32. Dune’s Ecofeminism

This week, Janine chats about what she considers one of the best sci-fi films released this year – Dune. She does a short analysis of each important female character in the film, and explains a bit more about ecofeminism.

The Sci-Fi Feminist - A Feminism and Pop Culture Podcast
The Sci-Fi Feminist - A Feminism and Pop Culture Podcast
32. Dune's Ecofeminism

What to expect from episode 32: Dune’s Ecofeminism?

Welcome back

Janine welcomes listeners back and introduces the topic for today’s episode – the female character in Dune. She also gives a shout out to her Patreon supporters. Janine also gives some background on Dune – when it was written and the impact it had on sci-fi.

Introduction of significant female characters

Next Janine introduces the four most important female characters in Dune – Lady Jessica, Chani, the Reverend Mother and Dr Leit-Kynes. She also gives some background on each character as well as the changes made from the book to the movie.

Sci-fi and women

Before getting into the discussion of the characters, Janine explains some general background about women in sci-fi. Here she considers why sci-fi is a place where we often see representations of strong female characters. Janine gives a movie recommendation here too – Barbarella released in the 1960s.

Dr Leit-Kynes and ecofeminism

The first significant female character Janine discusses is Dr Leit-Kynes. She first explains how it is progressive that Dr Kynes works as a mediator between the Fremen and the Empire. Janine then explains how it is great to see a representation of a black woman scientist, who is smart and capable.

Next, Janine gets in to ecofeminism and the significance of Dr Kynes being a paleontologist and ecologist. Janine also gives some background on ecofeminism and how it is portrayed in Dune.

Chani and Paul

The next female character Janine chats about is Chani. Here Janine focuses on Paul and how he does not fit the macho male hero archetype we see in sci-fi.

Lady Jessica

Janine moves on to chat about the concubine, Lady Jessica. She explains the significant role Lady Jessica plays in Paul’s heroism. As Janine explains, Paul inherits his powers from his mother, and not his father. Janine also lists a few other aspects of the character that is empowering.

The Reverend Mother

The final character Janine discusses is the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam. Janine explores how she represents the ancient Great Mother archetype. As Janine explains, motherhood is an important theme in the film.

Wrap up

Janine wraps up the episode by explaining what she expects from Dune: Part Two. She also thanks listeners and reminds everyone of her YouTube channel and Patreon page.

Episode Credits


  • Janine Engelbrecht


  • Janine Engelbrecht

Small Print

The theme music is "Dashboard Light" by One Two Feet, and is licenced by Holosuite Media through Epidemic Sound.

This podcast is a fan production. All views made are that of the individual(s), and may not represent that of the podcast, or the Holosuite Media network.

The Sci-Fi Feminist - A Feminism and Pop Culture Podcast
The Sci-Fi Feminist - A Feminism and Pop Culture Podcast
32. Dune's Ecofeminism