Monday, February 05, 2007

I trust I don't need to outline what's wrong with this statement.

This post makes me want to burn down the internet.
I never liked the idea of Whedon on this movie. It seemed to pigeon-hole him into a type of character (strong woman) that he would be expected to write from now on.

(Edit: Original poster didn't mean to phrase it that way, but we got some good discussion out of it. Read the comments!)


  1. Doesn't the fact that this person says that, and then says they are looking forward to Buffy as a comic make them a hypocrite?
    Just wondering...

  2. I actually think this is an interesting comment. I read it as coming from someone who has been following a certain director/writer for quite a while and it happy to see the possibility that they might branch out more. It reads about the same as someone saying "I'm glad that (insert name here) isn't going to be doing another gangster movie. The other ones were great, but they are getting typecast". This isn't someone who is unhappy that Joss Whedon has been doing strong female characters. This is someone who is happy that Joss Whedon might focus on something other than strong female characters (and not necessarily at their exclusion). I see nothing wrong with this position.

    If I am missing something here please enlighten me.

  3. I want to know who they'll get to replace him, myself...

    Would it have been any better if he'd phrased it as "strong female lead"? As in "I hope Joss doesn't get stuck writing Buffy variants for the rest of his career" and not "strong women make me feel all funny so all women should be weak hur hur".

  4. ryan:

    The quote put me off too. The thing for me is that "strong female characters" doesn't refer to a genre here. It's not like saying "I don't want Joss Whedon typecast as someone who only writes fantasy." It's not even like saying "I don't want Joss Whedon typecast as someone who only writes warrior women."

    A strong female character is like a strong male character. Every movie/tv show/book has a strong male character in their lead. Not necessarily a Rambo type, of course. But the hero tends to be strong in some way: physically, mentally, spiritually. It should go without saying that the lead female character should similarly strong in some respect.

    Most of the time however, they're not written that way. A strong female character is a rarity.

    Joss Whedon is a writer, that for all his faults, at least tries to make strong female characters in everything he writes. The idea that this is something negative, something to be type-cast or pigeonholed in is, to be honest, incredibly disheartening.

    (More rationally, I think the writer had intended the "strong woman" term to indicate a "warrior woman" sort than a simply strong female, but the wording definitely sets me off.)

  5. To the poster above me, I think the Ragnell's idea - and I agree with her - is that the quoted blogger is acting like fiction containing strong women is a genre, and not something that ought to be rightfully spread across all genres in mediums.

    In this way, I think your example about "gangster" movies is flawed. Because Joss Whedon could write a gangster movie about or including strong female gangsters, and then a slasher film with strong female characters, and they would be in entirely seperate genres, but would still be "strong women" movies.

    It's the same reasoning that leads people to ask Tamora Pierce why she writes female heroes and when she's going to write male heroes, as though female heroics deserve to be a niche in the larger market of mostly male heroes.

    I should note, however, that the linked poster could very well have chosen an unfortunatly incorrect way to say "super-human women."

    However, even so, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Wonder Woman sit at, essentially, opposite ends of the "super-human woman" specturm - the former owes more to horror and suspense then super-heroics, while the latter in unabasheldly traditional super-heroics. Buffy is (or, at least, was conceived as) a young girl, totally normal in every way, except for a big bag of responsibility that got thrust in her lap that she never wanted, and had to deal with. Diana is (or, at least, was conceived as) a more mature woman raised in an isolated soceity made entirely of one kind of person who delights in her powers and literally searches out the responsibility to use them and bears that responsibility with pride and joy. In other words, Buffy Summers and Princess Diana of Themiscryia are, at bottom, less similar then Buffy is to Malcolm Reynolds (of Firefly and Serenity)are to eachc other, despite the fact that Buffy and Diana share a chromosome that Mal does not have.

  6. "I actually think this is an interesting comment. I read it as coming from someone who has been following a certain director/writer for quite a while and it happy to see the possibility that they might branch out more."

    Let me say, this is more what I was going for when I wrote this but probably worded it completely wrong.

    My feeling is that I want to see Whedon develop something of his own rather than serving something that he hasn't created. Just as I'm not crazy about him being on Astonishing X-Men or necessarily returning to Firefly, I'd rather that Joss create something new again. My choice of wording was unfortunate. Whether male or female, I want him to create new characters, not service Marvel, DC or Warner Brothers' characters.

  7. Scott -- Nice to see I misunderstood.

    It hit a nerve (one of the clerks in the comic book store used to describe Greg Rucka's writing this way.)

  8. OK< I must be dumber than a bag of hammers, but, what was wrong with the original statement?

  9. I think what was wrong with the original statement was I just probably could have worded it a bit better and been clearer in my intended sentiments. But like everything on the internet, once it's written, it's open for interpretation and your own reading of it.

  10. By the way, there's also a new Serenity-based comic to be released later this year, so that story isn't quite over yet.

  11. The new Serenity project will take place between Firefly and Serenity. Whedon has said that the francise's actors are still interested in playing those characters again (unlike the leading players of the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer/Angel francise(s)) and that he won't be pursuing a continuation of Serenity in comic form (in other words, do it without the actors) until that changes, or he has unsuccessfully pursued all avenues of storytelling in which he would be able to use the actors.