lodessa: lol (Default)
[personal profile] lodessa
You know, I really like Deep Space Nine, but I do have a problem with the way the relationship plot lines end up. That is that both of the female characters end up being awarded to dudes who waited in the end. This narrative is toxic because it is what creates the false expectations of “nice guys” and their rage and bitterness over “the friendzone”.

I want to make it clear that I don’t think that either Julian Bashir or Odo is an asshole “nice guy”. I simply think their plotlines, especially combined, give the wrong impression about how things work.

From the very first episode, Bashir wants Dax. She makes it very clear that she’s not interested in being more than friends though, and he accepts that and is able to make the transition to being friends for the most part (yes, he has his emo moments with Quark), rather than bitching about the “friendzone”, constantly trying to torpedo her relationships, or getting pushy and aggressive. He sees her friendship as something precious in of itself. In fact, when he realizes that Jadzia actually enjoyed him pursing her, he doesn’t go “Oh this is license to ignore her ‘no’ because clearly she really wants me”. He definitely takes it as a sign that possibly she might change her mind, but he’s made his position clear (that he’d definitely be up for it) and is willing to wait and see if at some point she decides she wants to pursue it. Jadzia dies and then there is Ezri (who is actually a lot more compatible with Julian than worldly Jadzia, due to personality differences). Again, Julian handles the situation well, trying to be a supportive friend and not trying to capitalize on Ezri’s reveal that “If it hadn’t been Worf it would have been you”. The thing is, when Julian is rewarded for this “good behavior” of supporting Dax through her relationship with Worf and new host transition and everything else, with ending up with her in the end, it reinforces to the viewer that “loyalty” gets rewarded this way.

Odo’s pining after Kira looks different but works similarly in the end. He is also allowed to keep his hands “clean” and “get” Kira without actually pursuing her (something “nice guys” often expect). He doesn’t make his desires known directly to begin with like Julian does, partly because he doesn’t understand his feelings as clearly, but does stand by her side silently though multiple relationships. Kira learns of his feelings for her through weird phase shift time loop plot of the week business, where he has a lot longer to learn to express himself and therefore is able to both confess his feelings and show her how much more humanoid he is capable of becoming. So Kira is made to confront Odo’s feelings and to consider him beyond his current capabilities, without the Odo in our timeline forcing those things on her. Even when they eventually do get together, Vic the awesome hologram, tricks Odo into making his move, so Odo never comes off as pushy. Odo’s reward of Kira, for becoming “a real boy” is more implausible than Julian’s changed relationship with his new Dax; because, Kira never seems to be interested in Odo like that at all, whereas, Dax definitely enjoyed Julian’s adoration, even if she wasn’t ready to follow through on it. We the viewer, don’t get to see Kira’s realization that she wants to be more than friends with Odo, leaving the viewer with the distinct feeling that the only reason, a woman who never seemed to be attracted to her closest friend wasn’t, is because she didn’t know he wanted her to be. 

These narratives are all too common in our fiction and they make it obvious why boys and men are so confused when it doesn’t work out like that for them. They’ve put in the time and energy, why isn’t doing “the right thing” working out like it does in text and on screen.


lodessa: lol (Default)

March 2016


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