Warning: I'm Going Full Feminist
I love science fiction. I love movies. I'm not very political most of the time and I loved Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuaron. So it was with great anticipation that I wanted to see his new movie, Gravity. Then came the trailers. At first, the trailer totally had me. It looked like a realistic depiction of an emergncy in zero gravity, set in our present day. But then came more trailers and more, and something started to bug me. My wife, Noriko, put it best when she said, "I'm tired of her screaming voice."
And then it hit me. Every trailer has a hysterical woman panting and hollering like she's giving birth on Little House on the Prairie, while calm men issue stern instructions.
While I consider myself a feminist, my sensitivity setting is usually set to "Obtuse." If I'm registering something as sexist, the wrongness must be set to 11. In Gravity, it's out of this world. At least in the trailer.
I know some very smart women. I've met some women scientists. I had the good fortune of meeting Sarah Seager: Planet Hunter. I've met Priya Natarajan: Dark Matter Expert. I've spoken with NASA scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig. I married a smart, strong woman. I can't imagine any of them being reduced to a blubbering mess in an emergency, even one as frightening as becoming unmoored in zero gravity. And they haven't been through astronaut training.
If Cuaron wanted to subvert the cliche, I wish he'd had George Clooney in full-throated hysteria while a calm, even-voiced Sandra Bullock talked him through the scary parts. That would have been something new. I will see the movie, I hope to like it, and I'm not having a spasm of internet nerd rage. But I do wish the trailer didn't look so much like daddy talking his princess through a bad date.