Input needed for Gender & Genre Panel at WonderCon

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 13:37
VIEWED: 2272
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007 9:11 PM


Going to WonderCon? We need your help!

As announced last week on Comic News Insider, the California Browncoats are hosting their very first panel at this year's WonderCon, on Sunday, March 4, from 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. On the panel, Jane Espenson (Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Pia Guerra (Y: The Last Man) will be answering questions about the portrayal of gender in today's sci-fi and comics. The discussion, titled Gender & Genre, will be led by Amanda Sullivan of Equality Now.

The questions for the panel will come from fans – what do you want to hear about? We are looking for a broad range of questions.

* Do you have a specific question for one of our panelists about their work or career? (“In the episode Superstar, why is power portrayed as a zero-sum game between the male (Jonathan) and female (Buffy)?”)

* Or would you like to pick their brains about the general landscape of genre? ("Why do comic book movies that focus on female characters still suck?")

* Or perhaps questions about working in the genre industry (“Right now, how much of a burden is there on artists to portray responsible female role models? Is this a legitimate or unfair burden?”)

* And don’t forget about the guys! ("How are lead male roles changing with the changing role of women? How would a Yorick (Y: The Last Man) written 20 years ago have been different from the one being written now?”)

Do you have a question or topic you'd like to see addressed at the panel? Tell us! E-mail with your suggestion. Please include your name (or screen name, or some other way to identify you) as you’d like it to be read at the panel, e.g., “Mary in Tuscon,” or "FireflyFan from the boards."

Gender & Genre Panel:


Wednesday, February 21, 2007 5:37 AM


Thank you, Lexigeek!

Oh, how I wish I could be there for this panel.

I'll be back and hopefully contribute an intelligent question.

Go to for more info!

Ask me how to join the Appreciatin' Nathan crew!

When we're down, don't frown. Come join the camp-out at Someone think of a name and we'll start a crew over there!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007 10:55 AM


Yes please! We need questions so the panel goes well. And we know Browncoats can come up with great, intelligent questions.

Also, don't forget to check out all the other Browncoat goodness at WonderCon. Limited edition original design t-shirt, swag bag, signings, fundraiser, prizes, and on and on.


Check out the Adam Baldwin Firefly Shooting Script Auctions starting July 26th!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:19 PM


It's not a question as such, but... I sometimes wonder if writers assume they're writing strong women characters when they're actually writing male women characters. I'm ~not~ including Joss here. All his characters, male, female and weird demons that didn't exibit any particular gender, showed great depth and variation. But with some shows, particularly crime genres, I sometimes feel that writers take a female character, write her pretty much as a male character and then assume that makes her a strong female character. It doesn't. It just makes her a women who acts like a guy.

I know lots of strong female characters tend to take on roles traditionally reserved for male characters - Buffy and Zoe are great examples - but I think too many writers tend to use it as a shortcut. And it's a shame as there are so many ways female characters can be explored - just look at Willow, Joyce, Tara, Cordelia, Fred, Inara, Kaylee and River to name but a few. All of them number among the strongest female characters ever seen on TV, and yet some of them (like Tara and Kaylee) are anything but physically strong - at first anyway.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? Am I just babbling like a moonbrain?

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:24 PM


No, I think it's a really good question, and one I hope comes up in the panel. There's some argument that the strong female characters on Battlestar are written as men played by women. They're hard-drinking, tough-as-nails, arrogant, etc. Whether that makes them masculine or just strong is open to debate. I'd be interested in Jane's take on this, especially, since she has written a couple of episodes of BSG.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:37 PM


Yeah, Battlestar makes me ponder the issue a lot. Because on the one hand you have Starbuck who is the traditional Alpha Male. She's completely a man in a woman's body. To the point that any female traits are portrayed as a weakness - settling down with a guy gets her captured on New Caprica. Then her longing for a child is used against her and nearly leads to a breakdown. She only finds strength again when she cuts out her "female" life by cutting off her long hair.

But then on the other hand you have Sharon / Boomer / Athena. The one on Galactica I mean, I have trouble keeping my Sharons straight! And *her* strength, her overriding power, comes from being the love interest! You just don't *get* a better role reversal in modern TV. It's brilliant! Her love for Helo, Adama and her friends on Galactica helps her rewrite everything she is, helping her reject the Cylons and live as a human. And unlike the crazy-passionate femme fatales that were prepared to kill for their guy, Sharon's love helps her *not* to kill, even though that's what her people want her to do. It's strength based on all the traditional "female" weaknesses. It's fascinating.

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