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March 29, 2006



I discovered your blog yesterday while lurking at Whedonesque the other day. Just want to say I felt that some of the criticisms were overly harsh. Smacked of elitism actually.

I have to write a case study on feminity in tv shows and I was going to look at Firefly. Your post has given me plenty to think about.


Heh. Funny that people should be "elitist" about Buffy. Funny stuff indeed. In my honours year, there were people studying Buffy. It seems to be a Perth thing to do. As for feminists attacking on another, I think that whenever this happens it is a sign that they have lost the plot. They split hairs and infight because it is the easy thing to do. Dare I suggest that they develop something more of a masculine outwards orientation??


It's a classic anorak move, first seen around 400BC

"I really liked Euripide's Medea"
"Have you seen Andromache?"
"Ermm no"
"Ha! you haven't? OMG!"

There would then be a great pleasuring of one's self with olive oil.


I also found your blog through Whedonesque yesterday, and enjoyed your take on the 'verse. Am now anxiously awaiting your Inara analysis..please don't avoid it because of their crankiness.
They didn't seem to get what you were saying on a gender studies/literary criticism level (where you commonly ascribe certain traits as "masculine" or "feminine") and just jumped to "Xander is not a girl!"
I frequently haunt the place, and I could not help but note that most of the posters that think Inara is such a liberated character do happen to be male. Although, they might still be feminists.
As much as I love Firefly, I don't personally think that Joss meant to show us her role/situation as the ideal gig. She had status, yes, but how many times did we see underlying (or blatant!) scorn for her, and not a few of her own misgivings?

Fyodor the Blameless


Fuckit, woman. *I* apparently [WTFF?] deliver you a huge new audience and you COMPLAIN about it?!!

You do *get* this whole media-publicity shebang, don't you?

*laughs manically*

[Dib-dib, dob-dob. Is this fucking hilarious, or what? Over.]


'Twas a little churlish of me, I admit, Fyodor, and you have my deepest and most sincere apologies.

[Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo! It is hilarious. Over.]

Fryrish and Tara: thanks for dropping by. I don't mind critiques of my ideas and work but I was bothered by the feeling I got by some of those responses that I shouldn't even be bothered writing about Whedon's work. I understand that fans have ownership over Whedon's work but you know, I'm a fan too!

As for the textual analysis, yeah, I could have been more clear.

Jennifer, I don't think it's just a Perth thing. I wouldn't write about Buffy if I was an academic, at least not for a thesis, because it has been pretty well mined.


I still think it was a great post Kate. As for Ripley being a man - rubbish, take all the good female role models why don't they. Personally I identify much more with Ripley than Buffy. Like Ripley I like to get the job done and don't always look pretty while I'm doing it. But the job gets done. I admire anyone who can kill vampires and still look pretty and well made up, but that ain't me.


Mindy, Ripley is a really interesting character. When I described her as an 'honorary' male that's because in Alien II especially she is depicted as enacting a very 'masculine' role -- but not consistently. For instance, with Newt she takes on a very maternal, protective stance.

But yes, she definitely doesn't do girly while she's battling the alien. As someone who has never been very girly -- and has often been an honorary male in social situations -- I too *identify* more with her as a character than with someone like Buffy.


Question: How does one know when one is being treated as "an honorary male" in social situations? Is there some weird leap of social symbolism which one actually feels -- or does it have more to do with having one's words taken at face value?


"Question: How does one know when one is being treated as "an honorary male" in social situations? Is there some weird leap of social symbolism which one actually feels - or does it have more to do with having one's words taken at face value?"

You get called mate, you're allowed to buy rounds and nobody holds back your hair when you hurl.


Ok -- got it.

In the dojo, though, I am mostly called "ma'am". It started with the instructors only being called sir or ma'am, but then they started to direct the term at you and I common belts.

So, it is like, "ma'am, you will now perform upteen backbreaking and gut-wrenching tasks, followed by a loud kia. Are you ready....ma'am?"

And nobody holds back my hair when I puke.


No-one holds back my hair either cause I don't have enough hair to hold.


Hi all,

I was one of those quoted above (I posted about Xander being feminised) and can I just say that's a great response. You're right Kate, I did misunderstand since I thought you were talking about 'actual' femininity (whatever that means) rather than the female stereotypes we see on TV. I agree that Xander did exhibit a lot of the _stereotypical_ attributes of femininity and if that's what feminised means in this context then we're on the same page (seems like i've read an everyday word as an everyday word when it's actually jargon). My point (and yours as I now know) is that a lot of the stereotypical attributes of either gender belong equally to each.

Ripley, however, does exhibit a lot of _stereotypical_ male characteristics so I don't think we can have it both ways, if Xander is feminised then Ripley is surely masculinised (check me, throwing the jargon around. Might get into this gender studies thing, it pays really well, right ? ;-).

I take your point re: originality as well, sorry if some of what was said came off as a bit harsh but you should _really_ see Angel, plenty there worth commenting on plus it's a hundred and some more hours of Joss' stuff. Where's the bad ?

Anyway, i'm keen to read the second part (more keen after this response, I must admit) so i'll be checking back. All the best ;).


I see your point Saje. I think there are a lot of women out there like myself and Kate who are more Ripley than Buffy and who are annoyed that women portrayed like Ripley are treated as almost unique, when in fact there are lots of us.


Hey Saje, thanks for dropping by. I like to think that when we destabilise gender boundaries we can have it both ways. I can be the sort of girl who lifts weights and who likes wearing nailpolish.


I was under the impression (and I'm certainly no expert on this one) that Ripley was originally written as a male character - that Sigorney Weaver convinced them to let her have the gig. I know I should check before I spread the idea, but, well, I should be writing something else.

I look forward to reading more of your personal feminist reading of Whedon, it's grouse.

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