Technically I might have wanted to delay this blog, for reasons that we’ve hinted at over the course of the comic but are due to bubble to the surface again soon. But hey, the aspect of generations is on my mind. In Zombie Ranch, it’s at a core of Suzie’s character as she struggles to live up to the legacy her daddy left behind. In the just released Luke Cage on Netflix, the legacy of parents and guardians (or sometimes the lack thereof) echoes down to the present, whether it’s in the full-on flashbacks of the Stokes family or a throwaway exchange between Misty Knight and Claire Temple after they beat up a bad guy:
“You got skills.”
Makes me realize I’m not exactly bucking the trend with the heavy implication that Suzie learned not only how to fight but most of the rest of what she knows from her dad. It’s rare in fiction to get the mom in the role of passing on the more rough-and-tumble sort of legacy.
I mean think about it — how many times in fiction have we seen this happen:
- Female character displays skill with firearm.
- Surprised male character comments on this.
- Female character explains that her father or some other older man in her life taught her.
Now, I’ve seen variations on that exchange in stories a hundred years old or more. Hell I think it’s even been in a drama from Ancient Greece (with the gun instead being a sword or bow, of course).
See, I was going to go forward with my personal thoughts that right now the Geekosphere is going through a period of transition where some of the daughters whose dads loved Dungeons & Dragons and comic books are growing up and inheriting that love, and are starting to have kids of their own… and so maybe now mom will be the one passing that on to the third generation.
But will she? What keeps happening where that exchange I refer to above, at least in fiction, keeps reoccurring? Shouldn’t at least some of those ladies whose daddies taught ’em to shoot be growing up and teaching their own sons and daughters (or nieces, or cousins, etc.) how to shoot in turn? It’s like those genetically engineered seeds that are only good for one planting (which is going to make things really, really fun if an apocalypse ever does occur).
Maybe it’s a cultural thing where throughout history most of the fiction ever written, at least the surviving fiction, is from a male viewpoint, and the idea of a woman warrior seems to always be treated as an anomaly. Just think about how, regardless of whether he’s supportive or antagonistic to the idea that a woman can shoot straight, the male character is almost inevitably surprised that she can.
This is one of the subtly positive features of Mad Max: Fury Road that I kept hearing women I know bring up — Max never questions the idea that Furiosa can fight. Hell, he’s even extremely cautious around the Wives. Furiosa might even qualify as someone who learned to fight from the matriarchs of the Green Place before she was taken away.
But who knows? I don’t think it inherently makes a story any weaker to have the learning of skills come from a male or female mentor. But I wonder if, given another generation, the age old dialogue will continue unaltered… or we might at last start to see some more badass moms and aunts and other lady elders of fiction passing on their fightin’ legacies alongside the men.