Monthly Archives: May 2013

A Love Story

When I was a girl, my mother’s glamorous, beautiful younger cousin fell in love. I remember visiting the dress shop where she worked with my great-aunt and seeing her engagement ring. She wore yellow knee socks and a blouse of some ethereal material and she was sitting in a big chair like a happy queen. But all was not happy. He was Mormon. This was the 80s. Many family members felt they could tell this gorgeous, happy couple that they couldn’t be together. I remember yelling behind closed doors and whispers in public. But they fought for each other and they won. Their wedding was full of yellow flowers.

Tonight, he’s dying of pancreatic cancer. His children, who were the ring bearer and a flower girl in my own wedding, are gathered at his side, his daughter facing the fact that her father won’t be at her wedding in June. 

It was the first love story I knew. It’s always been the most romantic one, the Romeo and Juliet that ended the way it should. But now it’s ending too soon. And all our hearts are breaking.


Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


Of Geekery and Feminism

I had an unexpected free evening so I decided to go see Star Trek [insert colon here] Into Darkness.  I settled in, ready for good popcorn movie fun. But as the movie progressed, my joy in Benedict Cumberbatch and in Kirk and Spock’s bromance began to fade. My immersion in the story ended as I started to realize that this movie was failing the Bechdel test. 

Evidence for that failure and other bits of sexism:

1. Although two women are featured secondary characters, they never speak to each other. And both are defined in relation to men — one through her relationship with a fellow officer, the other through her relationship with her father and through audience awareness of her future relationship with Kirk.

2. The women still wear skimpy dresses with short sleeves and boots while the men wear pants and long-sleeved shirts. At the very least, they are chilly.

3.  Obligatory scene of woman in bra and panties.

4. Woman is allowed on-board the Enterprise not because of her impressive academic credentials, but because Kirk thinks she’s hot.

5. All but one of the senior command of Starfleet are men. 

Sure, the movie is based on a 1960s tv show — isn’t this what we expect? But Star Trek: The Original Series was a forward-thinking program. For a show of the 60s, it was progressive in its explorations of race and culture. The first scripted interracial kiss on television was on Star Trek.  In his determination to remain true to TOS, J.J. Abrams freezes the crew, halts the progressivism. He doesn’t reimagine a crew — he replicates a crew.  Unlike the Battlestar Galactica reboot which recast two major characters as women and depicted a post-feminist world by virtue of a nearly post-human world, Star Trek Into Darkness merely adds loud special effects and lots of lens flare to a world that is basically still 1960s America. Abrams had all the possibilities of the future and he chose to depict the past.

I’m tired of the assumption that geeky action movies are only for men. Half the audience in the theater tonight were middle-aged women. I’m tired of the assumption that men want to see objectified women. Many men are feminists. I wish I had an answer, a solution. I do know that we geeks fight hard. We got a cancelled tv show made into a movie. We brought back Futurama from the dead.  Let’s be geeky about feminism. Let’s demand more shows like BSG, like Firefly, like Buffy. Let’s demand a female Doctor, a female Obi Wan. 

Let’s see what happens when a movie like Star Trek creates female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man. And what happens when a big-budget science fiction movie imagines the future and reflects the present.



Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Uncategorized