Thursday, January 22, 2009

Female V.S Female

I thought this chapter was really interesting about the women fighting against themselves for supremacy. The line where douglas says, "These scenes tell us right away she's a no-good little bitch," was hilarious. I grew up with four sisters, all totally different from one another and you can imagine the conflicts that went on in our house with these four girls with extremely different, personalities and conflict styles. I find that there was this truth to what Douglas says, there is this conflict that is aroused in the kind of media showing these archetypes of the female character.

One of my favourite writers is Joss Whedon, who most of you might recognise as the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is one of my favourite shows, but then I am a huge fan of anything that Joss Whedon Writes. As a quick Tangent, I think that Buffy as a TV show did so much to turn stereotypes on their heads, especially with its portrayal of women. There are so many different views of female characters and they are not your everyday typical stereotypes of what women do and are capable of, and even their reasoning behind their actions in certain situations.

Anyway, Another passion of mine is comics and Joss Whedon wrote two years worth of Astonishing X-Men comics. This run of the popular Marvel characters was fantastic and at the core of the book there were these two female characters. We have Kitty Pryde, a young Innocent mild mannered Jewish girl (Who, coincidentally, Joss Whedon modelled his Buffy character on) and Emma Frost, the ultra rich socialite super bitch. Both of these characters fall into Douglas' Disney example. Kitty is the Disney Princess. The One we are supposed to be rooting for who is brought into be the teams public relations gimmick as she is the pretty girl who can get on with anyone and who can deal with the public as she looks "Normal."

Emma is the "older, vindictive, murderous Stepmother or Queen wearing too much eyeliner and eyeshadow." This is even more amusing as Emma does indid refer to herself sometimes as Auntie Emma and has the Mutant codename of "White Queen." She is often portrayed wearing blueeyeshadow and lipstick, and in the past all Emma has been concerned with is power and possibly having been corrupted by the power she held.
I could go on for ages about this, but needless to say there are these archetypes that Douglas points out that even now are being used. My comfort in Joss Whedons use of these characters is that things are never black and white despite the apparent catfights between Kitty and Emma. Things get complicated and the characters were made multi-faceted. We sometimes are annoyed at Kitty and sometimes sympathetic to Emma.

I hope this wasn't Ridiculously long.


Kirsten said...

whooohoooo your comments work!

Jamin said...

Wasn't the part about Peter Pan interesting too? I never really thought about the ideas of competition that were being shown in that movie. (It's still one of my favorites though.)

Austin's comment about Archetypes in Disney still wondering about this issue though. Do you think that when the writers are writing these stories, like the X-Men comics, that they are purposefully putting these stereotypes in there to cause harm? Or do you they do it just because it is easier to create character if the character is already mostly there?

I'm also wondering if it is even possible in a ficticious work to completely avoid stereotypes altogether. Don't know. Just throwing it out there.

Meg said...

Sometimes I wonder if the female characters in shows or comics are there to give viewers something to relate to or something to identify with. It goes right along with the readings, if you are a 'good girl' you look/act like this. If you are a 'bad girl' you look/act like this.
I was just thinking about X-Men, and how the women are portrayed there. (Tell me if I'm way off base, I watched the X-Men cartoon after school like forever ago.) But think about it, Jean Gray is shown to me the mutant with the weakest powers (before the phoenix thing, yet she's hooked up with Scott (Cyclops). She's gentle, nurturing and concerned about everyone. Scott desires her and is committed to her. Another big female character is Rogue- her mutant powers are dangerous, she's loud and sassy, flirtatious, wants a relationship but can't have one for whatever reason. I'm just making a connection (and maybe it's a stretch) to how the movies in Susan Douglas' day showed men and women, which types women were desirable to men. This goes hand in hand with the Disney movie analysis, if you want to get the guy you'll look and act in certain ways. Since we've been discussing this in class and I'm thinking about it, seems like like I'm becoming aware of connections EVERYWHERE.

Loz said...

Yeah, and another interesting thing is that in both the case of jean grey and Rogue they are both attracted to the bad boy. Rogue--Gambit. Jean grey--Wolverine, despite her relationship with Cyclops.
What makes this even more amusing is that in the comics,as soon as Jean grey died, Cyclops pursued a relationship with the "Bad Girl" Emma Frost.

Despite my love of X-Men, Jamin, you might be right. For every intelligently written female character in comics, there are an abundance of the big bummed, big chested, long legged female characters there to fulfil some fanboy need for T&A.