Kristina Jameson is a persona heading The Gender Flip Series—a series of retakes on literary classics in which gender roles are reversed. She stands in for the creator of the project, Victoria Reeve, who developed this technique in 2009 to teach her literary studies students about unconscious gender bias. Although Gender flipping isn't new, it tends towards the practice of flipping a single character's gender, and this leaves the world pretty much unchanged. Though the character's perspective may seem changed, the social relations and expectations that govern women, in general, remain the same. In short, we have little to gain in understanding how these divisions impact real lives.
In the examples offered here, all aspects of gender are flipped. The constraints of history and wardrobe remain for the most part, but the world, at least in so far as gender is concerned, is radically transformed. Issues of race are addressed as much as it is possible to do so respecting the work. Although these transformations focus on gender, old prejudices, as these are overtly expressed, are not reinforced. But that is the limit of this project's capacity to deal with the racism evident in the habit of exclusion. It is not possible to remake the worlds of these novels entirely and insert historical material and peoples routinely overlooked through bigotry. New works need to be written to fulfil such aims.
As far as gender is concerned, the effect of reading a wholly flipped text can be unnerving. The reading experience may be halting, at first, as your mind adjusts to the measure of these distinctions and you suddenly realise that things were and are worse than you imagined. At times, humorous, there is inevitably a point at which the reality of these constraints and the terrible impact they have on the lives of men and women become a serious issue. We are living under the yoke of times past, and it's time to change.
You can see examples of Kristina's flipped narratives in the Blog, which is made up of chapters from classic texts and short stories, along with some commentary. Please feel free to use these examples for teaching, if you work in the tertiary sector.
As for Kristina Jameson and the question of why she is doing this, I can tell you that Kristina began her life as a character in an unpublished novel written more than twenty years ago. That novel foregrounds a change in circumstances: from Tina (a downtrodden young woman working in her sister's guest house in Scotland) to Dr Kristina Jameson, an academic lecturing on literature at university. Although the novel only hints at this alteration to her standing in the world, Tina's rise in fortune is meant to represent the potential for change in any woman's life once she steps out of the constraining beliefs that limit her.
Why use a persona?
Kristina Jameson is more than her creator: she is any woman and every woman (and man) who seeks to change the world for the better by improving the standing of women and girls. Her aim is nothing less than equality. At present, due to copyrights, she's flipping old texts only. That's as much as she can do. But the problem persists in contemporary literature--whether literary fiction or commercial fiction. Still, it is hoped that one day, writers of such works will come to realise that they were under the spell of faded values when they composed their earlier works and they will decide to flip them. An easy remedy, perhaps, but effective. Readers will have a choice of versions (why not read both), and academics will have something to get their teeth into as they measure the differences between the two works.