Fighting with the Sky

I Want to Believe [Feminist Flashback Friday]

Posted on: September 11, 2009

33102.gifThe X-Files was a great science-fiction show with a woman at the center.  Dana Scully was the rational, scientific, and spiritual core of the show.  She was partners with Mulder who often got lost in his impossibilities.  Dana Scully was the person who used her head to solve these cases.

I’ll be honest, I never saw all of the episodes of The X-Files.  There was a time period where I was obsessed with the show, but I never made it all the way through.  I’m thinking I’m going to need to go back and watch what I’ve missed.  But the main thing that I loved about the show was Dana Scully.  She wasn’t afraid to take charge when the time called for it.  She was the person who was rational, which is not the usual representation of women in television shows and movies.

Dana Scully was not the feminist character that she could have been.  The show couldn’t give her too much strengh, independence, etc.   She wouldn’t have been as popular in the mainstream if she was too feminist.

And we can now see a little bit (or a lot) of Scully represented in the new X-Files-esque show, Fringe.  Agent Olivia Dunham is the Scully of Fringe, although she does ‘believe’ more than Scully did.  I just started watching Fringe now that it is out on DVD and I’m only a couple episodes in, but it looks good so far.  And I am definitely liking Dunham’s strength, rationality, and belief in the show so far.

Further Reading:
Scully have I loved [Salon Broadsheet]

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6 Responses to "I Want to Believe [Feminist Flashback Friday]"

Scully was one of my very first role models/idols! I definitely had an X-File obsession for a significant portion of my life, but they lost me after the first movie – too cheesy and sappy. I did rent the series finale which was interesting, and kind of liked the newer movie as a stand alone.

Gillian Anderson rocks my world.

Have you noticed how strong female characters on television rarely have any personal life? Or if they do, it’s presented as a total mess? Scully, Olivia Benson from Law&Order: SVU, and many others. It’s as if the television offered us a choice: you can be a strong, assertive, powerful woman, but in that case you can say good-bye to any possibility of a personal life. Or you can be a weepy, pathetic, clingy type (such as characters from Sex and the City) and then you can hope for some personal and sex life.

Maybe you should try waiting until I actually wake up so I could un-moderate your comment instead of assuming that I would just delete it. I have no problem with differing opinions as long as they are respectful (which your second comment was bordering on not being). And just because Mulder was “right” does not mean that Scully cannot be a feminist icon. And I would argue that Scully’s scientific and “rational” explanations contributed to the solving of the “mystery.”

i love, love, love the x-files too, and scully is a huge part of that for sure. i read an interview with gillian anderson where she described having to walk 3 steps behind david duchovny etc because he was the “star” of the show. it was really heartbreaking to read, although as a fan i have seen all the eps and noticed that she wasnt given as “center” of a role as he was. i definitely noticed when they made an ep that revolved around scully, which kind of underscored the fact that the show was NOT about her. like the ep where she runs into an ex-lover in the hospital, or the one where she gets a tattoo.

Stopped reading after the first paragraph. Mulder was almost always correct. In every episode. Scully forced him to scrutinise his theories, but he turned out to be correct almost all the time. Scully’s scientifically based theories were always disproven by the end of the episode. This was kind of the theme of the show: monsters, aliens, etc. Mulder’s ‘impossibilities’ were the reality.

“She was the person who was rational”
Mulder referred to it as closed-minded. And Mulder was the person who was correct.

Maybe you could have tried actually watching the show? I can’t stand seeing my childhood heroes shoehorned into someone’s ideology. One could equally claim that Scully was the stumbling block, and that she represents the tendency of women to get in the way of progress. Not saying I believe this, but it’s about as accurate as what you’ve said.

Since posting that last comment I’ve realised your comments are moderated. I probably wasted my time since, going on previous experience, feminist blogs delete any slightly critical comment, or even comments that CORRECT false assertions.

Nevertheless: any actual fan of the show will see through this ridiculousness. In the words of Fox Mulder himself … “you may have cured your headache, but you have only done so by cutting off your own head.”

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