July 9, 2013

How Do We Write the Woman of the Future Into Geek Culture?

Salve Omni!

Greetings all! Please bear with me, as this is my first blog post, EVER! But I figured it was time!

As an author (my husband and I are currently writing a Science Fiction series, and I a Steam-Punk novel), a poet, movie lover, Science Fiction fanatic, Trekkie, comic book collector, gamer, geek and African-American woman, I thought I would write about the things I love...from my own warped perspective, of course!

Now I'm not saying that I have all of the answers to everything, but I will definitely make it entertaining...in my own geeky way...with a bit of wisdom thrown into the mix.

I read an article the other day that got me to thinking more than usual. It basically sums up what I, and I'm sure many feminists and females everywhere, have been thinking since Science Fiction and Fantasy took the world by storm...that the world needs more women writers of Science Fiction!

I agree completely, but let us not stop at Science Fiction; let us cover the entire geek spectrum! Let us encompass it all--Fantasy, gaming, comic books, and the lot! The world needs a better version of the future from a woman's perspective. Most important, there is an immediate need, ladies and gentlemen, for the evolution of strong, female characters!!! I love, love, love all things geek, and while there are many admirable female characters who have graced us with their presence via the movie screen, television, novels, videogames, and countless comic books, I feel as if the future of womankind is still left wanting.

We presently live in the age of Science Fiction, where technological and scientific advances are continuously evolving Our human advancements seem to progress on a weekly basis! Just as the real world is readily evolving, so should the societal norms in the world of literature. Especially the way that women are factored into the future. They must be ready to evolve just as fast.

Being a woman (still rather a minority in the genre), and as a minority myself, when I look to the future, it looks bleak. By no means am I saying that strong, admirable female characters do not already exist. Many strong female characters have paved the way for womankind; however, I am saying that the number is still few in comparison to the countless captains and adventurers and heroes who have been imagined and immortalized by predominately male authors and visionaries throughout the years. In the past, it was an easier path for men to traverse. In the present, it is just as easy for women to traverse the same path and steer our future in the way we would see it unfold...in a world, in a universe where women are just as crucial to all aspects of life.

There are many, many strong female characters who have inspired me and renewed my love for these genres. If I listed them all, it might take you all day to read this blog, thus making my first post very unpopular for being way too wordy. In order to save time, I will just list a few:

  • Nyota Uhura from Star Trek OS
  • Lara Croft from Tomb Raider
  • Xena Warrior Princess
  • Wonder Woman
  • Cat Woman (particularly Anne Hathaway's version from the Dark Knight Rises)
  • Dana Scully from the X- Files
  • Several characters from the television series Defiance:
    • Amanda Rosewater
    •  Kenya Rosewater
    • Irisa Nyira
    • Stahma Tarr
    • Doc Yewll
  • Hermione Granger from Harry Potter
  • Rebecca, also known as Tank Girl from the film of the same name.
After revisiting one of my favorite films, Tank Girl, late last night, I thought to myself, "now this hot mess is truly a woman of the future!" My readers may agree or disagree, but kidding aside, she's a great candidate. I've always admired her character. I admire her punk style, her warped sense of humor (well, you've got to laugh when the times turn to crap), and her strong will and bravery. This is one chick who doesn't back down, and she certainly is not one to apologize. She's a badass who drives a tank! It doesn't get much better than that! Unconventionally pretty and foul-mouthed, she embodies what I would like to see (of course, in varying degrees) in more female character development. She is street smart, not sheltered, and she uses it to her advantage to survive. To sum it up, Rebecca is a strong, stubborn and extremely independent free spirit. Sure, she has friends and companions and love interests, but when she finds herself alone, she never shuts down. Not solely relying on her looks or merely her intellect to get by in her future world, she takes the world head-on. Clearly capable of maintaining her femininity, we see that she is definitely aware and not ashamed of her sexuality; however, she does not use these elements to solely define her. Rebecca is just as tough as the boys she's up against. This ain't no damsel-in-distress waiting to be rescued! She plots and reacts and fights, using everything she has...and staying strong throughout.

And strong must the new evolution of female characters be. And even stronger, the female authors who write them. And to countless numbers must the female circle of authors, and dreamers grow. And as diverse as the universe must the ethnicities and species of these characters become. The future, dear reader, especially the future of women, will be diverse; not merely ranging from the diverse peoples of Earth, but expanding outward to encompass the faraway civilizations dreamed of by many a creative mind.

These female characters will have so many stories to tell, will wear many different hats, and will have many different faces...and I can't wait!