Before some angry blogger comes along and tears me to shreds for my last post, I’ll do them the honors of sharing what I think is a very eloquently-written counterpoint on Joss Whedon’s supposed feminism. The writer of ProzacPark discusses the story of an alleged plotline for Firefly involving a rape so terrible I can barely type it. Inara raped by Reavers. Reavers! I would be really horrified if I saw that on TV, most especially in a Joss Whedon show!

“I am now gleefully happy that “Firefly” got canceled. Not that I wasn’t before, but now? I can almost forgive FOX for canceling all those TV shows if it means that Inara was never raped. Also, TV, can you stop having the women with sexuality be raped or otherwise punished for having it while pretending to be edgy for having women with ‘unconventional’ sexualities?”

Because I am a defender of all things Joss, I’ll say that I need to hear it from him directly, what the $#%@ he had in mind!! Now I, too, am glad Firefly got canceled. But did it have to come to that? Couldn’t someone in their right mind have stood up to Joss and said “you can’t do this, this is sick”? Maybe Joss does need a little feminist reeducation after all.


3 thoughts on “Retortapalooza

  1. I have to say, I do think that this was a plot in mind for Firefly, but it hasn’t come directly from Joss so we have to take it with a pinch of salt and be vaguely doubtful.

    That said, I don’t think a plot like this means that he’s not feminist, or even that the plotline itself is so terrible. We know that Reavers rape people (and it’s worth noting that I’m pretty sure they rape men and women indiscriminately) and it’s unrealistic for the crew of Serenity to sail past them with nothing severly bad happening all the time. (Obviously I’m talking just in Firefly – in Serenity they had plenty of bad luck with Reavers.) Also, rape is one of the problems that our society faces – and it’s too often swept under the rug. People don’t want to talk about it because they don’t feel that it’s a socially acceptable topic for conversation, and in the end, the people that hurts is the victims, who feel that they have nowhere to turn and can’t talk about their experience because people will just not want to listen. It’s wrong to turn the other cheek to issues like rape, and so while we accept it’s horrible, we also have to face up to it and see that it’s there. It’s kind of like having a really gross mole on your arm – you could just ignore it, because it’s ugly and you don’t like it, but then it won’t go away and it might turn into skin cancer. Alternatively, you could tell people about the mole, and one of them might say “Hey! I had a problem like that, and here’s what worked for me…”

    So basically, my point is that it’s ok to portray rape in the media – if it’s done in a sensitive, realistic way which deals with the repercussions and the trauma. I have no doubt that Joss Whedon could pull something like that off perfectly, and as opposed to it being ‘nasty’ to Inara, think about it being helpful to someone who might watch it and see that yes, rape can happen to anyone. Yes, it’s bad and it sucks and it’s a traumatic experience that will never leave you. But yes, you can recover. Yes, other people will help. No, no one will judge you – or no one should judge you. Personally, I feel that if that storyline had gone to air and it had helped even one person who’d realised that they weren’t alone, it would have been worth it. It didn’t sound like the sort of idea that would have cheapened Inara, or made it seem like ‘she was asking for it’ or even just had it happen and then move back to carefree life. It sounded like an idea which would have carried a lot of weight and maybe made people think about something which is too often just ignored. So yeah. To me, this wouldn’t have been bad. This would be a step forwards.

  2. You make a lot of really good points. I guess I was extra-horrified because I was imagining that the Reavers had barbed penises that slashed and tore… very scary. Or that they’d rape for hours and hours, like that kid said in the beginning of Serenity. I think what freaked the blogger (not me, the other one) out the most was the word “beautiful” – that making the rape beautiful turns it into a trope. i’m not entirely sure i follow, but maybe really what we need to focus on is that it’s a fictitious story with fictitious characters, and he’s not actually having someone raped. And what you said.

    • Yeah, I don’t know much about Reavers anatomically… but what you’re describing is cats. xDDD I feel like the original blogger sort of took the word in the wrong context – I can’t imagine anyone intentionally describing rape as beautiful, so one assumes he was referring to another aspect of the plot/storyline or just got caught up in that writer’s attitude (“What I created! It’s so beautiful! It’s so awesome! It’s…” “It’s a torture scene.” “Well yeah, but still totally awesome!”) and didn’t realise how it was sounding. Either way, I can’t imagine a scene like that being bad – and the overall attitude in that post was that the rape was somehow a punishment for Inara being a freely sexual woman. I don’t feel like that was in any way implied, and the blogger herself admitted that she cast Inara as an ‘anti-heroine’ when Joss Whedon clearly did not… so yeah. 🙂 Personally, I don’t have a problem with that storyline and I don’t think it proves anything about anyone. Like you said, it is fictional, after all.

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