22nd Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction — Part I
Space Westerns: Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly”¦ when you get right down to it, most science fiction on television traces its roots back to the Western, where most problems could be solved at the end of 60 minutes with a violent shootout. For the most part America hasn’t grown beyond the Western. Conflicts between Good vs. Evil, the fight against that “alien other”, the need to explore the frontier, the need to conquer and have dominion over the natural world ”“ when you put it like that you can see that the Western never died, it just changed uniforms.
Camille Alexa graces us with a four-part post:
Part I: a conversation with A Dude
Part II: a conversation with An Editor
Part III: Q/A with author Jessica Reisman
Part IV: Where Tina Connolly and I veer into the uncharted frontier of Cozypunk
There’s no way to do a Carnival where Feminism and Space Western intersect without mentioning Joss Whedon’s Firefly. It stems back all the way to ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore’: Postfeminist Prostitution in Joss Whedon’s Firefly? (pdf).
Heroine Content recently viewed and reviewed Firefly and Serenity.
Socrates referred to himself as a gadfly and was poisoned by those he tried to educate. Why? Because he challenged their most dearly held assumptions. People hate that. It’s interesting to see the spirit live again in a multiracial Radical Feminist Lesbian, Allecto, who posted A Rapist’s View of the World: Joss Whedon and Firefly, A Rapist’s View of the World: Our Mrs. Reynolds: Part One, and A Wife-Beater’s View of the World: Our Mrs. Reynolds Part Two. You have to admit that it did cause discussion. Responses were varied and fan outrage was high (Allecto’s Joss Whedon Rant Raped My Miiiiind). But what really seemed to be at stake was what Words From The Center, Words From The Edge talks about in Critiquing Joss Whedon. The Hathor Legacy sums it up in Joss Whedon and feminist cookies: “No one deserves accolades for being a feminist … no one deserves is insulation from criticism.”
Stanley Schmidt, editor of Analog, says, “Star Wars is a Western ”“ with really good special effects.” While Princess Leia was a competent leader of the rebellion, it’s a little sad to see her part has since devolved to The Cult of Leia’s Metal Bikini.
Alien seems to follow in the tradition of the Indian abduction stories. What you have is an “alien other” who is fighting with us to subsume our reproductive rights (as a race). What is really interesting to me (again, as an intersection of Space Westerns and Feminism) is The Bechdel Rule (AKA Ripley’s Rule). Cinemathematics explores The Two Ripleys while John Scalzi believes that Ellen Ripley Paved the Way for Strong Female Leads.[This is Part I. Part II and Part III are also available.]
Interesting point you make about sci-fi having its roots in westerns. I always hated westerns. I couldn’t really figure out why, but then I realised it was because there never seemed to be any good female roles in westerns, which is why I like scifi.
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