the reluctant lobotomist (fourfreedoms) wrote,
the reluctant lobotomist

Let's hear it for the girls

I like how the 2011/2012 television season has really been about the ladies for me. It wasn't like I was selecting buddy-cop shows and procedurals and male-dominated action pieces, because I take a certain joy in testosterone-fueled ridiculousness (although, actually, I must admit I do have a certain predilection for that sort of thing). It was partly because all interesting tv was written for and about men.

Unpopular opinion: I loathe Buffy and Alias. In the past I've been careful about expounding on my thoughts of the role of women in tv, because I didn't want to get into that whole misogyny wank nonsense where I had to make like, 80 billion qualifications so I could explain what exactly I meant. In all honesty, and it comes at some cost to admit this, so I'm expecting you not to jump on me, for a long time I really didn't like a lot of the female characters that appeared on TV. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule and at no point do I want to get into what constitutes as a cool lady. I attribute this general malais (that's how I think of it anyway) to the fact that female characters are by and large written for and by men. Ah, a recurring theme, this men thing. Could it be possible that my dislike of female characters was predicated not on an inherent self-hating myopia, but on the fact that I thought women were actually being undervalued on TV? Gee! I WONDER!

Luckily, the turning point for me was in 2010 with Haven and now every week I really look forward to watching Hart of Dixie, Revenge, Alcatraz (which passes the bechtel test with flying colors), and Once Upon a Time. And Bomb Girls. (And Parks and Rec and Boys Over Flowers--both of which count because they are new discoveries). That is full-on craziness and in some ways it saddens me that such a thing comes as a surprise. How sad is it that studios only realized the box office buying power of women with fucking sex and the city and twilight? It took them nearly 8 decades! That's ludicrous. But, as all of you fine ladies have learned, better to pick our battles. I do my best to take it as evidence of the positive direction the industry is moving in. (I'm sure you guys have a deluge of other shows you have watched with kickass ladies that've been running for a while, lemme stress that what makes this so special to me is how many options I have right now in a single broadcast season!)

That's not to say all of our hurdles are past: A friend of mine, another screenwriter, was just paid to option (or whatever the hell it's called) a pilot for the CW about female 20 somethings in Williamsburg. Forget how entirely fucking exploitative that is, and lets focus on the fact that this friend is a guy. I get it if it was his brilliant (read: incredibly lame) idea to write about female 20 somethings hanging out in the 'burg, but the fact that someone else came up with it, and their first thought was to go to a male writer to create it is exactly what I mean. It's just proof for me why female characters are often so frustrating and difficult for me to enjoy, because so often we are only getting them through the lens of the male gaze.

OMG. This totally started out as a YAY I'M HAPPY I'M FINDING SHOWS WHERE SLASH PAIRINGS AREN'T THE ONLY INTERESTING ROMANTIC ENTANGLEMENTS thing. Let me clarify that I'm not saying I only like slash because cool het pairings are few and far between. No, this is not true, on many levels, only one of which is really important to this argument. Male intimacy, as I assume it is for many of you, is obviously a thing for me in and of itself. Just so that nobody extrapolates that out to some jumped up 'logical' end that has nothing to do with reality: my pleasure in male sexual intimacy is not because I want the women to GTFO.

Sidebar: can we just talk about Spartacus for a moment? Whatever burgeoning relationship that is building between Agron and Nasiyah is making me so, so, happy. That moment in last Friday's episode where Agron sees him again? I had to squeal a little.

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