soft and gentle woman Case marries and settles down with, Molly is depicted as a hard
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It returned, but he still couldn’t read the features” (Gibson 18). In the final scenes, Neuromancer comments on Case’s visual failure by saying “he never saw Molly again” (Gibson 271).This final commentary is critical because it reveals that though intimate with Molly, Case is only able to see the outline of her existence, but never expose her actual being hidden behind her lenses. However, it is during the simstim scenes, that Case’s ocular frustration becomes truly visible. In one scene Molly “was moving through a crowded street, past stalls vending discount software… For a few frightened seconds he fought helplessly to control her body” (Gibson 56). Though Case is able to see through Molly’s eyes he is still unable to control her, rather she controls him by exposing his vulnerability as a result of only allowing only her view not what he chooses. This represents that though forced to become the embodiment of a male, Molly is able to utilize her female strengths to maintain control though physically sacrificed to the opposing sex. Later, Case comments on her control by saying, “he began to find the passivity of the situation irritating” (Gibson 56). Cases mirrors Rivera’s feeling of being threatened when in simstim scene because though experiencing through Molly, Case is unable to suppress her mind or control her body, taking away his masculine empowerment. In both cases, Gibson illustrates that it through the

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