I just read this post and while it makes some compelling points I’m not sure I agree with the author completely. Is it accurate to do a reverse psychology on an storyteller based on the flaws of the protagonists they’re making?
While I can understand the various story fails that Buffy and Firefly has, I can also understand that a story cannot have perfect characters. If Whendon was just designing flawless women all the time, it would just not make very compelling stories and people would rightly call him out for it. And if you’re going to have a flawed but empowered female character, she’s allowed to be flawed in her empowerment.
In the Firefly case for example, the author criticizes Inara for failing at her own empowerment at times, but doesn’t this make for a compelling story? Sure, Mal “saves” her (and it’s arguable that Inara didn’t need his help), but in the end she has to save him in turn from his own stupidity.
So yeah, Mal is very flawed, and Inara as well (albeit less so imho), but I’m not sure I’d characterize Whendon from the personality of such characters and particularly Inara’s story, especially when there’s others like Zoe who are nothing like Inara and don’t need any such help (and in fact end up saving Mal and her own husband more than once).
I’m also concerned about the “key points” for “Nice Guys” that the author is making. I used to be a Nice Guy and I never thought, for example, that “Men Are Evil, Male Sexuality is Evil“. Not even close. In face, I do not believe I held any of those Key Points as true in my Nice Guy phase. Rather, I was just very shy, inexperienced and awkward with females and my shyness was preventing me from making clear that I wanted a sexual relation, thus ending up bypassing it.
Perhaps I wasn’t the kind of Nice Guy the author is talking about as my phase only lasted until my early twenties, but given how little the Nice Guy Key Points describe my former self, I’m not keen on accepting them at face value.