Academic Discourse: Whedon fails as a social feminist

Excerpt from “Hot Chicks with Superpowers” by Lauren Schultz:

” Some viewers may overlook the graphic imagery and consider how Dollhouse’s complicated narrative examines complex social issues, but others may be unable to get beyond the images. As one viewer notes, “This is the problem with literary theory: Someone shows you 44 min-utes of rape and you start talking about the deeper commentary on patriarchal values entrenched in mass media culture, and somehow overlook the fact that millions of people are¬† sitting in their living rooms watching 44 minutes of rape” (Lewis 2009). Because viewers could watch Dollhouse in much the same way some would watch soft-core pornography, the show’s visual style must be interrogated, and both fans and scholars should acknowledge the potentially damaging nature of its explicit images.”


This excerpt, while countered in her own article, explains exactly how Joss Whedon fails as a social feminist. Despite his ability to excel at dissecting feminism to its roots through the analysis of tropes and stereotypes, his constant use of juxtaposing tropes requires that he show¬†gratuitous amounts of images that are harmful to social feminism causes. Whedon himself would probably claim that he is an analytical feminism first and foremost. He work revolves around “the words” and he is less concerned about how his shows affect the “people on the ground.”

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