Saturday, November 17, 2012

Please Stop Telling Me This Story

Jodie wrote a post about the five things she'd like to get the hell of her media and asked what everyone else's were and at first I was like, uhhhh I have no idea. But then I realized there is something I am just really tired of seeing or a story I'm tired of being told.

The story of the powerful woman who has just one weakness--a man. Usually a specific man who ends up being a complete tool in order for the story to be dragged out and for it to really become a crippling weakness for her. And to top it all off, this story is usually romanticized to the extreme or, at the very least, made to seem dark and sexy.

I was actually getting over it, until I saw ABC's promo for Scandal. I looked for it on YouTube but it's just a general promo for the show, so I can't find it! But basically the promo talks about how Olivia Pope is the most powerful woman in Washington but she has one weakness...the most powerful man or whatever. (If you don't watch the show, she's had a long term love affair with the president)

And wow I just got annoyed all over again. Because when the show first started I loved Olivia! Partly because I love Kerry Washington, but also because she's such an assured, confident, capable character. But they have definitely written Fitz as her weakness. When things aren't going well with him, she makes mistakes at her job. Her colleagues talk about how "something is off with her." Making Fitz her weakness has weakened her as a character for me. It just doesn't make sense that such an amazing and beautiful woman would be hung up on this guy. And Fitz has gotten progressively worse, it is incomprehensible to me why she loves him. I see him as weak, manipulative, controlling, and possessive. And also boring. When will TV show writers realize that if they want to have two gorgeous and smart women in love with a guy, he needs to be worth it? (well same for two guys in love with the same girl, tbh!)

Gossip Girl is the worst offender of course. I no longer watch it, but they wrote an entire multi-season narrative about a female character who perceived herself as weak. She wanted to be a powerful woman, though! But she also had this boyfriend who she would do anything for her, including prostituting herself. Her feelings for him made her feel weak. Despite how horribly he treated her, she kept going back to him. It seemed like the story was building to her getting over it, but instead she came to the realization that she hadn't committed enough and that to be powerful she needed to bet everything on him! And he never apologized or anything. Wow I get annoyed every time I think about it, but it's a perfect example of how wrong these stories can go.

And then there was Political Animals this summer. Elaine Barrish was the First Lady with a philandering jerk of a husband that she divorced, but...still had strong feelings for.

I thought The Good Wife was going to pull the same thing with Kalinda, but I don't know as I've mentioned the handling of it has been a bit better. I'm still kind of annoyed that this is the route they went, but oh well.

I don't know, I mean maybe I'm just missing the appeal of these kinds of relationships, but I really dislike the contrast of "powerful woman" and "weakness is a man" As if the only possible weakness such a woman could have would be a man. As if, of course no woman at the top is there without the possibility that it could all unravel for her because of a man She can still be brought under control see?

I'm not expressing myself well, but I see these relationships as unhealthy and romanticized. I'm certainly not saying that relationships aren't a downfall for many women. I know all too well what it's like to feel controlled by my feelings for someone. But that's the thing...if the story makes it clear that's not a desirable state and sets up a story about a woman overcoming it, I'm on board with that! But when the promo department is selling the relationship as sexy--NO THANK YOU. I DON'T GET IT.

(This has been a negative post. Next week or soonish at least I will have a positive post about what I love that I'm seeing!)


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