From Lovebot to War Bride: Race, Family and Citizenship in Battlestar Galactica
by LeiLani Nishime — Sonoma State University
May 02, 2008 – 02:02
In the series, Battlestar Galactica, the humans are fighting a cyborg enemy called the Cylons. Sharon, played by Grace Park, is a Cylon but has fallen in love with a (white) human soldier. She switches allegiance and becomes an officer in the human fleet. However, it is her status as wife and mother that truly legitimates her claim to personhood and even her right to exist. This clip hints at how the rhetoric of family, constructed through racialized and gendered narratives, is used to construct and disrupt a coherent national identity.
In the post WWII era the over-representation of Japanese and Korean war brides in the media helped repair the image of the U.S. globally in the face of Japanese Americans returning from detention camps and the increasingly vocal civil rights movement. This new image transformed Asians in the public imagination from male bachelor sojourner to female wife and mother.
What are we to make of this scene? Sharon is one of only two mothers on the show and her reproductive labor not only allows the humans to perpetuate an idealized, heterosexual, middle class family, it also allows them to differentiate themselves from and demonize the asexually reproducing, communal, Cylon Other. At the same time, her labor allows her express what must be seen as racialized anger (“You hate me for what I am. You hate me for where I’m from.”) What, too, are to make of the fact that this scene was cut from the original show and only appears as a deleted scene on the DVD? In what ways, does the scene exceed the needs of the show?
If this topic interests you, I’d also recommend reading some of the earlier discussion about Sharon from an earlier In Media Res BSG themed week, July 9-13, 2007.
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