At the Equality Now event, a charity which aims to help with the "protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world" night, writer, director, and producer Joss Whedon was able to take some time out of his busy schedule to talk to Vulture about his stance on feminism, especially in the digital age. And boy, are we glad he did.
Any fan worth their salt knows that Whedon is so much more than just Marvel and [The Avengers](movie:9040). He is known for creating some of the strongest, most complex female characters on TV. Buffy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Echo from Dollhouse, just to name two. But what does feminism mean to him?
When asked how he would tell a man, who is shy about admitting he is a feminist, how to support the cause, he said:
Action is the best way to say anything. A guy who goes around saying "I'm a feminist" usually has an agenda that is not feminist. A guy who behaves like one, who actually becomes involved in the movement, generally speaking, you can trust that. And it doesn't just apply to the action that is activist. It applies to the way they treat the women they work with and they live with and they see on the street.
Whedon understands that things are get pretty heated on and off of the Internet where certain genders and sexual preferences are treated hatefully. When Vulture asked what surprised him most, he brought it back to being raised by a strong woman and not even understanding that feminism was a thing.
You know, it's one of those things that's always surprising. I was raised by a very strong woman, I didn't know feminism was actually a thing until I left home and found out the country didn't run the way my mom's house did. So I have this goldfish, idiot, forgetful thing in that every time I'm confronted with true misogyny, I'm stunned.
He goes on to describe how misogyny is far more prevalent than some are willing to admit, but now that we're coming to a point of realization, that change will hopefully be inevitable.
I'm like, Really? That's like, I don't believe in airplanes. It's like, What century are you from? I don't get it. So usually I'm shocked, then occasionally amused, then occasionally extremely not amused, but once I get over the shock, it's very clear that misogyny in our own culture — and not just where they perform genital mutilation and marry off 10-year-olds — runs so deep. When I see this hate bubbling up towards any kind of progress, my reaction is twofold: First, it's horror, and then, it's delight, because you don't get this kind of anger unless real change is actually happening. It is a chaotic time. It's an ugly time because change is happening. It would be lovely to be living after the change has happened.
Preach! Personally, I'm glad someone as influential as Joss Whedon is so willing to talk about these tough subjects. With all the ugliness that's been simmering under the surface lately in the geek culture in which Joss is so influential, it's nice to see him address it openly (again) and point toward a positive conclusion to it.
In Whedon's own words, "Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women."