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Manly Man in TV-Land

In the last few days an interesting discussion started on the depiction of masculinity and feminism on Supernatural, especially in comparison to Buffy (look here ).

As I can never contain myself, I had to write up my own meta about it.



As much as I love my shiny new show, I won`t lie about its shortcomings either. Paging the writing here. *cough*
But I honestly never got the feeling that SPN tried to drive a stake through feminism, pardon the pun. :) Or to un-built all the efforts Buffy might have made in bringing female empowerment to our TV screens.

First off I loved Buffy. Once upon a time it was my biggest obsession. But I`m not sure Buffy and SPN are all that similar, apart from the overall genre.
Buffy was a story that played on the Chosen One mythos, with Buffy the central hero and her friends as her sidekicks. It was always an ensemble cast show. Now SPN is a two-lead show and much more suited to the buddy-theme narrative. In fact the closest thing that comes to mind is the X-Files here. Hell, the boys often flip-flop in the Mulder and Scully-roles of Believer and Skeptic.

And of course having a female lead and female supporting characters will make for a different show than one with two male leads. That`s just a given.
I was never one to believe in this "Men are from mars, women are from venus"- bs as I honestly think we are more alike than different. There are some qualities traditionally seen as more feminine and some as more masculine but in reality it seldom is that clear-cut. Men can be just as nurturing and emotional as women can be curt and stoic.
TV-land maybe a bit behind sometimes but even there typical gender role clichés have been challenged.

Female victims

Considering the differences of the shows I find it a bit unfair to compare the one-episode victims on one to the recurring characters on the other.
Of course comparing the "chick of the week" on SPN and Buffy, the central heroine of her own show, the former is going to come up short. Yet if you compare it with the typical "vamp fodder" of Buffy you won`t find much difference. In fact the token "victim" will be lucky if she even has a line apart from screaming and much flinging of hands.

I also knew going in that since our leads are male we`d get a lot of hot chicks for them to rescue. Come on, that`s how TV works.
But I was pleasantly surprised to find a bunch of them capable in the face of danger. Not in an over-the-top kick ass way but they were as brave and smart as one could expect from a regular person. Hailey in Wendigo? Andrea in DitW? Well-adjusted Flight Attendant Amanda? Kat in Asylum? Kathleen in the Benders? Sarah in Provenance?

I thought they handled themselves very well given the circumstances. And the truth is, most people would throw a shoe and run away screaming upon seeing a ghost, be they male or female.
We had our token male victims as well. The boy in Asylum? Was definitely more of a wimp than his girlfriend. The man in Benders? Totally out of his depth. And understandably so. That`s the point of the Winchesters. They were raised to face this stuff. Of course they are gonna come off being damn heroes compared to other people.

The only girl that really grated on my was Lori from Hookman who I felt was ultra-victimized to ping Sam`s equally overly sensitive "vulnerable girl in danger" radar.
Because again, nuance isn`t the greatest strenght of the show. In writing, not acting I might add.

Macho Macho Man

At first glance you would point a finger and scream Dean. Yet one of his first lines in the Pilot is "I don`t want to" (do it alone). The hell? Han Solo would have rather shot Chewie than admit to something like this.
And over the course of the Season it becomes clearer and clearer how Dean is the most emotional vulnerable of the brothers/family. Not to mention the peacekeeping, nurturing entity in the family. I mean could his devotion to the family unit be any clearer?

That`s so not the behavior of a true "manly" man. Yet it doesn`t detract from his masculinity at all. In fact I`d say if there is one thing Dean is confident about himself, it is in his masculinity.
Him driving the muscle car and listening to Mullet rock is more anachronism than anything else. Lots of people are into oldies and antiques. It`s a preference, very much unrelated to gender.

And yes Dean likes to flirt and enjoys women. But why shouldn`t he? He never struck me as lookind down on women. He thinks about having a good time with them. And they are free and most welcome to view him the same way.
He also never gets mean or violent when his flirting is shot down, as the Andrea thing in DitW proved. If you take his flirting in the spirit it is intended all is well.
And honestly if a woman feels threatened and victimized by a guy checking her out or flirting with her it`s a sign about HER being insecure in her femininity.

I don`t think either Dean or Sam would ever feel threatened by a strong woman, Cassie (ahem arguably was one or was supposed to be one) and Sarah are a testament to the opposite.

So why would a strong, secure woman be threatened by them? Does a virile male threaten the empowerement of women? Why? I don`t see that at all.

Absence of female heroes on SPN

First let me say one thing: Hallelujah. And may they stay gone forever. I do not want a feisty, sexy, kick-ass hunter chick.
I have nothing against meeting more hunters, male or female. Or strong or semi-recurring guest characters, be they villains or good guys, but this show lives off the brother-dynamic. Leave that alone.

I don`t mind male only leads. Yes, I`m a female but I definitely don`t need or want a token female character to represent my gender or something. That`s like filling a quota.

I relate to the guys as people. I can sympathize with them. They got dealt a pretty crappy hand by fate. Yet they didn`t take it lying down and fought against it. Trying to keep others from suffering the same fate. And they don`t whine about it 24/7.

Frankly that`s more then I can say for a lot of TV-"heroes." Take Charmed for example, a show with all female leads, and in the end I wanted a demon to kick their asses six ways to sunday. Why? Because they were horrible, self-centered whiners. And a disgrace to their gender. Except Piper, even though she had the martyr routine down pat.
But I couldn`t sympathize with them at all. Let alone call them heroes.

And Buffy? Buffy and Willow showed such negative growth as the show went on, I honestly was hard-pressed sometimes to care about them.
As far as the male characters of that show? Giles became a Pod-Person in Season 7, Xander was so often just the butt-monkey of the jokes, it was painful. Spike? The ***-raping that character underwent deserved its own book.
Angel? Escaped into his own spin-off show. So we have maybe one survivor here.

Buffy - shout out

I also loved the little shout-out to Buffy in Hell House. And I honestly didn`t feel the geeks there were treated any more or less demeaning than on Buffy. In fact Buffy once made it clear that in her universe the same rules apply as anywhere else. Going to Prom with 3 feet tall Jonathan? Not gonna happen. Girls are going for the Angels and Spikes or the Dean`s and Sam`s of this world. In TV, beautiful people gravitate to equally beautiful people. That`s LAW or something. :-)
And it would be the same in SPN. If Buffy could choose to go on a date with Dean or Sam and one of the hellhounds, come on people, honestly, who would she go with? We are instantly down to Dean and Sam. And with Buffy, I`d go for Dean first.

And five years ago it would have been the typical Star Trek reference to show their geekiness. It`s a cliché. And every show does it. And every show in some way insults their fanbase with it because a lot of them are geeks. And the writers of these shows and these episodes are geeks too. It`s the ultimate in-joke and most people have a golly old laugh about it.

In essence I don`t feel it was a meta-statement on Buffy as the lesser show or something.

Weapons - Phallic and Otherwise

As far as phallic weapons Buffy clearly would have the edge with the continuing use of stakes.
The boys definitely use more firearms which Buffy resented. And most of her opponents were nice enough to engage in hand-to-hand or medieval style combat. BUT with the things the boys face, weapons are a necessity IMO. I really don`t see that as an expression of their masculinity. Except the little moment of "who`s got the bigger machete" in DMB which clearly had phallic undertones. ;)

They don`t have superpowers so they need to rely on weapons and yes, often guns with rocksalt. How else are they gonna do it? Throw the salt at the ghosts? They also use spells, incantations, herbs, amulets and intensive research.

With the Scooby Gang these tasks were often split. Giles did the book-work, Willow did the spells. Buffy finally did the muscle work.
The guys only have themselves, so naturally they have to do it all. And they had to train hard for their skills. All their lifes in fact. But this doesn`t in any way, shape or form make them macho man.
If the Winchesters had been two sisters, they would have to do the same things.

In fact while yes, the show would be different if the Winchesters were female, in a lot of ways it would be...not. :)


Two very interesting metas:
on the subject of Masculinity vs. Machismo by sasha_davidovna and
Role Models by lerefuge

Comments

( 116 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
legoline
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
Can I just say - AMEN?

Especially the part how you sympathise with Sam & Dean on a "people" level - heck, I've never felt this close to any other character ever appeared on tv screen. I've never watched a pilot and went instantly "Oh God, Sam is SO like me" - the girls you are supposed to identify with usually are these perfect chicks whose main problem is they're not popular enough or don't get any dates. That's why I've always "identified" more with Sam and Dean, they're just so...normal. Despite the supernatural stuff. (And ain't it funny how that show is basically a phrase-come-true show? To fight one's demons?)

And yes Dean likes to flirt and enjoys women. But why shouldn`t he? He never struck me as lookind down on women. He thinks about having a good time with them.

Yeah I've always thought he just doesn't want to waste any time and seize the day as, unlike Sam, he's well aware that with the lives they're living he can die any day.
zyna_kat
Aug. 26th, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC)
I've never watched a pilot and went instantly "Oh God, Sam is SO like me"

Hee. And I've lost count of how many times I think, dear lord, I've said/done/pulled that exact same thing to my little younger brother. I don't need to be a guy (or for Dean to be a girl) to love and enjoy their fabulous sibling relationshiop.
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OH GOTT NOCH MEHR SPOILER... - legoline - Aug. 26th, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
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aerynvala
Aug. 26th, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)
Yes!
particularly this part:

but this show lives off the brother-dynamic. Leave that alone.

Because that's what I signed up for: two brothers fighting evil. period, end of story.
aizjanika
Aug. 26th, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Yes!
Because that's what I signed up for: two brothers fighting evil. period, end of story.

Me too. :-)
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aizjanika
Aug. 26th, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed reading this commentary. I've never even seen an episode of Buffy, but I like your take on the Supernatural stuff and how it compares in the genre. :-)
astri13
Aug. 26th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)
I loved Buffy beyond reason. Angel even more so in the end. But it is really not all that similar to SPN, apart from things on the outside.

And while it had great wrighting and an interesting take on female empowerment, just for the fact that the very heroine of the show was a clever play on one of the most tired horror genre clichés ever, it wasn`t the holy grail of feminism.

Nor do I think that SPN either spits on the show (hell, with all the Buffy actors that cross over, it`s kind of like an hommage :) nor does it threaten female empowerment in TV. It concentrates on the male perspective as it has male leads. And there is nothing wrong with that IMO.

Female empowerment and the horror of being a teenager were Joss Whedon`s message. But EK has his own message or story to tell and that`s his right as creator. Variety is a good thing after all.

If I would do some comparing of SPN I`d go for the X-Files first.
sasha_davidovna
Aug. 26th, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
*g* I'd just finished writing my own take on this question when yours popped up on my f-list!

I don`t mind male only leads. Yes, I`m a female but I definitely don`t need or want a token female character to represent my gender or something. That`s like filling a quota.

I relate to the guys as people.


Amen to that, and I also agree strongly with your take on Dean. I don't consider him "macho" so much as secure in his masculinity, and I see that as an extremely positive trait. Men who are secure in their masculinity are not threatened by intelligent women or homosexuals or disobedient children and are therefore unthreatening to them because they feel no need to try to reassert their maleness and male power. I don't see any sign at all that either Dean or Sam feel threatened in any way by smart, strong-minded women or homsexuality, to the contrary in fact, and I think in that sense they are genuine role models for men, although not so much in other ways! :)
astri13
Aug. 26th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, will check out your meta, pronto. :)

Absolutely dito on Dean. It`s mostly the "true" machos that will go out of their way to demonstrate their male superiority by going after everybody they deem weaker or a threat to their masculinity. "Hey, I beat up a queer, look what kind of manly man I am."

Dean and Sam are so above this. And that`s great.
lerefuge
Aug. 26th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
And the truth is, most people would throw a shoe and run away screaming upon seeing a ghost, be they male or female.

Oh yeah. If I had something supernatural, nasty and killing in my basement and I met two guys who were just happy to take care of it and keep me out of it? My answer would be : 'HELL YEAH. DISEMPOWER ME, BITCHES'. That's not a gender thing, it's a 'omgsoscaredhelpme' thing ;)

And honestly if a woman feels threatened and victimized by a guy checking her out or flirting with her it`s a sign about HER being insecure in her femininity.

Wow, thanks! You are so much better spoken than I am ;) It's funny because I actually am that girl, insecure in her feminity. But I know and aknowledge it (and work on it).

I forgot to mention weapons in my essay. So what if guns are more attractive to a male audience than stakes or whatnot? Good for the show to attract a male audience as well as female.
astri13
Aug. 26th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)
My answer would be : 'HELL YEAH. DISEMPOWER ME, BITCHES'.

Hee. Exactly how I feel.
I was majorly annoyed with Cassie being all "don`t get all authorative on me." Okay girl, that`s his area of expertise and why you called him and he told you to stay inside so you don`t DIE. *shakes head*

I mean would you pick a fight with a police officer or firefighter who gives you instructions for your safety? It`s not like they are telling you to stay barefoot and pregnant. *shakes head* But that`s often a TV cliché of "strong" women whereas I only find it stupid. Listening to reason is not a sign of being a meek little mouse.

It's funny because I actually am that girl, insecure in her feminity. But I know and aknowledge it (and work on it).

I don`t have tons of self-confidence either but honestly if I cared about every macho guy who thinks women are only good for cooking, cleaning and sex? I wouldn`t get anything done.
And the thing is they are gonna think that about women whether they are telling them that to their faces or not. They are stupid, ergo beneath my caring about them. I know I`m more than my body and that`s that.

I think women who get all offended (not with true harassment) but at every flirty behaviour and pick-up line only victimize themselves. "Wah, the big strong man was mean to me. Wah, poor wittle me." Only gives those jerks the satisfaction to see you becoming unravelled and the validation of their "women are too emotional" shtick.

And I freely admit if a guy like Dean, looking like Dean, flirts with me, I`d be lots flattered and giggly. I`d consider it a great compliment.

So what if guns are more attractive to a male audience than stakes or whatnot? Good for the show to attract a male audience as well as female.

I knew from the beginning that they were trying to get more of the much sought out male demographic. What with the male leads, the car, the hot chicks, the horror movie theme, the road-movie theme and whatnot.
And I practically knew from the beginning that the fandom would be female in its majority. These guys are hot, emotionally screwed-up and despite their protests to the contrary they have chick flicks en masse. It`s character drama. It will appeal to lots of women if one can even generalize like this. Not to mention it being gourmet food for slashers. ;)

And yes it`s great that there is something for everybody. Why shouldn`t it be?
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andromakhe001
Aug. 26th, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC)
Bows down before the master/ That's is excellently well written. My own response wasn't nearly so clear. I agree with you, needless to say.

And you know, so what if sometimes there is a 'who's got the bigger machete' moment? They are GUYS. Guys do have phalluses. LOL And they compare them sometimes, whether symbolically or otherwise. :D

I have to be honest I have no idea how that "WWBD?" comment could have ever been looked at as looking DOWN upon Buffy. It was acknowledging her place as an admired geek hero--like Capt. Kirk. And better yet these guys are looking up to a female as their "action hero". If that doesn't say "You've come along way baby" I don't know what would. :D
andromakhe001
Aug. 26th, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
Need to add
I agree with what you say about sympathizing with Dean and Sam as people. I don't need a female character in their to identify with the characters and their issues. Hey I'm a big sister and I identify with Dean's big brother issues. It isn't solely related to gender. As shown by Haley and Officer Kathleen, both protective older sisters. Don't get me wrong I love it when there is a female hero but not when it's at the expense of other previously established characters. And I wouldn't like a new male character coming in and doing the same thing(only I wouldn't have the added worry of not only messing with the established dynamic but being a 'love interest' as well to further screw things up, which hits my "what a girl NEEDS to be the love interest too, she can't just be a colleague, a friend? the hell!?!" button)
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viciouswishes
Aug. 27th, 2006 02:39 am (UTC)
I find myself uncomfortable with a tv show that does not reflect the world I live in. A show that does not have women or ethic minorities or gay people anywhere near being the leads. Of course, I've never been a fan of cheesy horror. (Cheesy other genres, yes.) So, combine those two things and SPN will never be a show for me.

(Followed this link from my flist...)
astri13
Aug. 27th, 2006 12:07 pm (UTC)
I don`t think there will be a show who does it for everybody, themewise or anything else. So i`s absolutely fair to say "you know that doesn`t appeal to me."
Personally I`m not much into horror either and I`ve felt maybe once creeped out by SPN but I really got invested in the characters and their problems.
If I didn`t I might yearn for more but honestly the boys give me all the emotional and meaty angst I can ask for so I`m perfectly happy with the show as it is.

As far as the leads as I said I don`t need a multi-culti cast per se and then nothing gets done with them. Because a lot of shows have their "alibi"-characters, like yay we have a gay guy or a black guy in the cast. But then their characters do nothing for the show or have a storyline or something.

With SPN it`s a story about two brothers and it plays like a road movie (incidently a genre I normally hate with a passion :). So the boys are travelling around, doing good. It`s very much an outsider`s POV looking in. And there is a world with all variety of people. Our heroes just live on the fringes of that world.

But as with most things, that is very much all personal preference in liking something or not.
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astri13
Aug. 27th, 2006 12:16 pm (UTC)
Personally, I love getting my shot of testosterone every week

Likewise. I mean I don`t really feel we have a shortage of girl power shows on TV right now or shows with strong female characters. Why can`t there be some variety with a good old fashioned Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid motive?

but to be truthful feminists scare me. They want equality, yet the way they talk men are lower, which is against the whole point of equality.. okay that's a whole 'nother topic.

Oh I feel the same way. That`s so totally overcompensating with the constant need to point out how women are smart and capable and whatnot.
Yes, I believe that but if somebody doesn`t, honestly? No skin of my back.

but I love the humor that they use in the show to make fun of themselves, be it in Asylum, where they talk about the hottest psychic, or make fun of the actors themselves

I love this. The reference to CMM made me giggle because I still haven`t figured out if him and Jared are friends or don`t like each other. *g*

Buffy in a way was campier, but with way better writing, but it was full of witty one-liners. In a way I feel wouldn`t work on SPN because this show has a more grounded, gritty realism to it. And again, this is no slight to either show. God, I love them both. Variety is great.

I also think that the weapons are a necessity, and add a layer of masculinity, but necessary none-the-less. And as you said, they still have to do the research, and don't necessarily need to use wepons each time. Heh. I think I just basically repeated what you said, but hopefully that made sense!

Absolutely. I really don`t see how using hand-to-hand made Buffy more feminine and the weapons make the guys more macho. Buffy had freaking superpowers. She could have engaged a Wendigo up close and personal. If the brothers tried that, it would be stupid and they would die. Their situation dictates the use of weapons here, not their gender.
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lea_ndra
Aug. 27th, 2006 08:28 am (UTC)
word. I read the essay a couple of days ago and had the same thoughts on the discussion, but because I had to go to work I didn't have time to write an eloquent response, but you practically touched every point in the essay that was incomprehensive or plain illogical to me.

Also, I would even go as far as to say that Dean is definitely "in touch with his feminine side", that, actually, in the trinity that is Sam-Dean-John, he's the female part, taking Mary's place, in a) helping John raise Mary or, as we also often assume, substitute John as parent, too, and b) playing mediator between John and Sam when the shit hits the fan. Dean is a typical gut type - he thinks with his gut, he draws from emotion (a quality usually attributed to women) to help him decide about certain things - think Devil's Trap: If Sam shot John, the demon'd be dead, but Dean can't let that happen, he's trying to intervene because he can't sacrifice John for "the greater good". His possessive protectiveness towards Sam seems also very feminine to me. Interestingly enough, throughout the episode Sam trusts Dean's gut feeling - e.g. trusting Dean when he thinks John isn't John, and in the scene depicted in my icon (see above) Sam actually learns to understand Dean's POV.

If I were to defend the macho-manliness of Supernatural, I'd point out how metrosexual it really is - metrosexual in the purest sense of the word, no moisturizer and skin cleanser used, but men are allowed to have female qualities. So, I guess we should rather look to the good Supernatural does for men (allowing them to be emotional, to shed a tear, to trust their gut feelings, to make decisions based on their emotions) than curse it for not presenting strong female characters.
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astri13
Aug. 27th, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC)
I never got the impression that either the characters or the show itself was taking women down a peg

Me neither. I mean, the screaming victims? I would cry and flail for twenty blocks if I saw a ghost. And I don`t think this would disempower me in any way.

It`s not like the show is some bodice ripper where the boys, wearing pirate shirts, storm into a house where the damsel in distress with long wavy hair, dressed in strategically ripped lace, is screaming for them. And then sighing and fainting right into their big, strong, manly arms.
As hilarious as that would be. :-)

My favorite example would be Dean having a meltdown because he's on a plane while Amanda the perky blond flight attendant who just survived a plane crash is just fine and dandy.

I loved this, he was close to panic and yet grumpy because she was so cool and well-adjusted. *g* Because that`s how people are as people, and not just as male and female.

The very idea of a female hunter showing up as a main character just because they think they need a girl makes me do a mental scream because you're 100 percent correct. This show is about the brothers and their family. Not the brothers plus their perky,love triangle creating sidekick.

Just because a woman has a lead role on a show doesn`t mean I have to feel drawn to her character or even enjoy it. In fact if I think she is a horrible character what good does the token women role do me?
And sticking the perky love interest chick on SPN can only screw with the one thing that works just flawlessly. The brother dynamics.

Please, fix the plot or the exposition or the rubber spiders or the bruise make-up (rock-saltfilled shotgun to the chest, I`m looking at you) or the anvils.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Aug. 28th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - astri13 - Aug. 28th, 2006 09:23 am (UTC) - Expand
dotfic
Sep. 2nd, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC)
There are a number of response essays to <lj user="monkeycrackmary>'s essay, and I'm reading through all of them (after leaving a response to the original essay). Everything I've read has been fascinating, including yours. :) It's not that I don't think there are ANY problems with how women are portrayed on the show. It should not have to be surprising when the women are strong or capable. But they have been strong and capable, and with diverse abilities and personalities. Women are real people on the show, far beyond the mere symbol role played by Mary and Jess. I think I've been so focused on Sam and Dean as characters I just never thought to worry, beyond a passing thought or two, on how the women are portrayed. I don't think the show has a political agenda; I think Kripke just wanted to do the male hero POV, just as Joss Whedon wanted to do the female hero POV. But I think that's a luxury I have, living in the society I live in, in the age I live in. It's not that women aren't still marginalized or discriminated against, but I find myself less concerned with the gender of characters and more the characters themselves.
dotfic
Sep. 2nd, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC)
Dang LJ ATE MY COMMENT.

What I wanted to say was that the original essay, and all the response essays, have been fascinating. This is some terrific meta, astri.

It's not that I don't think there are ANY problems with the portrayal of women on the show. But they have been portrayed with diverse personality types, abilities and strengths. Some are victims, some are strong and capable. Mary and Jess serve mainly as symbols to drive the quest, but they are not the full picture of women on the show by any means.
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A question (may contain spoilers) - dotfic - Sep. 7th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A question (may contain spoilers) - astri13 - Sep. 7th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A question (may contain spoilers) - dotfic - Sep. 7th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
bonded2jasper
Jan. 25th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
I pretty much agree with everything you said except this:
"And honestly if a woman feels threatened and victimized by a guy checking her out or flirting with her it`s a sign about HER being insecure in her femininity."

For one, that's really heterosexist. What if she's a lesbian? There are guys who react very violently when they realize that a woman has dared to not find men sexually appealing. Of course, Dean doesn't, but she doesn't know that when she first meets him & she has no obligation to assume he's a good guy when doing so could put her safety at risk if it were someone less-tolerant than the Winchester brothers. It would be only logical for her to feel threatened when going on the defensive is her best option.

And even if this hypothetical girl is interested in men, girls are taught from childhood that boys are "only after one thing" and many find out firsthand that there are guys who will forcibly take that "one thing" from you. Even if she doesn't learn it from firsthand, she learns about the risks in her teen years and almost all rape prevention tips are aimed at women, which basically tells us that it's our responsibility to make sure we aren't harmed. Again, the woman has no obligation to trust a man if she feels threatened by his advances because doing so could get her hurt. Not all guys are respectful of women like the Winchesters and neither the ladies in the SPN-verse or in our real world are obligated to trust them and not feel threatened by unwanted attention.

Like I said, other than that part, I do agree with you. Especially about Willow & Buffy--I found them to less and less relateable as the show progressed. Characters are supposed to grow, but theirs in particular definitely regressed and by the end even the sight of Buffy annoyed me.
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