The Film Fatale

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Here I go again

Have you guys noticed that in supernatural/fantasy TV shows the women are almost always never the ones who transform into grotesque animals or abominations? Instead, they seem to be always human (or if they are some sort of supernatural creature, they maintain their female forms, i.e. vampires, witches, etc). I wonder why no one has ever thought of making  a TV show about a teenage girl who turns into a grotesque creature while continuing to date a boy who loves her so much that he will help chain her up and watch her transform during a full moon. Could this be a reflection of predominantly male expectations that women will stand by their guy regardless of how gruesome, violent or abominable they become? Women are idealized as being beautiful, virginal, pure and perfect, and as such they don’t get to play creepy monsters or demons. When men lose their heads, it’s okay because they’ll come back from the dark side if the girlfriend just stays by them and forgives them for treating her like shit, but oh when women lose their minds they are considered bitches, crucified for not wanting to put up with their guy’s drama (perfect example would be Skyler from Breaking Bad, a wildly unpopular character whose fault is that she won’t put up with the fact that her husband is cooking meth. HOW DARE SHE, right?). It almost seems like it’s socially unacceptable for women to lose their shit, while it’s okay for men to have the occasional meltdown.  

It’s not just true for supernatural TV shows. Think about a show like Dexter, where the main character is described as a likable serial killer. For some reason male characters can get away with playing antiheroes, but if you turn the tables and have a show about a female sociopath, well, they are always villains and never heroines themselves. I find this an interesting double standard in film and television where men are allowed to play these complex, multifaceted characters while women are only allowed to be the typical cheerleader, standing by their men despite being bitten, clawed at, used and abused. Sure, we’ll throw some female characters a bone or two, let them pick up a bow and arrow and shoot some things, but at the end of the day the idea is that they need to be protected and can’t make their own decisions. 

It would be nice if we had a female character who didn’t put up with any nonsense from her significant other and didn’t get crucified for it. I’m reminded of the articles I read in my Women’s Studies classes related to psychoanalytic theory and film, particularly Freud’s castration anxiety and how a strong, female character is ostracized because this is not considered socially acceptable.

I don’t even know if this makes sense but it’s just an observation I’ve had for a while now.

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