Tag Archives: television tuesday

Television Tuesday :: a devil’s bargain?

25 Jul

Spoilers for Game of Thrones weeks one and two ahead.

You guys, I really want to maintain my passion for this canon. I’m sure you know that. For the most part the first two episodes have been perfectly fine! Sure there’s been a fair bit of “yes, but…”

  • Jon (Kit Harington) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) coexist and have some modicum of mutual respect for each other, and he gave her leadership credentials while he was away on business, but also they disagree openly and at least once per episode and the potential conflict between them is a major talking point of what’s to come.
  • Sansa and Jon have both essentially told Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) to bugger off, but he still hasn’t.
  • Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is there, supporting the hell out of Sansa, but she hasn’t actually done all that much (nor have the circumstances of Brienne’s last scene in s6 been discussed, which isn’t that big of a deal but should probably happen at some point in some context).
  • Lyanna (Bella Ramsey) has been kicking everyone’s asses verbally, but I really want to see her take up arms dammit.
  • Arya (Maisie Williams) had a very nice moment with some Lannister-military randoms, but one of them was Ed Sheeran and I am opposed to that on principle.
  • Arya also ran into her direwolf Nymeria, but Nymeria is a damn wolf and wanted to stay in the Riverlands doing wolf stuff. Arya understood this, but it was still sad.
  • Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) has people around her and that’s really cool, but nobody seems to be 100% on the same page of how to handle things.
  • Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) had an absolutely beautiful love scene that was honestly revolutionary and I’m kind of shocked it even happened because it was so beautiful and also given the particulars it was not really like love scenes on anything, but now I’m worried about both of them because of it.
  • Euron (Pilou Asbaek) is more like he is in the books, but that means he’s actually the worst terrible curse word and has already done things that rank him with being as heinous as Ramsey Bolton. Things that are so heinous I didn’t even watch them, just read about them because I am bloody furious. Expect, by season’s end, an essay on the mishandling of my Dornish babes. Because Anger is happening.
  • We’ve finally seen the alliance between Dany, Yara (Gemma Whelan), Ellaria (Indira Varma), and Olenna (Diana Rigg), and while contentious in part (as mentioned above) it’s a bunch of badass ladies being badass, but we’re only two episodes in and everything has already gone to hell for them.
  • Yara and Ellaria kissed, but now they are both at assface Euron’s mercy.
  • Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes), Nymeria (Jessica Henwick), and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) had an actual scene with lines and conversation and sister banter and the actresses have such a good dynamic with each other even though I wish they’d get to show the non-banter aspect of their sisterhood too, but Obara and Nym are now dead and Tyene is also at assface’s mercy. Did I mention how mad I am?

It’s a devil’s bargain. You get some things and have to give up others. You’re so happy about beautiful things but then Euron exists. Etcetera.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Television Tuesday :: on Brooklyn Nine-Nine (in haiku)

9 May

I care about girls.
I rarely care about boys.
But here, I totes do.

Boyle is a mess and
Sometimes he makes me cringe, yeah.
But he is not bad.

Terry is splendid.
The opposite of toxic
Masculinity.

Captain Holt kicks ass.
His differences are a part
But not all of him.

Jake is feminist.
He has grown as a person
And he is better.

And the girls, of course!
There are girls and I love them,
Always and deeply.

Gina is so odd
Because she’s flawed but also
She is woke as hell.

Rosa could kill you
But she could also kill you
With how much she cares.

And Amy speaks to
Me in a personal way.
I too am Mary Anne.

Point is: this show wins.
The representation and
The spirit and joy.

–your fangirl heroine.

yeah20right

Television Tuesday :: on meliorism in comedy

21 Mar

In the last couple months, drift partner caught me up on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and all of Parks and Recreation (rewatching the seasons I’d seen before, since it’s been a while, and taking the last couple on for the first time). We are now watching Arrested Development, which definitely does not fall in the “meliorism in comedy” category, and she has apologized a couple of times for it possibly being “jarring” after Parks. I’m not bothered, it’s generally pretty funny, but it’s a different kind of thing, and this is what I’ve realized.

I don’t need my comedy to be about perfect people. That’s impossible because technically perfection is a lie. But as a general rule, comedy sits better with me when it’s not at the expense of. A lot of sitcoms rely on the punchline being something that, if not outright mean-spirited to joke about, is something that the character can’t really help. Punching down instead of up, as it goes. That’s fine on something like Arrested Development, where it’s A) absurdist and B) the people getting laughed at are ridiculous and probably horrible. But on the majority of sitcoms it’s not really the case, and I usually find myself frowning.

The comedy I tend to enjoy, like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Parks, takes the majority of its humor from things that are too absurd not to be sort of realistic. The protagonists are actually people that deserve to be protagonists – flawed and sometimes in very obvious ways but ultimately good-hearted people who try to do more or less the right thing – and the situations they encounter are funny because they’re ridiculous, but also there’s some truth to them. Every time something that happened on Parks seemed just a little crazy, I would remind myself of the time my mother, who works for city government, was asked at a city council meeting about regulations involving hoverboards. “You know, like in Back to the Future.” Ridiculous things do happen. It makes sense. But good people try to work around it, sometimes in also ridiculous ways.

And sometimes people are jerks, and this can go one of two ways. Either it’s a mostly good person who’s being a jerk, at which point they eventually learn from their mistakes and apologize (or the butt of their joke is someone who doesn’t mind it, a Jerry/etc. type) and all is well, or it’s a total jerk who’s being a jerk, and everyone acknowledges that they’re a jerk and deal with the situation accordingly. Either way, the being a jerk is never narratively construed as something that’s positive. You’re never made to feel like the person who asked someone to apologize for saying something offensive is the one who should feel bad, not the person who said the offensive thing. You aren’t supposed to side with jerks, and you can laugh at them being jerks because, hey, being a jerk? That’s a choice people make.

Shows like this actually have a positive outlook on life, in the general sense. They say “look, sometimes things are terrible, people are terrible, but you can prevail one way or another.” And especially when the world has gone to shit like it has lately, that’s reassuring. And the characters feel more realistic (who actively tries to be friends with jerks? Nobody I can think of, whereas everyone I know is friends with mostly good people who have some flaws and are not always perfect) and the stories don’t make you feel uncomfortable, and it’s just better.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Television Tuesday :: a haiku.

31 Jan

Supergirl‘s unseen
By me but Alex made me
Greedy for queer girls.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Television Tuesday :: 2016 and the No Trope Bingo cards

27 Dec

Ah, our old friends.

Disclaimer: I have watched maybe like… eight different shows this year because I literally can’t be bothered to undertake a lot of things that people tell me I should because I know they’ll fail me eventually and I’ll be sad.

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Bechdel fail: Agent Carter was again 100% on this, of course. (This season was far from perfect, but I’m still going to miss you, my Peggy my darling.) Agents of SHIELD‘s 2015 efforts put them above 90%, including a couple episodes that were just “smack the Bechdel test in the face,” so that’s pretty damn good; Game of Thrones also stepped it up this year, coming in around 70% I believe (the document I was keeping track in, very scientifically, got lost when I switched phones this week, oops). At least in my shows, this year did better at this than other categories.

disregarded logic: I mean, The Librarians always disregards logic. That’s kind of its thing. But again, I did not do too much screaming at my television going “THIS MAKES NO SENSE,” unlike years prior.

underused/invisible POC: Agent Carter… managed a whole one POC character this year, Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin), so that was still not great but one is at least better than none. Game of Thrones did not know what the hell to do with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) this year, which was annoying, nor did it give the Sand Snakes a lot to do although what little they did was still, in my opinion, delicious. Penny Dreadful racebent Dr. Jekyll and Dracula, so that was kind of cool? And then meanwhile Agents of SHIELD ran a glorious parade of POC characters and killed two white guys, while Luke Cage was beautifully black all the time and deal with it if you don’t like it. I feel like statistically this is a decent picture of television at large. A lot of things not really succeeding, a few standing much farther out.

dead family manpain: the Tower of Joy, which only halfway counts. Dead daughters came up sometimes, but usually from women. I’ve managed to cut most of the dead family manpain out of my television life, I hope.

invisible lesbians: no, this year was just full of dead lesbians and Sapphic ladies, in outstanding number but mostly not on my own shows. Game of Thrones instead gave us Yara Gayjoy (let’s be real, probably more like Yara Female-Leaning-But-Pan-joy, but the pun is too good) and let her shine. Penny Dreadful had a Sapphic army. And all the women of SHIELD continue to be outstandingly queer together, though it goes unsaid, but it’s not like it’s been said and it’s not being shown. It’s just implicit and I have a lot of feelings about it (also, Jemma Simmons is in the narrative closet and I will passionately argue this point based on my own real life experience).

vicious female rivalry: the demon possessing Kate (Madison Davenport) and Kisa (Eiza Gonzalez) got pretty scrappy. But considering that the paradigm of this category is Cersei vs. Margaery, it’s not quite the same thing. Cersei (Lena Headey) did in fact get way too vicious on Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and I mourn but also, narratively, at least we finally got Feast for Crows Cersei.

ho-yay: there’s none I’m explicitly recalling, which means if there was any it at least wasn’t overall detrimental.

infectious diseases: thank the gods, no.

dead prostitutes: there was a passel of them on Preacher, but Tulip (Ruth Negga) made her opinions abundantly clear and that was sort of justice for them. On the other hand, Lily (Billie Piper) led the above-mentioned army of prostitutes who murdered men for abusing them, and though poor Justine (Jessica Barden) willfully went to her end, they took revenge and it was beautiful.

dead little girls: see above re: families. Again, nothing egregious, thank the gods.

sexualized violence: eh. There’s a fine fine line, which is always tread by television and film. Nothing egregious, but also could be avoided more.

Madonna/whore: there was a bit of a play with this with Margaery’s religious conversion, but it wasn’t narratively sanctioned so much as acknowledged as a game she was playing.

Oedipal undertones: Cersei’s always a little cesty with her family members, including baby Tommen (Dean Charles Chapman), but with Cersei it kind of just is what it is and you move on.

fridging: aside from the 10001 dead Sapphic women, many of whom I cannot speak to personally, and beloved Barb (Shanon Purser), poor Margaery passed, but I don’t know it was a traditional fridge; Vanessa (Eva Green) met her end but it was of her volition; Emily (Lucy Griffiths) was among the dead of Preacher but, eh, that was a whole town, it could be worse; Candace (Deborah Ayorinde) was more vaulted than fridged; but Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell) died in a literal fire and took the corpse of Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) with him and that was justice.

gratuitous sex: I mean, nobody needed to see Grand Maester Pycelle all postcoitus but at least he died and it was also justice. A lot of sex scenes were awkward but not singularly space-fillers.

inappropriate male attention: as I cast disapproving eyes on Hive. As I cast disapproving eyes on anyone who ever looked at Nancy Wheeler, ever. As I cast disapproving eyes on Uncle Asshat Greyjoy. As I cast disapproving eyes on Dracula. Etc. This will be a problem for all eternity.

pedophilic Stockholm: mm, Sansa (Sophie Turner) basically told Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) to fuck off in the most ladylike way possible so that was satisfying.

infidelity: see also, the Tower of Joy. Etc.

custody battles: no, thank the gods.

conscious irresponsibility: Jesse (Dominic Cooper) was irresponsible, but he was also possessed, so that kind of makes up for it. Etc.

narrative neglect: see above re: Missandei, Grey Worm, and the Sand Snakes. That would be my largest complaint.

uneven f :: m ratio: technically, this is true basically everywhere. SHIELD‘s main/main supporting cast is fairly even, and Agent Carter‘s wasn’t bad; overall, more ladies, though.

narratively excused sociopathy: plenty of sociopaths but the narrative fully knew how they were sociopaths and said it.

love triangles: eh. Ehhhh.

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window dressing: mm, not in any particularly gratuitous circumsance.

narratively excused intolerance: see also: Preacher is set in a small town in Texas. It’s excused, but also it’s a picture of just that things are bad.

lack of POC: see above.

general male brooding: the only thing Lincoln Campbell did before he died, really.

lack of queer people: much much. I will observe that apparently Supergirl (which I’m still not watching, I admit) has done some cool coming-out stuff so that’s nice to hear.

narratively enforced gender policing: what of it I’ve seen has mostly been called out.

compulsive heteroeroticism: see also, romantic FitzSimmons. Jeepers.

crazy inbred hillbillies: none of those I’ve dealt with this year.

slut shaming: I’m sure there’s been but aside from the Margaery situation I’m blanking.

children as plot devices: Tommen is a plot device but honestly, that’s just how it is. Most of the kids this year were human props.

police brutality: requisite “I hate the Sokovia Accords and everything that comes from them even though a lot of it isn’t even on the TV shows” mention. Also, Luke Cage, but that was calling that out.

love interest syndrome: ah, my poor Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge). It’ll be nice when this mess is over with. For example.

pseudo-incest: hm. I could have done without Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). That’s kind of in this category.

vaulting: see above re: Candace, for the biggest example.

gratuitous consequenceless substance abuse: mm, nah, I think there were pretty well consequences.

excused unwanted overtures: and most of these were unexcused, at least.

forgive your abusers: one interesting thing about the unfortunate Hive situation was, at least, Daisy’s (Chloe Bennet) stages of grief regarding her abuse, so that was the opposite of this… but then, this is another reason I’ll drag romantic FitzSimmons, though it’s obviously to a lesser degree. So.

compulsive motherhood: not really?

“don’t do the brave thing”: a fair amount of “I am doing a brave thing but you should not because you don’t deserve to get hurt,” which isn’t the same.

(evil) white guy redemption arc: mm hey, remember how Grant Ward died twice?

narrative double standard: catchall because always, often in critical reactions.

women as plot devices: again. Sort of always.

narratively excused non-con: this year was much better.

past non-con as cheap plot device: also better.

I’m less angry this year, but I watched fewer things. So.

–your fangirl heroine.

underestimate20the20girl

Television Tuesday :: I am not Sheldon Cooper.

29 Nov

There have been very many essays, I’m sure, written on all the ways that The Big Bang Theory is a problem. It’s a problem. It’s a problem in so very many ways and, having unwillingly seen enough of it that I can tell you the entire plot of episodes after seeing a scene of some of them, I consider myself something of an expert. But I’m not going to sit down and rehash the sexism, or the racism, or any of that. Other people can probably do that better. I’m going to address something that affects me personally.

I am not Sheldon Cooper.

Pretty much everyone I know who watches this show without finding it problematic has, at some point, told me and/or mutual acquaintances that I’m a lot like Sheldon, I have so much in common with Sheldon, oh I’m really going to like Sheldon he’s so similar to me. What they mean by this, I assume:

  • I am obsessive about things, including my special academic areas and my favored media, sometimes to the point of near-pedantry.
  • I collect things with a similarly singular focus.
  • I believe that everything has its place and like to keep it there (but am pickier about this in some contexts than others).
  • I am an inveterate nerd.
  • I like answering people’s questions correctly and am not bothered that this might make me seem like a know-it-all sometimes.
  • I am very good at certain things and less that at others.
  • I would much rather stay in with a movie than go out to a club.
  • I enjoy routines and similarity.
  • I am sometimes baffled by social conventions.
  • I have a slightly off, literal sense of humor.
  • I sometimes take things literally in general
  • I occasionally say things too bluntly.

In short: I assume these people have the sense that I am the one of these things that’s not neurologically like the other, and they pick up on the coding that Sheldon is also the one of these things that’s not neurologically like the other. I have me an autism flavor, though they don’t think to use that description, and so does Sheldon. Sheldon is heavily coded neuroatypical, which would be great, we always need more neuroatypical characters in fiction, if… it wasn’t constantly played as a joke or an annoyance or a joke about how annoying it is.

To wit: obsessions, collecting, rearranging, savant skills, voluntary aloneness, routines, confusion about social interactions, literalism, bluntness, all of these things can be found on lists of common autism traits. I personally try to work with these things, putting my obsessions and routines to good use, learning how to mimic social things even if later I have to ask why they’re done, using my literal interpretations for comedic relief. (“In that Sheldon is a character written with a sense of humor, he has a robotic sense of humor,” my dad argued. “It is not the same thing, my sense of humor is that of a highly literate robot,” I sighed.) For a very long time, most of my life, I figured I was just an anxious quirky nerd girl with funny habits, because the way that autism manifests in me is not, necessarily, the stereotype. I exhibit stereotypical autistic behaviors (see above) but I am not a stereotypical autistic person, so the clues didn’t get put together. Some people close to me could see something was there, but they didn’t know what.

Sheldon Cooper is a stereotypical autistic person. He’s a lifelong savant scientist with chronic social difficulties, pedant king of special interests (Star Trek, flags, and that popular stereotype trains), he’s all about rules and routines to the point where it makes everyone around him crazy. He is unflinching. He is insensitive. He is abrasive. He is very knowledgeable in his areas, but basic things like driving cars or comforting his friends or dealing with authority figures leave him stymied. I would go so far as to say there is nothing about Sheldon that couldn’t be part of autistic coding.

And because Sheldon’s behavior is atypical, and because quite frankly Sheldon is a jackass, virtually all of what he does has at some point been a punchline. That’s part of the annoyance I feel when compared to Sheldon. If, presumably, I am being compared to Sheldon for these behaviors, but these behaviors are a joke, does that mean I am also a joke? Consciously, people would say no, but subconsciously? (A trait I get from my anxiousbrain: overanalyzing everyone’s behavior and motivations. Probably because when I was younger I was bad at reading them, so I learned how, and then it became an obsession.)

And furthermore: Sheldon? Sheldon is a jackass. Sheldon is not developed in a three-dimensional way because on that show, like on many sitcoms, nobody is, but the writers took the easy way out and lumped stereotypical autism behavior in with stereotypical jackassery so his unflinching, insensitive, abrasive characteristics are often grouped with his more stereotypically autistic ones. He is a snob, he is more than a little petty, he is stubborn, he is selfish. He is a slew of negative traits that are sometimes lumped in with autism and applied to what people think of as “autistic behavior,” he is a slew of negative traits that I myself have been trying consciously to avoid even since before I started throwing the a-word around because I want more than anything to be good.

So. I am not Sheldon Cooper. I am three-dimensional, I try to be kind, and I am not a joke. I reckon the same is true of many people who get compared to Sheldon.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Television Tuesday :: on fandom and female characters.

22 Nov

First, please read this tumblr post by drift partner. That is where the impetus to discuss this is coming from, because I was thinking “oh cool I’ll reblog that and add my thoughts.” But wait! It’s Tuesday. I can shove my thoughts in a blog post, because there will be many of them. And most of them are conveniently about television characters, because I have more intense feelings about those a lot of the time.

So. Here goes.

Maybe I’m not the girl to be asking about this kind of thing. I am not a classic ingenue, nor am I quite funny enough to be the funny best friend or imposing enough to be the evil queen, nor can I sing for crap, which means that all through my youthful amateur theatre career I played, essentially, small parts. The saying about there not being small parts is a joke. There are. You can feel it. But my way of thinking has always been: in real life people can be in the periphery of someone else’s experience but still be living their own story. In short, even characters without much stage/screen/etc. time have shit going on and sometimes it just has to be your job to figure out what all the going on is.

I wrote my stories. I fleshed out farmgirl Millie and sarcastic Suzie and the nameless kitchen wench (Scarlett, by my doing, because I had just seen The Prestige and I had a crush on her that I didn’t yet acknowledge as a crush). I knew what was going on in their lives besides just watching the main characters’ heterosexual love antics. And maybe it’s just that this habit has remained into my days of viewing media. Every female character, every single one of them, I try to see as more than just a chorus girl or a lust object. I try to understand their psychological motivations, to not write them off for isolated incidents where they’re less than their best, to give them credit. (Is this difficult? Yeah, sometimes. But even my least-favorite female character type, the misguided mom who just does not love her daughter in any way that makes the daughter happy [Betty Draper, Selyse Baratheon, etc.], is usually given at least sympathy. Occasionally I can’t forgive a set of actions or even appreciate them in an antagonist way, but I still try to understand where they’re coming from.)

The point of the post that drift partner was referencing, I think, might have been something along the lines of “it is hard to love female characters that are not well-developed.” Sometimes this is a case of the characters being so background that they are not given a whole lot to work with (I point to my beloved Bellefleur girls, of whom I’m pretty sure I am the sole defender/care about-er) and sometimes this is a case of the characters being ongoing plot devices (Trudy Campbell, bless her heart, that doe-eyed angel who was too often a prop in rapey Pete’s life; Susan from Friends, who was perpetually antagonistic toward whiny Ross and not given very many other types of emotional development) and sometimes it is a case, honestly, of fandom not wanting to pay as much attention to ~nuances with female characters. It’s possible for male characters with a few, if any, lines to become fandom darlings; female characters are lucky if they’re darlings when they’re the protagonists.

(Female characters are also, as a rule, much more likely to go unrecognized in cosplay, especially if they aren’t the main or most recognizable female character from their canon or if they are paired together and not with a boy; I will point you to the year we all cosplayed “Once More, With Feeling” and our group’s Buffy and Spike got about 20 times the attention that my Willow and everything friend’s Tara did. This is not bitterness, just factual observation.)

People don’t seem to take the time to fill in the blanks with female characters a lot of the time. They don’t take the time to see anything that they’re not immediately presented with. Even if the female character is only given a scene or two, people don’t try to imagine anything based on context clues about what the character might be doing later that day; even if the character is a plot device, people seem more willing to complain that “oh this character was written by a man who doesn’t understand and/or fetishizes women” than to go with more of those context clues and figure out things about the character that can help them love them. I point you to dear Kara Lynn Palamas, patron saint of the underwritten: in my circles, it’s fully accepted that Kara was a giant nerd, could kick your ass but wasn’t in her original life exactly scary, and was also Sapphic as all get out, but we have next-to-no information about pre-brainwashing Kara in canon. Did that stop any of us from loving her out of spite? No, but it sure stopped the majority of fandom from seeing her as anything more than a cut-rate henchwoman/sex toy and/or an evil bitch. Fandom as a whole does not have much of an imagination about lady things.

(Incidentally, this is not an essay about the problematically overwhelming male-centrism of fandom and its shipping habits – where m/m reigns supreme and m/f is adored as long as both the parties are pretty white people and there isn’t a viable m to hook the m/ up with, but f/f is ignored at best and scorned at worst – but that also stems from a lack of imagination, in large part. Stiles and Derek can look at each other and it means they love each other till their dying day, but Peggy and Angie [who are, incidentally, still one of the f/f pairings with more support than most] can literally move in together and nah, they’re just gal pals. Well, it’s imagination and sexism. But I digress.)

Another problem I’ve run across in fandom is that a female character is not her mistakes nor is she her terrible plotline. I can’t even tell you how many godawful plotlines, usually but not always romantic, characters I love have been dragged into. How many plotlines I’ve scorned. See also: the fallacy of the last two seasons of True Blood. See also: the very bad thing B&W did with poor Doreah. See also: most of the heterosexual romances on Agents of SHIELD. See also see also see also. While fandom seems to have no problem loving its male characters despite messy plotlines, it sometimes throws its female characters under the bus, especially in romantic contexts.

This is another example of the issue above, where complaining is better for some people than trying to think beyond. This might also just be a processing issue, because if I really love something, ain’t nothing gonna stop me, whereas a lot of fandom people are fully comfortable ragequitting. I cannot ragequit things. Believe me, if I could I wouldn’t have watched that godawful season seven of True Blood.(I know a lot of people who quit things when, or claim they’re going to quit things if, their favorite characters die. That always strikes me as a noble thought but something that comes from being previously lucky in their fandoms: if I quit something every time someone I loved died, I would never watch anything. I wouldn’t have finished Buffy, I would never have seen the last beautiful episode of Dollhouse, I definitely wouldn’t still be watching Game of Thrones (which as you all know I do sometimes with doubt and wariness, but still). Etcetera. But because I cannot abandon the other female characters for the loss of one, maybe because I’m so used to losing my female characters that I literally apologize to female characters I love when they die because it was probably my fault since I cared so much, I cannot imagine giving up on something that easily.) But I am also an undying optimist and where other people seem to look for reasons to hate female characters, I find it harder not to find things to love about them.

What gets a female character judged is much more intense than what gets a male character judged, a lot of the time. This is a list, by no means comprehensive, of reasons I’ve seen female characters hated on:

  • They were too stereotypically feminine.
  • They weren’t feminine enough.
  • They were too tough.
  • They weren’t tough enough.
  • They were “dumb.”
  • They were too much of a know-it-all.
  • They were too abrasive.
  • They weren’t nice enough.
  • They weren’t interesting enough.
  • They were trying too hard to be interesting.
  • They had opinions of their own.
  • They conceivably had social privilege.
  • They did something that could have been influenced by subconscious mindsets allowed them due to their social privilege (but probably wasn’t meant in a bad way).
  • They conceivably lacked social privilege.
  • They sought to go beyond their subconsciously implied social role.
  • They said or did one thing, one time, that someone didn’t like.
  • They were on a show that wasn’t exactly well-written in general.
  • They were dragged through the muck of an unnecessary romance.
  • They were threatening to male characters (and potential m/m relationships).
  • They weren’t pretty enough.
  • They were too pretty.
  • They were sexy.
  • They weren’t sexy enough.
  • They were queer.
  • They were too stereotypically queer.
  • They weren’t stereotypically queer enough.
  • They were WOC.
  • They were too stereotypically WOC.
  • They weren’t stereotypically WOC enough.
  • They weren’t well-developed.
  • They made a mistake.
  • They were too different.
  • They weren’t different enough.
  • They weren’t someone’s complete perfect idea of what they should be as a character, as a person, or as an idea.

In short: much like with women in real life, female characters can and will be hated for literally any reason. The basic fact that humans are flawed doesn’t stand, and therefore any divergence from what someone thinks is proper is seen as something criminal.

More important to me is the notion of it apparently being difficult not to hate some female characters. I can’t understand that. I personally, again maybe due to processing issues, find it more exhausting to hate even fictional characters most of the time. Even to have extreme antipathy. Sure, I enjoy hating Grant Ward and Bill Compton and Ramsay Bolton, I revel in the thought of their respective canonical deaths, but they’re villains. You’re meant to hate them. That’s the point. I literally cannot conceive of wanting to go out of my way to find reasons to hate fictional characters.

Maybe that’s the meliorist in me. Always believing there’s a good side to… well, most things. But there are times I miss my early days of highly insulated fandom, where the only things I saw from other people were factual breakdowns and image galleries, where nobody’s harsh judgment of a fictional character I loved sent me into a tailspin (“am I bad for liking them? AM I BAD FOR RELATING TO THEM? Oh god“) or made me angry enough to write an essay in defense of them or made me worry that expressing my like of the character would backlash. I miss when everyone had favorites and least-favorites, not favorites and mortal enemies. Cake of rainbows, etcetera.

–your fangirl heroine.

watching20destruction