Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I know I just posted a blog, but I wrote most of that yesterday and now I want to talk about something else.

1. body switching for sex.

Some Stargate fans are in an outcry because of the dark storylines SGU will appear to take. In S1E16, "Sabotage," the crew of the Destiny needs a certain scientist in order to fix something on the ship. They use the long-range communication device, previously seen in SG-1, that switches two participants' bodies, to switch Camile Wray (an IOA representative and lesbian, played by Ming-Na) and a brilliant quadriplegic scientist, Eleanor Perry. It has been revealed from the producers that Eleanor Perry has heterosexual sex with a Destiny crewmember while inside Camile Wray's body.

A group of fans (best represented HERE) hold that opinion that having sex while in someone else's body without their permission is rape. They also believe that this topic should be excluded from Stargate in its entirety.

Let's assume for a second that this situation is rape. The show is definitely not promoting it, and is only asking questions. These fans are concerned that the show will ignore the moral dilemma of using someone's body for sex and not punish the characters for what they've done. The Stargate writers are much, much more mature than that, something of which I'm surprised these fans aren't aware of. The writers have proven time and time again that they can do dark storylines that ask questions - granted, never this dark. Will they necessarily answer the questions proposed? No, probably not in this instance. In my opinion, that is up to the viewer.

To get my opinion into the open, I do not believe this situation is rape in the slightest.

Rape, also referred to as sexual assault, is an assault by a person involving sexual intercourse with or without sexual penetration of another person without that person's consent.

Consent. Consent needs to be given by the owner of the body in question. I argue that the owner of the body is whoever is in it at the time. Now, this is definitely subjective and I'm not going to put down someone for believing that the true owner of the body is the original owner, but Stargate has always emphasized the distinction between body and mind. These are entirely different things. If a body engages in sex while the original owner is not present, the original owner, the mind, is not there to be emotionally scarred during the event. It might as well have never happened, depending of course on permanent damage and sexual fluids left behind.

Just to be clear, I am not saying it's okay for a comatose person to be raped. Their mind is still in there. That's rape, period and completely different. Huge distinction. Another thing I'd like to be clear on is that I am not defending using someone's body that you're only in temporarily for sex. This is morally wrong and, if it ever exists in the future, it should definitely be illegal. But it's not rape.

Another thing to note is that Camile Wray first uses the long-range communication device to body-switch to Earth in Episode 7, appropriately titled "Earth." In it, Wray has sex with her partner using someone else's body, presumably without their permission. I don't see any over-reacting fan-girls whining about "rape" here.

To reiterate: body and mind are separate. You are your mind, not the other way around. If YOU weren't around, YOU weren't raped. If someone takes over your body and kills somebody, should you be held responsible?

But I have to say, I'm proud of SGU for making fans think, argue and come to their own conclusions about touchy subjects - before it even airs.

2. growing up.

Today, I watched the Stargate SG-1 Season 3 episode "Learning Curve." In it, SG-1 has established friendly relations between Earth and the planet Orban. The two planets trade information with each other. SG-1 eventually discovers the purpose children are used for on Orban: children are encouraged to learn as much as they possibly can about assigned technologies or subjects, and once they reach the age of 12, the information is taken from their brain (essentially making them as intelligent as infants) and distributed among their species. This process speeds up their culture's technological development considerably.

SG-1 is unable to handle a culture that advances differently than theirs, and attempts to prevent a young girl who is teaching Major Carter about Naquadah generators, Merrin, from returning to her home and sharing her knowledge with her people. Colonel O'Neill is so unable to handle this that he takes Merrin to the surface, against orders, and shows her how Earth children grow up, play and express themselves artistically. In a touching scene, she finally understands creativity and paints a picture from her mind rather than from an example.

Merrin returns to Orban and has her memory shared with her people, as planned, but what she learned about human expression, art and playing is also shared. Their culture is changed forever for the better through compromise in a happy, yet ambiguous episode ending.

SG-1's unacceptance of the ways of the Orbanians (yes, I made that up) was extremely narrow-minded and disturbing. As this is my second runthrough of SG-1, my viewpoint could be different than it was when I originally viewed Learning Curve, but I find the process of learning all you can and then sharing that knowledge with your people beautiful. Their planet was suspiciously devoid of violence. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from the people of Orban.

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