Women in sci-fi shows/films

I recently read an article about how the television series Wynonna Earp is breaking down television barriers. The article can be found here. Now, I do agree with this and it is refreshing to see a show like this on television again. You see, this has already been done, 20 years ago. I am old enough to remember when Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired. Joss Whedon broke all the supposed rules when it came to horror television shows. He did it from the first scene of the first episode, where you think the ‘helpless’ teenage girl is going to be killed and it turns out she is a vampire and kills the boy she is with. The main character was a woman and a kick-arse woman, she didn’t need to have a man to come and rescue her. The person who always needed rescuing was her male friend. There was a lesbian couple who were not there for the male gaze, but were depicted as any other couple on television shows at that time. The show had it all. But it seems we have not progressed that far since then. The late 90’s saw an influx of strong women in horror/sci-fi television shows, there was Buffy, Xena the Warrior Princess and Charmed. But then it seemed to just dissipate. Women went back to being helpless and needing saving.

Recently there have been a few shows in this genre that are having strong, female leading characters. There is Cersei and Daenerys on Game of Thrones, Kara on Supergirl (and her sister Alex), Sara Lance on Arrow/Legends of Tomorrow, Liv on iZombie, Jessica Jones, Wynonna Earp and probably a few more that I can’t remember at the moment. These women are characters all on their own, without needing to have men to define them or to save them. They can look after themselves and are often the person saving others.

We need more of this and not just in television shows, we need it in Hollywood films. There are not enough strong women within the sci-fi genre. There are certainly more than there used to be, but still not enough. There was a lot of anticipation and hope for Wonder Woman, as it was the first female-led superhero film from the DC/Marvel cinematic universes of their combined 21 films released to date. I must admit I haven’t seen the film myself but I know it has had good reviews, which is encouraging as the last female-led superhero films I can remember (Elektra and Cat Woman) were awful. They are planning a sequel to Wonder Woman and there is a Captain Marvel film due to be released in 2019. So that would give us a grand total of 3 female-led superhero films, doesn’t sound that bad except when you compare it to the 20 male-led superhero films that have been released or are due to be released. I think that clearly shows how drastic the difference is. There are plenty of women superheroes who could have their own films, if they were given the chance.

We are in 2017 yet it seems we were better off in the 90’s. Yes, Wynonna Earp is a great show and does go against the normal social conventions, but it just highlights how we seem to have regressed instead of moving forward. Fingers crossed this show will get the recognition it deserves and prompt other production companies to start showing more shows that are female-led.

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