Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ask a Feminist: Joss Whedon and Strong Women

This week's Ask a Feminist segment is gonna be a little different - instead of me answering a question, I'm embedding a video where prominent feminist Joss Whedon answers a question he is all-too-frequently asked. The video is a bit dated, but everything he says is just as relevant today as it was five years ago. To skip to Joss Whedon's comments, go to 2:10.

Incidentally, Whedon's response to the question parallels nicely with Twisty's latest post about the problem with differentiating between women and strong women. Granted, I suspect Twisty would include Whedon's female protagonists in her critique, but then Twisty is a radical feminist.

1 comment:

  1. I love that you posted this, Emily. Do I reveal myself as a geek if I say that I really like Joss Whedon and always enjoy his shows?

    I think that is a great point though, should we ever make a distinction between the existence between a strong woman and a weak woman? For are they not just women? Similarly with men, are they strong men and weak men or just men? Sometimes peoples act with strength and honor and sometimes they don't....geez, the further you go the greater the complexity.

    One of the things I do enjoy about Whedon's female characters though is the contradictions that he places within them, how willing he is to accept (what we might consider) incongruities.

    Buffy for instance, obviously her character changed as the show developed over the years, become a little darker and more serious, but her character was one of "kick but" girl power and the ridiculous obsessions of shoes, boys and the mall. When I first really considered that dichotomy, I remember it pissed me off, but again, are we not a mass of contradictions and varying interests? We normally categorize strong women as those who beat up the bad guys and are kind of tough, we don't always seem to consider that a woman might express that strength in different ways, and might even be incredibly "strong" in one aspect, but slightly superficial in others. In the show firefly, the woman represent a variety of personality traits and behaviors, most though are generally independent, but interact with their femininity in different ways.

    Interesting ideas....I think he does make a really essential point however, writing strong female characters should not be remarkable or the case of an exception.