How to be a Firefly fan (even though their Chinese sucks and no one is Asian)
The other day I went to see The Amazing Spiderman.
But I’m not going to talk about the movie today. I’m going to talk about the previews. While sitting through a preview about prisoners in a federal penitentiary who start a band (or something), I began to think about the profound lack of female presence in movies. 1/20 of the people shown in the trailer I was watching were female. Just the narrator, actually.
The next trailer was worse, with only one female appearing (who spoke maybe five words.) The third trailer included no women with lines. The fourth had two (both with lines!). That was the remake of Total Recall.
Since I have begun to take Sociology classes, since I have begun to read feminist blogs, since I have begun to take a closer look at our culture, it has become harder for me to enjoy popular media.
It’s Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap.
But reading How to be a fan of problematic things has at least begun to convert the flames of my discontent into a constructive force. For those unwilling to click the link, the major points are
“Firstly, acknowledge that the thing you like is problematic and do not attempt to make excuses for it.”
It’s definitely fine to listen to the other person and then say “That’s interesting, I think that’s a totally valid reading of the text, here’s how I read it…”. But don’t say “No you read it wrong, here’s why they did this!” – that’s making excuses.
“Secondly, do not gloss over the issues or derail conversations about the problematic elements.”
“Thirdly you must acknowledge other, even less favourable, interpretations of the media you like.”
TL;DR: It’s ok to like Firefly, but you don’t get to deny that the complete lack of Asian characters in what is supposed to be a Chinese/American space-empire looks very suspicious (and contributes to a larger trend in American media where non-white people don’t get to play main characters. See Nobody’s Asian in the Movies).