Mewling quim“, Mr. Whedon? Really? You’re proud of that?

Look, I like your work, and I even contributed to the Nothing But Red anthology. I was glad to, that post was awesome.

But I don’t think you’re the friend to feminism you’re seen as, and there’s only so far that post of yours will take me.

* Buffy sleeps with Angel…and he loses his soul. Sure, it’s because he’s “happy.” But as yet another instance of a teenage girl’s sexuality turning a boy into a monster, well, it’s narrative ground that’s been tread before.
* Just like the equation drawn in a few episodes of Faith’s aggressive sexuality (Xander, anyone?) being a component of her moral ambiguity and ease of shaking off murder.
* Mal calls Inara a whore, several times, in overt and covert ways…in a society where Companions are supposed to be so “respectable” that the ship wouldn’t be allowed to land without one on board.
* River Tam is so powerful…that her “neurons are stripped,” she’s “crazy” and uncontrollable, and her brother–and Mal–have to save her, over and over and over again.
* Zoe’s physically satisfactory (one presumes) relationship with Wash is cut short by his death, but her (second fiddle and faithful lieutenant) relationship with Mal is kept intact.

And don’t even get me started on the titillation factor of Willow and Tara. This is by no means an exhaustive list of questionable narrative choices when it comes to portraying women, and Whedon’s by no means the only one who does it. I suppose one could blame Hollywood at large–after all, it’s holy writ that any woman who possesses actual sexuality in a studio film must either be horribly disfigured/dead in some fashion (if unrepentant) or brought/remain under the control of a male figure by the end of the film (if properly repentant). (The one exception I’ve seen was The Last Seduction, and that wasn’t a box-office success despite being an incredible movie.) I understand that when one is soaking in a misogynist culture, it’s hard not to obey the tropes and assumptions coded into the very base of said culture.

All culminating in being “proud” of basically calling a woman a cunt. In a PG-13 film. Proud.

My ambivalence just ratcheted up a notch. Not to mention my disappointment.

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and he loses his soul

and turns evil … somehow being truly happy kills your soul… *sigh*

Havent seen Avengers yet, but have been following jimhines discussion of the same topic, and he is getting trashed for pointing it out.

I am a Joss fan, but I passed on Dollhouse because it was too much male fantasy and not enough plot to interest me.

Avengers Assemble - Eloise's thoughts and fancies

[…] a lot of British people still do. There has been an outcry that I've more recently become aware of stronger reaction about Joss Whedon being proud of being able to use this phrase. I assumed he wanted to archaically […]

Susan E
Susan E

I was pretty taken aback at the incongruity, let alone the anachronism of tone, in the insulting Inara as a “whore” when it is a supposedly highly honorable profession. There was one episode where it shows the violation of international laws that occurs when a rich guy on a backwater planet shares that attitude. Yeah, obviously it is unpacked how much Mal loved her, and how much he didn’t understand her making the responsible choices that led her away from him. But he thought she’d want him to make an honest woman of her? I think at root it just… Read more »


I am late to the party, but I wanted to offer a counterpoint. It struck me in The Avengers that Loki was there to represent an oppressive regime, which often includes a crackdown on “feminine behavior” as a way to limit the people and turn the genders against one another, rather than the government. In that light, his use of the offensive terms and the implication that he would force a brainwashed Hawkeye to rape her to death just for funsies paints Loki as a bad guy because he (supposedly unlike our hero squad) does not value Black Widow or… Read more »


*but since he higher on the supernatural scale than he, it makes a certain sense. That should be: but since he IS higher on the supernatural scale than SHE, it makes a certain sense.
Sorry about the typos.

Kathy Alexander
Kathy Alexander

1) The Mewling Quim line I didn’t like because it was ugly. But I wasn’t supposed to like it. Loki was being a horrible manipulative monster and his comment was design to denigrate and grind her in the dust. I was impressed because Joss didn’t have him say something cliche and main stream like “whiney b***h”, which you’d get in pretty much every other main stream action movie. 2) Mal’s use of the whore is entirely consistent with his disgust over the hypocrisy and whitewashing of “society”-one in which he’s a rebel and dissenter to begin with. Inara is respected… Read more »