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Breaking the Narrative Episode 54: Take Me For A Ride Doc! Women in Sci-Fi!

This entire past week I saw thousands of people posting Janeways, Buffies, and various other 90’s staples of female empowerment through sci-fi. Why? Because of the now female Doctor in Doctor Who. Now sometimes I wonder if I’m cursed with the knowledge I have… and then I realize if its a curse then I might as well spread it. What I plan on doing today is to really dig deep and use historical science fiction to prove that representation once again was never a fucking issue!

This means looking into not just cinema and television… I’m not even going to restrict to comics and anime. I’m delving into full blown literature as well.  Now what do we get out of proving this? First, it gets you things to shut up these gender supremacists. Second, it may give a foothold for the re-taking of the sci-fi novel industry, because its about time honest loving geeks started taking back geek areas and kicking out these social justice ideologues. At this point they are starting to lose their power, so we need to overwhelm them with proof that they have always lied about us and win. So Let’s Hammer This In!

To begin I want to mention part of why its important that we get back to removing gender as a factor of who is a good lead or not, because on a website called ‘Women in Science Fiction’ this was at the top of the page.  Its a diatribe I’m not going to pick apart here but shows the precise motivation for a lot of third wave feminism…and I quote:

In 1972, I was 12. In 1972, the Olympics were held in Munich, and are still well known for the horrific terrorist attack that took place there—an attack I remember vividly. I also remember Mark Spitz winning tons of swimming golds and becoming a superstar. I don’t remember who the winning women were.
NPR tells me that of the 78 medals won that Olympics, 23 of them went to the U.S. women.
This year? The U.S. women won 27 out of 46 American gold medals. Not the overall medal count as I just listed for 1972. The gold medal count.
Why is that important to me?
Because Title IX, and all the other changes it brought, the changes wrought by the second wave of feminism, came a hair too late for me.
I — and all young women — still had to put up with sexual discrimination in school and in the workplace.

 

Not only does this show that the author in question, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, is a shit writer, but that she feels entitled to own some struggle, some plight that gives her own seemingly insignificant life meaning. A lot of us have been able to see this trait in SJWs quite clearly. It is literally the origin story of Marvel’s Ironheart, RiRi Williams, for crying out loud! What we need to do is keep bringing out the undeniable evidence that these battles for ‘representation’ just don’t need fighting. Now, a lot of my earlier articles have more than done this for video games so today I won’t even touch them. Like I said, we are going to start with sci-fi literature.

If we are going by authors alone, one of the first I remember seeing work by is Anne McCaffrey, who typically used romance novel traits throughout her books. If I had a dollar for every single time I saw my mother reading one of her books growing up I would be loaded. In fact, it’s my understanding that a lot of female sci-fi representation throughout history is woven hand in hand with romance novels due to the nature of the genres and authors attached – both male and female. However, McCaffrey was prominent primarily in the 80s. If we don’t care who the author is but the value of the story and its significance, we can actually head back to 1965 for prominent female characters throughout an entire franchise with Frank Herbert’s Dune, not just because of the prominent female nobles of the houses but the matriarchal order of the Bene Gesserit.

Not only that, but the great H.G. Wells had been dealing in how to write about women in science fiction even as far back as 1895. As such, he explained to a foreign viewer of specifically English Literature that there are specific archetypes they attribute to various characters, many of these being the ‘tropes’ contemporary feminists complain about today. These sorts of complaints have actually been raised for over a century. Who would have thunk it?  To these concepts, Wells responds with this statement:

There are thousands of Englishwomen who are neither anaemic nor neurotic, and whose physical nature does not throw them into the arms of the first muscular egotist who comes in their way: there are thousands of men who are neither sentimental nor hysterical, nor purely animal in their relations to women. The fact is that a large proportion of modern literature is neither the product of those who have studied and thought upon the development of sex-relations nor of those of sound intellectual powers and healthy physique: it is too often the output of men or women who have found sex a curse owing to the want of these very essentials of a rational all-round life.

Its almost as if great authors and the people who fully understood their works always saw through this gender-supremacist bullshit, that for as much as things change, some things stay the same.  Does this mean our grandchildren are going to keep fighting this fight for keeping ideologues out of our escapism? The optimist in me would love to think not but the realist in me is of the mindset that not only will our grandchildren be fighting this fight 100 years from now – they may very well be fighting each other over it.

So why do we fight this fight then? Why keep pushing back if the bigots aren’t going to give up on turning our precious passtimes into their sick propaganda? Because an escape from the bullshit monotony of life, a motivation to keep living one’s life is always worth defending. Now I could keep listing various different authors and characters here that disprove their narratives for decades but  I think I can do one better than that. I can link you to a list that will help you buy and support whatever works you like. There are over 700 individual books staring female characters on this list alone. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on the books, but the fact that I can call 700 books a ‘start’ just goes to show how frivolous this representation argument from feminists really is.

Now how about female leads in television? Well, in addition to there being in the 2000s very gynocentric shows like Cleopatra 2525 (from what I remember seeing it was short lived for a reason,) as well as fun series like Lexx and Farscape which had female leads that headed the shows alongside their male counterparts (meaning equal screen presence and depiction in promotional material). Even Rod Serling of The Twilight Zone fame has written a few female leads. There are 5 in the first season alone as admonished here in an essay ironically titled “Damsels in Distress” by Twilight Zone Museum’s Michael Martin DeSapio. The essay basically takes them and works them into de-constructing tropes of his day and age. I doubt anyone can disagree with the thought that Serling was a writer ahead of his time.

Now I might hear you say, “Alex, we all know you are an anime nut. Go ahead and start talking about Sailor Moon and magical girls.” I’m going to have to disappoint you. I’m not going to talk about Sailor Moon. I’m going to tell you who she ripped off! Go Nagai in 1973 started a fun little manga series called “Cutey Honey” about and android girl who can transform into just about anything; a reporter, a teacher, a policewoman, or even a superpowered heroine with a rapier. The group she fights is the primarily female led “Panther Claw” who has their own transforming villains. This concept, oddly enough, is what eventually helped influence Shotaro Ishinimori to create two of the most influential Japanese shows of all time in the form of Kamen Rider and Super Sentai! Shows came out over 40 years later have been back to back staples of Japanese Saturday morning TV.

But with anime if you want to go to the EARLIEST example that would be Mitsuteru Yokoyama’s Mahoutsukai Sari in 1966, which is translated in the West to be Sally the Witch. Now why don’t I classify this as a ‘magical girl’ story even though she quite clearly uses magic and has all the other tropes of the genre? That’s very simple – she doesn’t transform into another form to use her powers. Others may classify it as magical girl and they are free to, however with the understanding of anime I have collected for over two thirds of my life this falls under standard girls anime.

I’m not going to go too in-depth into film examples because I don’t think I would be treading much ground that hasn’t already been tread. Barbarella, Sarah Conner, Ripley. A lot of this ground has been trampled over already. So now we can go back 50 or in some cases even 100 years to debunk the feminist narratives about female representation in most media formats that are popular today.

Now I realize by the time this article drops the others will have likely torn a new asshole into the subject themselves but like various things people like to make a big deal of I wanted to make sure we broke the narrative thoroughly enough. That’s why I sometimes work on things that have been done weeks ago, to make sure that enough research has been done to debunk a false argument to its core, because like many things. this research does take a fair amount of time to do right. That’s why I went back as far as 100 years on this subject, I wanted to see if there was anything to say that there was a time this argument could be made honestly. I’m starting to see that in feminism’s case, that’s asking for a lot of suspension of disbelief. So, considering that I’ve touched some upon anime today perhaps I’ll go back into it for next time. Until then Please Remember to Game Freely!

Alex Tinsley
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Alex Tinsley

A student of Fine Arts and Japanese culture of six years at Murray State University. Having never graduated due to difficulties with a specific teacher has gained a unique perspective upon the issues being faced by men and boys. A father of a young boy and loving husband.
Alex Tinsley
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Alex Tinsley

A student of Fine Arts and Japanese culture of six years at Murray State University. Having never graduated due to difficulties with a specific teacher has gained a unique perspective upon the issues being faced by men and boys. A father of a young boy and loving husband.

  • Tony Harte

    Good article. I have a friend who’s on the fence about things. When the whole DR. Who thing came about, she can see the point of people like myself being annoyed at the trend of geek iconic male protagonists being replaced by females (Mad Max, Thor, Iron Man, Ghostbusters, Now Doctor Who all in the past few years), but she says she sides more with feminists because guys still represent the majority of protagonists in things and feels that women are under-represented. I tried to explain that this is because all entertainment is primarily businesses. They are made to sell. And because of the market, it is a predominantly male orientated. And when they’ve tried to push females and diversity, it’s just not selling as well. There is nothing discriminatory about a business trying to cater towards a demographic. I tried to show her this is the case in romance genre as well. That’s female orientated, not that some men aren’t into it. Just that it sells better for females. I think she’s too far gone into ideology, just wanting representation for the sake of it. But she’s a smart girl, is there a better way to explain it to her why males make up the majority of protagonists, and that even though it’s not equal representation, it’s not due to discrimination and not necessarily a bad thing?

    • Anime-Mun

      Chances are she won’t touch this article with a 10 foot pole. So ask her what her favorite property is. If she puts forth something with a protagonist thats like her precisely ask her what she would feel if that protagonist was randomly switched out with Stephen Hawking but is still considered the prior character. When she pulls the ‘cis white male’ argument you tell her she is being ableist. If that doesn’t break her out of it nothing will.

      • http://www.genderratic.com/ Ginkgo

        “When she pulls the ‘cis white male’ ” – you pull out the cis white female. This is mainly a test to see how doctrinaire she is. If she is fully doctrinaire, this will disable her by putting her into an endless loop of moral sophistry.

    • http://www.genderratic.com/ Ginkgo

      “When the whole DR. Who thing came about, she can see the point of people like myself being annoyed at the trend of geek iconic male protagonists being replaced by females (Mad Max, Thor, Iron Man, Ghostbusters, Now Doctor Who all in the past few years), but she says she sides more with feminists because guys still represent the majority of protagonists in things and feels that women are under-represented.”
      The term I have seen used for this is “femwashing.” In the case of Dr. Who, who explicitly non-human and gender-nothing, a woman can play that entity as well as a man. But these other changes are pathetically derivative.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9wi0cPrU4U Ciaran Reid