Posts tagged joss whedon
Posts tagged joss whedon
This is the man I aspire to be.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I tagged that post, haha, or if I did, I can’t remember how or with what I tagged it. It probably wasn’t a very coherent post, anyway! So, let’s just do this all over again, why not.
Why I Do Not Like Joss Whedon And His Works Very Much Or At All, Abridged
by Memlu, Age 24
First things first: Joss Whedon has a rep for being a Very, Very Feminist Creator, and, as a friend of mine suggested, if he had received stronger critical advice during BTVS or if he had taken what critical advice he received more to heart, perhaps he would be now. As it is, I cannot agree that he is feminist! IIRC, Whedon has himself noted, quite proudly, that when he took a women’s studies course, he, the sole dude in the class, educated all the women about women’s rights and feminism. This probably tells you everything you need to know about Whedon and feminism, namely that he is a mansplainer and prone to appropriative behavior.
While women are superficially empowered in many of his works, they are also frequently undermined narratively, being either victimized or deliberately sexualized (or both), in need of the protection and assistance of male heroes who, while superficially presented as weaker, are also upheld by the narrative and often excused for even the most execrable of behavior, or significantly and permanently damaged whether physically or psychologically. Women overcoming physical or psychological damage is of less interest to Whedon than the damage itself. (Hey, guys! Did you know mental illness is sexy? Crazy women are DANGEROUS and HOT! Or they’re TRAGIC and NEED A MAN TO HELP THEM and ALSO HOT!) Basically: he makes women and then he breaks them. If you give a woman a gun and then you cut her legs out from under her again and again and again, that ain’t progress.
I’m also real tired of his fetish for tiny, underage girls with big, bruised eyes who are sexualized for their bruises as much as their fists. Also noteworthy: with but a few exceptions, all of Joss Whedon’s Important Women are white women.
Which brings me to the next point, which is: Joss Whedon has got some serious race issues. Namely, nearly all of his major (and by major, I mean named and recurring) characters are white, which, to be fair, isn’t much different than the industry standard, except Joss Whedon also:
- invents a sci-fi universe in Firefly which is explicitly, textually the results of China and the USA cooperatively terraforming and populating other planets. There are absolutely no Asian people to be found in this sci-fi universe, at all, but you can sure bet the predominantly white heroes speak (badly mangled) Mandarin, and white characters wear formal and informal traditional Chinese clothing.
- invents Dollhouse, which in at least one episode also indulges in some blatant Orientalism, with ~Asian~ modes of dress and design presented as exotic window dressing. (Dollhouse is also perhaps the most egregious of all Whedon’s “feminist” works, being as it is a show which in its very premise is about rape and the unwilling sexual commodification of women and their bodies; rather than critically examine the premise, it uses it again and again for sexual titillation, focusing yet again on violence against women as erotica instead of on the triumph of women over violence.)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel both take place in California. Yet again, there are no Asian people to be found. Not many Latin@ people, either.
- There are maybe a grand total of ten black characters in all of Whedon’s works, and maybe half as many Latin@ characters. They tend to get short shrift. Characters played by actors who aren’t white but are pale-skinned are nearly universally coded as white.
Don’t expect much in the way of GSM representation, either. You’ve got Willow and Tara (then Willow and Kennedy) in BTVS, maybe a gay dude here or there (but don’t worry, he won’t be in a relationship), and that’s about it for his original stuff. Then you’ve got Whedon taking over writing chores on Marvel’s Runaways, in which he erases a genderqueer character’s identity and has characters refer to Xavin with slurs, which is never once critically examined—rather, we, the readers, are expected to laugh.
And that brings me to my next point! And that’s this:
Joss Whedon is just a crappy writer. He’s capable of moments of brilliance, mostly having to do with his premises, but if you’ve seen one season of any given Joss Whedon show or if you’ve read one issue of one comic written by him, congratulations; you’ve now seen or read everything by Joss Whedon. He writes the same eight characters in everything he writes, and when he starts writing preexisting characters, he turns those characters into the eight characters he knows how to write. He places an enormous amount of importance on superficial wit, without bothering to ground it. His jokes are predictable, his plots are predictable, his execution is tired and worn, and he is an INCREDIBLY lazy writer. He mistakes pop culture for poignancy. His work is so dependent upon shock factor and narratively unfounded “twists” that sometimes I think he’s a prepubescent kid writing a fancomic about how Batman is, like, so much more h@rdk0r3 than Superman, omg. To put this into the proper perspective: Joss Whedon is the Shrek the Third of TV writers.
And the thing is, Whedon has done some good stuff. He’s done some great stuff! He just fucks everything else up so colossally that I don’t care enough to bother trying to dig the tiny flakes of gold out of the crap.
~*~AND NOW YOU KNOW.~*~
Hello, handy and well-written essay on everything I have ever wanted to say about Joss Whedon! COME STAY AT MY BLOG FOR A WHILE, OR FOREVER.
Since it came up I thought I’d reblog it.
I do like Joss Whedon. Buffy will always be one of my favorite shows and even Dollhouse has its good moments. But a lot of this sums up my problems with him. I think more people should recognize there are problems.
(some folk asked for a rebloggable one)
anonymous asked: Why don’t you like Joss Whedon? I’m not bullying, I’m just genuinely curious!
No prob, anon! I don’t really know where to start answering this ask, plus I think others have gotten into this far better, but anyway: I have enjoyed a lot of Joss Whedon’s work. Buffy’s a formative influence, Firefly was gone too soon, etc. I wouldn’t be able to say this much about him if I didn’t have the boxsets. But in general, I think he’s a seriously overrated writer with a lot of feminist and queer ally cred that he doesn’t deserve. On the surface he is good at these things in that he does the bare minimum (while I realize that most genre writers can’t even manage THAT much, I still consider it the bare minimum). He includes ~strong female characters~, feminist characters, queer characters in his work. Great, I’m in. But then he proceeds to do really gross things to them. He undermines them, tears them down, places them into incredibly misogynist and abusive frameworks and then frames their heroism as clawing their way up out of that (if it doesn’t kill them) without adding anything new to the discussion. Then he proceeds to collect praise for confronting issues when he’s not really confronting them so much as using them as cheap narrative devices.
And maybe this is just his schtick as a writer—maybe he thinks the only way to effectively create drama is to emotionally manipulate viewers by battering characters with angst. But it leads to some troubling consequences when most of his leads are women but all he can think to do to them is rape, traumatize, brutalize, disempower or mindwipe them, but seems to be able to avoid these situations with his male characters. (who are by-and-large just victimizers he bends over backwards to make sympathetic—Mal being the most notable exception.)
All this is made worse by the fact he has a tendency to tell the same story and dredge up the same characters over and over again over the years, which means he does this a lot.
Joss Whedon on Romney.
I basically snorted my tea, VIOLENTLY.
For all of his problematic tv shows
sometimes joss whedon really does make hilarious shit
and no one is surprised.