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May 18 2010

"River Tam and the Weaponized Women of the Whedonverse" - an essay on Firefly. Michael Marano talks about how Joss Whedon starts out with women made as weapons and leads them on a path of self-actualization.

The River Tam part of this essay... doesn't make sense to me. River was not 'made', she had latent abilities that a government recognised and tried to exploit (which, having skimmed over the essay again, the author does acknowledge). But are we meant to believe that anything the Alliance did to River actually harnessed or enhanced her natural abilities, forging her into a weapon? It seemed more like they had no idea what they were doing; just lobotomized her and implanted a 'kill trigger'. Did they really *know* what she was capable of? And the Alliance, might I add, to me was never meant to be viewed as 'Patriarchal'. The author seems to view every situation in the Whedonverse as a Patriarchal society building and using women for there own end, but besides from a very few blatant representations (i.e. Watcher's Council, Warren) the distinctions of those in 'power positions' are much more murkier than that.

Were the monks who created Dawn really a Patriarchal organisation (with all the derogatory connotations such labels imply) who build a female weapon to defeat their enemy? Or were they a bunch of scared men trying their best to save the world? And Dawn may have been created to guarantee Buffy's protection, but that does not make her a weapon.

[ edited by Kaan on 2010-05-18 10:53 ]
I think a trap we all fall into with the "evil Alliance" is that in actual fact we only get what's shown. Potentially, there could have been piles of untold stories relating to the Alliance's workings on River (I like to think that while Simon says that she was able to pick up any skill easily, the first parts of The Academy honed those skills, or introduced skills that would benefit them more. Maybe they only later on found the goldmine that River was, and that's when the braincutting began).

This essay (which I quite liked, though had to re-read a few paragraphs to get what they were saying), was for convinience's sake, trying to find a common factor with all the entities that "weaponised" these women, the most forefront being a patriarchal society. While you're right, Kaan, the Alliance might not be meant to seem patriarchal, but based on what we see, it's still a fair call (all the senior officers are men, most of the on-ground military are men as well as most of the space-officers).

And personally, I always got the impression that the monks that created Dawn were just tired and wanted to pass the hot potato onto someone else for a while.
They were certainly tired and desperate but i'd say a certain degree of patriarchy goes with being monks (assuming they were Christian monks) - that Christianity is a patriarchal tradition (even though it didn't start out that way) seems hard to deny.

Got this collection but hadn't read this one in there yet. Not a bad essay though I must admit the central thesis seems fairly obvious to me and probably to most here, the idea of female characters reclaiming control of their own body is a subtext that was referenced so often it virtually became text in both BtVS and Serenifly, not to mention 'Dollhouse' (which aired after this essay was written IIRC).

River fits as well as Buffy IMO since she had "natural" abilities (quotes because Buffy's were obviously actually supernatural) which were then honed and co-opted by a patriarchal (or at least male-led) organisation and which she eventually reclaims (my impression isn't that River always knew martial arts or how to shoot with inhuman precision or was even psychic until the Alliance meddled with her - she was extraordinarily clever, acutely perceptive and probably very well coordinated - she always did like to dance - but not preternatural in any of those areas. Just my impression though, AFAIK there's nothing solid either way).

Similarly, extending it in a way the essayist couldn't (because of that pesky cause and effect/largely forward flow of time ;), Caroline has her natural ability to integrate/resist imprints but then is taught "kung-fu" (literally and figuratively) by her would-be oppressors. Just nature won't cut it in other words, nurture plays an essential part too.

The stuff about home and the invasion of domestic space was interesting though I was surprised the author didn't mention 'Objects in Space' which is where Mal first completely accepts River, significantly IMO after River literally identifies herself as the ship (i.e. his home and maybe to some extent even his essence or "soul"). Jubal Early invades their domestic space and to defeat him River, in a sense, becomes it.

At the start of the film Serenity, even Mal sees tactical applications for River, bringing her along on a job for the first time as an early warning detection device because of her precognition. While this is on one level an objectification of River, itís also an act of inclusion, showing a level of acceptance of River on Malís part.

Why is it an objectification of River but not, for instance, of Jayne ? He's there because of what he can do to help the "mission", so is River. Mal was just using her abilities the same way he uses Wash's as a pilot or Kaylee's as a mechanic.

(that sort of double standard is a general gripe of mine with some feminist readings - men are always active agents and women are always passive pawns. Bit simplistic IMO)


edited for flow

[ edited by Saje on 2010-05-18 12:57 ]
That was a brilliant read. And I don't think there is any doubt that the Alliance is meant to be seen as a patriarchal institution, with the crew of Serenity by contrast, a gender equal group. Mal as captain could be seen as a patriarchal figure, except for the fact that his "my word is law" code applied equally to the women and men of his crew. And though Jayne was a classic sexist, there was never any doubt that Zoe could have kicked his ass, had the need arisen. :)

The parts about BtS illustrate why I love season 7, for all it's unevenness. It brings the feminist underpinnings of the show to such a satisfying conclusion, with Buffy's discovery of the origin of the First Slayer and her final "subverting of patriarchal authority" (an ongoing process throughout the series). Not only by gathering the Potentials and empowering them as a group, but also with Willow reclaiming the positive use of her magic.

Extra points for "apotheosis-y". ;)
While you're right, Kaan, the Alliance might not be meant to seem patriarchal, but based on what we see, it's still a fair call (all the senior officers are men, most of the on-ground military are men as well as most of the space-officers).

We really did not see much of the Alliance at all and what we did see can be reflected in the governments of our present world. I don't know the figures, but what would be the percentage of males to females in positions of power in governments and the military? I'm betting men still dominate that scale by a fairly large margin. Is it right? No. But does it make them fundamentally Patriarchal organisation? Idk. Did we see any female Alliance officer's at all in the series? I know there was one in that unproduced script, but can't remember any others. I just don't see how, with the very few times we saw the Alliance, because no females were shown in 'power positions', that it's enough evidence to label it a Patriarchal system.


They were certainly tired and desperate but i'd say a certain degree of patriarchy goes with being monks (assuming they were Christian monks) - that Christianity is a patriarchal tradition (even though it didn't start out that way) seems hard to deny.

Yeah I'm not disputing the fact that monk are/were a patriarchal organisation, only to the fact that the author has identified such organisations in the Whedonverse as fundamentally 'bad'. For me, there were no 'male power over woman' subtext with what the monks did, they way the essay alludes to. Just because they are men doesn't necessarily affect what you are seeing. If the monks had been a group of nuns would it have really made any difference to the story or context? If one looks at things on an equal balance and come to the same conclusions then maybe this train of thought is wrong.



Why is it an objectification of River but not, for instance, of Jayne ? He's there because of what he can do to help the "mission", so is River. Mal was just using her abilities the same way he uses Wash's as a pilot or Kaylee's as a mechanic.

(that sort of double standard is a general gripe of mine with some feminist readings - men are always active agents and women are always passive pawns. Bit simplistic IMO)

Exactly. But by the authors argument does that not make Serenity a patriarchal ship, run by a man, who uses the female as a weapon? The main argument, that of patriarchal organisation building and controlling women, breaks down once you start trying to mold your point to fit as many examples as you can, even when there is not enough evidence for it.

All imo, of course. :)
Too bad this was written before Dollhouse aired. I would love to see this particular essay expanded to include Echo, the ultimate realization of this take on the women of the Whedonverse and their power to self-actualize.
I don't know the figures, but what would be the percentage of males to females in positions of power in governments and the military? I'm betting men still dominate that scale by a fairly large margin. Is it right? No. But does it make them fundamentally Patriarchal organisation?


My answer to that question would be an unequivocal "yes". The "still dominating by a fairly large margin" is exactly what makes power structures patriarchal.
And if you look at it globally, rather than just through the lens of the more socially advanced democracies of the western world, a "fairly large margin" becomes an overwhelmingly male dominated power structure where, in many cases, women have little more in the way of equal rights that we did in medieval times.
Well I don't really want to get into global politics, but I agree with you for the most part. It's wrong and should change, but does that make them 'evil', or just not evolved enough? Does it mean that anything they do to women is a case of male dominance over woman? Or can it be viewed more along the lines of governmental subjugation, rather than male control? That's my argument. The author of the essay, (and I really am only talking about the essay and his view of the Whedonverse) looks at multiple examples where it simply comes down to male>female until females fight back. I'm just saying that it's not as simple as that and there is not enough evidence to support all his points.
Soem interesting caveats come to mind. One particualrly. buffy gains the assent of the Potentials available to their empowerment. However, the ones not present did not consent, and while the intentions were good, and sometimes the effect was, as shown in the montage, it was still Buffy, Willow, and Faith choosing to weaponize women all over the world in pursuit of their own ends. Playign into my own underdeveloped idea that Buffy and Willow were at times made into "fake men," part of the reason they survive where so many others haven't.

A minor example of the author's idea; in "phases," Angelus apparently sought out Buffy's classmate Theresa specifically with the intent of sending her vamped self after Buffy with a message as shown and, if she got lucky, to hurt or kill also. Lucky she was staked so quickly; she could have become a female Angelus in the use of psyhcological warfare.
I can definitely see how the watcher's council fits in there. I never watched Firefly, but I was glad the Council got upended by the end of Buffy lol. I loved Giles but couldn't stand them.

I'm not sure it's true that Christianity didn't start out patriarchal...it kinda seems it did to me, even as someone who belongs to the faith.
I think that my earlier comment was a sort of jump to defend the essay-writer; the writer sees the Alliance as patriarchal because people in positions of power (that we see) are all males. We can look deeper into this observation, and use it to imply that the whole of that society is largely driven by male figures, that the males have the power, which in certain episodes it is HEAVILY implied, though the instance I'm referring to ("Heart Of Gold") was set on a somewhat Border-planet.

I understand people's points in saying that the writer is generalising and lumping some of the ideas/concepts revolving around a patriarchal society/system, but I quite how they've done it, being a sometime essay-writer myself. When you commit yourself to an idea or contention for an essay, you begin to see more and more of your aimed ideas in the subject, and that's one reason why I quite liked this; while I can see the overgeneralisations, I can also see how they came to their final points.

Furthermore... I would also like to see this essay in context of Dollhouse. While some of the higher figures in Rossum are males (furthering the patriarchal idea), it could be noted that there seem a high number of male dolls which would counteract the essay's idea. Oh well, we'll just have to wonder...
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In general I think the feminist terms get stapled on Joss' work too easily. He always seemed to be the feminist equivalent of the 23 enigma to me. If you're looking for feminist subtext, you find it because because everything he does involves themes of power and individualism. And he often chooses to flip the sex of an archetype just like he seems to enjoy frustrating expectations and blending genres.

The Watcher's Council, The Alliance, Wolfram and Hart, and the Rossum Corporation all represent specifically organizations that attempt to manipulate the world to their own ends. Of those four, the only one I'd even find where the text is even remotely explicit it's reference to a patriarchy is the Watcher's Council. Then again, women SIT on the Watcher's council. The Alliance is delightfully vague, W&H is run by demons (and as Lilah proves, they don't seem to care about your sex), and Rossum. Rossum can actually be read explicitly as patriarchy by definition, I just have a hard time thinking that was the point.

On topic, with weaponized women... I think Buffy was a feminist point. But my read on character's like River and Echo tend to be more general. They seem to be rebuilding stories. Stories of rebuilding what's been broken or lost and that makes them extremely powerful. And in that sense, they are extremely gender neutral. In fact, in Firefly's case, I suggest that you could change actually change River Tam's sex and you would be shocked just how LITTLE dialogue or plot needs to be changed. Would Simon be less protective? Would the crew's attitude change, or would they still treat River the same? As long as they didn't cast River as anything other than wisp-like, I'd still see much of Firefly playing out exactly the same.

I just take a much simpler stance than some people I suppose. Joss LOVES heroic mythology, but he also loves to make women the hero. Was Buffy a statement? Yes. It's in the text and its in his interviews. After that? I'll believe it if he goes on record, but I don't consider the female hero to be one of the more salient points he's trying to bring to his work after Buffy.

(edit)
Quick addendum: I'm not saying his works CAN'T be read this way, I'm simply stating that in arguments people often use feminist readings as facts with his work despite no support for the reading or its application. And in general, after Buffy things are far more ambiguous. (edit)

[ edited by azzers on 2010-05-18 16:53 ]
He's talked about his penchant for super-powered broken girls that fix themselves and not denied that River and Echo fall into that category azzers. That said, he has said, in response to criticism that 'Dollhouse' didn't work as a feminist text that, basically, it wasn't one (audio interview unfortunately and I can't find it for the life of me) and personally I don't see 'Firefly' as specifically feminist either.

Would Simon be less protective? Would the crew's attitude change, or would they still treat River the same?

Yep, their attitude would change IMO (and experience). Same reason I mention above - men are expected to be actors in their own lives and so people feel less comfortable with them playing the pure victim role. If they made him younger than River, around 11 or 12, then maybe.

Does it mean that anything they do to women is a case of male dominance over woman? Or can it be viewed more along the lines of governmental subjugation, rather than male control? That's my argument.

Yep, considering Mal as well as River, to me it fits more with the "tyranny of the majority" idea, the tension between the needs and desires of the individual and the needs and desires of the collective.

...which in certain episodes it is HEAVILY implied, though the instance I'm referring to ("Heart Of Gold") was set on a somewhat Border-planet.

To me the whole point of 'Heart of Gold' IS that it was a rim planet and so far from the influence and protection of the Alliance, assuming they condoned the way Rance Burgess treated those women or even that they wouldn't have actively stopped it of they could is missing the point IMO, painting them as pantomime villains when they were more a salutary lesson in what happens when initially good people believe their own truth too hard (they were baddies in EXACTLY the way we are when we waterboard folk or imprison them indefinitely without recourse to due process i.e. they started out with the best of intentions, got carried away and ended up killing innocents and torturing young women in the name of democracy and safety).

I'm not sure it's true that Christianity didn't start out patriarchal...it kinda seems it did to me, even as someone who belongs to the faith.

Maybe "less patriarchal" is closer Watcher's Pet. As I understand it (which is imperfectly to say the least ;), women were allowed to preach the gospel the same as men (and did) and figures like, for instance, Mary Magdalene played formative roles as disciples and apostles. What you might call the "codification" of the Christian tradition didn't really start until a few decades after Jesus' death with St Paul and the beginnings of churches and a priesthood as we'd recognise them today (before that the general consensus was that the second coming was actually imminent i.e. it would happen in current worshippers' lifetimes so that there was less/no need for a formal church or a priesthood to help maintain its traditions over the span of many lifetimes). Even then, churches were often organised and led by women.

Over time the role of women in early Christianity has been glossed over, maybe even editorially reduced through choice of canonical texts etc. (which isn't to say BTW, that society at that time was some gender equal paradise, clearly there was sexism and clearly that would've been reflected in how women were treated and what they were allowed to do).

Yep, their attitude would change IMO (and experience). Same reason I mention above - men are expected to be actors in their own lives and so people feel less comfortable with them playing the pure victim role. If they made him younger than River, around 11 or 12, then maybe.


To the first part of my point, would Simon change... I would answer no emphatically. Simon has a doctor's streak in him, he is a caregiver by nature, and a member of his family was in danger and needed help.

I can't argue with "in your experience" for the same reason you wouldn't be able to argue with mine, so I'll leave that out of it. I have my own experiences that I could use, but that would put us in the position of calling one of our experiences "not real" which would seem just strange.

See, I don't disagree that the initial encounters would play differently (discovery of a naked man in cargo or the first time River picks up a gun and kills people) and they would have to be rewritten. However, in MY experiences and in the way Firefly was written, we spend most of our time in a place of uneasy acceptance of an additional burden. In Firefly, the acceptance of the burden was not because Mal saw a woman in distress, he saw a doctor he needed. I don't think that really changes.

Jayne was predisposed to disliking River and believing himself physically superior, I don't see that dynamic changing. Kaylee sees River primarily as Simon's sibling, again I don't see that changing. Inara is also a caregiver by trade, I don't see a major reason for a change in disposition there either. Zoe and Wash would be the wildcards who I think might have a completely different dynamic.

The second River kills people, I agree things change a little though. Now, either they're kicked out as too dangerous or Mal actually starts using River on missions faster. I can see it written both ways.
Clearly (to use one of your examples) Kaylee is still going to see a young man in the same situation as Simon's sibling because he would still be Simon's sibling (similarly Inara is caring and Jayne measures himself against ALL other people in that way, asking himself, basically, whether he can take them and then fitting them into the pecking order as appropriate).

Also clearly, my experience doesn't make yours wrong or "trump" it in some way (except in the sense that I believe it more obviously, since I was there at the time ;). People are different and different people treat different people differently which is why you'll never find me claiming that your experiences aren't real, in fact in past threads i've made exactly the opposite point. All generalisations about people (which we're both making) are going to be provably wrong at least some of the time.

That said, I stand by my assertion that people's attitudes to men in distress are different than they are to women in distress because of what our culture deems the respective gender's roles to be. It's more acceptable for women to be passive and inhabit a victim role than it is for men (to the extent IMO, that people sometimes seem actively keen to put them there even when the women in question are strong, capable people and not victims in any way) and men that aren't capable are more readily seen as "dead weight", as a nuisance rather than someone to be pitied or helped. In other words we expect women to be victims more than we do men.
DaddyCatAlso wrote:
Some interesting caveats come to mind. One particualrly. buffy gains the assent of the Potentials available to their empowerment. However, the ones not present did not consent, and while the intentions were good, and sometimes the effect was, as shown in the montage, it was still Buffy, Willow, and Faith choosing to weaponize women all over the world in pursuit of their own ends.

My question is, did they (Buffy and co) know of these other potentials? The plan of the First was to eliminate all potentials to eridicate the slayer line. Therefore it would have been quite possible that those potentials present in Sunnydale were the last ones left. I think, this was actually suggested in the eps before Chosen.
Shey wrote:
That was a brilliant read. And I don't think there is any doubt that the Alliance is meant to be seen as a patriarchal institution, with the crew of Serenity by contrast, a gender equal group.

I agree with you. One interesting point is imho, we don't see any female authority figure central in the Alliance. But as soon as we move to the fringes of the Alliance, they start to appear:
Patience in the pilot ep Serenity, the female deputy sheriff in Train Job, in a broader sense even Nandi in Heart of Gold (at least she owns the whore house).

This contrast, I think, is no accident on Joss' side.
...we don't see any female authority figure central in the Alliance.

We don't see any Chinese people in power either (or more or less, full-stop) despite it apparently being an Anglo-Sino Alliance so by that reasoning it's making an anti-racist point. We also don't see the parliament (but there apparently is one). Added to that, how many actual authority figures do we see full-stop from the Alliance (rather than just soldiers/blue-hands), how many politicians ? Also, does anyone ever remember (or better yet, have links to) Joss talking about the Alliance in terms of gender politics ?

Be wary of seeing only the evidence that fits your thesis. Remember the old adage, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence".

(makes as much sense to me to assume we might have seen female Alliance authority figures given - *sniff* - more episodes but everybody sees it differently)

[ edited by Saje on 2010-05-19 07:31 ]
Aye, if we had a full season, with a few more following (oh, to live in a perfect world!) would give us alot more to talk about, and would most likely allow Joss to explore those points you have all made (lack of Chinese figures, lack of knowledge of what the Academy DID to River, the true hierarchy of the Alliance). In my opinion though, the essay author...(quick scroll up the screen) Marano has succeeded in depicting *what we are shown* and displaying it in such a way that supports his idea of the "weaponised woman being a product of a patriarchal society". I can see how there are big holes in the whole idea, some of the "societies" being less so or more so being led by a male force than others, but in context to the essay, most of what Marano says can be seen.

Thankfully though I AM indeed taking into account others' opinions and views, just sharing my own. My favourite writer said in an interview that creating characters on a screen and creating them for a book are different things for an audience; for a book, each individual takes away something slightly different from it, as they are creating the character in their mind as they read, but the screen displays characters in a more set way, leaving less to interpretation. While (in a generalisation kind of way), this is mostly true, it's these big discussions that show that while we all watch and see the same Buffy/River/Echo/Ripley, there's still that sense of individual perception and creation of what that character stands for and fundamentally *IS*.
Yep, absolutely, that's why we're still talking about them years after they appeared, they're wonderfully dense and open to interpretation (with 'Firefly' in particular it's always tickled me that it depends which political blog you read as to whether the show's promoting a right, left or centrist message).

And I agree that the evidence the author presents supports his thesis, my point is more about the evidence the author doesn't present which doesn't support his thesis (i.e. there's maybe an element of cherry picking). Talking about what we don't see as if it's significant is an assumption based on that viewer interpretation mentioned above. I've joked before that we don't see any Scots either but I doubt many of us would seriously try to defend the idea that therefore Joss is suggesting that the Scots are persecuted or prejudiced against in the 'Firefly' universe (you can do the same with any group we don't see - and with only 14 eps + 1 movie that's a lot of groups - my point being people are prone to doing it with women as much, IMO, because of Buffy and Joss' feminist "baggage" as because of the evidence for it within the show/film itself).
It's one of the real flaws in critical studies of Joss' work; where an author looks at everything through the lens of "Joss said he's a feminist, so this *must* have a feminist message".

Not saying that's what this article has done, just that it's a trap I've seen people fall into and it annoys me.
I sometimes forget how long ago all this was first aired! Most of Joss' work I let lie for a year or two, then run through the entire series (Dollhouse being the odd-one-out, as the final few episodes are only now being aired here in Australia).

I like your point Kaan, that studies DO tend to gravitate towards the feminist in Joss' work. I admit, the recurring theme is a large constant in his work, but I think it's more an idea that appeals to him and isn't necessarily a large political comment (possible can of worms there). Obviously, it lies in a larger part of his creative psyche that is shown here in our 'Verse through his Equality Now work, but I think that's another trap we fall into. Marano has looked only at the feminine hero taking on the patriarchal enemy (can we find a new word? I'm sick of "patriarchal"...), and isn't looking at the other aspects of these "rebellions" that our heroes have made and have in common (I believe the camaraderie that each of them have with their allies/families/crews isn't a gender thing, more a personal sense of belonging).
I admit, the recurring theme is a large constant in his work...

Is even that true though Archduke Sebassis ? Of his four shows, he's actually said 'Dollhouse' isn't a specifically feminist show, AFAIK he hasn't said 'Firefly' is (and you can certainly see it as primarily about other things, especially if you consider Mal the main protagonist rather than River) and reading 'Angel' as feminist is, to me, problematic. Which leaves Buffy as the one definite, confirmed example of a Whedon show promoting a feminist message.

Joss himself is a feminist (which will surely colour his work, just as being e.g. an American will) but taken as a whole maybe his work is more "just" balanced (which, I suppose, some might call feminist) ? This discussion's got me wondering.
Ah, you caught me!

For me, there are feminist *themes and ideas* in all his works, which was the "recurring theme" I was referring to, even if he doesn't make them out to be or if they are only minor themes. But Saje, you're correct in saying that the elements might make his later works more balanced, I am fully in agreement with that, as feminist does seem to imply power to the female at the exclusion of the male (one way of looking at it, just saying).

What I was trying to say in the end of my previous comment is that in most of his works, it's not JUST the heroine rising up against her enemies, it is in fact that bonds that she makes with those around her and dear to her that give her *and her group* the power to fight. Buffy needed not only her Slayer powers and the Potentials, but also needed the help of her close friends in Xander, Giles and Spike, all of which knew that each was an integral part of the group (I digress, maybe a better example would be their channelling of the First Slayer to defeating Adam).
River, always *seeming* to be the victim, becomes the hero is is seen as a much greater force than the girl with visions in her head (taking down a few dozen Reavers tends to change people's perception of a girl), but her awakening of self and of her full potential to help those around her is galvanised by the fact that she HAS those around her that she cares for. She might not have reached that stage without the help of Serenity's crew, getting to Miranda, it all depends on how you read her. (Also, the whole broadcasting the truth to the rest of the planets couldn't have been achieved without masculine Mal swinging on chains to get to that extra computer).

Cont.
Looking at Dollhouse, I see it less and less that Echo is as she is solely because she's unique; as was revealed to me last episode It was also the friendships she develops with Sierra, Victor and to an extent Topher (though that I see as more of an understanding) that she can reach her full potential. She can only ascend and bring down Rossum with the help of the friends.
Now, I'm not mentioning Angel, because I find the feminist *idea* harder to surface as with the others, but Cordelia!
Cheerleader-> failed actress-> secretary -> visions-> part-demon-> goddess-> mother of a goddess!
(Ok, doesn't exactly back up any point, but thought I would just share the epic character arc, all in the name of feminity).

Yikes! That got me typing.

[ edited by Archduke Sebassis on 2010-05-19 12:47 ]
..... as feminist does seem to imply power to the female at the exclusion of the male (one way of looking at it, just saying).


That is so absolutely not a valid or factual definition of feminism. Feminism is about total equality, not about "excluding" anyone, or one gender taking power from the other.

And "femininity" has nothing to do with feminism. Just saying, as a woman and a life long feminist.
Yikes! That got me typing.

Heh, that's the thing on here, posts tend to swell with time ;).

What I was trying to say in the end of my previous comment is that in most of his works, it's not JUST the heroine rising up against her enemies, it is in fact that bonds that she makes with those around her and dear to her that give her *and her group* the power to fight.

Yeah, totally agree, Buffy is who she is in part because of her friends (in fact, she's only even alive - twice - because of her friends). And as you say, if Simon hadn't always taken care of River then it would never have been her turn (and from Wash's flying to Mal's bull-at-the-gate stubborn persistence, they ALL helped propagate the signal). If anything, it's even more explicit with Echo IMO, just because nature/nurture was one of the themes of the show, a question being asked rather than just something taken as a given (as it was with Buffy and 'Firefly'). And Angel was all about his experiences and his relationship to the rest of the gang (we see what happens without them, even when he has his soul in the "dark Angel" storyline from season 2). Male or female, "stronger together" is a recurring theme in Joss' shows I reckon.

With 'Angel' it's interesting that you highlight Cordelia since IIRC a few people took issue with a) her being a relatively passive player in the whole Jasmine thing and b) with the idea of pregnancy and birth (arguably THE definitive thing women can do that men can't) being co-opted to the negative. Also in 'Angel', though the character deaths are about equally spread between men and women (depending on who you count as dead), more women die passive deaths rather than in the course of e.g. a fight or noble sacrifice. Central character aside, 'Angel' had a more masculine focus IMO.
Aplologies to you Shey. I have a flu, so my brain isn't working as it should. Reading over what I wrote earlier, I sound completely ill-informed on feminism. I respectfully remove myself from discussions in shame.
Aplologies to you Shey. I have a flu, so my brain isn't working as it should. Reading over what I wrote earlier, I sound completely ill-informed on feminism. I respectfully remove myself from discussions in shame.
Archduke Sebassis | May 19, 15:01 CET


Thank you sir. And please don't remove yourself from anything. :)

Having just caused a family conflagration due to maddening allergies and related sleep deprivation, I can definitely relate.
I'm all better now, and everytime I read over it, I kick myself; one of those things you write and you have a sense of what you WANTED to say, but the end result comes out... well, like that!

Thank you, oh wonderful faceless person, for accepting my apologies.

I think this thread's momentum has evaporated by now...

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