Illustration by cindie xin

Red Flag

We’re at his apartment, lying on his couch, and I tell him my idea for a sci-fi movie about a young woman who lives on a casino planet and scams the tourists.

He says he doesn’t think it’s very realistic for the main character to be a woman. It’s set in space on a made-up planet but the thing he can’t wrap his head around is that a woman can propel action.

I want to tell him everything wrong with what he just said but the words don’t come. I want to regale him with statistics about the underrepresentation of women in media, especially women who aren’t cis, white and able-bodied. I want to tell him about the people working to change that. But the words don’t come.

I say nothing as I imagine the universe, and a world with a woman at the center who undermines the capitalist hegemony daily.

In the movie, he’d be the antagonist. The misogynistic casino director, her biggest scam. Who at first does not consider her capable of being the thief that plagues him since on his home planet the patriarchy is intentional and ongoing.

She is able to outwit him because he won’t stop underestimating her. And it’s because he won’t stop underestimating me that I’ll leave.