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DVD cover showing a Sarah Connor cocking a gun while crouching with her legs spread apart

Here we go again, right?

Looking at this image, it’s hard to deny that "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" is yet another TV program being marketed with tired, exploitatively posed pictures, designed to please straight male culture. While Lena Headey looks hot in this shot, the way she's posed caters to the priorities and gaze of dudes, and indicates to women that just because there are ladies in this program that doesn’t mean that women are welcomed into the fanbase. Get away from that DVD, woman!

In this picture, Headey is posed in a suggestive way with her legs spread to draw the eye to her crotch. That's enough posing for the straight male gaze already, but the image has still more sexual coding to give up. The combination of that crotch shot and the gun in her hands presents another example of how our culture delights in playing with and posing powerful, interesting female characters for the titillation of men. In images like this, guns are positioned as tools of attraction rather than of genuine power. In other words, Sarah may be holding a gun which makes her look powerful, but that power is undercut because of the combination of that gun and the crotch shot which clearly indicates that the important message of this shot is 'girls with guns are sexually attractive and men should get on objectifying them' rather than 'women with guns could take your balls off just because they feel like it'. In this image, Sarah presents as the strong, weapon carrying woman that she is but she is reduced by the way the camera focuses the male gaze.

In other shots on the UK DVD covers, Summer Glau is posed with guns, but in positions which realistically would make it difficult for her to shoot anyone. In this official image, her clothes are deliberately fixed to be suggestively revealing. And as someone who is currently in the middle of watching far too many programs where all the things I want are accompanied by the mass destruction of women in ‘interesting’ ways this image in particular is a bit hard to take:

Cameron's top half hangs from metal supports - she is naked, her long hair barely covering her breasts and below the waist she is dismembered with wires trailing

Dismemberment - just an inconvenient detail if a woman is naked.

Oprah shakes her head, says no and rolls her eyes

All of which means I feel obliged to start this post by suggesting that you not to write off "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" because of these images. I am really excited to talk about the first series of this program because, despite what these marketing images might suggest, this is a program with a healthy respect for women and an interest in female characters. I swear! I mean it has its complicated gender stuff, but look other people agree with me that it is also a program full of women doing interesting things. In between those DVD covers is an awesome story about a female protagonist, the people who are important to her, and killer robots from the future, one of which is here to look at her significantly.

Come on, don’t let some misleading marketing make you miss out on the bullet filled, female-focused fun! )

Reviews and Supplemental Material

The Unbearable Silence of Sabrina Perez
Let's Hear It For the Girls?
tight presents MASTERLIST (vids!)
32 Days of Awesome Women: Day 31 - Sarah Connor


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