Skip to main content

In defence of Bladerunner 2049's sexism

We seem to be in Philip K. Dick heaven at the moment, with the Electric Dreams short-story derived series currently on Channel 4, a third season of the excellent The Man in the High Castle on the way on Amazon and, of course, Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to what's generally considered one of the most impressive SF movies ever, (incredibly loosely) based on Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

I went to see Blade Runner 2049 at the weekend, in all the glory of IMAX - and, as everyone says, it is visually stunning. But, sad to say, there's also no doubt that it is sexist - women are almost always portrayed in relation to men, and though there are some interesting female characters, it's notable that we only see, for example, advertising for female virtual companions.

Despite this, it's a film that has interesting things to say about AIs and androids. And most of all, I think there is one significant defence of the sexism.

The original movie was released in 1982 - 35 years ago. It was set in 2019, the year after next. Now, quite clearly, 2019 will not be like the world of Blade Runner. So what to do when making a sequel to it? Clearly, the decision was made to take the world of Blade Runner as an alternative universe. This is flagged up by, for example, showing us prominent logos of brands which were big in 1982, but either don't exist anymore (Pan Am, for example) or are not the force they once then (Atari). This isn't our (hopefully) more enlightened world. This is the sexist world of the original Blade Runner, carried forward in time.

So, personally, while concerns about its approach to women need voicing, it's perhaps not as bad as it appears.

If you've not seen anything to do with it, take a look at the trailer:


  1. I agree. It is internally consistent with the original, not a new take. I loved it. And the interweaving of the old and new music and sfx was masterful. Asked serious questions about the nature of reality and humanity.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope