Tag Archives: gender roles

A random and unidentified visit

I had a random (and anonymous) comment left on my blog quite recently, and thought I’d share it all with you.  It’s on my “Roses only… more like sexist only” blog post.

The commenter said:

Bec, it’s just an ad… get over it.
They’re not playing into anything, they’re doing a good job at selling their product.
I’m sure if you were trying to sell lots of your over-priced flowers you’d be trying to do whatever it takes to get people to buy them too.

Continue reading A random and unidentified visit

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Greenwing – a TV series to watch

I don’t know how many people who read this blog have watched Greenwing, but I’m currently rewatching it with my house guest and it is such an awesome – and very wrong – TV series.  I don’t want to spoil anyone who hasn’t watched it, so this post will be quite brief.  One thing I wanted to point out about the series is it’s interesting critiques on gender roles.  The show is set in a hospital, and the characters are either doctors or administrative staff in the hospital.  Thankfully not all the doctors are men, and although for the most part the staff in HR are women – that’s not too far away from reality.  The gender of the character is important in relation to the stereotype they are assigned to play, but whether the character is admin or professional is irrelevant.

You have the competitive, objectifier of women who believes that you have to, “play them mean to keep them keen”, and who really doesn’t understand people or emotions at all.  You have the mouse who is frightened of everything and is cowed by his more aggressive male colleagues, who he just wants to be like.  You have the man who wants to be powerful and sometimes thinks he is, but is generally disliked by everyone because he’s either sleazy, incompetent, offensive or exceedingly eccentric (and sometimes all at once).  You have the character who is affable, well liked, sometimes rude, generally caring and who isn’t particularly open about how they feel.  You have the boyish character who likes to challenge authority, loves a joke, loves supporting those who needs it and is sexually voracious (which is completely fine in the series).  You have the IT guy who is cute, charming and wanted by everyone.

You have the slightly eccentric, but well meaning woman who doesn’t know what she wants exactly, but has an idea and is willing to experiment a little to find out more.  You have the female equivalent mouse character.  You have the woman who is lovely but stressed with her personal life and keeping track of her children.  You have the sexually voracious and generally nice character who likes to be silly (in fact all of HR are silly) and whose sexual nature isn’t an issue.  You have the fat woman who at one stage is picked on by the objectifier and who tells him to “fuck off” (oh and he’s a little scared of her too), she’s also happy with her body and her attractiveness.  There is the scheming, eccentric and rude woman who is one of the best characters on the show.  The perfect woman who everyone aspires to be – beautiful, competent, intelligent, cheerful and always perfect.  There is the rude, sleazy, incompetent, offensive and really wrong character who makes me cringe every time I see her on screen – though she does it SO well.

Extra internet points if you can name all the characters I’ve described in order.

I love this series.  It has many moments of wrong, but is beautifully written, fantastically directed, has an awesome cast and makes me laugh every time I watch it.

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It’s not very funny

There was this joke I read on a website (which isn’t known for being friendly to women), and it wasn’t at all funny.  Here it is (emphasis all mine):

A woman, wearing a sleeveless sun dress, walked into a Bar in Dublin.
She raised her right arm, revealing a huge, hairy armpit as she pointed to all the people sitting at the bar and asked, ‘What man here will buy a lady a drink?’

Down at the end of the bar, an old drunk slammed his hand down on the counter and bellowed ‘Give the ballerina a drink!’

The bartender poured the drink and the woman drunk it. She turned again pointed around at all of them, revealing the same hairy armpit, and asked, ‘What man here will buy a lady a drink?’

Once again, the same little drunk shouted ‘Give the ballerina another drink!’

The bartender approached the drunk and said ‘Tell me, Paddy, it’s your business if you want to buy the lady a drink, but why do you keep calling her a ballerina?’

The drunk replied, ‘Any woman who can lift her leg that high has got to be a ballerina!’

This joke relies to two things to make it funny – the confusion suffered by a drunk man about what he was looking at – armpits and pubic mounds totally the same, and the fact that women with hairy armpits (or “huge, hairy armpit[s]”) are gross and revolting and no one but a drunk man would buy such a woman a drink.

The joke isn’t funny as far as I am concerned.  Hairy armpits are fine, there is nothing wrong with them, and how they’d be huge… can you have huge armpits?… I’m not sure.  This joke is one in a million others which reinforces crap beauty and gender myths about what it is to be a beautiful woman.  This joke is one in a million of others which reinforces gender conformity and beauty conformity.

I call bullshit.

Be beautiful.  Love your body for it is beautiful.  It gets you from here to there (most of the time), helps you feel good (much of the time) and is gorgeous.  Be beautiful in your own way.  Don’t ascribe to society’s fucked up view of what makes a woman beautiful.  You are gorgeous.

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Science Fiction women who kick arse

NOTE: This post will be discussing female science fiction characters and their roles.  Therefore they may be spoilers for those who haven’t seen these shows/films.  It will also be discussing violence which may be triggering.

I was thinking today about Kara Thrace, better known as Starbuck, from the remake of Battlestar Galactia (of which I’ve only watched the first season), and the episode Flesh and Bone from season one in which she oversees/participates in the torture of a Cylon spy.  And I was thinking that typically women tend to fill the same gender roles in science fiction as they’re expected to in current day society, and those that don’t tend to be on the receiving end of a lot of hate.

I don’t condone violence, but I know that I’m fully capable of it if I thought that it was required.  I don’t think that torture is actually a way to get information from anyone, but I can understand the desperation that existed in that episode for another woman (the President) to order the Cylon to be tortured.  I do not condone torture in any way, I want to make that REALLY clear.

Continue reading Science Fiction women who kick arse

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