On TV and in real life, there's a dearth of young women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. While a few bygone shows exposed the barriers against geeks in general (think My So-Called Life's Brian Krakow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Willow, and Freaks and Geeks's Lindsay Weir), contemporary television shows fail to portray the bumpy path that exist specfically for young women male-dominated science and math career tracks. I say we need more characters like Willow.
Season six is my favorite season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I like the dark themes, and I like seeing Willow grow up and mature as a result of her grief. (I also like the musical episode.) Recently, I was talking over Buffy when my friend, Bitch contributor Emily Manuel, reminded me about the surprising musical accompaniment to that season's final moments. This is the moment when Xander Harris forgives Willow Rosenberg, and Sarah McLachlan's "Prayer of St. Francis" plays in the background (lyrics):
There are several things you can count on seeing in a series created by Joss Whedon. There will be witty banter. There will likely be some awesome fight scenes where a woman kicks ass and takes names. There will often be a brunette who, beaten down by society, will at some point wander around in bare feet. There will be absent fathers. But Whedon's work also continually and interestingly explores the idea of institutionalization as a form of controlling and punishing women.
Joss Whedon's Dollhouse premiered last week, and The Box breathed a sigh of relief. I've been waiting so long to see Eliza Dushku kick ass and smart off in the style of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of ass-kicking in the first episode. Or smarting off, for that matter. Maybe that's because Dushku's character, Echo, is without a personality for most of the time...except when she's imprinted with perfect abilities and sent on missions without her knowledge.
A series about a woman with no autonomy doesn't sound like it's going to win Joss Whedon another honor from Equality Now, right? But then again, all of his shows feature leading ladies who are good at things against their will…
As Valentine's Day approaches, The Box addresses the question that's on everyone's mind: How feminist is the sex on my favorite teen dramas? I graded the biggest shows of the last twenty years on their sex positivity. Click to see who came out on top.