Responding to the question of why the Na’vi in Avatar have boobs, despite the fact that they don’t even have genitals, director James Cameron told Playboy:
“Right from the beginning I said, ‘She’s got to have tits,’ even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na’vi, aren’t placental mammals,”
Additionally, Cameron said that in creating the Na’vi, he wanted to “focus on things that can create otherness that are not off-putting.”
Now, there are so many reasons to criticize this movie (it sucks, it’s too long, its story is lacking, its acting is lacking, it’s a simplistic interpretation of colonial narratives, it’s a reductive allegory for American foreign policy, etc) that I don’t really want to go into it too much, but as food for thought, I will be pondering two questions:
1. Why does Cameron call the Na’vi as a ‘race’ not a species if they are ‘non-placental mammals’? (obviously the answer to this is that a degree of relatability is necessary cinematically) Considering the presence of multiple human races in the cast, did you view the Na’vi as a race or a species?
2. What can be said about Cameron’s implication that there are features of “otherness” that are not “off-putting”? Isn’t part of the “essence” of “otherness” a degree of off-puttingness? Would eliminating the breasts have turned the Na’vi from Others to something actually different?