Post by Mystique on Mar 12, 2017 12:56:11 GMT -5
Ah, didn't catch the rest of your post until after I posted mine....
I think that in regards to your mention of the popular ones (Meg, Ellen, Jody, Rowena, Eileen), that their characters were good ideas, not that they were necessarily meant to be liked but were engaging, and agree that their initial failure's lied in their introductions.
I agree with you about Mary. I don't think her core character was even initially established in the pilot. She was a mom, who died, that's it. But was somewhat established in seasons 4 and 5. And I concur that the writing has been effecting the character negatively for many, the first listed reason. However, I do think that some of this Mary backlash is due to the second reason from the list I previously posted-"Some female viewers are also not keen on female characters being incorporated into a show and therefore will not even give them a chance"- As they have even admitted to it as they bash her.
"But the thing is that we've been with Sam and Dean for 12 seasons every episode, so we're a lot more invested in them than Mary, even though she was the first character to appear on the show, ever."
Just as an aside, I don't consider Mary in the same group as the ones I previously mentioned.
The second reason is definitely in play, but while that's unreasonable in itself, there are good reasons why female fans often reject female characters out of hand, even if it seems contradictory and is not healthy over the long term.
One is the aforementioned problem that female characters are often poorly written, so if someone is not putting too much thought into why that is, she (and definitely he) will simply think that women characters suck, so let's limit the number of them.
Second is that part of the reason why female characters often suck is because there are much fewer of them compared to male characters. This encourages a closer and more critical scrutiny of them (they tend to stick out as an anomaly) and also reduces the likelihood of their being good female characters by simple virtue of the fact that there are fewer to choose from and they tend to group in the shallow end of the characterization pool. Fridged mommies, whiny girlfriends, and bitchy bad girls don't exactly teem with depth of feeling and charisma.
Also, because there are fewer and they stick out, if a female character is a failure, that seems more disastrous than when a male character is a failure. The fans who didn't want female characters in the first place are smug at being proved right, but also irritated at having to see characters they didn't want on "their show" in the first place, while those who did want more female characters are frustrated because such characters are used as an excuse not to have more female characters in the future.
Whereas, when a male character fails, it's not that big a deal, since others will appear soon enough and hopefully be better. Mitch and Retch, for example, aren't hitting it with the fans any better than Toni the Twat, but Toni's the one getting all the hate (albeit, admittedly, she really sucked).
Third, Hollywood is downright and unapologetically ageist (you said you've worked in the industry, so I'm sure I didn't just tell you anything new or shocking there) *and* sexist, which means that while both actors and actresses age out of roles faster than is realistic and youth is preferred, a woman's career is generally shorter than a man's and usually caps around thirty, just when actors in general are starting to really learn their craft. This means that female roles are written young and callow, and young, inexperienced, bland (and even irritatingly lousy) girls are cast in them. Toni, Ruby and Krissy all fall into this category, as do too many Damsels in Distress of the Week.
I'm currently rewatching Bewitched on Cozi TV and I'm struck by how progressive it was for the 60s--or even now. Sure, she was a housewife and there was all this silly crap about her supposed to be "obeying" her husband (though she rarely paid more than lip service to it), but there was a whole host of female characters played by experienced actresses in every episode, guest starring, regular and recurring. Sure, there were some duds but there were so many others that you were bound to find some that you liked. This is not true of most shows, including on the CW, which purports to attract young women by...doing lots of superhero shows about men and paranormal soaps in which the men are more numerous and more vivid than the women, and the lessons for young women in the audience are nasty and unhealthy.
So, it kinda makes sense that some fans had no interest in Mary coming on as a regular recurring character and were not interested in giving her a chance, even if it wasn't exactly in their own best interests.
I absolutely agree.
Bewitched was quite progressive. And there have been others that have pushed the norm of the time. Who's the Boss? was also another one as it swapped the gender stereotypes in a realistic and relevant way that was not just used as a gag, and the main characters were over 30. Friends had a balanced cast and the female characters were varied and fully realized individuals, sure they were stereotypical on the surface, but had depth that fleshed them out which kept them from being just cardboard cutouts used as props for the male characters. And were above 30 for a majority of the shows run. The Walking Dead (which I know you don't like) started out with stereotypical female characters that were doing their "womanly duty" in supporting the "menfolk" and I was about to hang it up by the end of season two, but I'm glad I didn't, because since season 3 it's had a diverse group of strong compelling females characters. Unfortunately, shows like those are rare.
I believe that the male to female ratio in film and TV is 4 to 1. So this show seems to go right along with the norm. And I think with this show having a smaller main cast the industry-wide norm of gender imbalance is more apparent.
Just want to add that I think Mary can become more likeable with an adjustment in the writing for her to those that dislike her now, who aren't those viewers who have refused to have even given her a chance for whatever reason. Whereas IMO the ones I listed were just bad character ideas at their core, straight out of the gate, who just happened to be female. If we were to change their gender, keeping everything else about them the same, I still wouldn't find them any more likeable and doubt others would either. So Charlie would become say Charles, Becky would become Bucky, and Anna would become IDK...Andy.
Charlie/Charles would still be a sparkly gary-stu author insert who everyone falls in love with on sight.
Becky/Bucky would still be a slap in the face overly-obsessed insulting representation of fans.
Anna/Andy would still be an extremist militant hater who I wouldn't be able to stand hearing blather on and on with his vitriol.