Study Guide

The Female Man Janet and Jael

By Joanna Russ

Janet and Jael

Janet and Jael are complex characters in their own right, but both of them have symbolic significance in the novel too. As an emissary of Whileaway—the feminist utopia that Joanna the character visits, but to which Joanna Russ the real-life author has never actually been—Janet is a manifestation of hope for a feminist future. Jael, on the other hand, is a ruthless assassin with claws and fangs, and even the women and children of Womanland think she's terrifying. Apart from her complexities, she's a parodic symbol of every stereotype out there about monstrous, evil, feminist women and their lust for bloooood.