“That’s the Last Time You Call Me A Whore” A Feminist Look at Firefly’s Companions

“The Term is Companion”

Firefly’s Sex Workers

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Joss Whedon’s short lived, much loved sci-fi western— is a vast universe to be contained in a mere fourteen episodes. While the story was continued in the major motion picture Serenity and in the comics that followed it, the general audience still didn’t get a very good look at the inner workings of Whedon’s creation. Placed after a universal civil war 500 years in the future, a rag tag group of outsiders are crew to the transport ship Serenity. Taking on whatever jobs they can— legal or not— they travel the universe just trying to keep food on the table. They have a captain and co-captain, a pilot, a mechanic, muscle, and in the first episode pick up a Shepard, and a medic on the run from the benevolent Alliance with his supposed psychic little sister. They also have Inara Serra, a “Companion” leasing one of the ship’s shuttles to serve her clients in. Her job? To the untrained eye, being a Companion may look like “whoring,” but look deeper and the woman’s role is a lot more intricate and shows what sex work could become in the future; how its stigma could be removed and the industry made safer.

Companions find empowerment in their occupation where most would see it as demeaning. They are in full control of how they work and with whom (Episode 4 “Shindig”). Companions are mandated by a Guild on the planet of Sihnon, which requires yearly evaluations and keeps a record of their clients, good or bad (“Shindig”). The Guild trains Companions in not only the art of seduction but also teaches art, music, languages, eloquent speech and even traditional tea ceremonies. A Companion is considered a well-respected role of the society….

Read more on Atavist.

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