"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Friday, May 25, 2007

Feminism Friday: Sexism Humor and The Bionic Woman

In a fit of insomnia last night, I caught the beginning of The Tonight Show in its second airing. Leno joked in his monologue about how NBC is coming out with an updated version of The Bionic Woman for its fall lineup. Why did the network decide to create a new series based on the Bionic Woman instead of the Bionic Man, he asked? "Because they only have to pay her 80 cents for every dollar they would have had to pay the Bionic Man."

The audience booed the joke, which I hoped was a negative reaction to the sad reality of the Wage Gap in general and not an assumption that Jay (or rather, his team of writers) was being sexist for mentioning it. The wisecrack at least acknowledged the issue and gave it some attention, which is generally preferable to silence. Leno's response to the audience's reaction: "You tell the truth, and they boo you."

Now, about the new show. I don't have much frame of reference since I know very little about the original Bionic Woman from the 70s, but I'm still excited about an upcoming series in which the central character is a butt-kicking, super-hero female. I suppose we'll have to wait and see if she'll end up being portrayed as dynamic and multidimensional, and if the show will meet the standards put forth by Karen Healey. If you click on the link above, you can watch a preview and make your own predictions about how well it will stand up to feminist critique.


Jeff Pollet said...

It looks at least interesting enough to give it a shot, though the stuff at the beginning about 'giving up her life' seemed pretty cheesy (and possibly not-very-feminist-ish), but by the end of the preview, when she says "I know what I'm capable of now, so I'll take down any man you send after me," bodes well. Not to mention Katie Sackoff (who plays Starbuck on BSG) as her foil.

Tracey said...

Yeah, I thought the end of the preview looked more promising than the beginning, too. Especially since she seemed to be really tough without being sexualized.

Kareem said...

I watched it last night. I'm positive I'd rather watch "Private Practice."

The show needs major rewriting. I'd say if Joss Whedon took the helm, the show would improve immensely.