Thursday, March 17, 2011
Women & Girls in Pop Culture: Mean, Dumb, Expendable
I read a short story listed for the Nebula Award. It's written by a woman about little girls who choose bloody violence as initiation in the posse. I have respect for the Nebula Awards, since 1965 showcasing the best of science fiction and fantasy. There are plenty of reviews on how women are portrayed in this genre: some of my favorite authors had issues depicting women. Since I read this nominee story, my mind's keyed to current writing about women and girls; to movies greenlighted. The original title of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is Men Who Hate Women. The gory redo of Red Riding Hood. Twilight series: a young girl who wants to not be who she is. The Little Mermaid gave up her voice to change her personhood: Meyer adds flesh rending. Bad Teacher - I don't want to know what that one's about, but I guarantee the teacher is a woman. Stroll the aisles at your video store: how many movies have a woman bleeding on the cover? A review on goodreads noted a book had girl-on-girl scuffling, and that inclusion redeemed it. Search the web for "mean girls" and find 23,000,000 results. I wrote about the Jell-O commercial with a mother scaring her children. We got rid of the coffee klatch in recent memory: now we've got desperate housewives. Hen parties are back. Cat fights are in. Look at the comments on web posts; read facebook entries. Civility is out: mean is in. Feels like the 50s again, minus the pearls, aprons and great hats. But now we have the women in the game. What are we teaching our children about women in our country? What are we showing the rest of the world? How can we rise above the baseline we're creating for ourselves?