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Any ASOIAF fans in the house? I'm in love with these books (A Dance with Dragons is my carrot for finishing a paper: no reading that book until I'm finished!) I think this is a fascinating commentary about Sady Doyle's critique of the books. Thoughts?
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Sady hates mothers and women that want to be married to a nice guy. Wanting something provided by a culture with traditional female roles is a betrayal of your gender. Shame on you for not sewing your womb up with hatred and fighting the good fight. That said...
I don't think there is any doubt GRRMartin is a sadistic bastard. HE KILLS, BEATS, RAPES, and PROVIDES PHYSICAL DEFORMATIONS OR METAL DISORDERS TO EVERYONE, NO EXCEPTIONS. He still manages to craft a compelling world that people want to read.
I think rebranding "fantasy" and "sci fi" as 'speculative fiction' would avoid the confusion that one would be utopian and the other scientific. Instead it would display what it is. They are "What If" worlds. Where instead of "what if he loves her but she loves someone else" you get the additional "what if dragons were real or what if every one lived in a spaceship".
Heh. Actually...many feminist philosophers argue that there aren't really two genders, just an imagine binary used to control a broad spectrum of genetic options (since XX and XY are NOT the only combo of chromosomes that creates gender); some dude had his MIND BLOWN during a history seminar I took. He bickered with the professor at lot...and refused to even entertain this idea. He quit. It was for the best.
I agree with the theory of ambiguous individual biological and psychological genders. It doesn't actually negate the cultural gender roles (which can be held or shared by any individual) in modern western society.
We brand them male and female but they are simply dominant provider and submissive nurturer. Even those are arbitrary and generalized polarizations of the spectrum of roles a person can move in and out of while in a binary relationship.
Ah, but they aren't simple at all...when one gender is categorically assigned the "submissive nurturer"and the other the "dominant provider" both genders (if we accept that binary) are slighted. Men who embrace their nurturing attributes are soft, gay, name it. Women who have domineering trait are bitchy, annoying, and uppity.

Oh, I realized I approached the gender thing incorrectly. You have the gender performance issue, a la Judith Butler (although, she's moved away from that idea. Which is staggering to me), but I was thinking about the attack again the scientific term "sex" in my comments above. One strategy for dealing with the discussion of gender and sexual norms has been to separate sex (biology) from gender (social). Some theorist (names escape my brain at the moment) are really attacking even the idea of biologically program sex traits and use the spectrum of x + y combos that create sex to back up this position.

I think breaking the science (and acknowledging influence of culture on scientific research) is very important, as one way to avoid the "you know, our traditions sure treat women like shit" arguments is to counter, "science says women just prefer x, y, z [excuses for said shit]."
Leaves are green because that is the color that allows for the most efficient/productive photosynthesis within our atmosphere. Change it a little bit and red or blue works better.
Women are womanly and men are male because it helped them stay alive and breed. Now we have a world with medicine and long lifespans resulting in too many people. Breeding is not a priority. It can happen at 60 or never and we can still feel our life had value. So in the last 100 years the "atmosphere" is different. Unlike Kristin Huston's head measurers, science has proven us both exactly the same and infinitely diverse. The color of your skin doesn't matter but your penis does not necessarily make you male. As I'm sure every parent for all of time has said "It will be interesting to see what our children do with this new development." It seems we're homogenizing, but is it true or just the knee jerk response to every seeming suppression or adjustment of social difference.