Bil Browning

Is Joss Whedon's Tweet Feminist or Transphobic?

Filed By Bil Browning | January 28, 2014 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: female characters, female role models, Joss Whedon, strong women, transphobia

Joss Whedon is getting in trouble with the trans community for a tweet he sent yesterday in response to a fan asking how to write a strong female character. Depending on your interpretation, it could either be a feminist statement of support or a transphobic slam on pre-op MTFs.

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Personally, I found Whedon's tweet to be an assertion that strong female characters can't just be typical male characters with boobs. In many cases, writers gloss over the innate differences between genders in an attempt to genuinely create a heroine with her own identity. Instead, what makes the character interesting and realistic gets morphed into a woman with all the characteristics of a male lead without acknowledging that being female is part of a well-rounded character. Simply removing the penis and proclaiming that you've created a strong female role model isn't enough.

Trans folk, however, have taken Whedon's tweet to be a transphobic joke meaning "Don't make your female character a transgender woman." With a dearth of transgender people in lead roles in the entertainment industry, it's easy to see this as a shut-out of main characters that reflect their lives - both as women and transgender people.

What do you think? Is this tweet from Joss Whedon meant to make a feminist statement or blatant transphobia?


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