Tuesday, 28 May 2013

FeministFrequency on Gay SciFi

I am a fan of feministfrequency. She has the courage to address social issues that she cares about in the face of a Web that is less than welcoming to the passionate feminist. The Internet is, after all, still a male-dominated sphere – with all the boobies, nerd in-jokes and banter one could wish for. She is a refreshingly unapologetic about her opinions on how women are portrayed in modern media and truly tickles my brain cells in a most favourable way.  She recently posted a new video which you can check out here. 

However, she is sometimes guilty of drawing too much out of a particular trope, issue or experience – as is often the case when one has a point to make. I usually let this slide, especially as I love the content she makes – but as I have been working my way slowly through the back-log of her videos, I came across this morsel that got my attention, uploaded in 2010.

I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that Caprica has a prominent gay character that kicks arse in the form of Sam Adama. When I was growing up, gay people in the media were only present in the Graham Norton Show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Will & Grace; gay characters in Sci-Fi were light years off my radar. Torchwood wasn’t aired until later and George Takei doesn’t count.

I especially love Caprica’s gay character precisely because he is not portrayed as a gay character. He is a character that happens to be gay. His sexuality is so subtly mentioned that it could be easily missed. As someone who tries to announce their sexuality as a footnote in their personal life, I would rather gay characters where presented in this way than in the, “I’m here, I’m Queer” method of some other television shows. Glee, The New Normal, Vicious, Queer as Folk and Will & Grace all have characters who are gay first and personalities with quirks and flaws later.

Feministfrequency has an issue with the portrayal of this character because he is a murderous bastard; literally, he is a bounty hunter. She is critical of the fact that he kills his victims with phallic shaped objects. Although the fact that most of our murderous weapons are long and pointy probably does have something to do with society being more than a little obsessed with a man’s dangly bits, I don’t think this has any significance in this case. You work with what you’ve got and I don’t think the producers would have been up for inventing a vagina-shaped weapon just for the series.

She also laments that they have created a character that happens to be gay and then made him evil. It seems like she is saying that because this gay man (sorry, man who happens to be gay) is a douche, the viewers are going to project that on all gay men they meet: this is the conclusion that she comes to that I am particularly disappointed with.

We should be moving towards the normalisation of homosexuality and gay characters in the media. The fact is, the world is full of people who are likeable, people who are dicks and people who are bounty hunters; and gay people are going to fall into all of those categories. We are not a lifestyle with specific traits, we are a percentage of the population that can be found in all corners of society.

I don’t feel demonised or hated because a murderer in a TV programme happens to be gay. His homosexuality is never used as a reasoning for him being a killer. I want there to be main characters who can have storylines that don’t revolve around their sexuality. TV in general, and especially SciFi, should help us normalise people in the queer community by providing us with more characters like this.