In my response I will be discussing the optional reading assigned for this week, social text periscope: speculative life. I know that probably that I should’ve blog on Tropic of Orange, or at least the other required readings. But, I enjoyed reading most of the articles which pop out by clicking the link. Having said that, I will be discussing the ideas of Andrea Hairston in her article “Disappearing Natives: Notes for Future SF&F Stories.”
I really enjoyed reading Hairston’s article, as she opened my eyes more on SF and its role in the world we live in. Hairston points out, along with other issues, how the popular SF film narratives are dominated by a hetreosexual white male heroes. She also explains how this issue is only an extension of silencing and oppressing the Other, only this time by using media. Her claim is absolutely true, I have never thought of it before. SF films, especially the blockbuster ones are dominated by white males as protagonists. Hairston mentions the film Source Code, where the protagonist is Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), as an example. I believe that, whoever is responsible for promoting the heterosexual white male to be the standard social norm, is using the SF films, since they are hugely admired nowadays to solidify this notion. Also, to add on Hairston idea, the film Avatar, which was a huge success worldwide, fell to the same thing, since the protagonist Jake Sully (Sam Washington) is a hetreosexual white male. He is “torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.” There are also many examples of SF films where the protagonist are the same as Captain Stevens, and Jake Sully. Hairston is right when she says “ Imagine Gyllenhaal dropping into the body of an old Chinese lesbian. Would that be a blockbuster?” If that is even possible, the next logical question is WHEN? It seems that in terms of SF blockbusters films we are really behind in identifying the other. After the reading the piece, I am optimistic that things will change soon. Especially when Hairston mentions at the end that she and other SF female writers are aiming to “create a bridge to alternate realities with ‘Native’ protagonists.”
Also another good point that Hairston makes is the idea of how technology in most films is portrayed as anti-human. And that most heroes must defeat whatever type of technology in order to succeed. Technology, Hairston claims is viewed as enslaver, and that the protagonist must defeat it, if HE wants to be free. She also refers to Source Code as an example. This idea seems a bit absurd to me, especially the world that we live in now. Technology is involved in every aspect of our life. “To be anti-technology is to be anti-human.” In the end, after reading the article I came up with the conclusion that SF films is way behind SF literature in terms of bridging the gaps.