Friday, June 25, 2010

A World Without Feminism (Childhood's End)

Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke, was written in 1953 and it shows its age in more ways than its attitude toward racism. The book also displays a fair amount of sexism, not hatefully, but just in the way Clarke presents the role of women in his futuristic utopian society. For all his great speculation of the latter half of the twentieth century, Clarke was unable to predict the rise of feminism or even imagine a society that is not a patriarchy even when gender makes very little sense as in the case of the Overlords.

Flawed 1950s Anti-Racism (Childhood's End)

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke is a science-fiction novel about aliens known as the Overlords taking over humanity to prepare us for the next stage of evolution. Prior to the book’s story, the author places the disclaimer “The opinions expressed in this book are not those of the author” to keep people from thinking that he had changed his mind about being optimistic about space travel, which readers might infer from the Overlords declaring that “the stars are not for Man”. Despite this, I believe the author’s own opinions snuck in there as pertains to how the Overlords saw fit to run Earth, such as condemning animal cruelty and racism. The attempt to challenge racism is an interesting part of the book, specifically how Clarke tries to do it as a white man writing a book in 1953. It is a hopeful, idealistic cry for a post-racial utopian society, and is in itself a message meant specifically for other white people.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Examination of Female Characters - Part 5 (Halo)

(Crossposted from Halopedia)
So, here I am with my fifth article examining Halo’s treatment of female characters (see also parts one, two, three, and four). This time, I’m looking at the first Halo novel: Halo: The Fall of Reach, by Eric Nylund. This is actually one of my least favorite of the novels. I know a lot of people think Halo: The Flood is unquestionably the worst, but aside from the slight boringness of parts that go over Master Chief shooting his way through rooms, I think it’s enjoyable military science-fiction. In Fall of Reach, I think the characterization is weak all around and has protagonists of such dubious morality I find myself rooting for the Insurrection. Nevertheless, it has several female characters. These include Dr. Catherine Halsey, Déjà, Kelly-087, Linda-058, Hall, Hikowa, an unknown UNSC leader, and Cortana.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Anti-BDSM Stuff on Bones

I’ve been continuing to watch the series Bones, and have come across more annoying anti-BDSM sentiment. The eighteenth episode of the first season, “The Man with the Bone”, is an entertaining take on an old Canadian folk legend about pirate treasure. Unfortunately, the episode also features a creepy and perverted coroner, Harry Tepper, who, it progressively becomes obvious, is a masochist and bisexual. This is problematic because it is implied that his sexual preferences are a part of what makes him perverted.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sexist Content in Timecrimes

Timecrimes (originally Los Cronocrímenes), written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, is an intriguing time travel strange loop movie. In the style of a classic science-fiction short story, the protagonist Hector is an average guy (actually kind of a doofus) who winds up in strange circumstances, rather than a scientist or someone who knows what he’s doing. The film has some elements of sexism, though I’m not sure how much was unintentional. The two female characters, Hector’s wife Clara and The Girl in the Forest (La Chica en el Bosque), are disrespected by Hector within the story and are treated more like objects as he tries to manipulate the timeline.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Superwoman Is His Mom (Boy Meets World)

I love the sitcom Boy Meets World, its characters, jokes, and sometimes quite wacky storylines. I do have to note, however, that its moral messages can be a bit immoral by my standards. One example is the sexism in the first season episode “On the Fence”, about 11-year-old Cory coming to appreciate the work his father, Alan, does to take care of the family. While a nice sentiment, it blatantly ignores the equal work put in by his mother, Amy, whose contributions are accepted as the default of housewives and therefore not as special as the breadwinning father.