Gender on the Galactica

Ok, so I’m secretly a huge nerd. Well, maybe that’s not so secret. But recently I’ve been accepting my true nerdiness and allowing myself to delve into some awesome sci-fi shows. For the past week, I’ve spent most of my free time watching Battlestar Galactica. I’m only on season 2, but so far I’m fascinated by all of the sexuality/gender play on the show!

The first thing I noticed was that all of the women in uniform were called “sir.” At first I wasn’t sure if I thought this was rad or off-putting, but then I realized that it’s essentially removing gender from the picture – every person in the military of a certain rank receives the same title. Thus, there’s less room for gender discrimination. So I guess I think it’s rad!

image courtesy of blogspot.com

The second interesting tidbit is the gender play between President Roslyn and Captain/Admiral Adama. There’s a clear power struggle – Adama has trouble accepting Roslyn’s authority (perhaps because she’s a newcomer to politics, perhaps because she’s a woman), and Roslyn manages to circumnavigate this mistrust with a highly feminine poise and elegance. It is through this poise and elegance that Roslyn continues to make wise and politically beneficial decisions. Eventually, Adama learns to appreciate and respect Roslyn, working with her rather than against her. I think the writers of BSG used Roslyn’s character as a way to highlight Adama’s own sort of new-found feminism. I love it!

Of course, once Admiral Cain comes along, with her stern attitude and blunt bangs, we see Adama immediately succumb to her authority. Makes me very curious about gender in our own army rankings!

The third tidbit is the startling amount of unsafe sex. I mean, I understand that the human race is at risk of extinction and everyone needs to focus on reproduction and blah blah blah, but what about STDs? Do those not exist in space? There has not yet been any protection, or even any hint of worrying that sex might be unsafe. Also interesting to note that there’s been absolutely no hint of homosexuality anywhere on the show. None of the characters are gay, which I found surprising (maybe I’m just comparing this too much to one of my other favorites, Torchwood, where practically everyone is gay). Apparently towards the end of the show, the producers thought it was time to introduce some queer characters, but at that point it was time for the series to end.

Kara Thrace with short hair, image courtesy of yourpopfilter.com

Last but not least is my favorite character (slash the entire reason I watch the show), Kara Thrace. Oh Kara. How I love your bad-assery and general I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude. Essentially the Galactica’s best Viper pilot, Kara is your typical tough girl with a fiery temper. It’s interesting that she started off the series with short hair and fairly masculine attire, since as the series goes on we see her grow her hair long and start to be a bit more sexualized. Not that I mind! But seriously, couldn’t they have at least thrown in one gay scene with Kara? Pretty sure it would make a lot of fans really happy. Or maybe just this one.

Kara, all femmed up

I went ahead and did a little bit of research to see what other people had to say about sex/gender and BSG, and I found some interesting articles.  Slate.com argues that BSG may not be so feminist after all, while io9.com claims its the men of BSG that make the show a feminist one! What do you all think?

About Michaela

Michaela

Michaela is a recent Seven Sisters graduate with a self-designed degree in Sexuality Studies. When she's not blogging, you'll find her teaching Health and Wellness and A Cappella to high school students, helping women find properly fitting bras, and working as an editor on a documentary. She hopes to continue her education one day with a PhD in Feminist Anthropology.