A while ago we had a post discussing female protagonists who are being watched over/controlled by men/patriarchal organizations. Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Orphan Black were primary examples. Today, I would like to expand on the ideas of that post and talk about a subset of this type of female characters—female characters who are not only overseen by men/organizations (often patriarchal, though perhaps not always) but are also raised to be killers and assassins against their will. I’m a bit torn when it comes to this type of character. On one hand, these women are complex and their tragic backstories allow for character development and growth. But on the other hand, the misogynistic undertones in their arcs are troubling.
Spoilers for Orphan Black, Killjoys, Firefly, and Doctor Who below the jump. Also, trigger warning for child abuse and self-harm.
I was planning to write about how skeevy it is that literally all the clones on Orphan Black are/were in relationships with their monitors (don’t worry, I’ll get to that in a sec), but thinking about this brought me to an unpleasant realization: just how common it is for shows with main female protagonists to have a system of male oversight/regulation above them. If that wasn’t bad enough, we never see an inverse parallel where women oversee/regulate men, nor even situations of matriarchal oversight for female characters. Spoiler alert for Orphan Black and Buffy the Vampire Slayer after the jump.
I’m not a bad guy, I just want to control women’s bodies!
In the last few days of the star sign Gemini, I wanted to talk a bit about twins in pop culture. I think television writers struggle with how to portray twins, and that’s putting it lightly. Identical twins seem to be the ones featured most prominently—why bother making two characters twins if they don’t look alike? Never mind the hundreds of fraternal twins actually out there who get less representation on TV because they’re less of a curiosity. Identical twins tend to be used as visually striking additions to TV shows, typically in sort of a gimmicky way: “oh look how kewl, they look exactly like each other!” However, the line between novelty and fetishizing, and even dehumanizing, is terribly thin. It contributes to what is honestly a freak show mentality, which leads to poor writing, poor character development, and overall less than ideal portrayals of twins. Spoiler alerts for Teen Wolf Season 3 and Heroes Season 2 below.