Monday, September 5, 2011
Over the weekend, I re-watched one of my favorite movies: Serenity. One thing I really enjoy about it is that is does not follow the stereotype of female heroes as sexual objects. Of the nine main characters, four are women, and none are as useless as many female characters can be. There's Kaylee, the intelligent mechanic; Zoe, second-in-command and a former soldier; River, clever (though somewhat insane) and surprisingly kick-ass; and Inara, the high-class "companion." There is a lot of irony in these characters, and the way they are always more than they seem. River, for example, is crazy. However, she is actually one of the smartest characters, a brilliant girl who surprises viewers at every turn. In addition, for a small, skinny 17-year-old girl, she is one of the best fighters of all the characters when put up to it. Inara, too, is really interesting in the irony of her character. She works as a "companion," which is essentially a prostitute. However, in the culture of the show's setting, companions are extremely high-class, more similar to an ancient Japanese geisha than what we think of as a prostitute. Even with this occupation, Inara still is not particularly sexualized, especially when compared to many other female characters in today's media. Although it's not that surprising to have such different female characters in this movie, considering it was made by Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it's refreshing nonetheless to see that strong female characters are still out there.