The Problem With Sci-Fi and Fantasy Today

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I love Sci-Fi and Fantasy probably more than the next person. But as a girl, I'm finding it hard to watch anything without looking at a damsel in distress or someone who dresses in next to nothing and makes the average female look obese. Or who doesn't have a romantic interest.

Let me state a few things about myself:

001: I have no interest in boys
002: I'm fairly lean, but am I stick thin? No.
003: As much as I love fashion, most of my wardrobe consists of jeans and tee shirts with the Batman logo or the words Star Wars on them in some way.

And I presume that it's like that for many women and girls who are not afraid to let their geekiness be known, to live outside the box. Who'd just as soon throw on some lipstick and heels with their Empire Strikes back tee than wear a mico-mini. But what does the media give us?

Piles of fluffy romantic crap and Victoria's Secret fashion shows- IN SPACE!!!!!!

Of course, there are exceptions. Characters like Hermione Granger (Harry Potter), Avatar Korra (The Legend of Korra) and Ahsoka Tano (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) are showing people that it's perfectly normal for women in Sci-Fi and Fantasy to be awesome, if not beyond awesome.

We still have a long way to go, though. The images of Leia cowering with her blaster behind Luke and laying half-naked among Jabba's voluminous rolls of fat will be branded deep into our culture for generations.

And then we have another issue: the absence of women of color and other races in these (and most other) genres.

In fact, the closest thing I can find to a colored character in a major role in a major franchise in Sci-Fi/Fantasy is Ahsoka Tano- and she's orange, people. There's also Luminara Unduli, whose features are similar to those of many African-Americans- oh, wait. She's green. The exact same color as the avocado mask I spread on my face once a month.

So, I ask you, aspiring authors, game creators, script writers- are you willing to write and design up to the challenge? Or will you continue to cater to the norm?


  1. That's something I like about star trek (mentioning varied races). Did you know, the Original series was the first succsessful Tv show to have blacks, whites, Asians, Russians, and (of course) vulcans work together side by side as equals? Also, it was one of the firsts to have woman who didn't need constant rescuing, but we're still Ladies.

    And then, in TNG, you have Geordie, who is black AND blind, but is VERY important. Also, Dr. Beverley Crusher plays a strong female lead, who in fact, NEVER needs rescuing.

    Then, VOY. Which has a female captain (who dares rival Picard), a Native American commander, the first ever seen black Vulcan, Harry Kim, the super intelligent Asian, and scores of mixed color crew members.

    I read about why Gene Roddenberry did things that way, was he wanted to show a kind of utopia, where race and color wasn't a divider anymore. And I live him for it.

  2. Hmnn, interesting. But I don't see what being a lady has to do with being rescued at all, really.

  3. They are not headstrong, pushers, and 'defeat men' type characters, thats what I meant. They ARE ladies. Even Captain Janeway, who IS rather bull headed, she is still a Lady.

    I hope that made sense.

  4. -Love him.

    I love Gene Roddenberry for it. Sorry, typo.

  5. I agree, I really don't like it when girls in sci-fi/fantasy wear revealing outfits though thankfully, it's gotten a lot better(though girls sometimes still wear low cut shirts or short shorts/skirts which is annoying since I don't dress that way at all).

    Then I think you'll like the main character(who is a girl) in my book series; she never dresses skimpily(she usually wears a short-sleeved tunic, pants and they are always modest). She's a really good fighter and can definitely take care of herself, is headstrong and tomboyish, though she is human and does cry and get upset and gets scared(though she is able to pull through). There is a tiny bit of romance in my books(which I wasn't planning on happening, but my characters kind of took over a little bit) but is isn't that bad and it isn't sappy or gross.
    I will definitely not be conforming to the norm; I want my stories to be as original as possible :)

  6. Hermione's awesome. Just sayin'.

    I definitely think it's important for fiction/movies - of all genres! - to become more diverse, and I quite love strong female characters! But while I dislike the message that anorexic-thin is hot and that skimpy clothes are normal and acceptable daily outfits, I still love romance in stories. I don't think that romance has to turn tough girls into sappy piles of mush, but the hopeless romantic in me adores a little bit of love in a plot. :)


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