Friday, April 1, 2011

HEROES we need more girl ones.

Well i'm sick as a dog but what really made things better was buying a set of cowgirl coasters this morning with my friend Deb after we had a coffee. Also we talked a lot about Supernatural and the weirdest TV characters we've been attracted to (both of us admitted they were aliens on badly scripted 90sTV shows which will remain nameless). But more importantly I was so sick last night that all I managed for dinner was a block of chocolate and some wine and THE LAST FOUR EPISODES OF HEROES SEASON 2. (This is going to be a really predictable post about why the representation of women really peed me off, btw. You can pretty much read the rest of my argument about this stuff HERE).

the male:female ratio is like so mid-20th century.
I mean seriously! here is how what started off good just went bad. All the chicks are kind of helpless and totally dependent on men to make decisions for them. Maya, for example, who can make everyone drop dead somehow while she's angry, cries all the time and gets really easily deceived by the bad Sylar. He doesn't even have to try, she just falls for his every word! Besides, totally annoying that she's the 'evil one' and she always needs some dude around to calm her down and stop her from killing people. Claire the cheerleader is probably the coolest. But even when she defies her deceitful father, she eventually believes that he was right in all the advice he ever gave her and that if she had only listened to him, everything would be alright - even though he totally lied to and manipulated her.

All Elle wants to do is make her Daddy proud of her, even though he tortured her as a child on the ground it would 'increase her powers' - except rather than enhance her own agency, she has just become his (and his company's) pawn in shady business which even Elle herself doesn't know the extent of! (Though at the end of the season she saved some people's lives, and they were grateful, and I got the impression she was starting to find a new sense of purpose in helping people, rather than just blindly doing what her dad says). I think the WORST scene possibly on TV during the past 5 years was where Noah and Bob (Claire and Elle's respective dads) take each other's daughter hostage and then trade them  with each other in exchange for peace. As if the trading and ownership of daughters was the way men negotiated peacefully. As if they were property to be exchanged! And the girls didnt even question it!!! (And it wasn't even peaceful - Elle got shot, and so did Noah). Not to mention Caitlyn, the lovely Irish girl who gets taken off to the future and left there; the Japanese Princess in the past who just shifts from male hero to male hero and looks pretty and then is left there; Noah's wife who nearly dies from the amount of memory removal he has subjected her to; and Matt's ex-wife who is written off as a lying and unfaithful wife. Moreover, it is the men on the show who remain the most powerful; who run the 'organisation' (and who run the coup to take the organisation down) men make all the big decisions about everyone else (including women); it is men who are always positioned as wanting to save the world or destroy it; it is women who are being   being neglected (Caitlyn and the Princess), seeking help for their problem (Nikki) or being lied to (Claire and Elle) but without any real chance (yet) of standing up for themselves or actually questioning the power dynamics of their world. 

Nicki's split personality kicks butt
Sure, it was pretty cool that Claire's blood is what can save everything. But it is because of that, that she remains an object to be protected and transacted - she becomes a resource. Why don't they take Adam or Peter's blood - those two guys have the same powers of regeneration?? No, those two are too busy doing more important things like destroying or saving the world or saving girls. Much easier to use up the cheerleader. I'm retaining my hopes for Nikki and Monica who are showing some promise. But they're still kind of positioned as emotionally unstable, despite their power. But Nikki is awesome - she is physically strong and beats up everyone, but still loves her son enough to sacrifice a lot for him. In fact Nikki is pretty good. So far she's been the best I think. Monica too, though haven't seen much of what she can do yet.  

As much as I loved the show, I felt pretty nauseated by the end of that season. Just sick of watching women fall back into some sort of dependency role when women and men should be taking on stuff like 'saving the world' (and whatever you might take that to mean metaphorically) TOGETHER. Action TV is still dominated by guys. thought things would've changed since Buffy but no, I guess I'll be watching Kill Bill again tonight to make up for it.


PS If you're familiar with the show - I saw this japanese guy running really fast through the food court at Collins Place in melbourne with a poster tube slung over his back. Just sayin'. Time travel is probably for real.

1 comment:

  1. Admittedly I stopped watching a VERY long time ago but as a pale imitation of the general concept and dynamics of X-men (comics not movies) heroes is ok. Interesting though how the creators/producers/writers/whoever chose to completly drop any profound female characters. Where are the people who should be writing strong female protagonists? I suspect Buffy changed little as it was too idiosyncratic to be replicated (and even if it were the trope would likely exhaust itself). Fantasy (given its total lack of scientific grounding to any power one can conclude that is the accurate label for heroes) does tend to favour male figures. Procrastination over.