Octavia Butler’s depiction of the Ina community is chock-full of critiques of societal norms regarding heterosexuality, monogamy and patriarchal systems of relationally. The Inas do not have sexual orientation labels. They have relationships with male and female Inas and symbionts. They do not base their affections for their partners based on sexual orientation. Instead, they base partnerships on compatibility, need and especially in Shori’s case, caring for the well-being of another.
Butler critiques the structure of monogamy by making the Ina polygamous versus the traditional structure of monogamy. She also makes the Ina community a matriarchal society which is unlikely for most communities as most communities are patriarchal. Men are usually the “funders” and “organizers” of society. Butler’s purpose of critiquing societal norms by implementing complete opposites is to deconstruct traditional structures and force readers to create their own and at the very least, gain perspective.
In Fledgling, it’s transparent that Butler is a fan of taboo. This novel in itself is a taboo as it’s about a black Ina vampire. The first of her kind, the minority out of white Inas; Shori is an experiment and this novel touches on the issues of racism, a flawed justice system, sexuality and etc. Butler touches on several subjects that would be easier to ignore. A major theme in Fledgling is sexuality even more specifically is heterosexuality. Shori and the other Inas have sexual relationships with both genders.
Even before Shori finds out who and what she is, she was in relationships with Wright and Theodora. Shori had a sexual and emotional relationship with Wright Hamlin while developing a needs/emotional relationship with Theodora. Shori was different in her approach from other Ina in that she genuinely cared for her symbionts. They were more than just a resource to her.
Butler is trying to use this dynamic to show that love is gender less and sex less. Butler wants us...