TV Crimes Misogyny?
Strong female characters have arrived in crime drama. But is this empowering for women or misogyny created for men by men. Is this just TV crime misogyny? The template was DCI Jane Tennison played by Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect aired in the early 1990s. Tennison was professional, cool, & masculine yet played upon the emotional intelligence of being a woman in mans’ world.
The Killing, The Bridge, and most recently The Fall all have strong female leads.
All three of these characters play up the enigma angle, and the sex. In the Bridge the main female character picks up men at bars and drags them home to have sex with her. This is explained by the character being slightly autistic: not able to hold normal conversations, or read peoples’ feelings.
The Gillian Anderson character calls over an attractive male police officer on a crime scene, and explicitly tells him the hotel and room number she is staying in. She has sex with him, then dismisses him with the reason that she misread him! This then comes out as part of an investigation into the murder of the police officer. A female junior officer flushes condoms down the main character’s hotel room toilet to protect her emulating female buddy support!
Is this empowering for women to have these roles? The Director, producers and writers of the Fall are men.
TV Crime Misogyny? TV drama is a precise controlled medium that manipulates the viewer in every frame. Something might be learnt in studying the manipulation.
What is not being said and more particularly not being felt seems attractive to the viewer. This is stereotypical in a man but a twist on the stereotype when it’s a woman. But in reality what is interesting about a person who does not reveal themselves? The assumption is that they are interesting if they were to speak. Why? Suggestion, partial explanation, a lack of clarity are seductive. Does it keep us from the stark, mundane reality of relationships? Is it relaxing to see these simplified relationships on the screen. Perhaps because the complexity of our own relationships are not like this? Is this TV Crimes Misogyny?
Women acting like male predators is attractive to men? Is this a short cut fantasy for men to have sex with women with little effort? In reality few women are like this because of the risk factor. Physical strength can still dominate the power relationship between men and women.
This is power relationship is cleverly portrayed in the Fall. The camera switches between the procedures of the serial killer, and the procedures of a crime unit led by a woman trying to stop the serial killer. Power inside the law and outside the law. Power outside the male role as a serial killer. Power outside the female role as a woman getting sex like a man. TV Crimes Misogyny?
Is this a trick? A play on gender roles which adds up to nothing? Or a genuine attempt at empowering women?
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2013
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.