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.


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.

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