Amy-Chinn D (2006) 'Tis Pity She's a Whore: Postfeminist Prostitution in Joss Whedon's Firefly. Feminist Media Studies, 6 (2), pp. 175-189. https://doi.org/10.1080/14680770600645143
First paragraph: Joss Whedon has been praised for his positive representations of women, and the way he has sought to challenge the negative portrayal of marginalised members of society. In the short-lived series Firefly (shown on the US cable channel Fox between September and December 2002) these aspects of his work have the potential to come together in the character of Inara, whose occupation as "Companion" is, as the text makes clear, that of whore. With Inara, Whedon is seeking to incorporate perhaps the most marginalised of women into the text in an ostensibly non-pejorative way. This is more problematic than his earlier attempts to rewrite the role of women, as the discourse around the commercialisation of sex has been a constant source of tension within feminism, with heated debate as to whether prostitution is crucial to the patriarchal affirmation of masculinity or can - in some instances - offer women the possibility of empowerment.
Feminist Media Studies: Volume 6, Issue 2