Did SGU's Women Get Lost In The Wrong Universe?

Illustration for article titled Did SGU's Women Get Lost In The Wrong Universe?

The men of Stargate Universe have been busy punching, exploring and saving lives using complicated math. Meanwhile the womenfolk have cried, drunk, got naked, and been used up sexually. Is SGU getting a little sexist? Fans certainly think so.

Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan pointed out this weekend all the unhappy SGU fans at Television Without Pity saying that SGU is getting fairly sexist with their female characters...

The thing that continues to astound me is that this is the same network which has seen its best ratings ever for Warehouse [13], a show which appeals to a broader set of demos, particularly bringing in new female viewership to the network & yet can't get its head around the fact that those same female viewers are also the most potentially likely to be offended by SGU.

They seemed astounded that women watched BSG and loved the female demo's for Warehouse 13 and yet for SGU we have - boob shots and shower shots and so far every women seems to be defined in some way by a male, either through sex in a closet, or needing some guy for comfort or apparently a prior affair . Oh except for Ming Na, our lesbian character who we've only briefly seen acting like a bitch before she left again. There should have been or should be a strong female character in every single episode and virtually all scenes but we get Eli and Rush and Young and Scott and of course dear, helpless Chloe. Honestly, in a weird way SGU seems very 'dated' in it's viewpoints and set ups for the female characters; I almost feel like I'm watching scifi from the 70's.


The message board is flooded with negative opinions about the practically mute female cast aboard the Destiny. Ming-Na's much-hyped openly lesbian character has all but said three words along with equally quiet T.J., while the hapless Senator's daughter wanders about the ship never far from the crook of a protective man's arm, even though she so doesn't need it.

To be honest I agree and disagree. And I too am a bit dismayed but the complete lack of screen time for the female characters. Especially since I feel like a few of them may be interesting, but I just don't have the slightest clue who they are. That being said, even the men themselves, while getting a lot more screen time are horribly stereotyped. There's the quiet stern one, the crazy one, the nerd, the hot adventurous white guy, and the angry black guy. Do we really want the women getting more screen time, if they will only be subjected to this type of stereotyping?

But, the series still has hope. Even though I was loathed to see this weeks big moment for the one talking female character, the Senator's daughter, ended up with her in the shower while the leering nerd PG-ly panted nearby. Right here this scene is both everything that is wrong and is right with SGU.

For one, Eli was being forced to interact with people, not just blurt out unfunny zingers for no reason. It was in this moment where we got to see real human interaction that wasn't Rush screaming or forced comedy. Eli's conundrum along with a few other gems give me great hope for the series, because when it hits it's fantastic. Too bad it was sandwiched between two very annoying characters — the Senator's daughter who whines constantly and needs to be surrounded by men at all time, even while showering, and the "other one" soldier lady who was apparently put on screen for gratuitous "I have large breasts" camera angles [anyone else catch that moment?]. In fact, I've even forgotten this character's name, I honestly know her as the soldier with larger than average boobs, which makes me sad inside.


The series desperately needs to learn how to mesh the world of Stargate and "gritty scifi" together. And perhaps giving the women more screen time could help. After all, this is the franchise that brought us Samantha Carter. Past females on the show proved that the series knows how to write a strong female character who can stand toe-to-toe with fellow soldiers and talk. Look I'm not asking for much, I don't need a heroine just a slightly strong speaking female will do.

Let's hope that the silent female characters, like the medic TJ and possibly fiesty Ming-Na, will give the women something else to do. Which may not be the case for TJ, since the show is all too happy to point out, continually, that she is a PARAMEDIC not a REAL Doctor, which by now sounds less like "these people are ill equipped" and more like "she is ill equipped" when repeated over and over. Please note that none of the other main characters are ever really subjected to this constant "you're not good enough" attention that she likes to lump on herself. Eli gets a few, "you're a drop out" comments but again, he's quick to point out that it was MIT he left. So what's with TJ, we don't know yet, but the "just a medic" routine is starting to grate. There may be something more to this character, if only we could get her to, ya know, talk.


So let's hope the SGU episode brings TJ and Ming-Na out to do, well hell, something.

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There should have been or should be a strong female character in every single episode...

This kind of sentiment chaps my ass. Why? Why should there be a strong female character in every episode? Because the PC Police demand it? Which of the women onboard the Destiny are strong and in what areas? If their characters aren't written that way, should we rewrite them to fill the requisite Strong Female Character niche? Blargh. You're getting your affirmative action in my science fiction, woman.

That said, should all women just be T&A, no, of course not. I think characters should be written like they're real people and then act according to their natures. Does adding a Strong Female stereotype character make a show better? No, it just adds another stereotype. If we just demand better writing, this issue takes care of itself. #stargateuniverse