Study Guide

Cal in The Female Man

By Joanna Russ


Cal is Jeannine's boyfriend. He's a hum-drum, mostly harmless sort, except for the fact that he thinks it's his right to wheedle Jeannine into sex. He's also a product of his time, and although that doesn't exactly make him a villain, it doesn't excuse him either. Like most of the men in Jeannine's life, Cal doesn't think twice about her personal dreams, ambitions, or desires.

A struggling reporter and down-on-his-luck kind of guy, Cal is a young George Costanza. His favorite phrase is, "I'll make it some day, baby" (1.2.6), and Jeannine thinks that maybe "he's traumatized by being so short" (5.2.3). Although she doesn't enjoy making love with him, she sometimes finds him kind of endearing.