Drunk Ex-Pastors is a podcast channel based on two buddies hanging out, having some drinks and discussing culture, politics, current events with really no expertise. Despite this, the show is a look into the opinions of two funny, entertaining guys. Worth a listen. In one of their early podcast episodes, they decide that they are transforming Bieber (yes as in Justin Bieber) into a verb that implies something that bothers the hell out of you. At the end of each show, Drunk Ex-Pastors talk about one thing that is biebering them lately. It’s a bit out of character for my blog, but I’m going to cover what’s been bieber-ing me*. Boring female characters in television shows.
Winter is closing in on the UK, and since we are using bikes as our main mode of transportation, this makes travel and exploration a little less exciting. That’s where Netflix comes in, with its addicting season after season of endless shows and movies, making the occasional lazy nights-in even better. Having watched all of the most appealing shows (Sherlock, Arrested Development) a few too many times, we’ve taken to looking for new shows. Most of these aren’t the greatest acting or most interesting plot, but is easy entertainment. Greek is an ABC Family show about the Greek system at your average midwestern university. Somewhere in the middle of the series, a female character and male character take a Women’s Studies class. The teacher is stern, demanding, sarcastic and hesitant towards the male student, as if there’s no way he would know anything of importance. In a later episode, the female character seeks out this professor for advice on her social life, to which the teacher responds that she abandoned years ago. The instructor, obviously portrayed as a die-hard feminist is a representation that television shows, especially ones targeted towards young adult audiences, seem to have on repeat.
This is what annoys me to no end. This instructor is witty, smart, yet consistently rejects males, and is relatively anti-social outside of the classroom. Greek makes this character flat and one-dimensional, and pretty boring. The only thing that seems to matter about her personality is that she is a feminist. What really pisses me off is that feminist characters don’t seem to ever have any other characteristics. This, in many ways, implies that feminism itself is boring and unnoticeable, something to be dismissed like the tv characters who believe in it. For the record, the definition of feminism is believing that women and man should be treated as equals. Simple as that.
Greek isn’t the only show that creates flat feminist and female characters. Modern Family sadly falls in this category of making Claire (a women who makes a point of being her family’s superhero) into a relatively boring character, constantly nagging and uninviting to the viewer. Big Bang Theory’s Amy Fowler is incredibly smart and accomplished, yet undateable and occasionally anti-social. Scandal, Homeland, Revenge, Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, Friday Night Lights and Lost all shows female characters making idiots of themselves as they throw away their strengths/power/dreams etc. for the guy they care for. Most these shows have created woman characters (most of them feminist) who possess one or two characteristics, and the rest is never mentioned, and therefore leaves the characters as flat. The last references discusses a character flaw that nearly every strong (physically and mentally) woman share, telling the audience exactly what to expect of such a female character. This makes these characters just as boring as the undeveloped ones–we know exactly what is coming. All of this is telling the audience that dynamic, interesting female characters don’t exist in the real world, which is just inaccurate and frankly dangerous, especially when feeding it into young minds.
Don’t worry too much, Parks and Recreation is a saving grace!
That’s what’s been bothering me lately, what biebers you?
*Special thanks to Drunk Ex-Pastors for the inspiration!