Inara, River, Zoe and Kaylee: The four intelligent, strong, and kick-ass women aboard Serenity. It is hard to choose a favorite. This entry consists of a quick glance into the females of Firefly/Serenity.
There have been many disputes if Firefly is feminist or misogynistic. I feel that Joss Whedon’s world of Firefly creates a positive reflection of women.
One can easily say, well Inara, the companion, which is the field of escorts and sells her time to men and women who are willing to pay high prices for her companionship. Yet, as much as she continues to do so, she is madly in love with Captain Mal. She has on many occasions used her money and contacts to help the shipmates of serious situations.
River, who is known to be a bit maladjusted, is the most intelligent one. At first, the audience is shown that River throws tantrums, screams, barely speaks, shows antisocial behaviors but as we get deeper into Firefly, it is revealed she was used as a guinea pig in lab tests to suck out this extreme knowledge in various torture methods. As a young woman blossoming, earlier ages, where women learn what it means to be a female, how their body changes, how to socialize with others in an adult manner… she underwent tremendous trauma! It is common for those who have been exposed to extreme trauma to show signs of maladjustment. It may take them longer to get acquainted with others. Also, seem to be introverted, maybe even seem to be a hermit. Although, River went through a lot, she is strong woman. She has beaten up numerous “bad guys” and saved the team. It shows to me that although seemingly introverted, she shows care for her shipmates when they are in trouble. How can she be seen as a negative person if she is able to help even the strongest of characters?
I really enjoy Zoe’s character. Not only is she a powerful woman of color, in an interracial marriage, but also one of the best fighters on the ship. Zoe fought alongside Mal in the independence wars and continues that relationship on Serenity, with their Robin-hood-esque-steal from the rich and gives to the poor-mentality. At a quick glance, Zoe may be seen as a brute, but she is kind, loving and nurturing to her husband as well as her shipmates.
Lastly, Kaylee who is the engineer/mechanic of their ship, Serenity but, also the most optimistic of the bunch. She brings a positive attitude to the ship and is quite the peacemaker as well. She has a caring heart to people and even shows this kindness to the ship, which to some may just be a transportation vessel, but she treats Serenity as a fellow woman and delicately fixes issues aboard. Kaylee has great relationships with the other females and also employs Mal to admit to his true feelings about Inara. She is also quite the innovator, able to put together mechanical creations to help the ship run better, also fixes weapons and such.
Whedon poses that without this pronoun women, Serenity would not be able to fly as well as the shipmates, the males would not be able to continue fighting and stay alive. Each woman is seemingly different but they are all intelligent and strong in many aspects. Each bring a different prospective to the group as well as teach each other how to be more productive as a team. River learns to trust, Inara learns to be honest with her feelings, Zoe learns to be more patient and Kaylee learns its okay to dress more feminine and still be the same person she is.
Each of the above mentioned lessons are realistic ideas on how a woman transitions into society and culture, with many other notions. Whedon poses that these women are not just characters but are reflections of positive young women in society.