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The feminism in A Civil Campaign is largely the effect of Bujold's female characters' resemblance to white, middle-class USian women of the late twentieth century. These characters usually do not display the sorts of behaviors and personal characteristics typical of persons raised in the extreme sexual oppression characteristic of Barrayar, but are simply inserted, by the will of the author, into a society that could never have produced them. They cope with the effects of masculine gender privilege as though it were bad weather and negotiate a position within patriarchy on a strictly individual level. This version of feminism, I think, wishes to celebrate the changes that US women have brought about in themselves over the last thirty years without challenging institutionalized masculine privilege. Bujold manages this through restricting her characters' activities and ambitions to the private sphere (or taking them offplanet when they do wish to exercise agency in the public sphere). This separation of public from private and individual from society causes me, as a reader, deep frustration, but may actually be what many of Bujold's most enthusiastic fans like best about the series... getting fat, as Julian Barnes would have it in Flaubert's case, on having one's cake and eating it too.

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