28 day xena: warrior princess challenge, day 18: in which something happened I wish didn’t …

Alrighty, so this is something that I’ve referenced several times since I started this challenge, but I’m going to go ahead and repeat it: I hate mystical pregnancies. First, it dehumanizes a woman* into a vessel instead of a person, and second, it’s just another way to bring rape into a story that is only used in stories involving women*. I give Gabrielle’s pregnancy with Hope a bit more leniency – not a lot, because it’s still rape – but with Xena’s? Yeah … there are much better ways to resolving the Xena/Callisto conflict than to force a pregnancy upon a woman because a second one wanted another chance at life.

It was just so disappointing to see that’s where the writers went. For starters, only in death does Callisto have true peace; that is Xena’s legacy, something they finally got by the time the series ended. Second, Callisto knows how cruel the world can be. Hell, the woman was a both victim and a perpetrator of it, so it makes no sense that she would want to return to it, even if she did somehow feel that she owed Xena something. And finally, it’s not like her reincarnated vessel, Eve/Livia, was spared from brutality – she became and embraced it, like a Xena-version of Paul from the New Testament (there are definite similarities between these two characters, y’all) prior to him having the vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus.

But I think the biggest issue I have is that this was done without including Xena in on the conversation. Had she and Callisto had a talk about it beforehand, ultimately deciding that, yep, this is the way they can both forgive each other, than sure. I would have been onboard with this “virgin” birth. But instead, we get an angelic rape of a woman whose adult life was a result of betrayal, and I truly wish it would not have happened that way.

Art Credit: Varese Sarabande

* I’m using woman/women here as shorthand for people with uteruses, not to discount the experiences of trans women or trans men, for whom rape and murder is a constant threat. Mystical pregnancies involving trans people are rarely, if ever, used in popular stories/TV shows/films, partly because I don’t think any asshole has thought about it yet. Or at least, I haven’t seen it, and I hope to god that I don’t.

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