falulatonks: ([toy] agh!)
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  1. Uhm, I only just found this: Settlingly Ever After, a Liz/Wesley fic. From 30 Rock! (Wesley was maybe my favourite thing about a season I'm not particularly impressed with.) And it is excellent, but that's probably just because it's [livejournal.com profile] dollsome.

  2. I also just found Tiger Beatdown, a blog with the very appropriate tagline "lady business" (women! feminism! etc.). I came across it because I was reading about women on television (yes, this is what I do with my free time! WHAT AM I.), and the main writer Sady Doyle had some really fascinating stuff to say about Liz Lemon - I don't agree with all of it, but it's interesting, makes you think about things a little, and it's definitely well-written.

    I wanted to know what she'd think of Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation, and I poked around and found this. It's not just perfect, but it's also 80% of why I love Leslie and this show.

      Leslie Knope has a dinner-date with other ladies to celebrate them! She believes strongly in things and is very good at things (things that include hunting, yay, women!) and she doesn't shy away from making sure people know that of her. She is a little silly and overenthusiastic and a workaholic, but her friends and her coworkers love her, and we completely understand why. She's sweet and sometimes naive but tough and unrelenting. She is one part of the best-written female-female friendship I've seen on TV in a while, maybe ever. Her life does not revolve around men.

      The best thing about all of it is that why Leslie is such a great female character is never something that's overt or too on-the-nose - there's something really naturally strong about her (in fact, about all the women on P&R), so it isn't something with an agenda, but something that the writers and actors really seem to believe in - and by that I mean that's it's not put in so much as it's inherent in everything that's said or done. And as much as they have flaws and do mildly crazy things, they're also people that we would genuinely want to hang out with or know - and not despite them being women, but partly because of it - because having all of the characteristics and interests they have and being a woman at the same time is maybe the best thing about them. And that's wonderful.

      I can't say we don't have strong female characters on TV right now. Buffy is kickass, Zoe Washburne is kickass, Kate Beckett is kickass, Olivia Dunham is kickass - all strong, both physically and mentally, all believably vulnerable, but intelligent and good fighters and people that people would want to be with. The thing is, can't you say they're part of a "warrior woman" stereotype? Strong, but with the emphasis on that strength, a little closed-off. The exception, maybe, could be CJ Cregg, but then she's a career-oriented woman in a field/workplace dominated by men and thriving on being able to be emotionally-detached. Noticeably they're all part of crime/drama/fight-heavy shows. (Quick note here: Sarah Walker may be a fighter, but she's pretty poorly-written and kind of a lousy role model, so she doesn't belong here.)

      (If there's anyone else that's strong that I haven't mentioned, please point her out to me so I can watch that show.)

      Women in comedies like this are so much harder to find - the women that are supposed to be the normal women (and with no real distinctive background - drug, abuse, etc.) - Liz Lemon, as addressed, Robin Scherbatsky (in the earlier seasons), Britta Perry, maybe even Rachel Berry. The problem with them is how the shows they're in treat them. Their feminine wants/desires are made fun of, or their decision to be individual and independent is ridiculed, or they're "one of the guys", and nearly always their biggest changes or decisions are influenced by love or a man. Male characters are also ridiculed/made fun of, of course, but it's never the masculine parts of them that they target, and then they're teased when they act like girls (is he crying? how is he such a wuss?)! Amidst things like that, Parks and Recreation is a relief. (And it's interesting that this show is run by two men.)

      Obviously a lot of these characters/shows are written without considering these women and the ideas and connotations that come with them, but maybe that says even more about the way women are considered - that the kind of writing that follows them comes that naturally? And that's just sad.

    God that got rambley. I'm sorry, this kind of thing is interesting to me. Also, it will help me for when I write a show or movie or book in the future with THE BEST WOMEN EVER. (/dreams)

  3. Simon Pegg, his sister, and Nick Frost used Twitter to do the best thing ever, and I love them so much for it. GENIUS. Why I love it as much as I do has to do with the fact that basically, there's no point. They're doing it for fun! One of them thought, "Hey, this would be fun", got the others, discussed some basic plan of execution, and did it. I LOVE IT.
This would've been a little longer, but that ramble got crazy-lengthy. And I want to go to bed.

-- rachu

Date: 2010-07-11 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hyacinthian.livejournal.com
Super interesting, thank you! I love Leslie and she is such a feminist role model but then when I try to explain it to people, it's SO HARD TO DO. And that's the genius of it! Leslie is, for all her crazy, a real woman who wants to try and succeed and make an a+ out of what is essentially a shit position and while in rl, that might be dependent on her male superiors or whatever, Leslie is determined to succeed. Basically, I love her like I loved early seasons Liz Lemon.

The problem is that when times are tough ratings-wise, which is arguably what has happened to 30 Rock, it becomes easy humor. THIS WOMAN IS A MESS. JACK DONAGHY CAN'T CHOOSE WHICH WOMAN HE WANTS. And it's lazy writing and ugh I hope it gets better next season.

That being said, Leslie Knope's (and the other women being A+) has a lot to do, I think, with Amy Poehler being executive producer and ... less to do with Greg Daniels and Michael Schur? They've written strong women before, sure, but their track record with The Office (and Jan and Pam's character this past season) does not particularly instill me with confidence.

Date: 2010-07-11 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moirariordan.livejournal.com

Every time I think Amy Poehler can't get cooler, she does. When I saw an episode of her cartoon the Mighty B I was just convinced. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

I'm currently trying to find a way that I can model myself after her, Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga all at the same time. I might need to push through some groundbreaking legislation while making an insightful joke before running off to set a piano on fire. I THINK I CAN DO IT.

Date: 2010-07-11 11:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hyacinthian.livejournal.com
Have you seen Smart Girls at the Party? The fact that she did that? I love her forever.

And Leslie Knope's little speech on why she shot Ron Swanson which becomes this paragraph of reasons why women do "crazy" things? AMAZEBALLS. And I think she's wholly responsible for it.

I might need to push through some groundbreaking legislation while making an insightful joke before running off to set a piano on fire. I THINK I CAN DO IT.

AHAHAHAHA. Be a performance artist. Pretend to be a comedian pretending to be a politician giving a speech with a flaming piano in the background as some sort of social commentary?

Date: 2010-07-11 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moirariordan.livejournal.com
That speech! \o/ That speech is the one I show to people when I need an example of how there can be awesome female characters on TV. Being an English major with an obsession with pop culture, I have this conversation more than anyone thinks.

Be a performance artist. Pretend to be a comedian pretending to be a politician giving a speech with a flaming piano in the background as some sort of social commentary? LMAO, life plan = established.

Date: 2010-07-11 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hyacinthian.livejournal.com

Being an English major with an obsession with pop culture, I have this conversation more than anyone thinks.


Date: 2010-07-13 05:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mollivanders.livejournal.com
I'm really sleepy but I have to comment on the strong woman stereotype bit :)

My friends and I debated this a while back and it all comes down to what you define as strong. Buffy/Zoe/Kate/Olivia are all warrior women, though I would argue Olivia has more a rounded not-warrior woman personality (see her reaction at the end of S2?) It's more like she's a normal girl who's been dropped into this crazy world and she's had to adjust on the go, and the cracks show.

But I like your point on the comedies/non-crime dramas. I don't watch too many of them, but I will point out Juliet O'Hara in Psych, who I love. She's pretty badass, is a junior detective of a normal everyday police department, and while the 4th season played up the romance angle apparently that was for a reason/series arc, not just to play her up. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

So there's Juliet, and I always liked Lady Heather from CSI over Sara Sidle because the former refused to let her story be about a guy, even though her story was connected to one of the criminalists. Robin Sherbatsky... oh the days before she gave up her career for a guy :/

Date: 2010-07-13 06:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I definitely agree that when it comes to "strong" women on TV, the emphasis a lot of the time is on their physicality. They have to eliminate their "feminine" qualities (i.e. their emotions) in order to be perceived as strong. I hate when showing your emotions is perceived as weak, both in women and in men. I love warrior women, but why can't women be kick-ass without kicking actual ass?
Edited Date: 2010-07-13 06:19 am (UTC)


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