Thursday, 13 August 2009

Do feminists recognise a subversive discourse?

Sometimes I worry about feminist righteousness. Upon reading this blog post I felt I needed to reply, but seeing as someone else already covered some of what I was going to say, I thought I'd just have a little rant over here.

After reading reviews on Amazon and doing about 5 minutes of research, this is what I found:

The Surrogates is a sci-fi graphic novel. The premise of the story is that people have become so concerned with their own safety and inner-world that they stay at home all day, linked to a mechanical surrogate who goes out into the world to do their jobs, errands, whatever. It transpires that prejudice is ingrained, no matter if the race/gender of an individual is no longer a certainty.

And so, what do we know about sci-fi and fantasy? It is a medium used to hold a mirror up to society and show it what is wrong, sick or dangerous about the values it extols.

It appears to me that rather than demonstrating that an all-white and (western-type) beauty would create a perfect society, it actually shows that human beings are inherently prejudiced and the choice that people make to have the 'perfect white' surrogate is a symptom of this.

I would like to recognise the possibility that the poster is actually part of a larger subversive discourse, showing that the current images valued by society are not the way forward, and something needs to be done. The fact that the story is set 5 decades in the future, and nothing about beauty standards has changed, is (to me) a chilling message that more needs to be done about the situation today!

Obviously, there is more to the film than I have written here. My quick analysis could be completely wrong, and let's not forget that the story has been adapted for mainstream cinema, and a mainstream audience might miss such a message completely. However, I am frustrated at feminist writers immediately taking offence over an advertisement, without thinking about the further implications, or even doing a little deeper research into the story.

I look forward to the film (not in the least because Bruce Willis is playing the gritty cop!) and I'm currently trying to find the graphic novel at a cheap price, to check whether I feel the same after reading it.