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'Resistance Reexamined: Gender, Fan Practices, and Science Fiction Television'
Unformatted Document Text:  10 Hammer’s assertion that an element of sexuality is vital for success apply to both leads evenhandedly, and to what extent do women in the audience support the idea of a multi- dimensional female hero who can challenge her male counterpart on roughly equal terms? Farscape concerns an American astronaut, John Crichton, whose space module is accidentally jettisoned through a wormhole to a distant galaxy where he disembarks onto a gargantuan, living ship named Moya. Moya is inhabited by a ragtag assortment of extraterrestrials fleeing the imperialist Peacekeeper forces of the Sebacean race, which is outwardly identical to the human race. There Crichton encounters an accidental stowaway, Peacekeeper soldier Aeryn Sun, who later turns traitor against her former comrades. We suspect that the duo might have an egalitarian romance when, in the terminology of film critic Roger Ebert, they “meet cute” in the “Premiere” episode. When John tries to introduce himself, Aeryn quickly subdues him into a sexually provocative pose in which he is prone and she is on her knees and straddling his face. This reverses gender roles in terms of physical power and frames Aeryn as a sexual challenge for the befuddled hero. However, all is not precisely equal in Farscape’s gender universe. Although black leather often adorns both leads, the women on the show still exhibit more skin than the men and are positioned for the male gaze, as the duo’s first encounter indicates, through fetishization of their bodies by the camera, audience, and/or the male characters. Helford (2000a, p. 6) notes that “in the realm of speculative fiction, women’s intellectual, technical, and/or physical skills may pale in comparison to the way they wear their costumes.” Also, the double standard of aging abides. Claudia Black is already a decade younger than her co-star, but has commented that Aeryn was intended to be even younger, a choice which would have made the romance, according to Black, far less “worldly” (qtd. in Green, 1999). A three episode arc from season two entitled “Look at the Princess” is an exemplary case answering the question of whether John is played as the hegemonically masculine “lone male hero.”Aeryn’s upbringing as a Peacekeeper for whom casual sex is permitted but emotional attachments discouraged comes into play here. “Procreation is assigned,” she

Authors: Scodari, Christine.
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10
Hammer’s assertion that an element of sexuality is vital for success apply to both leads
evenhandedly, and to what extent do women in the audience support the idea of a multi-
dimensional female hero who can challenge her male counterpart on roughly equal terms?
Farscape concerns an American astronaut, John Crichton, whose space module is
accidentally jettisoned through a wormhole to a distant galaxy where he disembarks onto a
gargantuan, living ship named Moya. Moya is inhabited by a ragtag assortment of
extraterrestrials fleeing the imperialist Peacekeeper forces of the Sebacean race, which is
outwardly identical to the human race. There Crichton encounters an accidental stowaway,
Peacekeeper soldier Aeryn Sun, who later turns traitor against her former comrades. We
suspect that the duo might have an egalitarian romance when, in the terminology of film
critic Roger Ebert, they “meet cute” in the “Premiere” episode. When John tries to
introduce himself, Aeryn quickly subdues him into a sexually provocative pose in which he
is prone and she is on her knees and straddling his face. This reverses gender roles in terms
of physical power and frames Aeryn as a sexual challenge for the befuddled hero.
However, all is not precisely equal in Farscape’s gender universe. Although black
leather often adorns both leads, the women on the show still exhibit more skin than the
men and are positioned for the male gaze, as the duo’s first encounter indicates, through
fetishization of their bodies by the camera, audience, and/or the male characters. Helford
(2000a, p. 6) notes that “in the realm of speculative fiction, women’s intellectual, technical,
and/or physical skills may pale in comparison to the way they wear their costumes.” Also,
the double standard of aging abides. Claudia Black is already a decade younger than her
co-star, but has commented that Aeryn was intended to be even younger, a choice which
would have made the romance, according to Black, far less “worldly” (qtd. in Green, 1999).
A three episode arc from season two entitled “Look at the Princess” is an exemplary
case answering the question of whether John is played as the hegemonically masculine
“lone male hero.”Aeryn’s upbringing as a Peacekeeper for whom casual sex is permitted
but emotional attachments discouraged comes into play here. “Procreation is assigned,” she


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