The Representation of Women’s Issues in Science-fiction

Introduction Video: Sci-fi has a Women Problem

Video Two: Female Sexuality in Sci-fi

Video Three: Reproductive Rights in Sci-fi

Video Four: Equal Representation in Sci-fi

This digital artefact does some things well and other things, mainly from behind-the-scenes, could have been done better.

My original concept was to do three video essays which analysed how speculative fiction represents, warns, and comments on women’s issues. I chose three which are particularly relevant in today’s society; sexuality, reproductive rights, and equal representation. My original concept did not change throughout the project, except to add a fourth video as an introduction to the concepts of science fiction as speculative fiction, futurology, and some background information on what the science-fiction genre has historically been like for women creators and characters.

I chose this topic because I am very interested in how women are represented in media and the real-world consequences and implications of these representations, and so being able to explore this while considering the future was both entertaining and genuinely interesting to research. However, I did not stick to some elements of the FIST principles; my idea was not fast or tiny, and while I thought it was simple, it ended up being bigger than I thought. Each video essay runs between five and ten minutes long, which means there is around half an hour of content total. With this length, a podcast would have potentially been a more achievable medium to deliver the information through, as making the four video essays took a significant amount of time.

There is significant literature on gender representations in genre fiction so finding academic studies and research went well, and I was able to find predictions for all three of the topic I chose. One of the most interesting papers I looked into was Eva Flicker’s paper on the marginalization and sexualisation of scientific competence I used in the final video essay, as well as the website which did the analysis of all the spoken dialogue in Star Wars. I think both of these were really great finds and good resources to back up my arguments. All of the papers, studies, surveys, books, articles and webpages I reference have links in the video themselves so people can do further research themselves if they’d like. An interesting fact of the DA was I was able to find actually futurists discussing sexuality in the future, but no ‘futurists’ discussed the other two issues that I could find.

Time management regarding the project was the biggest limitation I faced as I did not stick to any kind of upload schedule, so even though I feel like I made relatively in-depth video essays about how science fiction uses societies issues to speculate about possible futures, and I feel like I did well covering how futurologists and other experts ‘actually’ predict the future, and how these two things relate, they weren’t uploaded with enough time for me to really get the most out of sharing it them on relevant Reddit threads, or for much audience engagement. I did share the videos with my housemates prior to uploading for any feedback to counter the lack of outside comments. My main aim for the video essay series was to create something which would make people think about why the representation of issues in speculative texts is important, or why they could be important, and to make my arguments about female representation in science fiction convincingly, and the people I have shown said I achieved this, so all in all I am happy with the outcome of this DA, but not with my time management with creating and uploading them.

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