Science fiction is the genre I love most in this world. You already know that most likely. However, I have to admit that as a genre it has taken quite some time to begin to see its own revolutionary potential in terms of race and gender.
Still, there are some who are very consciously moving the genre forward. To my mind, none more so than Ron Moore and Co. over on the reimagined Battlestar Galactica (official website). I think that what he's doing is incredibly smart, including the move to change some of the male roles from the 1978 show to females. Not only does this create a chance to tell some new stories, but it also creates a shift in the traditionally "boys only" club that is science fiction. Of course, the controversy over this (particularly the move to cast Katee Sackhoff in the role traditionally held by Dirk Benedict in the first incarnation of the show) is long since played out.
Still, I found someone had this bit of the documentary from the Season 1 DVDs, and I thought I'd share it because I think it makes some really interesting points about the pressure that Moore and the actresses felt early on for something as this-so-shouldn't-be-a-big-deal as just casting different genders for these roles:
(I'm not crazy about them using the term "babes" but I think that was a move that likely didn't come from Moore or the actresses, but more likely from the marketing department reflecting how they see those of us consumers of SF...*sigh* we've still got a long way to go).
I really wish there was something like this for the characters now that we're 4 seasons down the road, and all of them (especially Tricia Helfer's character Six) have had a chance to play so many more nuances of their characters. I'd also really like to have Mary McDonnell have a chance to talk about President Roslin, too (Those Helfer/Six nuances formed a major portion of the paper I delivered at PCA this year, in fact).
Sarah Lefanu has a really great critical book on Feminist SF if you're interested: Lefanu, Sarah. Feminism and Science Fiction. Bloomington, Indiana; Indiana U. P. 1989