On Entitlement, on the Subway and in Space (as in Deep Space Nine)

Entitlement Subway Deep Space Nine Lynsey G

Well now that I’m no longer bored, you guys (yes, I go through phases very quickly), I’m procrastinating. Because… well. Stuff. You know? Stuff.

But I’ve been really finding myself annoyed to hell and back lately by dudes who feel entitlement in their own sexism, however unwitting and even well-meaning. I’m sick of watching it in real life, all around me, every day. On the subway especially–no, please, really, click that link. I wrote a long, pissed-off-yet-I-like-to-think-also-funny rant about the shit I see being pulled by guys on the subway all the time that makes me feel like drop-kicking everyone around me and then standing back up to scream like a banshee until someone puts me in a straightjacket. (Please, please click it?) I’m SO sick of it: guys not even noticing that they’re taking up more space than they need and denying other people seats, guys ogling all the women around them with impunity, guys wrapping their arms around women to get to the pole, then standing way closer than they need to and rubbing themselves against the helpless woman’s back… It’s so constant and so normal it makes me want to vomit.

And then, the other day, on Deep Space Nine… It was there, too. I love watching Star Trek series because they offer such a beautiful vision of the future in which equality is much closer to the reality. In which women and people of color and hell, alien races, are all on a mostly-level playing field. It gives me the warm fuzzies and helps me relax before I go to bed. Also I’m a big ol’ sci-fi dork. So, there’s that.

But the other night there was this episode where Gul Dukat, this Cardassian military guy who was demoted from his high place in the military because it was discovered that he had fathered a half-Bajoran daughter during the occupation, and who the show has been trying to show more as he goes through the difficult process of trying to sort-of apologize for the atrocities he committed in war while maintaining his Cardassian pride and masculinity… it’s actually been fun watching him try to find his (for lack of a better term) humanity; even though he’s clearly a pompous windbag, he does seem to have a heart. But in this episode, he suddenly decided he was totally hot for Major Kira when she helped him take down some Klingons.

So he had a big ol’ reptilian boner for Major Kira Nerys. Cool. Lots of people do. She’s a hottie and a badass warrior and just totally awesome. Fine. But the thing is: he wouldn’t leave her alone about it. She was clearly not interested, already had a “boyfriend” to whom she was pretty committed, and said as much on numerous occasions. But he just kept at it. Telling her how much he respected her, which he clearly didn’t because he wouldn’t leave her the hell alone when she told him clearly that she wasn’t interested. He even told her that he knew what she really wanted, which was obviously to go traipsing off across the galaxy with him.

I’ve seen this all too many times here on earth. A woman is gracious yet firm, giving a man (or really anybody) a polite yet confident “no” over and over, but the aggressor just keeps pushing, pushing, pushing. As if he (or they–I guess I’ll say they) have a right to her. As if she owes them something because they like her. I see it in movies, on TV, online, in comments sections where people claim that women are always “playing hard to get” so you can’t just give up when they say no. I see it in real life. I see it everywhere. And I really wanted Kira to get mad and tell Dukat to fuck off and leave her alone, or to slam him up against the wall and explain to him that if he didn’t leave her alone she’d press charges for harassment. Something. To send a message that this kind of behavior is not ok.

But nope. Nothing. I think that the episode was more directed at character development for both of them than at making a feminist statement. That’s ok in its way. And in this case the journeys of these characters maybe were at points where their actions did make more sense as it stands. But I was livid on Kira’s behalf. LEAVE HER ALONE. No means fucking NO. You asshat.

When will it end? If not in the 24th century… when?

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