Girls, Guns, Gags
Why the Future Belongs to the Funny
Earlier this year, I read an essay on Firefly which suggested that the show was a feminist step down from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because it inhabited the more misogynistic world of gun-fights at the Last Chance Saloon—because women weren’t physically as strong as men, so they could only really beat them by using feminine wiles, and occasionally, heaven forbid, their beauty and guile.
This simply goes to prove that no matter how much time, money, and effort you throw into an education system, stupidity, arrogance, and a total failure to grasp the basic tenets of feminism will nonetheless thrive like rats in a fetid storm drain. So, let me explain: the power structure in Buffy was pyramidal—at the bottom were innocent people, above them was a race of fewer but physically much stronger vampires, and above them was one (or were two) slayers, strongest and fewest of all. The power structure in Firefly was quite different, because everyone was human. No pointy ears, no stick-on proboscides, no extra arms. Some of the men were stronger than some of the women, but by no means all: as Wash told Saffron, Zoe could kill him with her little finger.
To even things up, though, most of the fighting wasn’t hand-to-hand combat, as this was the future, not medieval times. It involved guns, and sometimes spaceships, which seemed to show little interest in the chromosomal arrangement of the person handling them. We are left in no doubt that Zoe totes her weaponry exactly as …
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