Tag Archives: TvShows

Female characters: The Enigma of the Writing World

Time to take a break from Disney bashing and take the opportunity to discuss female characters.

While slaving away at SPSS (a stats software), during my breaks where I’m allowed to experience what sunlight feels like I’ve abandoned that privilege for something better: I’ve been catching up reading A Song of Ice And Fire book 4, A feast for crows. Recent chapter-character perspectives and my Disney Princess bashing posts, I got to thinking about female characters.

The sole purpose of my existence: To read all the books!

The sole purpose of my existence: To read all the books!

In Game of Thrones, we are presented with several female characters. From the typical all girlie and all “princess-y” Sansa Stark to Asha Greyjoy “Man with breasts”.

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The problem with most media is that female characters are often on two extremes of a spectrum. We got the Sansa side (Disney Princesses, Welcome) and on the other side Asha Greyjoy (one of my favorite characters). A while ago I mentioned there are very few female characters I’ve seen that have managed to be strong and yet retain their femininity without forgoing their individual strength.

Growing up, the media taught me women’s strength (no matter the character development) were the following:

  • Beauty: Duh. 
  • Sex: Cersei Lannister is currently teaching this lesson.
  • The Love interest: What? He’s a badass dude who has loads of superpowers? You don’t need a silly thing called inner strength dear. You got a MAN!
  • Innocence: Yes, this is a weapon. Allow me to explain, throughout certain types of media and even in real life, women have known the value of acting (or not) innocent. The writer will protect her and in the real world, the dudes fall for this tactic.
  • Intelligence: More recently, the ‘nerdy’ girl has been showing up. Cunning and all that jazz is creeping up too but still underplayed.

No wonder there’s no ‘real’ character role model for young girls. As a child, I always preferred the male characters (which made my parents question why wasn’t I like other little girls) because they were more developed, independent and dealt with their faults. Female characters, on the other hand…

Meh, Tiger.

Meh, Tiger.

Don’t get me started with inner conflict issues. Donald Maass wrote inner conflict for a character is important to set them apart and such. Most female characters’ inner conflict deals mainly, on a general level, with the ‘romance’ issues or body/confidence issues. Yet, there’s a variety of literature and other media outlets probably showing every type of inner conflict imaginable.

Yet, every now and then someone wrote a real female character without polarizing the spectrum.

360px-Elisa_Maza Samantha-Carter-samantha-carter-2511923-518-76813307445717974931683.jpeg___1_500_1_500_cb94de6a_

The problem with female characters is its a sort of Pandora’s box of extreme characterizations (Sansa Vs Asha). The other won’t be caught dead dressing or acting like the other. Occasionally  we get the fem fatale type character but that’s used more of the whole sexy but dangerous angle (and again reinforces certain issues about female sexuality). The problem with staying in the middle is that writers’ often write a great female character until Mr. Love Interest shows up.

This has often been the case in society if we think about it.

I’ve seen many young women have all sorts of dreams and goals, but everything gets tossed in the wind when “Mr. Right” shows up and relationships need their dues (compromises) paid.

There was even a research article I came across stating how female scientists’ goals and ambitions change when romance strolls into the lab.

With this in mind, its obvious that the media still wants to cling onto its ‘construct’ of what women want and what will make them happy. Then people watch, get influenced by the media, and the cycle continues.

Rinse. Repeat.

My washing machine has more originality than this. It has lots of buttons for so many options (and breaks down to keep things interesting). Wait a sec…I don’t think that metaphor is right….

Why do we do this? Because its safe, its known, its-

R-E-A-L-I-S-T-I-C!

R-E-A-L-I-S-T-I-C!

Happiness, goals, and ambitions cannot be generalized. According to the media and ‘construct’, as a little girl I would’ve wanted to be a princess and have a handsome prince to come to tea or something.

Instead, my parents got a kid who wanted to be a Beast Wars Transformer (I wanted a Fox for my beast mode) or be part of the SG1 team and kick some serious ass. Funny enough, I did own a few Barbies but my sister and I made them part of this magical kingdom (with our other toys) that was always under threat from evil monsters. Their adventures required tactical espionage, using decoys (what the Ken doll was for), breaking defensive positions and I think we even cut off the bad guys’ supply lines at one point.

To make your characters more memorable and realistic in their world and life, you have to find out what will make them happy not what a template says.

The good thing is we’re seeing an emergence of strong female characters based on their individuality, history, family background and circumstances (a quick thank you to GRR Martin and several other writers out there). However, there’s still a long way to go before the playing field is equal.

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Pseudo Pornos, Lusty Undergrads and a bad Tv show: The unofficial tale of Sex and the City

Once a upon a time, when I was a wee undergrad, I wanted to watch a funny show. This was in the dark ages before the Big Bang Theory brought us hope and light.

Of finding funny tv-show

On finding funny TV-show

All my friends told me about this one series I should watch.

“Hey you should watch Sex and the City!” One said with glee. The other jumped in and agreed.

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I was hesitant by the name and wondered what kind of game they were playing. After all, these were my friends, they watched Dexter and other shows we all liked. If Game of Thrones had been aired, we’d all be rejoicing how Viserys got his golden hair.

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“Dear friends,” I asked, “it does not sound like something I’d watch.”

“OH!” the other jumped in. “For it is! It is about the stereotypes women have to deal with, ignore the title, that’s part of the issue,” she said with a mischievous smile.

I was convinced at that point and figured I should give it a try. They love Dexter, I kept telling myself.

I couldn't help bringing in two of my favorite references

I couldn’t help bringing in two of my favorite references

They lent me the first DVD and said the beginning was poor.

“But that is to be expected, for this was their pilot!” I nodded at my friend. Some shows need to get their ground before coming around to great rating expectations.

“How many episodes shall I watch then?” I questioned examining the DVD. I had a feeling I should throw it away, but I thought maybe it was just my dismay at the title.

“Three, or five, and then you’ll be hooked! It won’t be long before you ask for another box set!”

So I went to my dorm and ordered pizza, while I waited, I decided to watch and hope for a laugh.

I sat and watched and wondered why, the first scenes were erotica not story at all. It’s probably just for ratings.

After two episodes, I got distracted.

Eating was more important

The pizza was delicious

After the third episode, I was downright uncomfortable.

According to the laws of the internet and Vamp from Metal Gear, at any moment someone will walk in

According to the laws of the internet and Vamp from Metal Gear, at any moment someone will walk in…

I managed my escape from the horrendous show, by playing dead in case Sarah Jessica Parker became the Ring girl.

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The next day I went to my friends and returned the DVD.

“Did you like it???” They asked with hope in their voices.

“There’s video stores, there’s movies, and there’s books. But if you wish to continue lying to yourselves, just rely on one place where no one can judge you for watching, there’s always dear old HBO, or YouTube. Hell just type in on Google!”

I learned something that day as my friends pleaded me to torture myself through another two episodes.

Yes, we know Sex sells. But it can never replace character development, plot and have a better story for audiences. Sex is overused and often undermined now that we have to take it a bit ‘extreme’ to get it noticed. Or more importantly, people to watch.

‘Tis the end of my sad tale. About being lied to about series which discussed several issues.

Instead I got fooled into watching a porno with the dark lighting making it erotica and with dialogue making it a story.


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