gender-normative sci-fi

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The Advocate points out that today's sci-fi is odd in its adherence to strict gender norms. A notable example is "The Wachowski sisters' remarkable Netflix series, Sense8:"

The cluster of eight we follow is diversity itself -- a Kenyan, a German, an Indian, an Icelander, people of color, a Brazilian gay man, and a Bay Area transgender woman. In nearly every episode, a cluster character denounces humanity's unfortunate propensity to fear and oppress those we see as different, as the "Other."

And yet...

Not a single genderqueer person anywhere. Not in this cluster. Not in the others. Not in any character they interact with. [...] Apparently gender difference is the Other that must not speak its name. And this is from a team where not one but both siblings have bravely and publicly transitioned to be trans women. Et tu, Lana and Lilly?

Moreover, all of this occurs in science fiction, a genre invented to let creative imaginations run wild with possibility. Apparently veering from the gender binary is not among the possible. And in this, Sense8 is hardly alone.

Despite citing the example of Jaye Davidson in the Stargate film (1994), the piece expresses no small amount of dismay:

In short, even our best creative minds are simply unable to imagine, under any circumstances, on any world, in any galaxy, in any alien form, a character who is nonbinary and/or profoundly gender-nonconforming (no, please do not feed me Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation). [...] Perhaps for a truly genderqueer sci-fi character we must wait for Taylor on Showtime's series Billions to don a space suit and launch a hedge fund on Tatooine.

Surely all that imaginative power can envision the realm of gender and sexuality as imaginatively as aliens, spaceships, and superpowers?

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on May 26, 2017 7:09 AM.

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