Monday, July 19, 2010

I did it again…

I have a problem.  I have a tendency to start reading comments on web articles and YouTube videos, and then get upset and reply to them.  An article that came up on my FB News Feed (The Top 10 TV Characters of the Decade, by Sam McPherson) started out entertaining, and then some how got me thinking about feminism, and what I think it should be, but more importantly: what I do NOT think it should be.

The offending commenter was one “webdiva”, pictured here:

(Not really)

She was fairly irate that no female characters were included in the list, and wrote a particularly condescending comment: 

For example, per your top 10 list, you’d have us believe that there were absolutely no female characters during the entire decade that could qualify for that list. Even on your secondary list (spots 11-20), there’s only one female character, and that’s Carmela Soprano. You’re kidding, right? There were a lot of impressive female leads this decade, including some pretty kick-ass ones that could run circles around Carmela…
And start paying more attention to female characters, for heaven’s sake, especially those outside the Buffyverse. Sheesh, your list is so guy-biased it’s not funny. Get over it, already.

I wasn’t the only one who noticed, someone called her out for chastizing the author’s “guy-bias” (which is 2010 talk for sexism, I believe) and called her bitter (which made me chuckle).  But no, she wasn’t done with the topic: 

Nope, you don't have to be bitter to notice there's only one woman here, and she's not the best choice. Can you honestly tell me that doesn't bother you even a bit? Or in reading through the list the first time, with so many great female characters out there, did you really not notice?? Says far more about you than about me.

I know, I’m opinionated, and often, I am pretty sure that my opinion is right, but I’ve proven I can admit to being wrong.  And nothing annoys me more than to see a girl crying sexism and then calling other ladies to rally, especially if it’s over bullshit like some cyber-geeks super fave TV characters.  But even with my strong opinions, I know the difference between a news article and an opinion piece.  There’s no reason to attack someone personally over their opinion (unless it’s overly religious or based outside of fact).  For one, I think Carmela Soprano was a phenomenal character, far and away more interesting than Sydney Bristow (Alias), and Nikita, who were nothing but 1D ass-kicking females: the Lara Crofts of TV.  This doesn’t make them interesting or memorable characters, they are just female.  (And look at this list of women: WEAK)  So really, how many female characters really stand out from TV shows over the last 10 years?  I wouldn’t put any of these women on the list and can’t think of many that I would include in the ranks of House, Ari Gold, Tobias Funke or even Stephen Colbert.  Deb from Dexter, maybe?  And I want to say Tina Fey’s character from 30 Rock, but I don’t watch the show, so I can’t.  I didn’t even notice the lack of female characters, and it doesn’t bother me one bit.  This guy obviously feels that these 10 characters are awesome, and two of them are from LOST, so how seriously can I take him?  Besides, maybe the problem isn’t that this list didn’t include female characters: maybe the problem is that the female characters that DO exist in this decade are a big yawn.

Now, it’s important to note that I’ve never eagerly identified myself as a feminist, because I feel like, in the eyes of the under-informed, it would paint me as a man-hater.  I think the word carries connotations to it now that I don’t want applied to me.  I guess, like any paradigm it has radicals and moderates, it shifts and changes, and it can be totally oppressive or totally reasonable.  It’s no longer about wearing Gloria-Steinem-aviators, letting our hair down and burning our bras while asking for basic rights and equal pay.   But many of the more vocal “radical feminist” women (feminazis?) lead me to believe that to them, it’s not about equality anymore.  Rather, these self-proclaimed feminists are the ones trying to make men less-than, and crying out every time women aren’t “represented”.  They annoy me and set back the cause by crying wolf. 

I have heard Sarah Palin called a feminist.  So what does it even MEAN anymore?  As I mentioned in a Girl Power post a while back, can you oppose something like abortion rights and be a feminist?  I feel there’s no goal or target to the movement anymore, and women are just spraying it all over the place.  With this post, I intend to initiate discussion on what feminism has become, where we want it to go, and I’d like to know who’s driving.


Dylan Laine said...

I honestly do feel there are some strong female characters on TV and if they didn't make it onto the 'list' well that is a matter of opinion... I wouldn't get all bent out of shape because of some person's youtube opinion, which by the way are a dime a dozen... further more... being a homosexual man, I don't lose my shit every time a raging Jack walks on to the screen, it can be seen as a knock towards gay men and relies on stereotypes for a few laughs and normally they are funny, why because they are true and people find it funny... I'm a very proud gay man but seriously if you're gonna take offence to every fucking thing in this world instead of living your life and just enjoying it, well then fuck off because honestly no one cares long enough to mouse click twice.

Lojo said...

Love, love, LOVE this discussion.

Since I am one of the only women in my circle, or one of the only women I even know who openly refers to herself using the F-word, I have a lot to say on this topic-- and not just because it's lonely here on planet Feminazi (I'm kidding. I am not a feminazi. I even give blow jobs.) Instead of leaving a novel sized comment, I am going to do a blog post in response. Although right now I have a raging migraine and feel like I am going to barf, so I will work on it tonight.


deedub said...

Tina Fey is definitely worthy

AmandaLP said...

"Feminism" has been turned into a dirty word. If the patriarchy has women fighting amongst ourselves, then that leaves less energy for fighting men. (Same with racism, classism, and a lot of other isms.)

My partner and I had a three day fight because I asked him to add more female musicians to his musical library. Rather than seeing it as "Hey, women are underrepresented, I have to find more of them," it became "you dont respect my musical taste and so what if I only like guys."

Until the first one is the prevailing thought, we will always have idiots.

Lojo said...

Totally agree, Amanda.