Friday, October 2, 2009

Very Important Thoughts About Xena

So, sometimes on Fridays, I like to keep my blog light. I mean, who wants to read Super Serious (Or Not Very Important, depending on who you talk to) Feminist Stuff every single day, right?

That being said, I'm going to be self-indulgent for a moment and express my adoration for the show that was Xena: Warrior Princess. Like, I own all of the DVDs from each and every season and still sometimes watch them. And, in all honesty, I wouldn't be opposed to owning trading cards, figurines, or a Xena costume complete with a replica chakram. I don't own any of that, I'm just sayin' I wouldn't be opposed to it.

Now, I fully realize that this confession, when combined with my profile statement, completes my transformation from nuanced human being to Lesbian Caricature, but I'm okay with that. Being cool is over-rated.

Even though the series ended in 2001, XWP, as it is known in the fandom, is one of the few past or current television shows that passes the Bechdel Test. That is, it has two women in it, who talk to each other, about something other than a man. And, given how few women are in the world compared to men, that test is REALLY hard for most television shows and movies to pass!

Perhaps drawing inspiration from Wonder Woman, XWP, in turn, has influenced cult-hits Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, and and and... say, where are all of the movies and shows about female heroes these days, anyway? What's that, another dood comic book hero movie just came out? Yawn.

In addition to being a show about ladies who get to be important characters like how men are important characters, XWP has achieved cult status among the lesbian community for its (a) portrayal of strong (and attractive doesn't hurt, either) female characters and (b) winking portrayal of the relationship between Xena and her companion, Gabrielle. Yet, back when XWP was airing, there were pretty intense debates among fans who insisted that Xena and Gabrielle were "just friends" versus those of us who knew that they were clearly more than friends (hello, several episodes were devoted to demonstrating that they were "soul mates." It doesn't really get more lesbionic than that, folks). Furthermore, among lesbians of a certain generation, some identified romantic partners by asking if one would rather date, or be, Xena. It was sorta like the 1990s version of figuring out if one was butch or femme. Although personally, I could never decide the answer to that. Xena and Gabby were both appealing in their own unique, delicious ways and, really, can't a girl have both? (And by "both," I obviously mean butch and femme qualities, not Xena and Gabby. Get your minds out of the gutter you dirty birds!)

Moving along then, the actors who played Xena and Gabrielle, Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor, respectively, played Gay for Pay while being, and remaining, allies to progressive causes, including LGBT equality. From her blog at the Lucy Lawless Fan Club site. (Yes, I do read it from time to time, Don't Judge!), Lawless writes:

Hi guys!
Someone asked me today if I knew that Sarah Palin's supporters are calling her 'Xena.' I had to ask, 'Oh, is Sarah Palin a lesbian too?!' I don't see it on her bio anywhere . . . nope, not there. Curiously, in her earlier life, Xena traded motherhood for a career as an evil warlord. Hmmmm . . ."


Hot, talented, and funny. Leftist Gender Warrior says, "there are so few of us."


So, what are you all reading, watching, and/or listening to these days? It's confession time.

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