Feminist intersectional perspectives on pandemic narratives: Larissa Lai’s The Tiger Flu
Socially-constructed roles affect women’s experiences of and vulnerability to the broad impacts of pandemics. Although women are on the frontline of the Covid-19 response, as health-care workers and caregivers, they have less decision-making power than men in pandemic planning and post-pandemic recovery, and their voices and experiences go unheard. This article considers Larissa Lai’s visionary novel, The Tiger Flu (2018), as an entry point for conceptualising the gendered nature of the current
Coronavirus emergency. A novel about the world to come, after climate change and mass death, The Tiger Flu brings women’s voices to the forefront of a flu pandemic that has jumped from animals to humans. By creating a world where men are vulnerable and women survive, Lai consciously writes against traditional end-of-world narratives that tend to rely on tiring gender narratives based on the tension between active male heroism and female fragility. Furthermore, The Tiger Flu explores the intersectional experiences of a global disease outbreak and imagines a new beginning from the viewpoint of queer voices of colour from marginalised communities. A feminist framework will be employed to shed light on the ongoing possibilities of life in the wake of patriarchy, environmental change and capitalism’s consumptive force.
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gender, Covid-19, pandemic narratives, Larissa Lai, intersectionality