“Equality is like gravity – we need it to stand on this earth” Joss Whedon

WHY DO YOU CREATE STRONG WOMEN CHARACTERS?

A question Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) gets asked every single time by reporter after reporter (a question that Indian reporters may be spared from ever having to ask any man – or anyone – in TV or cinema here?)

This video gives you Whedon’s answer:

 

5 thoughts on ““Equality is like gravity – we need it to stand on this earth” Joss Whedon”

  1. Transcript of Joss Whedon’s talk:
    I know a thing or two about courage myself because I’ve read a book with some courage in it one time, and it sounds like a lot of work. So I’ll just keep writing.

    The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is something called a ‘press junket’, which is actually pretty courageous, believe me, because they ask you the same question over and over and over and over and over and over. I’ve done as many as 48 in a day – these interviews – and really, they don’t come up with fresh stuff. There is one question I’ve been asked almost every time I’ve been interviewed, so I thought tonight, briefly, I would share with you one question and a few of my responses. Because, when you’re asked something five hundred times, you really start to think about the answer.

    “So, Joss, I – a reporter – would like to know: why do you always write these strong women characters?”

    “I think it is because of my mother. She really was an extraordinary, inspirational, tough, cool, sexy funny woman and that’s the kind of woman I’ve always surrounded myself with: my friends, particularly my wife who is not only smarter and stronger than I am, but occasionally taller too. But I think it goes back to my mother.”

    “So, why do you write these strong women characters?”

    “Because of my father. My father and my step-father had a lot to do with it, because they prized wit and resolve in the women they were with above all things, and they were among the rare men who understood that recognizing somebody else’s power does not diminish your own. When I created Buffy, I wanted to create a female icon but I also wanted to be very careful to surround her with men who not only had no problem with the idea of a female leader but were, in fact, engaged and even attracted to the idea. That came from my father and step-father, the men who created this man.”

    “So, why do you write these strong women characters?”

    “Well, because these stories give people strength. And I’ve heard it from a number of people and I’ve felt it myself – and it’s not just women, it’s men – and I think there is something particular about a female protagonist that allows a man to identify with her, that opens up something, an aspect of himself that he might be unable to express – hopes and desires he might be uncomfortable expressing – through a male identification figure. So it really crosses across both and I think it helps people in that way.”

    “So, why do you create these strong women characters?”

    “Because they are hard? Because these strong women characters… why are you even asking me this? How is it possible that this is even a question? Honestly, seriously, why did you write that down? Why aren’t you asking a hundred other guys why they don’t write strong women characters?

    I believe that what I’m doing should not be remarked upon, let alone honoured – and there are other people doing it – but seriously, this question is ridiculous and you’ve just got to stop.”

    “So, why do you write these strong women characters?”

    “Because…

    Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity, we need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who’s confronted with it. We need equality… kind of now!”

    “So why do you write these strong female characters?”

    “Because you’re still asking me that question.”

  2. Irrespective of the mans witty views, most of his films fail miserably on the Bechdel test as far as gender representation is concerned. This elegant test asks if there are two or more women in the movie with names, who speak to each other, besides anything but men. To be far though, he is not the only one, and many a blockbuster bites the dust. But still, had to flag this as a perhaps wonderful example of “listen to what I say, not what I do.”

    1. Excuse me, Firefly has 3 main female characters (Inara, Zoey and Kaylee) and yes, they speak and with each other too. It can be argued that the central character to the movie which followed it, Serenity, is River Tam, another female.

  3. Reblogged this on Everyday Feminisms and commented:
    “Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity, we need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who’s confronted with it. We need equality… kind of now!”
    – Joss Whedon

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