Joss, What Took You So Long?

Joss Whedon, for those unfamiliar with him, is a successful and well-respected creator of several television series, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.

So Joss got a look at the Dua Khalil murder video that’s made the rounds of the Internet (and no, I am not linking to it, go find it yourself) and got a little upset, saying:

What is wrong with women?

I mean wrong. Physically. Spiritually. Something unnatural, something destructive, something that needs to be corrected.

How did more than half the people in the world come out incorrectly? I have spent a good part of my life trying to do that math, and I’m no closer to a viable equation. And I have yet to find a culture that doesn’t buy into it. Women’s inferiority – in fact, their malevolence — is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere they’re sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished. (Objectification: another tangential rant avoided.) And the logical extension of this line of thinking is that women are, at the very least, expendable.

[snip]

It’s safe to say that I’ve snapped. That something broke, like one of those robots you can conquer with a logical conundrum. All my life I’ve looked at this faulty equation, trying to understand, and I’ve shorted out. I don’t pretend to be a great guy; I know really really well about objectification, trust me. And I’m not for a second going down the “women are saints” route – that just leads to more stone-throwing (and occasional Joan-burning). I just think there is the staggering imbalance in the world that we all just take for granted.

Call me ungrateful, but I have to wonder, why did it take him so long to get to this point?

Whedon is one of the few writers who’s been able to write a successful TV series about a strong female protagonist who doesn’t end up either dead or pregnant for having sex, a woman for whom rape is impossible. You’d like to think that he’s sincere when he says that this is an issue he’s thought about for a long time, but it would have been nice if he’s applied his massive talents to giving voice to the problem a bit earlier.