A Quest on the Development of Feminism in America in Riding Freedom and Fingersmith

Anna Sriastuti


The feminist movement in America is experiencing rapid development. The early feminist idea about woman's right to vote has developed on other issues, including sexuality and reproductive rights, ideas about universal femininity, the body, gender, and heteronormativity. In its development, feminism is sometimes associated with lesbianism. This linkage occurs because lesbian and feminist criticism grow in response to patriarchal oppression. Raised as an orphan, the two main female characters in Riding Freedom struggle to survive and achieve their freedom and happiness. Charlotte in Riding Freedom obscures her feminist identity to get equal opportunities with men. Susan in Fingersmith fights for her rights, even though she engages in lesbianism. By using these two novels as primary data, and data on the development of feminism in America as secondary data, this study aims to show the evolution of feminism in America, starting from the issue of voting described in The Riding Freedom, to the issue of lesbianism in Fingersmith's novel as the effect of disappointment from man's oppression. Feminist criticism and lesbian criticism are the two theories used in this research. This study finds that American women's struggle to gain equality with men requires a long process. The trauma of men's oppression supports the practice of lesbianism in America.

Full Text:



Adi, I. R. (2011). Fiksi Populer: Teori dan Metode Kajian. Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar.

Anderson, C. (2014). Los Angeles Citywide Historic Context Statement Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Context Statement. A Survey: Los Angeles Historic Survey.

Arsintowati, W.H. (2019). Opresi Perempuan Amerika dalam Novel Riding Freedom dan Paint The Wind Karya Pam Munoz Ryan. Aksara, 31(1), 17-35. (DOI: 10.29255/aksara. v31i1.244.17-35).

Boizot, J. (2019). Feminism and media, opportunities and limitations of digital practices. A Thesis, Malmo University.

Creswell, J. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating qualitative and qualitative research. New Jersey: Pearson Education.

Ellis, S.J. and Peel, E. (2010). Lesbian feminisms: Historical and present possibilities. Feminism & Psychology, 21(2),198–204. doi: 10.1177/0959353510370178

Fithratullah, M. (2021). Representation of Korean Values Sustainability in American Remake Movie. Teknosastik: Jurnal Bahasa dan Sastra, 19(1), 60-73.

Hudson, W. Henry. (1965). An Introduction of The Study of Literature. London. George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd.

Isen, Jaclyn. A. (2013). Excavating Lesbian Feminism From The Queer Public Body: The Indispensability of Woman-Identification. Masters of Arts Thesis, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education University of Toronto.

Jeffreys, S. (2003) The queer disappearance of lesbians: Sexuality in the academy. Women’s Studies International Forum, 17(5), 459–472.

Kasih, E. N. (2018). Redefining Hybridity of Chicano Literature in Jimenez’s Fictions. International Journal of Diaspora & Cultural Criticism, 8(2), 294-319.

Madsen, Deborah L. (2000). Feminist Theory and Literary Practice. London: Plato Press.

Pertiwi, F.D.et.al. (2019). Gender Equality in Feminism. Bulletin the National academy of sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 5(381), 112-121. doi.org/10.32014/2019.2518-1467.130

Rich, Adrienne. (1993). Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence. Signs 5.4 (1980): 631–60. Rpt. In The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. Eds. Henry Abelove, Michèle Aina Barale, and David M. Halperin. New York: Routledge, 1993. 227–54.

Ryan, P. M. (1998). Riding Freedom. New York: Scholastic Inc.

Saraswati, C.D. (2014). Being Cunningham’s Women: The Portrayal of Women in Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. Passage, 2(2), 69-81.

Sriastuti, A., Adi, R.A., Rokhman, M.A. (2021). Capitalism and Socialism As Ideological Constructions In American Dystopian Novels. Rubicon, 8(2), 91-105

Tyson, Lois. (2006). Critical Theory Today. Second Edition. New York: Routledge.

Waters, Sarah. (2002). Fingersmith. New York: Virago.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33365/ts.v21i1.2425


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Anna Sriastuti

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Teknosastik: Jurnal Bahasa dan Sastra
: Universitas Teknokrat Indonesia
Address: Zainal Abidin Pagaralam Street 9-11, Bandar Lampung, Indonesia
Website: https://ejurnal.teknokrat.ac.id/index.php/teknosastik/index

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License