Opinion

No, Feminists. ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Isn’t A Sexist, Racist Nightmare

“Everything is sexist, everything is racist, everything is homophobic, and you have to call it all out.” If something popular exists, it won’t be long before Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian weighs in to suck all the fun out of it. It’s no fun allowed for anyone who plans to enjoy the upcoming “Blade Runner 2049,” which is being touted as one of the most highly anticipated sci-fi movies of the year.

The science fiction genre owes a lot to Ridley Scott’s 1982 movie, which defined “cyberpunk” with its neon lighting, rainy cityscapes, Japanese holograms, and artificially intelligent machines who look just like people.

Based on the Philip K. Dick novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Blade Runner” posed the question about what it means to be truly human—a question that’s often asked, and answered in a variety of different ways throughout other works in the genre, including Ghost in the Shell, NieR Automata, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and The Matrix.

If you listen to Anita Sarkeesian’s newest rant, “Blade Runner” is also a tale replete with problems relating to race and gender, all of which factor into “matters of humanity and oppression,” and undermine the film’s message as a whole.

Instead of focusing on the plot, which takes place decades after the events of the first movie, Sarkeesian delves into the demographic makeup of Los Angeles in 2049, among other burning questions.

Sarkeesian asks: “Shouldn’t there be more LatinX people in the Los Angeles of the future?” The term “LatinX” is apparently pronounced “latin ecks” and not “lateenx” as has been humorously suggested.

“Are we just going to pretend that like Deckard’s (played by Harrison Ford) assault of Rachel was a-okay because there was a romantic saxophone wailing in the background?” She continues, veering back into her rant about the original movie. “Do androids dream of electric sheep?”

Describing the film’s Replicants (intelligent androids) as performers of manual labor, Sarkeesian takes issue with the concept of sex robots designed for men. She asks: “Man, can’t a guy just enjoy his deeply sad, misogynistic desire for a ‘woman’ that he can have sex with any time he wants who never ages, complains, or has a single thought of her own in peace?”

“Anyway, enough about Reddit,” she quips. “In Blade Runner, Replicants have thoughts, feelings and desires like people do. But society doesn’t want to acknowledge that they’re basically human because acknowledging that they are human is basically wrong.”

At no point does Sarkeesian realize the irony of her statement, given that women have been accustomed to using sex aids for decades, with specialized sex shops that cater to their sexual needs.

Following a brief analysis into the female targets of Deckard’s hunt as victims of the so-called “Patriarchy,” Sarkeesian takes offense with the romantic, if somewhat forceful scene in which Deckard makes out with Rachel. Raising the volume of the video for a brief instant, as if to emphasize her thoughts, Sarkeesian describes it as an assault that “undermines concerns about Patriarchy.”

Sarkeesian shows a brief glimmer of understanding at the film’s overarching concept when she points out that Deckard’s hunt for wayward Replicants is like slave hunting, but she loses track by claiming that the movie “subtly perpetuates the very real-life issues of oppression and marginalization that it claims to be concerned with.”

Sarkeesian concludes her rant by offering a skeptical view of the upcoming “Blade Runner 2049,” which comes out in theaters this weekend—pondering whether minority actors like Edward James Olmos (who appeared in the first film) will have bigger roles this time around.

“But it’s also possible that the film will focus almost entirely on Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, and Jared Leto.” No kidding, they’re the main actors—there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that they will be the focus of the movie. No one headed to theaters is going to watch it for Olmos’ bit part, no matter how well-acted.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.


Perspectives expressed in op-eds are not those of The Daily Caller.