If you know where to look you can usually find a few strong female characters, but I don't think it's very even.
Series/movies/books/etc to look up:
Firefly (and Serenity) Anne McCaffrey's books Sara Conner Chronicles (or Terminator also) X Files Dr Who 5th Element Alien
There's also strong women in Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galatica etc but are usually more support than main character I believe (don't know for all of them as I haven't seen all of them).
There's totally an imbalance. Sci-fi has the same problem as fantasy: it started off as the pass-time of white, upper-class British men, so now Sci-fi is predominantly white dudes in space, fighting monsters. Just like fantasy is white dudes in the woods, fighting monsters.
You get women in both, but with very few exceptions, they're a supporting role. The problem is that production companies think that it's not believable for a woman to want to do anything but talk about men. But I guess this is what happens when the heads of the companies are all men as well.
YTcyberpunkFeatured By OwnerNov 9, 2012Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'd say yes, there is most definitely a gender imbalance in sci-fi, as most sci-fi writers are men. Now to be fair, many if not most modern sci-fi books have plenty of strong female characters. But the prominent ones are almost always gorgeous looking and "sexy," which gets annoying after a while.
HOWEVER, is it fair to tell male writers to stop writing male protagonists they relate to, and female sidekicks who are their fantasy babes? When female writers often if not usually do the same thing, just in gender-reverse? I'm not sure it is. I think people should write what they want to. The gender imbalance isn't a good thing, but it's not necessarily the fault of the people currently writing; it's caused by the people NOT writing. If women want more woman-friendly sci-fi, we should write more of it ourselves (and I plan to ).
All that being said, people of both sexes should try to write protagonists of the opposite sex who *aren't* just their wet fantasies. (I'm looking at you, Stephanie Meyer.)
FerricPlushyFeatured By OwnerNov 7, 2012Hobbyist Artist
Might have to do with the demographics that most science fiction is read by men and most books (80%) are read by women. Should be aware of these demographics if you ever want to be a novelist. But yeah Battle Angel Alita is excellent, real, science fiction with a strong yet vulnerable female lead, got to love a girl that can kick that much ass.
Yes and no. She's known for having very strong female characters. While the world she created does make most of the women live to a standard, the many that she wrote about are those breaking away from those norms.
Well excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Princess! Anyway, what's the main demographic of people that watch sci-fi films? It's like I complain that there's not even lead dudes in chick flicks.
The main demographic? Probably about even. Or are you talking about the /target/ demographic? Because target demographics of these genres are almost exclusively geared toward the 18-35 white male, which is a major part of the problem. These chick flicks you mention all fail even the most basic requirements themselves. They're all about how a woman needs a man in order to be complete. Why? They're all written by men.
And someone in this thread said to get some female writers to fix the problem. Female writers are not welcome in the industry. It's a fact. All the big financiers are men, and they don't want women in their all-boys club. /That's/ the problem that needs to be addressed.
Why can't they go through a coming of age experience without a man?
The only one I can think of that was about coming of age without a man was Brave, and that was accused of everything from feminists taking over Hollywood to encouraging girls to become lesbians.
Here's the thing. You're 18. You're a white male. These in and of themselves are not bad things to be, but you have not had to be on the other side of this. You didn't grow up being told that you /had/ to like Barbies and pink and princesses. When you wanted Tonka Trucks or Spider-man toys for Christmas, no-one laughed and bought you a doll instead. You didn't get told that your dream career would never happen because that was a boy's job. You didn't constantly get told that you needed to wear make-up, not to eat so much because you'll get fat, what not to wear because it makes you look plain, but don't wear sexy clothes because if you do and you get assaulted, it's your fault.
These things may seem separate, but they're not. These are exactly how Hollywood thinks all women are; that women never grow up from their twelve-year-old selves, with the exception that they are now able to consent to sex. If a woman is portrayed in a masculine manner in a movie, she is almost always labelled as a lesbian, or at the very least, someone accuses her of it.
The Hobbit's coming out soon. The fantasy genre more or less owes itself to this book, which is entirely white dudes in the forest, fighting monsters. There is not a single female character in the Hobbit. I don't like Tolkein's work and couldn't stand the LotR movies, but I find myself insanely curious to see how the gender imbalance in the Hobbit is addressed. It's a cast of literally dozens. In the LotR movies, I think there were two women with moderately-sized roles? Two women, in almost eleven-and-a-half hours of movie, with a cast that again, numbers in the dozens.
I haven't read enough recent SF to know whether it's still that pronounced of an issue. At the very least, I know it was an issue many New Wave writers dealt with and that writers since have worked to correct. I do seem to recall that one of the protags in Gibson's Idoru was a 14-year-old girl, but that book's like almost 20 years old. Contemporary enough, I suppose. Oh, and then there was the girl in Stephenson's Snowcrash. She was cool, but not terribly complex. Been a while since I read that one.