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Miss Misanthropist

Writing With Myself

How Feminism Changed My Favorite Show:

Monica Edwards1 Comment

X-Files was my favorite TV show growing up, still pretty much is. At least I have fond memories of a lot of it. Yet any time I go back to watch it I realize my perception of it has changed quite a bit. Most episodes are how I remember them but then you get some where Scully is a BIT too feminist. Something that I never noticed upon first viewing. Maybe it's because of Gillian Anderson's recent radfem ideology spewing out everywhere. It's really only in the LATER episodes (like season 6 and beyond) that you will find her behaving this way, probably because Gillian got more control over the show, but it's there. For instance one of my all time favorite episodes of X-Files is titled First Person Shooter. Season seven episode thirteen. It's probably one of my favorites because I'm in love with Krista Allen. She's my all time favorite actress and has been for years. Though she has a minor role she plays a very important character. Two actually. A video game vixen named Maitraya and a (alluded to) hooker named Jade Blue Afterglow.

The episode is about a virtual reality game. First of its kind. Incredibly realistic, holographic technology. Very much like holodecks from Star Trek actually. There was a death in the video game cause of this unknown vixen and the guy wasn't really supposed to die because well, it's just a video game. Mulder and Scully go to check it out to make sure things are on the up and up and what they find is some how the vixen has become more sentient and powerful than she should be and is killing men. Feeding off of their "male aggression" and becoming more powerful with each man she kills.

The story line is just ripe with things that Anita Sarkeesian would totally pump into one of her stupid trope videos on video games. In fact there are certain points where it's almost as if Scully is saying exactly the things Anita would say if Anita was popular back in 1998 when this episode first came out. See if you can tell the difference between who said what? If you know the show as well as I do, you'll probably figure it out, but even I admit that they sound incredibly similar and Scully's quotes blend with Anita's seamlessly.

The video game vixen of course is hot as hell. She's meant to be that way. To portray "OMG MALES LOVE HOT SCANTLY CLAD CHICKS" but beyond even that, the vixen is amazing. She is an expert in several forms of hand to hand combat, kills at least two men, kicks Mulder's ass, and is shown to speak other languages than English (Fluent Japanese being one of them). She has many different outfits (not all of them slutty) and absolutely cannot be beaten. Though it is meant to be that Scully defeats her (because only a woman can) in actuality they just delete the game while Scully and Mulder are still in it so it's debatable if Scully actually could have defeated her as Maitraya just keeps respawning, getting more and more powerful as Scully gets weaker and runs out of ammo on her fake gun.

What bothers me about this episode is it seems so much like feminist propaganda. Back when I first watched it, the jokes were funny. They hit hard and made me laugh. They continued to make me laugh for a long time until Anita Sarkeesian came along and basically vomited back out this same episode in her bland monotone voice. Though it's been pointed out to me that back in that time in the 90's video games were causing a similar stir (due to things like Columbine and other shootings) it amazes me how similar the dialogue is to Anita's own (or what is most likely written for her). Going back to watch this episode it makes me feel like I'm watching a high budget propaganda film written by Anita. It's as if Scully has become a mouthpiece for her and it's even more weird when you consider when it took place. 1998. Almost a decade ago this same crap already happened. It's been done before. Of course this was handled far better than the shitty SVU episode which was quite obviously some sort of scare tactic but why did history repeat?

Since then, numerous studies have been done to show that games do not promote or cause violence nor do they promote or cause sexism. Back then, it was possibly questionable but now we absolutely 100% know it doesn't. Still this episode as old as it is, rings true today (just on the controversy side). Have we really changed? Or has Anita just managed to grab a hold of a very very old argument and bring it back? Obviously she has, since we've been arguing this same topic for so long. The thing is, why haven't we learned? Why haven't we changed? Why is this still just as relevant as ever in the wake of so many studies saying that video games are actually beneficial in helping with stress and even coping with PTSD?

It's disappointing that Gillian of all people didn't come out of this episode on top. Instead, she went backwards and became more radical feminist. The only actual person who seems to have remained the same kick ass woman she was in the episode is Krista Allen. Her dual role as the vixen and the hooker, she still doesn't preach feminist propaganda and I've never once heard her utter anything about sexism or misogyny. In fact one of my favorite quotes from her is this:

As much as this woman has been through in her career, and with the choices she has made, she would be the first one where it might be excusable to cry "SEXISM" and yet she never does. Ever. Trust me I know more about her than I probably should, I've seen her interviews and I've heard people straight up ask her about her CHOICE to start in porn and her CHOICE to do these types of roles where she's always the "hot girl" or the "bimbo" and she says it's a CHOICE. She doesn't blame men, she doesn't blame society, and she gets put in the same roles over and over and over because of her looks and because of how she started. Yet she's not bitter and she's not complaining and she's certainly not hooked on some feminist rage juice about how society is SO FUCKING UNFAIR because she isn't taken as seriously as she should be for the level of talent that she has (which is a lot).

Yet then you have Gillian Anderson. Her roles have been top notch. She's played iconic, strong, smart, sexy, and independent women across the board. Dana Scully, Stella Gibson, Bedelia Du Maurier, and even her role in Closure was one of the best I've ever seen. She's almost never been portrayed as a sex symbol or bimbo, has gotten leading roles in movies and TV shows, and what does she complain about most? OMG SEXISM THIS! MISOGYNY THAT! Gillian is fucking Hollywood royalty and not just in America. Over in Europe it's the same yet all she can see is HOW OPPRESSED WOMAN ARE while a far lesser known (and incredibly talented woman) is BUSTING HER FUCKING ASS to make a name for herself, not complaining about inequality, and doing a DAMN good job of it.

It's strange and sad that the one woman who behaves respectably, doesn't blame others for her own choices in life, and works on her own to continue her career when she could VERY EASILY whine about sexism gets far less credit than the woman who has had every advancement handed to her POSSIBLE and made A-list celebrity status at the age of 25 who does NOTHING BUT COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW SEXIST MEN ARE. You'd think it'd be the opposite but it's not. You'd think we'd learn something from history but we don't.

Feminism is going to continue to parrot out the same old tired messages while the women who work hard and don't blame their choices on society get little to know recognition. How sad is this world when the damsel in distress is praised and rewarded as the strong one and the strong entrepreneur is almost all but ignored?