Women in Science Fiction Movies

Movies where a woman’s adventures in space and/or with aliens is prompted by the death of a loved one: Contact, Interstellar, Arrival, Aliens, Gravity.

In the latter three, the death of a child is involved. In Contact, it’s her father; in Interstellar, it’s her lover.

I have to wonder why Hollywood has such a specific template. Girls can have science fiction adventures, too, but it has to be because someone they love died?

BONUS! Movies where Scarlett Johansson plays a woman whose abilities were enhanced without her consent, for nefarious purposes: Lucy, Ghost in the Shell, The Avengers series. (Summer Glau in Firefly fits the same mold.) Interesting contrast: In the film Her, Johansson plays a disembodied voice which consciously evolves itself. 

Notice that in all of these movies, Johansson’s character is overtly sexualized (with the possible exception of Lucy). Hollywood says that women can have superpowers, as long as it makes them more attractive?

So what’s the overall message here? The ultimate female sci-fi character would be a brainwashed, sexy ninja who kicks butt in memory of her dead family?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gender Fantasy vs. Reality

I recently read two completely separate articles that make an intriguing contrast.

On one hand, “‘Preferred’ pronouns gain traction at US colleges:”

On high school and college campuses and in certain political and social media circles, the growing visibility of a small, but semantically committed cadre of young people who, like Crownover, self-identify as “genderqueer” — neither male nor female but an androgynous hybrid or rejection of both — is challenging anew the limits of Western comprehension and the English language.

Though still in search of mainstream acceptance, students and staff members who describe themselves in terms such as agender, bigender, third gender or gender-fluid are requesting — and sometimes finding — linguistic recognition.

Inviting students to state their preferred gender pronouns, known as PGPs for short, and encouraging classmates to use unfamiliar ones such as “ze,”’sie,” ”e,” ”ou” and “ve” has become an accepted back-to-school practice for professors, dorm advisers, club sponsors, workshop leaders and health care providers at several schools.

Note the tell-tale theme words: “self-identify,” “describe themselves in terms,” “preferred gender pronouns.”  I wonder why, when there’s a conflict between biological reality and psycho-emotional consciousness, we actually privilege the latter and disdain the former as some sort of obsolete relic.

I asked this of someone last summer and was immediately called a “transophobe.”  Apparently that settled things.

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No Woman Is An Island

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” So wrote John Donne.  This is true for all of us.

Donne’s point is that we’re interdependent, not autonomous.  In everything from its emphasis on the crucial need for service to the sealing requirements for exaltation, the gospel agrees with this philosophy of connectivity.

I was reminded of Donne by reading Alison Moore Smith’s, “A Mormon Mother of Daughters Talks to a YSA Bishop About Intimacy ,” a response to a Meridian piece about modesty for women.

Smith writes[i] that men need to do a better job of not objectifying women[ii].  Fair enough.  However, there are numerous flaws in her essay.  The greatest error isn’t in anything she writes, though.  It’s in what she doesn’t write.

She’s correct in her assertion that men have a duty not to lust after women.  But nowhere does she note any reciprocal duty of women towards men.

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Sexy Ribs?

Here is a screen shot from an article posted on the Las Vegas Sun web site on Monday.  It’s a picture of beauty contest winners.  Notice how skinny they are.  These girls aren’t just thin, they’re practically skeletal. 

Picking on the appearance of small women can be just as hurtful as insulting larger women, but I have to wonder if the physiques of the women in this picture are natural.  The one in the middle looks so anorexic that I’m honestly worried about her.  All five of them have their ribs sticking out quite prominently, but this poor lady almost looks like she’s sick. 

They won a beauty contest?  Their faces are all pretty, sure, but I can’t imagine how much punishment they must have put themselves through to emaciate their bodies so much.  Call me crazy, but my vision of female beauty includes curves, substance, and health. 

 

Book of Moses Commentary Part I: In Praise of Adah and Zillah

[For an introduction to the Book of Moses, please read this.]

Genesis 4:19-24 tells the story of Lamech, who had “slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.”  Other Bible translations I looked at word this declaration to say that Lamech killed the young man because the young man had inflicted an injury on Lamech.  A footnote in the NIV Study Bible explains these verses as a cautionary tale about revenge. 

But where Genesis moves on to another story in the next verse, the Book of Moses continues further.  And that’s where his wives Adah and Zillah shine.

Moses 5:49-59 adds material that says that Lamech killed the young man (named Irad, this text tells us) because the young man had learned the secret oaths that Satan had taught Cain, and which Lamech had also learned, but Irad had exposed those oaths, spreading them to the general public. 

But that’s not my focus here.  What impresses me most about this story is the reaction of Lamech’s wives to his confession to them of his infernal conspiring and homicidal treachery.  Continue reading