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?
I feel like people watching the show who haven't really been exposed to feminism were internalizing some feminist messages until they got to the actual feminists, at which point they learned that feminists are bad. What's more important, the delivery of the message, or naming the ideology that goes with it? I'd rather that people be doing feminist things and not recognizing them as feminist than doing nothing at all, or doing actively anti-feminist things (and sometimes calling them feminist), but I also wish that depictions of feminists in pop culture were not uniformly awful. Few shows are even willing to call characters feminist at all and positive depictions of feminists and feminism are thin on the ground.
I don't know if Thomas really thinks that this is what feminists are like, or was trying to make a commentary with the caricatures that just didn't resolve itself, but it left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Surely, a criterion for considering a show feminist is that if it contains feminists, they shouldn't be caricatures.