Since creating the cult TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1997, director, writer, and Toy Story scribe Joss Whedon has emerged as a shining star in the geek firmament. He's also become one of pop culture's most surprising feminists. Though they inhabit the male-centric world of sci-fi, his female protagonists, from Buffy to the women of the short-lived space-cowboy series Firefly, are funny, smart, and able to punch, kick, and banter their way out of trouble. When he came up with the idea for Dollhouse, a new series in which the heroine is rented out to fantasy-seeking clients and has her mind erased after each assignment, he asked for a thumbs-up from the women's advocacy group Equality Now after pitching the networks. The widely anticipated new show, featuring Buffy's Eliza Dushku, is set to premier on Fox in January. Mother Jones met with the 44-year-old Whedon in his small office on the Fox lot, where he discussed the importance of obsession in art and the ironies of preaching feminism on Rupert Murdoch's flagship channel.
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