Categories of the sort of Women Characters that Whedon Creates on his Shows

I am a large Joss Whedon fan. He is my favorite male feminist television show creator. I have noticed that there is a certain pattern to the sort of women characters that appear on his programs like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Firefly (2002), Marvel Agents of Shield (2013- ), Dollhouse (2009-2010), and Angel (1999-2004). This is not to say that all of the women don’t have super unique qualities or are not complex female characters. The same can be said of the male characters, but since this is a feminist blog I will only mention the female types I have noticed.

As an aside, I would also like to note that all of the main characters no matter the gender are usually part of some sort of team or crew.

1. Powered Heroine: This female character is often the star of the show or at least one of the main characters. She has some sort of power that puts her in different plain from all the other characters. The Powered Heroine is most likely born with that power, but that is not what makes her special. Her compassion and alternative clever ways of thinking is what makes her a natural leader. The powered heroine is often a skilled warrior, but also very funny. She makes smart one liners during tough situations. The powered heroine is intelligent, but not college educated or really the product of any conventional education. All her skills and knowledge are self taught.The Powered Heroine is always vulnerable because of something that has happened in her past. She often has some sort of father figure who she is extremely loyal to who looks out for her. The loyalty always goes both ways. The Powered Heroine only trusts a select few.

Examples: Buffy Summers, River Tam, Skye/Daisy Johnson and Caroline/Echo

2. Quirky Nerd: These female characters are often geniuses or at least extremely gifted in one or more field. The Quirky Nerds are the ones who are often asked to fix problems faster than possible. They give complex explanations on what they are doing that either the father figure or the Powered Heroine has to ask them to simplify. Quirky Nerds are the ones with some sort of high degree or they are high achievers school. They are usually funny in an awkward quirky way that is not on purpose. The quirky nerds are usually best friends with the Powered Heroine who they are super loyal too. These female characters are always vital to the team and things could not happen without them.

Examples: Willow Rosenburg, Kaylee Frye, Jemma Simmons and Winfred “Fred” Burkle

3. Kickass Silent Warrior: This female character is usually the right hand woman of the father figure. The Kickass Silent Warrior does not say much (as implied), but what she does say is important. Not to say they can not be humorous. They are extremely loyal/protective to both the father figure and the Powered Heroine. They might not be best friends to the Powered Heroine, but they do care about her and have a care taking aspect to the relationship. The Kickass Silent Warrior is a skilled warrior who is part of some sort of secret military-like organization or was a soldier in a civil war. She has been traumatized/hardened by some event in a battle or mission. The Kickass Silent Warrior has been partners or friends with the father figure for a long time. She may appear cold, but is quite warm hearted. The Kickass Silent Warrior will do anything for her team.

Examples: Zoe Washburne and Agent Melinda May

For my readers who have not watched any of these Whedon tv shows I would highly recommend them. They all have interesting, science fiction, and fantasy like storylines with engaging complex characters of all genders, races and sexualities. Any feminist would love a Joss Whedon show.

Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives (1992)

Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives (1992) directed by Lynne Fernie and Aerlyn Weissman is a Canadian Feminist documentary about the lives of Lesbians during the 1940’s and 1950’s. For those who do not know, during the 1940’s to at least the 1960’s being a Lesbian or Gay was illegal and coming out could land a person in a mental institution or jail. Through interviews and footage the filmmakers tell the story of how these women were forced to lived double lives. At work they pretended to be “normal” heterosexual women, then at  secret Lesbian clubs they could finally be themselves. The majority of the Lesbians in the documentary are white, but one of the women is Native Canadian. She talks about how she was actually more comfortable in the Black bars.

The documentary has a second layer involving the Lesbian Pulp Fiction novels of the 1940’s and 1950’s. The women in Forbidden Love talk about how there were many Lesbian Pulp Fiction novels, but by the end of these stories,  the Lesbians always died or were separated forever. The now older Lesbians discuss how they wished for a story where the women like them had a happy ending. The filmmakers Fernie and Weissman directed a short film that subverted the tragic end of Lesbiana in these Pulp Fiction novels. This is the only fictional part of the piece, but is equally as important as the interviews.

I recommend Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives to fellow Lesbians (though this is recommend to anybody no matter gender or sexuality) who want to see the invisible history of these secret bars — as well as any readers who is interested in Canadian Cinema, indie documentaries, historical documentaries, subversive queer films, documentaries by Lesbians about Lesbians, and loves films that mix genres.

This clip is the short film that re-writes the sad Lesbian Pulp Fiction novel that punished these women for loving other women. Instead these Lesbians get a happy ending after meeting at a bar.

Favorite Vlogs, Blogs, and Podcasts

Here is a list of my favorite blogs, vlogs and podcasts. There not in any particular order. Some of them are centered around females and others do talk about some feminist ideas:

1. Girl On Guy created by Aisha Tyler: Tyler interviews both men and women in the entrainment, sports, podcast, blogging, and etc business. Aisha Tyler is funny and one of the coolest geeks alive. She discusses her love of comics, books, movies, and video games all the time. You can find this podcast by going to asihatyler.com.

2. PBS Idea Channel: Mike Rugnetta hosts the web series/vlog that discuses popular culture in an academic fashion, but fun way. Rugnetta does this through his witty monologues and using images from the web including gifs and video. Mike Rugnetta might be a man, but he is a feminist. You can find this vlog on youtube the link is https://www.youtube.com/user/pbsideachannel/videos.

3. Tumblr: I use tumblr to find gifs and images about my favorite female television characters and femslash pairings. If you want to follow me on tumblr my username is dovebuffy92.

4. Serial: The podcast is done through NPR and This American Life. The podcast is hosted by Sarah Koenig and run as far as I can tell run by mostly female leadership. The first and only season so far is about finding out if this of Middle Easter descent American teenager now a young adult really killed his Asian American girlfriend. Its very engaging and while not inherently feminist is still pretty awesome. You can find the podcast at serialpodcast.com.

5. After Ellen: This is a site that discusses Lesbians and Bisexual women in the media. I use the website for its reviews of television shows like Orphan Black and Lost Girl. They also have contents to see whose the best femslash pairing on television. Link: http://www.afterellen.com

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P.S. For those who do not know this is  a picture of Aisha Tyler.

Nancy Schreiber Interview

This Saturday I did an interview with Nancy Schreiber who has been a cinematographer for film and television since the late 70’s. I interviewed Schreiber through Skype which is why you will hear some Skype bubbly noises at the start of the recording. Nancy Schreiber is super smart and funny. I had a lovely time talking  talking with her. Schreiber has an extensive portfolio of projects.

Nancy Schreiber has filmed the television/ web series The Client List, Lauren, Blue, In Plain Sight, Ghost Whisperer, and The ComebackI hope you enjoy this interview we discuss a whole host of topics from wanting to be labeled an cinematographer not a woman cinematographer to issues of ageism in Hollywood today.

This is the recording of the interview I did with Schreiber. I was in my room and Nancy Schreiber was outside of a cafe. (For clarification the DGA stands for the Directors Guild of America).:

Link to Nancy Schreiber’s IMBD: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0775262/
Link to Nancy Schreiber’s Website: http://www.nancyschreiber.comp76874426-3