Equal rights is a constant struggle for women, for years they have gained freedoms to match men. And what would happen if they suddenly lost all of this? The recent political scenario makes us think about this possibility.
The Story of Aia, in Margaret Atwood, was one of the works that pointed out this issue, bringing in its plot women who lose all rights and are used only as instruments of reproduction - including being divided into categories, fertile and infertile. The book impresses because, even written in 1985, it seems viable today, especially with the current political situation in the United States.
And it is this path that Christina Dalcher moth on Vox. Narrating a not too distant future, where women cannot speak more than 100 words a day. This rule, instituted by a new conservative government, is part of a radical change that believes in “pure families”, where the woman must take care of the house and children, while the husband works. For women to be submissive again, it is necessary to remove all weapons from them and for this reason they cannot read, write, communicate by signs or by any other means, be it letter or cell phone.
Dr. Jean McClellan, who used to work as Neurolinguistics, is the one who introduces the reader to this new world. Mother of four and wife of a doctor, she had to change her life from a cultured and well-developed woman in her career, to a housewife who needs to carefully measure her words. While explaining his routine, Jean explains how this government managed, so quickly, to silence women completely. And this is the most interesting part of the work, through the protagonist's routine, we see the subtle way that the government used to influence her children in schools, how they silenced the demonstrations and vetoed basic rights to end female privileges.
It is shocking to see how feasible such a situation is. Using very convincing arguments, the author shows, while taking the opportunity to make a huge political criticism, how easy it is to change customs if people stop fighting for their rights. For the avoidance of doubt, several different characters are intimately presented, highlighting their role in society and how each of them accepted it. Jean's children are crucial to this, Steven, her teenage son, becomes irritating when he abides by all the rules so easily and disrespects the hierarchy with his mother. In contrast to this, we have Sonia, only 5 years old, who, because she knows so little about the world, does not need to adapt and gets to be happy when she can spend the whole day quiet.
The image shown in Vox becomes hopeless. Due to the details, such as the new method of teaching women - which boils down to household chores and bills to be able to make market purchases -, or even the extreme way in which LGBT issues were dealt with, the work becomes suffocating. Dalcher did an incredible job in setting up a new and totally plausible universe, showing the gravity of the situation through everyday things that were lost.
However, the book's outcome cannot be as exciting. Perhaps because she focuses on making a heavy criticism of society, and opening her eyes to a situation that could materialize, the author is unable to keep the same pace when she needs to deliver a little action to the plot. Between personal issues in Jean's life and the struggle to try to end this repression, the outcome occurs in a hasty and logical way in some points, being almost lazy. It definitely does not match the incredible detailed universe presented at the beginning of the work.
Like an exciting fiction, Vox it is not extremely satisfactory. But its heavy political content and the important message that the author sends manage to make the reader reflect and makes this reading almost mandatory for the current times.