All this brouhaha over “John Carter” being a flop and the reasons for it hit a new low this morning. Here I was, minding my own business, reading my Twitter timeline, when I see a retweet saying “Men are from Mars, and Women are Nowhere in Sight.” I had a bad feeling but I went to the link and read the article. Sure enough, it’s a blog about romance in sci-fi.
The article started off promisingly enough, but quickly devolved into pointing out that the trailers for the movie had not shown the romantic angle, the relationship between Dejah Thoris and John Carter, and that was its downfall, and why isn’t Disney trying to market to women…
It has to have romance to be attractive to women? Do you understand what you’re saying? This is exactly why studios do NOT market science fiction to women. Are we putting 2 and 2 together here? Not all sci-fi involves a romantic plot, or subplot. Nor does it need to. I just want to beat my fists on the wall here. Nothing other than romance is attractive to women? This is what the author seems to be saying, along with most of the commenters.
And then women wonder why there is such a small female presence in sci-fi books and movies.
IT’S. NOT. ROMANCE.
Science fiction is about exploration, space, science, the future of humanity. Look, read whatever you like, but if all you want is romance, don’t whine that everything else isn’t romance, and that you’re being left out accordingly. I, for one, do not want all my science fiction stories to be ‘romance in space.’ Women are capable of more than fainting and being ravished. John Carter showed that nicely.
It already kills me that women can’t see anything other than the romantic elements of Jane Austen’s books. My god, she was so much more brilliant than that. You short her, and you short every woman with this absurd reductionist outlook on literature.
It is no longer a mystery to me why sci-fi is marketed almost solely to men. I guess I must be less girly than I thought, since the marketing for John Carter worked for me. It’s just a shame that some women seem to have such narrow interests. John Carter may be a financial disaster for Disney, but it is still a very good movie. Don’t cheat yourself out of seeing it.