In a recent story identification question a user was looking for a movie that, based on their description, was standard fiction with the exception that all the characters were opposite genders from what is typically encountered in real life (women more aggressive and authoritative, men more subdued and conservative).

Is this fantastical enough to be considered on topic?

3 Answers 3


Absolutely yes. The question makes it clear that the schtick here is that the gender-roles are reversed, yet treated as normalised, which places it firmly into the same category as our policy on alternate worlds.

The movie entirely reverses the gender roles: The men perform the stereotypical female household roles and wear aprons.

The same would just as easily apply (and be more obviously fantastical) if age roles were inverted, with children going to work and adults playing in the street.

We also learn (based on OPs self-answer) that there are clear alternate history worldbuilding elements in this story such as the replacement of the NFL with a parodical IWFL (Independent Women's Football League)

As the opening credits roll on black we hear the sound of a football game on TV and when the TV screen fades in we see it’s not the NFL but the IWFL – Independent WOMEN's Football League."

  • I agree, but a lot hinges on whether the story is actually portraying an alternate-universe society, or simply a non-traditional family in a society presumed to be almost identical to one in the real-world. Is there evidence of the former? Because, well, there are some families where the father wears an apron and is a homemaker in the real world, and there are some gangs led by women in the real world.
    – Adamant
    Aug 31, 2022 at 16:33
  • @Adamant - Certainly there are some elements of worldbuilding here, rather than it just being a downtrodden man and a forceful wife
    – Valorum
    Aug 31, 2022 at 16:38
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    One might think so, but the Women's Football Alliance, far from being parodical, actually exists.
    – Adamant
    Aug 31, 2022 at 16:40
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    So based on what has been described to me so far, is there anything to distinguish this from a film set in a close facsimile of the real world where the author decided to tell a story about one of the millions of families with stay-at-home dads and one of the many female gangsters? That may be an intentional choice to comment on gender roles, but is it fantastical?
    – Adamant
    Aug 31, 2022 at 16:43
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    Actually, I have found something. The Women's Football Alliance is far from parodical, but that is not what is in the film. From the filmmaker's page on a crowdfunding website: "As the opening credits roll on black we hear the sound of a football game on TV and when the TV screen fades in we see it’s not the NFL but the IWFL – Independent WOMEN's Football League." Which, admittedly, is also not parodical, but the filmmaker's emphasis suggests that she's trying to convey that this League basically has the place
    – Adamant
    Aug 31, 2022 at 16:49
  • ...of the NFL as far as centrality to the culture of the USA goes.
    – Adamant
    Aug 31, 2022 at 16:51
  • Hmm. I stand corrected. The poster looked so terrible and amateurishly made that I assumed it was fake rather than just terrible and amateurish
    – Valorum
    Aug 31, 2022 at 17:02


My reasoning is similar to this answer, but distinct. In line with that answer, any story that is set in an implied alternate history or alternate universe is on-topic, regardless of its lack of science fictional or fantastical elements. However, there are male homemakers and female gang leaders in the real world, so those plot elements by themselves are insufficient. Similarly, the Women's Football Alliance actually exists, so a poster for them cannot be taken as strong evidence of an alternate universe.

However, a statement by the filmmaker on her Indiegogo page offers strong evidence of an alternate society:

As the opening credits roll on black we hear the sound of a football game on TV and when the TV screen fades in we see it’s not the NFL but the IWFL – Independent WOMEN's Football League. We’re in the crappy home of the Dandy family, where the three sisters are die-hard football fans drinking beer on the couch and gambling on the upcoming championship game. In the kitchen their husbands cook and take care of the children, their eldest daughter Darla steps out to wash the family car, and all is well in the household - except for a little intruder...

Even though the IWFL also existed, the quote clearly seems to imply that the IWFL has the place of prominence that the NFL does in the real world—indeed, I am not sure whether any IWFL games were ever televised. Further, the description indicates a strong intention of building an alternate society with different traditional gender roles, not simply a description of one non-traditional family in a society otherwise identical to the real world.

  • Well that pretty much settles it. If the makers envisioned it as an alternate world then who are we to treat it otherwise?
    – Valorum
    Aug 31, 2022 at 19:37
  • They might have done better if they'd dropped the "W" in a world where gender roles are reversed it would be the Men's league that needs a gender based modifier to distinguish it.
    – Jontia
    Sep 12, 2022 at 9:43
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    @Jontia - Yes, that would surely have made things more clear, but for whatever reason the filmmaker seems to have wanted to provide a link to the real world. I don't know, people have their reasons. For instance, I read one book by an author who had a fictional world, fictional continent, fictional country, fictional culture and fictional religions, but had the characters speaking Kiswahili because she thought that a conlang would make them seem too exoticized.
    – Adamant
    Sep 12, 2022 at 10:14

No, it would be off-topic, per the talking animals rule. We have agreed that if a fairy tale tells about a story that would not count as fantasy if it happened to humans, but the story has talking bipedal foxes taking the place of humans, and everyone in the world considers the talking foxes normal, then that alone doesn't make this a fantasy story on-topic for our site. If you tell an ordinary non-fantasy story with the gender roles reversed, if everyone in universe considers that normal, rather than, say, a story about rebels fighting to turn the gender roles back to what we know in our world, that is essentially the same shtick.

  • Ah, interesting take. I also wondered whether the gender reversal in the movie was a bit isolated (the story would work without it; the reversal is not made explicit.) The answer is that it is actually central to the story: While the story would work to a degree also with traditional gender roles, it would be be unoriginal and boring. But that still may not make it genre. Aug 31, 2022 at 17:01

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