On Galactica and Gender

I went through a bit of a hiatus posting anything.  We can all blame Battlestar Galactica. I’ve tried watching the 2004 series about three times and have never been able to get past the third episode. This time however, I made it a point to power through the first season and see how I felt. It really took off after the first season, and my life was Battlestar Galactica and nothing else for about a month. I don’t want to discuss every detail.  One aspect in particular that was interesting was the way the show treats women and gender.


There are too many series out there that just write women characters terribly and end up portraying the characters as stupid or weak.  There really wasn’t any of that constant misogyny or belittling of women in Battlestar Galactica. It’s a series boasting strong female characters. From President Roslin to Starbuck, several Cylon models, and even Admiral Cain, the show doesn’t harp on the fact that these characters are women and should be treated as fragile beings. In fact, there is an episode in season three where the crew is airing out their frustrations by holding boxing matches. More than one time it pits man against woman and just doesn’t care what gender or gender roles even are. The men and women of the fleet are just people living their lives and trying to survive. No one bursts into tears  because they are a so-called gentler sex or yells and screams due to their female anatomy.  They are well-rounded and well written characters.  Of course there are relationships and love interests and whatnot, but there is a real sense of equality throughout the series.  The real bigotry is aimed at the Cylons. Since no one in the fleet is aware of all of the Cylon models, when one is discovered the writers and actors are able to convey a sense of xenophobia and bigotry, especially Michael Hogan, who plays Saul Tigh, a man always hurling insults and jabs at the Cylons.

I would say Battlestar Galactica was ahead of its time but there are many shows today that just write women poorly and do not apologize for it.  I won’t name names or call anyone out, but pop culture still has a large misogynistic tone to it, and it’s not just television. It occurs in film, video games, and literature. Intelligent series like Battlestar Galactica will hopefully become more frequent as writers continue to develop strong female characters and promote gender equality in media across the board.


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