Monday, May 21, 2007

Strong Female Characters too much for TV

The lovely Veronica Mars has been cancelled.

It's a cliche at this point that females are bombarded with unhealthy messages in pop culture, but it's true nonetheless. I'm honestly surprised women can stand to watch network TV. It's filled with idealized virgins and scheming whores, every one supermodel scrawny. More recently, with the attempt to present "real" women, we've gotten the likes of Grey's Anatomy, filled with insecure, indecisive, twitterpated drama queens. I can't count the number of times a female character has been introduced on a TV show as spunky and independent (see: Izzie) only to descend within an episode or two into hysterics over some guy -- of course an emotionally unavailable guy who fears commitment, cause that's what men are like, right? (Actually, if I were surrounded by TV Women I'd be scared of commitment too ...)


In this milieu, Veronica Mars was a revelation: she radiated easy confidence. She was interested in but not obsessed with the opposite sex, vulnerable but not dependent, and above all, genuinely smart and funny. She was her own person; she had her own thing going. She spent her time outwitting men, not weeping over them. Hell, she even had a healthy relationship with her father!

Veronica was supremely smart, and because of this her relationships suffered. She wasn't willing to sacrafice herself in order to make her relationships work. She was indeed a teenage role model who allowed girls to have someone to look up to that wasn't neurotic and guy-obsessed. Look at all the women on TV now. They're never portrayed as anything but broken, and they make me want to rip my hair out over the idea that they all need some sort of relationship to be fulfilled. Nowhere else do we see someone as strong as Veronica. It truly makes me sad, but buys into my idea that all shows with strong female characters are too much for TV. Not only that, but her friends included a female hacker/computer wiz named Mac. Where else do we see women in this role? Tech stuff is usually the domain of men. (And don't "but CSI" me. It's a show that routinely shows sexually/sexualized brutalized women. That more then makes up for the whole women working with tech stuff.)

A show that did get picked up for fall: "The Pussycat Dolls Present." "Nough said.


eponinethen said...

"Not only that, but her friends included a female hacker/computer wiz named Mac. Where else do we see women in this role? "
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of the very very few feminist shows. But I think that's it, pretty much, when it comes to realistic strong females.

I'm a Veronica Mars fan as well and I found a link to your blog at a feminist board, looks interesting.

/ epo

lost clown said...

How could I forget about Willow! Hope you like it.

Tony said...

Okay I'm just finding out about this and it sucks really hard. Veronica was my replacement for Buffy as well. I get so sick of the whining and complaining I see from female characters elsewhere. I want to see a women who can kick ass and take names. Those are the only ones worth my time.

Tony said...

Has your recent tragic loss of Veronica Mars blinded you to the beginning of season three of So You Think You Can Dance? I have been expecting a post about it. You're really letting me down, man.

lost clown said...

I have been wandering around lost in a haze of sadness, my lab today even noticed I wasn't all there (though that could of been because of the sun and they weren't too sad as I brought them cookies)

Don't worry, as a west coast swing dancer won last year (and yes I stuffed the ballot box, got to stand up for the swing dancers like me) I will be watching (have been watching).

There will likely be a post about it in the near future. Just for you. ;)

prof black woman said...

Veronica started out both intelligent and intriguing but the 1st 1/2 of the second season sold out the storyline (bringing it back in frightening twist at the end of the season) and then feminism as a whole with its depiction of crazed, rape making up, vandalizing, black and white women on the war path for the first 1/2 of the third season. She was smart. She was independent. She did get the better of not only dumb men but smart and powerful ones as well. Most of the women, sans the feminists, were 3-dimensional on that show as well. I will miss her too. (Even if I am unwilling to gloss some of her mistakes.)

try Bloodties it has a nice cross between Mars and Buffy (only 30 something) going on. It will be back in June and it needs viewership or it too won't make it to another season. :)

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