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Strong female characters?
Travisina
trevor travis wrote:


Although I agree on all counts about the sheer strength of character of Servie. But she's a strong woman, not a strong man.


She's a strong CHARACTER, that's the main thing. She passes the 8-point test in the OP. I don't think any of the other B7 women pass all 8 points.
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
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There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
President Solvite
Not sure about the rigour of the '8 defining points'.

However speaking generally I would vote a cautious 'yes' for all major female characters.

Even Servalan who perhaps is an early-ish definition of what 'girl-power' was/is. Displays vulnerabilities and dare I say it stupidity in certain episodes. Orac with the Phibian (though she quickly snaps back into place) Harvest of Kairos and Sand. But ignoring the odd glitch which can be found with all the major female characters. (Jenna, Cally, Servalan, Soolin and Dayna) Similar quirks and failings could also be directed at the male characters too in similar number of events.

Of course I think Alien was a big influence (with Ellen Ripley) and of course Princess Leia from Star Wars about how maybe female characters were and should be portrayed.
 
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peladon
Travisina wrote:


She's a strong CHARACTER, that's the main thing. She passes the 8-point test in the OP. I don't think any of the other B7 women pass all 8 points.


I'd disagree, Jenna passes on all right up to the end. Dayne does until the awful S4,(Animals - shudder) Cally gets destroyed by later writers (just read the Quibell Abduction again - great to meet the REAL Cally once more), Soolin does - except for her entry into the series. Of the incidental characters - Avalon does, Sinofar and companion do,the women of the Ortega do, Kasabi does, Ralli does (I think), but probably none of the others.
 
peladon
President Solvite wrote:

Not sure about the rigour of the '8 defining points'.

However speaking generally I would vote a cautious 'yes' for all major female characters.

Even Servalan who perhaps is an early-ish definition of what 'girl-power' was/is. Displays vulnerabilities and dare I say it stupidity in certain episodes. Orac with the Phibian (though she quickly snaps back into place) Harvest of Kairos and Sand. But ignoring the odd glitch which can be found with all the major female characters. (Jenna, Cally, Servalan, Soolin and Dayna) Similar quirks and failings could also be directed at the male characters too in similar number of events.

Of course I think Alien was a big influence (with Ellen Ripley) and of course Princess Leia from Star Wars about how maybe female characters were and should be portrayed.


There is no requirment for them to be fearless or super beings, any more than there is for the male characters, its a combination of how they deal with them and the situations they are put into. In the case of the Philbean again it was how the fear response was played , not the fear response itself, that was 'sterotypically female'.

Take the abduction of Jenna in Deliverance - that could have been written as sterotype female but it wasnt, it just happened to be her who got kidnapped. If Vila had been the one taken would anything else have changed in the plot - no. So its an instance where Jenna was unlucky - not where her 'femaleness' was the defining factor. In fact if Jenna hadnt been a tough and competent person Gan would not have left her, she wouldnt have been outnumbered and the event wouldnt have happened.
 
peladon
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

peladon wrote:

My test of a strong female character has always been - is the character essentially gender neutral (in story terms) - so if you changed the character to a male one would any of their behaviours have to change. If very little does - then they probably are 'strong'.

So if they're a female character then they're weak by definition, unless they're a generic character who just happens to be played by a woman? That strikes me as a strange rule. It might just about apply to some fantasy drama, but I'm not sure about the classics like Jane Austen or other relationship dramas.


I don't think I said that, I certainly didnt mean to, what I thought I said was if the plot driving behaviours of the character had to change significantly to accomodate a change of gender they were unlikley to be 'strong', thats true for male characters too btw.

The social conventions of the plot context have to be allowed for. Jane Austen wrote characters against a set of very clear social rules and expectations. This has to in part define what counts as strong behaviour for both male and female characters. Victorians seeing B7 would probably judge Vila's cowardice much more harshly than we do and would see Blake as far more 'heroic' than many do now. Also relationship dramas are a specific type of plot where the social behaviours are the plot and so the dynamics are very different. Very few people today can do them without making one of the genders appear weak.
Edited by peladon on 06 September 2014 17:53:19
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
peladon wrote:

...what I thought I said was if the plot driving behaviours of the character had to change significantly to accomodate a change of gender they were unlikley to be 'strong', thats true for male characters too btw...

Stepping aside from the rights and wrongs of stereo-typing per se, and taking into account that gender roles are not hard and fast rules as all personal qualities can be shown by either gender, I would raise the question of what if a quality that is primarily associated with feminine feelings plays a significant and positive role in the outworking of a plot? On topic we have Cally's compassion forming a bond with the moondisks, while slightly off topic in the adjacent world of Doctor Who we have Amy Pond's emotional and very 'female' speech of entreaty that saves the day with the space whale in The Beast Below.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
trevor travis
Travisina wrote:

trevor travis wrote:

But doesn't Servalan use her femininity against Rai in almost her first scene in her very first story? That wasn't written for a man; it just couldn't work the same.


That's in the way Jacqueline played the scene (and possibly in the stage directions). However, if you just read the clean dialogue, the lines could just as easily have been said by a man - including the one about being old friends (which itself may have been a late addition).


Travisina, I'm not convinced:

SERVALAN: But why so formal, Rai? What can be so important that we can't discuss it in a more relaxed way? Oh, Rai, come here.

It's not just the stage directions, but the whole nature of the dialogue as well.

A male Servalan saying "What can be so important that we can't discuss it in a more relaxed way?" would IMO be slightly odd.

While Servalan may have been originally conceived as a male character, by the time her/his episodes were penned (six episodes in), I think the decision to change the character to female had already been taken.

Well that's my opinion on this particular one in any case.
 
peladon
trevor travis wrote:

[quote]Travisina wrote:


Travisina, I'm not convinced:

SERVALAN: But why so formal, Rai? What can be so important that we can't discuss it in a more relaxed way? Oh, Rai, come here.

It's not just the stage directions, but the whole nature of the dialogue as well.

A male Servalan saying "What can be so important that we can't discuss it in a more relaxed way?" would IMO be slightly odd.

While Servalan may have been originally conceived as a male character, by the time her/his episodes were penned (six episodes in), I think the decision to change the character to female had already been taken.

Well that's my opinion on this particular one in any case.


Not so. The dialogue of itself is largely neutral, the dynamic is superior to subordinate not female to male. For example had a male Servalan indicated to Rai to take a chair as the comment was made it would work equally well provided the inflexion was neutral. Its the inflexion on the words, and the nature of the smile that makes it a female/male thing.

Servalan is largely gender neutral for the whole of the first series and parts of the second. In these scripts she is written as what she is meant to be, an ambitious military politician, and in terms of her words and actions her gender is largely irrelevant. That starts to change when other writers start to pen the words, and not IMO for the better. Servalan as created was a truly wonderful character and giving the role to a woman at that time was farsighted.
 
peladon
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

peladon wrote:

...what I thought I said was if the plot driving behaviours of the character had to change significantly to accomodate a change of gender they were unlikley to be 'strong', thats true for male characters too btw...

Stepping aside from the rights and wrongs of stereo-typing per se, and taking into account that gender roles are not hard and fast rules as all personal qualities can be shown by either gender, I would raise the question of what if a quality that is primarily associated with feminine feelings plays a significant and positive role in the outworking of a plot? On topic we have Cally's compassion forming a bond with the moondisks, while slightly off topic in the adjacent world of Doctor Who we have Amy Pond's emotional and very 'female' speech of entreaty that saves the day with the space whale in The Beast Below.


Gender roles and 'sterotypical female' behaviours are not the same thing.
Is Cally particularly compassionate in forming a bond with the moondisks? They seek her out and she welcomes as a telepath starved of mental communciations. Is Amy Ponds speech particularly female? I couldnt stand her so it doesnt stick with me. I wouldnt see either compassion or passionate entreaty as particularly male or female behaviours.
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
peladon wrote:

Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:
Stepping aside from the rights and wrongs of stereo-typing per se, and taking into account that gender roles are not hard and fast rules as all personal qualities can be shown by either gender...

Gender roles and 'sterotypical female' behaviours are not the same thing...

Hence why, as you can see, I listed them seperately to cover both angles.

peladon wrote:

I wouldnt see either compassion or passionate entreaty as particularly male or female behaviours.

So we're on the same page can you give some specific examples of what you consider female qualites that, if they were to affect the outcome of the plot, would fit the point you are making?
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
trevor travis
peladon wrote:
Not so. The dialogue of itself is largely neutral, the dynamic is superior to subordinate not female to male.


If a male superior at work said to me: "What can be so important that we can't discuss it in a more relaxed way? Oh, Trevor Travis, come here", I would be very worried, make my excuses and leg it in the opposite direction Grin

IMO I don't think that line is gender neutral Wink
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
trevor travis wrote:

If a male superior at work said to me: "What can be so important that we can't discuss it in a more relaxed way? Oh, Trevor Travis, come here", I would be very worried, make my excuses and leg it in the opposite direction Grin

IMO I don't think that line is gender neutral Wink

LOL Grin Totally agree!
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
peladon
trevor travis wrote:

peladon wrote:
Not so. The dialogue of itself is largely neutral, the dynamic is superior to subordinate not female to male.


If a male superior at work said to me: "What can be so important that we can't discuss it in a more relaxed way? Oh, Trevor Travis, come here", I would be very worried, make my excuses and leg it in the opposite direction Grin

IMO I don't think that line is gender neutral Wink


Perhaps you would, but it doesnt change the fact that its the way the words are said and the actions put to those words that make it male /female. If for example again, she had said the first half of the dialogue whilst sitting back in her chair with no smile and indicating the one in front of her, and then the 'Oh Rai come here' in an impatient or weary tone of voice then the whole thing changes. Its not the situation, or the words, but how they were dressed up. That gives us the Servalan playing male/female games, just as it would if had been a male senior officer and a female subordinate.
 
Frankymole
President Solvite wrote:
Of course I think Alien was a big influence (with Ellen Ripley) and of course Princess Leia from Star Wars about how maybe female characters were and should be portrayed.
Dr Who's Leela predated both of those...
 
President Solvite
peladon wrote:
There is no requirment for them to be fearless or super beings,


I don't recall that I said that they did. My observation was to the credibility of the 'rules' themselves. But in any case the female characters on the whole compare favourably to Princess Leia and/or Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley. Or indeed Leela, as FM has indicated.
Edited by President Solvite on 06 September 2014 20:34:51
 
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President Solvite
Frankymole wrote:

President Solvite wrote:
Of course I think Alien was a big influence (with Ellen Ripley) and of course Princess Leia from Star Wars about how maybe female characters were and should be portrayed.
Dr Who's Leela predated both of those...


Indeed but I recall people drawing some inspiration from Alien rather than Who albeit on a reduced budget.
(One of the Together Again tapes as I recall, or maybe another interview tape)
 
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Travisina
peladon wrote:

trevor travis wrote:

[quote]peladon wrote:
Not so. The dialogue of itself is largely neutral, the dynamic is superior to subordinate not female to male.


If a male superior at work said to me: "What can be so important that we can't discuss it in a more relaxed way? Oh, Trevor Travis, come here", I would be very worried, make my excuses and leg it in the opposite direction Grin

IMO I don't think that line is gender neutral Wink

I agree with Peladon. Ignore what you see on screen, and imagine it's Travis saying those lines to a mutoid. Leave out the word 'Oh', which may have been a late addition by JP. It's a class/rank situation, not male/female.
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Frankymole
Lines get amended in rehearsal. I agree, a male Supreme Commander (albeit one with a criminal agenda) could've made the conversation with Rai work - probably pouring a drink like JR from Dallas and snapping with impatience with the "Oh Rai, come here!" being shouted. Heck, Ven Glynd acts high-handedly like this with his subordinates in the previous insight into the Administration's methods. Rai would act like confused subordinate rather than an ex-lover (unless the BBC got really progressive). Anyway, Rai might've been cast as a woman like the Major at Travis's trial.
 
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