Study Guide

Vittoria in The Female Man

By Joanna Russ


Vittoria is Janet's wife, and the "other mother" of their daughter, Yuriko. She's an intelligent, stocky woman with long, "blue-black hair," "velvety brown eyes," and a "heavy-obstinate chin" (5.11.1). As Joanna points out, she "gets a lot of praise in Whileaway because of her big behind" (5.11.1). Like Janet, Vittoria has studied English even though the language has been obsolete on Whileaway for centuries, and while Joanna and Jeannine visit with them, she acts as a translator.

Although Jeannine is put off by Vittoria's looks (Jeannine is pretty shallow, after all), Joanna admires her, and remarks that she is "formed for the long acquaintance and the close view" (5.11.1). Translation: Vittoria is the sort of person who might not stand out in a crowd, but who has enough depth to sustain an intimate relationship over the course of a lifetime.