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Push(back) at the Intersections: 'I Just Don't Like That Many Female Characters'

'I just don't really like many female characters, you know?'

I see this coming up again and again in discussions about pop culture; this is an attitude I myself once embraced and espoused, like it was a badge of honor to dislike most female characters. I thought I was being oh-so-edgy and critiquing female characters when really I was engaging in an age-old form of misogyny, where people prove how progressive they are by saying they hate women.

I know, it sounds weird. But there is a thing that happens where some feminists declare themselves firmly to be 'one of the guys.' I'm not sure if it's a defensive tactic, designed to flip some attitudes about feminism and feminists, or if there is a genuine belief that being feminist means 'being one of the guys.' Once you are 'one of the guys,' you of course need to prove it by bashing on women, because this is what 'guys' do, yes? So you say that you don't really 'connect with' or 'like' female characters you encounter in pop culture.

As I read discussions about pop culture and see responses to female characters, I see a lot of hate for female characters, but not a lot of basis for that hate. Take Tara on True Blood. People say she's 'whiny' and 'boring.' These aren't really criticisms that add in a meaningful way to discussions about Tara; what exactly does it mean to be 'whiny'? What makes Tara 'boring'? Are these not criticisms that are weaponized against real women in the real world on a pretty regular basis? Should we not, perhaps, question why we are carrying that over into pop culture discussions, and talk about what that means?

Especially viewed in light of actual critiques of Tara, discussing her role as a black woman on True Blood and the stereotypes she embodies and enforces (for some really great discussions on Tara's characterization, check out Racialicious), these superficial critiques fall rather short of the mark. Another female character often referred to as 'whiny' is Buffy Summers. She's a character that a lot of people have written about, discussed, and critiqued, often in ways that delve deeply, but it's the critiques that mainly use casual hatred as a vehicle that I encounter most often.

What's with this? Why is it that so many critiques of female characters in pop culture basically consist of 'well, she's a girl, and I don't like her'? There are some parallels in the ways we talk about female creators and women characters in pop culture; both are subjected to some truly misogynist, in addition to antifeminist, critiques.

People who claim not to like female characters often have difficulty explaining why exactly. Take a character like Buffy, who is called 'whiny' for having opinions and not being shy about them, for occasionally being vulnerable and frightened and sad. It couldn't possibly be because her friends repeatedly fuck her over, she was yanked out of heaven to save her friends' butts, she's been burdened with huge responsibility, and she's constantly taken for granted, right? She couldn't possibly have any reason to be angry and to speak up about it, just like Tara has no reason to be angry either. Nope, they're both just whiny women. Write off, move on.

Female characters are criticized for everything from their sexual practices to the tones of their voices. They're described as 'annoying' while women-centric storylines are dismissed as 'boring' and 'sappy.' The women characters that most people seem to like have characteristics commonly associated with masculinity; they are physically strong, they are stoic. Critics make a point of disdaining 'chick flicks' and television shows that center women and women's experiences. 'Ew, gross, it's all about ladies!'

Much of this baseless hatred of women characters seems to be a reflection of internalized self-hatred. Being 'emotional,' for example, is a trait that society says is not acceptable for women, and thus expressions of emotion on the part of women characters are condemned. People will sometimes hide behind claims of 'stereotyping' to criticize women characters, arguing that the characters reinforce problematic ideas about women while little realizing that they themselves are reinforcing those ideas; people who claim that characters like Tara are 'too emotional' and that this feeds ideas about 'hysteria' and women don't seem to recognize that they are reflecting a commonly held social attitude, that women should not be emotional. They ignore the very real reasons for Tara to be upset; seeing your lover shot and lying in a pool of his own blood, for example, is a very emotional experience.

What is so frightening about women characters who display emotions? What is so terrifying about storylines that center women?

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Comments

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Applause! Reminds me about

Applause! Reminds me about dumb criticisms of Amy Pond and River Song in the newest season of Doctor Who. Calling Amy slutty because she occasionally wears shortish skirts, and also occasionally flirts? Yeah. Or hating on River because she is "smug" - in a show like Doctor Who, where the Doctor (a male) is pretty much defining smug, always strikes me as a wee bit hypocritical. What bothers me as that it's women having these opinions, not the rabid fanboys. I try to just facepalm and move on, but it's terribly frustrating.

So true.

It's disappointing to hear so much criticism of empowered female characters. I disliked how co-dependent and needy Martha Jones was with the 10th Doctor, and I was delighted that the writers re-introduced strong and independent female characters. I thought it was particularly strange how they slut-shamed Amy Pond. She holds her own as a character, and that's what makes her so enjoyable to watch. I adore River Song, of course. She's witty, attractive, strong, and a perfect counterpoint to the Doctor's awkwardness.
I suspect that some of the vitriol from female fans towards female characters comes from projection. Science fiction is a form of escapism, and the writers have always tried to make companions that the viewers can identify with. A lot of the younger female fans grow jealous of the Doctor's companions if they cannot project themselves onto the character. It's a strange way to look at things, but fans don't always come from a rational place.

Female characters just can't

Female characters just can't win! If they are autonomous, they are 'sluts' or 'bossy.' If they are not, they are 'weak' and 'fragile' and 'perpetuating harmful stereotypes.' And in works where people try to create honest depictions of women, with, say, a mix of these traits and some emotional complexity thrown in, hoo lawdy, STOP THE PRESSES!

In other words, it's just

In other words, it's just like being a woman in real life.

What equals co-dependent and

What equals co-dependent and needy? It just seems like saying you like that they reintroduced "strong, independent" female characters is doing exactly what the article was talking about.

I wouldn't say that this is

I wouldn't say that this is entirely true. The problem with Martha and 2nd season Rose was not necessarily in the characters themselves, but how they were positioned in relationship to the male lead. Both were multifaceted, interesting, intelligent women, but instead of ever letting that show in their actions, the writing was almost entirely focused on their infatuation. This doesn't mean that even that infatuation was necessarily a problem, the issue was that they lost depth and credibility as full-fledged characters. They became JUST vulnerable, JUST dependent, in a lot of cases.

Amy and River are strong AND well rounded. River perhaps a little bit less, because we've seen less of her, but Amy is fantastic in that she really, as Candytuft says, holds her own. But she's also a little strange, overly bossy with her boyfriend, seems to have been the kind of kid who lived in her head most of the time (I can so relate to that), a little scared of commitment. But is also and very secure in her own sexuality, inventive, intelligent... I could go on and one. I think the key difference is that the angling of the writing allows her to be this way. No one is *better*, but I think a lot of the unfounded criticism against Amy is caused by her independence. They've got used to the female character being All About the Doctor, and get cranky when they have a well-developed personality of their own.

To be fair, 2nd season Rose

To be fair, 2nd season Rose was just as bad. It seemed to be something about Ten, how he's a bit of an ass, and how Rusty wrote him and the women around him. I *loved* the idea of Martha, but the writing focused too much on her crush, and it ruined the experience entirely.

Applause for you as well! I

Applause for you as well! I could not agree more with the Doctor Who criticisms--they are all incredibly unfounded and irritating.

Why do people watch shows if they hate the characters in them?

I love all of the women of Doctor Who! Even though Rose & Martha had romantic feelings towards the doctor does not mean that they were portrayed in a weak light. Martha especially was always pretty kick ass & incredibly smart. And I seriously wish I knew River Song in real life. She is a wonderful, multi-faceted character. Mysterious, smart, daring, courageous, funny... I could go on and on. Cannot wait to find out more about her next season.

Re: your subject line

I couldn't have said it better myself. I really don't know (but I do feel that Rose is weakened in season 2, and that Martha could have had more focus on aspects of her personlity that wasn't about crushing on the Doctor.)

It also reminds me...

Of people who claim they "just don't like women's voices" when talking about why their music collections are full of men.

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UGH, YES. I have witnessed

UGH, YES. I have witnessed this phenomenon in action and it leaves me reeling every time. I see it with books, too--'women authors just kind of bore me.' I want to be like 'really?! Just, all women authors, in general, are boring? REALLY?!' This kind of plays into the discussion we had about female creators a few weeks ago.

I hear that a lot about

I hear that a lot about female MCs in hip hop.

I know what you mean. I have

I know what you mean. I have writerly friends who hate using female characters and don't like most of the ones they run across. I don't get it. I like writing and seeing strong female characters who embody the gamut of emotions that all people experience, and I try to use a balance when I write ladies, because there are stoic girls (me) and others who are emotional, or whatever else. All deserve representation.

I definitely found Buffy

I definitely found Buffy "whiny", but the entire show and not SMG. I am not a Whedon fan, so that is probably 90% of the problem, but overall, i find the people on his shows talk entirely too much, which for me tends to be a problem. :)

That said, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I find it really annoying when female centric material is dismissed for merely being female centric and what the person thinks it might mean. It seems folks want the appearance of female centric pop culture, as long as it doesn't have whatever stereotypical elements they don't enjoy.

I'm not talking about valid critiques of female centric shows that have some problematic elements - like say, SATC - but I am talking about the way some feminists latch on to pretty troubling rhetoric to dismiss female centric pop culture without acknowledging the way in which some of it does a great job celebrating certain aspects of the lives of women.

Even the critiques of Eat Pray Love, which haven't focused on its privileged take on self actualization seem really obsessed with myths regarding Julia Roberts' waning star power and how "boring" see is.

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Sooo much this--can we have

Sooo much this--can we have female-centric pop culture, but, like, without any lady stuff in it? seems to be a really common refrain and it's really disturbing.

Great piece!

I thought I was being oh-so-edgy and critiquing female characters when really I was engaging in an age-old form of misogyny, where people prove how progressive they are by saying they hate women.

I relate, and not only regarding pop culture. As a young teen, I thought the way to rebel against gender expectations was to eschew female company in favor of male friends so I wouldn't be "one of the girls," when really I was just buying into the "women are inferior" messages.

I see a similar process at play in media discussions. If female characters (and/or queer characters, I'm noticing) aren't openly emotional, they're "cold" or "bitchy;" if they are, they're "whiny" or "desperate." This is not to say there aren't plenty of characters who seem to be written as female stereotypes, but the desire to pigeon-hole women is widespread and bizarre. I also hate the assumption that all the greatest characters are men because they're more celebrated...a vicious cycle.

I wonder...

...if some of the problem stems from critiques based upon how much someone likes/dislikes characters in a movie/show/book/etc. as opposed to examining a work based on how engaging the character is, or how their storyline impacts the viewer/reader.

Personally, I tend to gravitate to characters that are compelling rather than likable. Doesn't really seem to matter what their background/gender/storyline is--if they're well-written/acted/portrayed and some part of them connects with some part of me, I'm hooked. More times than not, these characters I enjoy the most are the characters I "like" the least.

Agree 100%

I can't help but think of Betty Draper & Pete Campbell in this light. Both fairly unlikeable characters, but they are wonderful to watch because they are incredibly compelling.

Agree in General

I agree with the overall premise of this post, but I'm not sure I agree with some of the examples. For example, the character of Tara is annoying to me on True Blood - not because she's emotional but because I don't think the actor who plays her is very good (although I was impressed with her in one of the most recent episodes). Also, the writers keep putting her through one horrible thing right after another, to the point where it's rather ludicrous (even by TB standards).

What I'm saying is that there can be good reasons to dislike a female character, even though self-hate or perpetuation of misogyny can also be reasons people are disliking a female character. I don't like Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, for example. I kept waiting for her to turn stereotypes of single, professional 30/40 something women on their head, but after 3 seasons ... nope!

Also, I am confused about this line: "Being 'emotional,' for example, is a trait that society says is not acceptable for women, and thus expressions of emotion on the part of women characters are condemned." I'm not sure what you mean here. I would say that in society it's okay for women to be emotional - but there might be some expectations on what those emotions look like or in what context they're okay. But the way this is phrased, it sounds like you're saying emotions are acceptable for men more than women? Otherwise ... are you saying being emotional is not okay for ANYONE? I guess I have a lot of questions about that piece.

I completely agree that

I completely agree that there are entirely valid and nonmisogynist reasons to dislike female characters! Being a female character doesn't mean someone is exempt from being disliked, I just find that, you know, many people just stop with 'I don't like her because she is a girl' instead of 'I don't like this character because she [actual reason].' (And I am with you on what they are doing to Tara, it is just getting ridiculous.)

Re:Emotions. You're right, that line is a little awkwardly phrased. What I was driving at was that emotions like anger, outrage, upset, are often dismissed in women as 'hysteria' instead of being validated, and strong expressions of emotion in women characters are treated as signs of weakness on the part of a character. Say you have a scene where a woman finds out about something really upsetting and starts screaming and crying--instead of being seen as an authentic emotional response to something really intense, it's 'that character got all HYSTERICAL' and it's written off. Or, when female characters express strong emotions, people say it's 'repeating stereotypes about women.' Basically, people don't want to see strong/intense emotions, and I note this ESPECIALLY with women of colour in pop culture (how many Black women, for example, are written off as angry/uppity when they have entirely valid responses to being in really shitty situations?).

Women are like Butterflies

I loved your article and totally agree that there are too many self-hating women out there. As a writer/filmmaker I think that if women chose better roles, or had better roles written for them, we would see them displayed more positively on television. Sometimes the women on TV appear whiny and boring because that's about as deep as the writer (male) could delve. As a female writer I hope to change that. I recently wrote and am in the process of filming a TV pilot entitled "Butterflies". Its about an underground society of women that has been growing for many years and is starting to surface. They keep a low profile but their actions are strong. They right the wrongs of society, leaving no stone unturned. It is meant to show off strong, smart, and savvy women. If anyone's interested in following us as we travel down this road, please join our facebook page: Butterflies. Thank you. PS I LOVE YOUR MAGAZINE!

Thanks, more info on that

Thanks, more info on that helps me understand what you were getting at. I totally agree. I can definitely see Tara being written off as "crying and hollering all the time," and to be honest, I've had that reaction a fee times. Sort of an, "oh Lordy, here we go again," although it is perfectly reasonable for her to react the way she does to the shitty things that keep happening to her. I do like that after she cries she takes action. It's not like she's one to wallow.

Back to Original Post: I had no idea Buffy was perceived as "whiny." I'm trying to think of when she's ever been whiny!

When I was a young woman I had a hard time with independent female characters - I thought they asked for too much, and perpetually dissatisfied. As I gained more independence and confidence in myself, that perspective faded. I recently watched Veronica Mars, and enjoyed that character a LOT. Ten years ago I would have enjoyed her adventures but thought she was "ungrateful," "inconsiderate" of others, "too demanding," "bossy," etc. I hope this means patriarchal notions have less of a hold on me these days.

Buffy (Mostly)

I only once thought Buffy was self-absorbed and whiny, and that was before I ever watched the show. Years ago, a friend showed me the "musical episode" and I had no idea how much she'd been through or really even who she was. I'm now watching the series for the first time -- just started Season 6 -- and I think it's amazing. I have no problem with Buffy getting called on her shit, although I do think Reilly should have been called on his shit a whole lot more. I also saw the end of Season 5 as suicide, not sacrifice. But did I blame her? No. I was actually more confused as to why another Slayer didn't appear in her place when she died. Maybe there's something I missed?

But the "whiny" tag can be really plague female characters. I once did some ghostwriting for a media tie-in novel based on a very popular horror movie franchise. The novel was written from the perspective of a female character. The male fans hated it -- some viciously so, stating that they didn't want to read a horror novel about a woman and all of her "feelings." When the main author and I complained, men argued with us, saying, "If women are so hated, why are there so many in horror movies?" I explained there's a huge fucking difference between a horror movie, told from the outside of a character's mind, and a horror novel, told from the inside. Also, said chicks tend to get terrorized and then hacked up*, which didn't happen in the novel we wrote.

*Unless they're a "final girl," but are there any final girls any more? Or at least any women who survive? I kind of hate the concept of the "final girl," frankly.

Why no Slayer appeared

Buffy died in the first season, which activated Kendra. When Kendra died, she activated Faith. So Buffy's death again wouldn't activate a slayer because she was already "out of the loop," she'd already activated a slayer.

Faith would need to die to activate the next slayer, and as she's not dead yet, no more slayers can be activated. Make sense now?

Gender Shaming?

I really relate to this article, too.

As a college student, I feel like people take me a lot more seriously when I tell them I'm enrolled in stereotypically masculine classes (chem, bio, higher math...) as opposed to if I tell them I'm taking an anthropology class. It applies to other things too, like personality (rational vs. emotional, as mentioned), etc. It would be cool if this perception extended to males adopting stereotypically female traits and interests of course, essentially breaking down gender roles, but when was the last time guys got accolades for that? It seems like a more modern, sneaky kind of sexism. Most people know better than to come right out and say "male > female", so instead we just devalue the attributes and interests associated (however erroneously) with femaleness.

Man, even Jane Austen knew about this:

"Elizabeth Bennet," said Miss Bingley, when the door was closed on her, "is one of those young ladies who seek to recommend themselves to the other sex by undervaluing their own; and with many men, I dare say, it succeeds. But, in my opinion, it is a paltry device, a very mean art."

(Pride and Prejudice, chapter 10.)

Miss Bingley is an atrocious character, and obvs. I don't think E.B. specifically deserved that criticism, but it's pretty damn true for society in general. Maybe especially those of us who are trying to prove our value as anything more than a PMS'y tech clueless sex object. As much as I detest it, I know that I feel more respected by others -including women!- when I deny or hide parts of my personality that are "feminine." I will say - and I'm sure some of you will hate me for this - that some feminisms perpetuate it to a certain degree. It seems to follow a sort of if-you-can't-beat-'em,-join-em kind of rationale. Obvious example: people who believe feminists are posers if they wear makeup/shave legs/etc. etc. What's sad is that it's basically saying we can only achieve equality on the terms of men, by making ourselves as close to the social construct of what a man is as we can, rather than just being who the hell we are and accepting that.

Screw it all! Let us wearsayfuckshavedo what we please without fear of bringing a blanketed judgement on ourselves. We are all multifaceted humans, and cannot be summed up by one part of who we are.

I don't want to make a

I don't want to make a blanket statement, but I tend to find that when I am critical of female characters, they tend to be written by men, and my criticism is not so much of the female characters because they are female, but because they seem to me to be someone's idea of who a girl/woman "would be," and thus is an unsatisfying character because of the reliance on type rather than actual character development. Usually, it comes out as a mishmash of stereotypical "female" traits, which never translate to a realistic or relatable character. Please note, I don't think this is exclusively true of male writers, nor do I think all male writers automatically fall into this trap. But sometimes I can almost see the writer/creator saying, "Hmm, what's a really FEMALE thing to say?" I think problematic characters arise when the writer makes them too much of a "type," rather than allowing them to evolve as people. I do think, though, that this creates something of a cycle that sets female characters up to be judged more harshly (that, and, you know, society) than males.

Interesting angle...

Most of the criticism I see of Buffy is during the Season when Marti Noxon took over as one of the lead writers and as producer of the show (S6). That was also where the show took its jump into the dark spiral of angst and sadness that was the aftermath of Buffy's (2nd) resurrection. S5 and S6 are my favorite parts of Buffy, and it seems to have the most pushback. Granted, she admits that Whedon had the final say, but much of that material was by Noxon's hand, and as s.e. has mentioned before, she gets most of the blame.

Another woman character I see slammed is Izzy Stevens (created by Shonda Rhimes). She is called whiny, slutty, her (violent) death has been called for, and it seems that people just can't stand someone with a spectrum of visible emotions . Some this is due to the way her character is written, and some because Katherine Heigl had some nerves and deigned opened her mouth about the writing that was handed to her during the writers' strike (apparently women who speak their minds are punished? I stand here in utter shock!).

But her character comes from a trailer park. Her mother was there, but emotionally absent. She was almost a teen mom, worked her way through school (albeit on her conventional beauty privilege), but she didn't have an easy way of it. Her character couldn't win. Whether she was peppy and excited, or crying and overly compassionate, she was criticized by fans of the show. And forbid she have sex with anyone. At. All. As much as she was a favorite of mine, and I haven't seen the latest season yet, I am almost relieved to hear Heigl has left so that the constant shaming and criticism can be over.

You can do one of two things; just shut up, which is something I don't find easy, or learn an awful lot very fast, which is what I tried to do. ~ Jane Fonda

You can do one of two things; just shut up, which is something I don't find easy, or learn an awful lot very fast, which is what I tried to do. ~ Jane Fonda

Glad to see someone else liked those seasons

I recently watched all of Buffy for the first time and I really enjoyed the last few seasons. More than the first few seasons.

Why we dislike them...

I can tell you straight off the bat why so many of us do not generally like female characters. Personally, it is my biggest pet peeve. I cannot count the number of times I have picked up a book, or gotten involved with a TV series with an initially strong independent female character, only to become abysmally disappointed. Why? Because of their ‘love interest.’

So often, I have seen these exceptional female characters with great potential, that is until they introduced their love interest. Suddenly these strong independent women become pathetic, whinny, weak, unable to fend for themselves. They develop a dependency on the usually male character. Subjectifying themselves as an inferior. While yes, women are generally more in touch with their emotions, must it be the main point of every female based story?

Case in example, I read a series a couple years ago, about a woman in the military. She was a take charge, kick ass, take names female bad ass. Introduce male counterpart, suddenly the woman becomes weak. The male has to constantly ‘save her’ because she can no longer fend for herself. In all my reading I have only found one, one, female main character who continued to be a bad ass, even after a (thankfully) short romantic encounter. Best of all, it was written BY A MAN!

It took a man to write a woman in a continuously strong persona. (Several books, thank you David Weber, you are my hero.) By writing women in that lighting, we set ourselves back. Remember in G.I. Jane, she set herself to an even standard with the men. But by constantly allowing ourselves to be portrayed as weak, emotional, beings it is all we are seen as by the whole.

I am not a butch dyke, or braless lesbian, (nothing wrong with them, thank you. My best friend and my aunt are suitable examples of such.) Like I said, I am not some woman on a man hating warpath or femininity stripping campaign. I just feel that by constantly seeing the female character as an inferior we subjectify ourselves off screen as well. Which is why we pick apart, dissect, and critique female characters so harshly. In those celluloid people we see what the idea of women is according to those in Hollywood. The reason we often deface those characters is our subconscious gesture of fighting the system. And that is why, we usually dislike female characters.

Steps off soap box… sorry, like I said, it happens to be my biggest pet peeve.

*The series which I talk about with the continuous strong female was written by David Weber, it is the Honor Herrington series, Sci-fi/Military. Think G.I. Jane in space. 

Yes!

I completely agree with you. It's incredibly frustrating when a book/tv series/movie with potential ends up settling for lame stereotypes (I got sick of Veronica Mars and all her love interests, more grit and drama please!). I got the impression that this article was specifically addressing the situations where that isn't the case though, like the example of Tara reacting emotionally to very emotional situations (seeing her boyfriend killed) and people calling her whiny because of it, or other generalized gripes that don't appear to have a reason or rationale. Many female characters are in desperate need of a makeover though (not the "Clueless" kind!), I don't think you need to look any further than fricken Twilight to know that;).

Interesting, because I

Interesting, because I didn't get tired of Veronica Mars and her relationships - she only has a handful of love interests, btw (I think 4?). I liked that she didn't have to be devoid of sexuality or a sexual life while she did all these other things.

Five

if we count both Troy and Leo (much as we might not want to.) I liked that she was portrayed as sexual while also being dynamic and generally independent as well, though sometimes the "personal life" aspect of the show relied a little too heavily on the romantic drama, I think. I enjoyed that she remained single for most the second season; without that, I don't know that she would have come off as such a great character.

Quantity

Okay I didn't phrase that well at all. It wasn't the quantity of her partners that bothered me, merely the screen time the romantic dramas got. I just wasn't as interested in that as I was in some of the other plots. To be fair, that's probably because Veronica Mars is one of the few tv shows I relied on for my "fix" of an independent female character...if other shows were as balanced, it probably wouldn't have bothered me as much. What can I say though, I was a Nancy Drew fan in grade school, guess it's the mysteries I'm after:).

Yes.

That's an angle I didn't even think of--the love interest--but now that you mention it, I do recall squirming through the transformation of a likable female character into an unlikable one at the introduction of a love interest. I don't know if it necessarily "takes a man" to write a consistently good (or even "bad ass") female character, though. I think it just takes a good writer.

I was surprised to read that

I was surprised to read that people find the character of Tara boring or whiny. I personally don't love the character as i don't relate to her, but she or her life is in no way boring and I would never think that she complains too much. Perhaps she is boring because there are few vampires in her story lines but I think her character plays an important role, and gives the show dept.

In reality I would think she would be an incredibly strong person, with an absent father and abusive alcoholic mother. Her character works well with the themes of True Blood, particularly in the storyline dealing with "inner demons" and the quest for absolution and transcendence.

Tara has a difficult life and responds emotionally to it with anger and sadness, is that whiny? When Bill or Jason or Sam lose control and get angry and violent, is that a positive thing?

That's what I'm saying!

I do so love how you address issues/ topics about which I muse in my free time, as well as how often and how thoroughly I agree with you. More this in life please.

Tara

I love Tara. I still remember the first (or one of the first) scenes in the first episode when she's working in a convenience store and she's pissed off at this lady. She struck me as a stronger character than any other female character I've seen on TV. She's a good actor.

And ya, women can't win in the eyes of pop culture but, since pop culture effects me in such a deep way, I just don't watch most popular movies and when I watch shows that I like which are popular, like true blood, I download them because I don't like commercials.

Sexism and Naruto fandom

Thanks for writing this. It makes so much sense.

My own experience: I'm a Naruto fan, and the misogyny in that fandom is horrific. It doesn't help that the creator isn't exactly great when it comes to writing women, but he's not as bad as his fans when it comes to sexism. The female characters - particularly Sakura Haruno - are singled out for criticism more than the men. Ino is a slut; Hinata is a weak, submissive rape victim in the making; Temari is too manly and aggressive; Chiyo is old and ugly (funny how no-one criticises male characters in their 80s for being old); Tsunade is the worst Hokage ever; Karin is a bunny-boiling psycho rapist; Konan only got into Akatsuki because she sucked the leader's dick; women should stay in the kitchen and pop out babies, not be ninja (even though women ninja existed in real life!); and so on.

As for Sakura, she's bashed for having small breasts, for getting angry with Naruto fooling around, for having little self-confidence, for killing a member of Akatsuki (and of course, bashers won't even accept her role in that fight), for being useless, for being a slut (even though she's never had sex with anyone in canon), for getting in the way of pairings, for crushing on Sasuke, for crying when her village was destroyed...the list goes on and on. People cannot or will not accept any character development she has had, any positive characteristics she displays, any time she has been useful. Some of the comments about her are downright disturbing. Fantasising about killing and raping a fictional character is beyond creepy.

I'm sick of immature fanboys and their fantasies about raping the female characters and killing them in disgusting ways, and I'm even more sick of yaoi fangirls who will bash female characters for every little thing, yet will give male characters a pass and even make excuses for atrocities that some of the male characters commit. G-d only knows what their attitude to real women is. It's depressing stuff.

The Oxygen Channel is Sexist D:

To some of the people who wrote comments on here saying how manly women are betraying their own sex: I know the two phrases are similar, and I can see where you could get confused, but "tomboy" is not synonymous with "Uncle Tom" - a woman who acts "masculine" or doesn't like "feminine" things is NOT an Uncle Tom of women.

From what I've seen, it IS commonly accepted in, hell, EVERY society that women are different from men - women are considered to be weaker, more emotional, and interested in "girly" things like clothes and having babies (ugh). Going against those accepted norms doesn't mean a woman is a traitor to her own sex and trying to impress men by acting like "one of the guys." It just means that she's tired of all this bullshit promoted by the media - and some women - and some men - that you will act in certain ways if you're female and certain ways of you're male and the two genders are distinct and have little if anything in common. That's just dumb. People buy into that kind of thinking because of the shit they watch on TV, see in ads, and how society teaches them to behave. They've been spoonfed these ideas about how ladies should act or what ladies are and that they're different from guys, so when they see a woman acting like a guy, they think she's "betraying" her sex. They think that there is such a thing as a "chick flick" or a program "for women." Bullshit. There ain't no such thing. Just because a show talks about emotions and relationships and reality-based romance and family drama and whatnot as opposed to awesome things like robots doesn't mean that it's FOR women. It means it's for bland, stupid women who buy into the idea that they're supposed to be bland and stupid and actually LIKE that schlock BECAUSE THEY ARE WOMEN. And for no other reason.

Fun fact: the Oxygen channel is the most sexest thing to ever exist, ever.

And yet most women buy into this kind of thinking, from what I have seen, and THAT right there is the reason why some people don't like books by women authors. That's why some people don't like female characters - because the majority of females, whatever their profession, fictional or real, buy into the idea that they are WOMEN first and PEOPLE second. There are some awesome female writers. JK Rowling isn't one of them IMO, but Madeline L'Engle is great and Kate Beaton makes some hilarious comics and I can't think of any others off the top of my head but I honestly wouldn't care what the author's sex is so long as they write well. Same goes for anything else - I don't like most female musicians but I love Rasputina, I don't like most female comedians because they all seem to talk about "female" stuff but I'd love Demetri Martin whether he was a lady or a dude, etc. It's about quality, not gender. A lot of female entertainers seem to think that just "being female" is enough of an edge that they can be sloppy with their work, pick a "female" target audience and write "female"-oriented material and that the ladies will get all upons and be heaps interested in their shitty creations because it is BY A FEMALE FOR FEMALES. Holy shit. I just realized. I am female. I should totally go watch Oprah, because that's what females do!

In case you are unaware, that was sarcasm.

On a similar issue, I tend to dislike a LOT of female characters. I hate Sakura, didn't care for the ladies in Dr. Who, man, there are so many, I'm not even going to bother with it. BUT I also thought the Bride in Kill Bill was awesome. Orihime Inoue from Bleach has some bizarre quirks that make her seem like a real person, and I think she's a great character. I thought Tsunade was pretty bitchin.' And who can forget Meg from A Wrinkle in Time? There's a lot of female characters I like. I think the ones that most people DON'T like - at least the ones I don't like - are the ones that are the most stereotypical and weak and well, WHINY and BORING. Nobody wants to see a male character that's whiny and boring, either - it's just that being super-emotional and bland aren't commonly accepted traits for the male stereotype, so hack screenplay writers don't often employ them and there are fewer male characters who act like this.