Sex & Gender & Color-Codes

First of all, something that I learned in my cultural anthropology class last semester, is that we humans love to categorize and put labels on things! We seek order to understand the world around us, and one easy way to do that is to create categories and put things in them; simple! But, when it comes to categorizing humans depending on sex and gender, we often make the mistake of either mixing them up, thinking they are the same thing, or not acknowledging that there are more than two categories within each definition.

Sex is a biological and physical distinction of people depending on whether they display female or male features, and gender is the social and cultural norms, values and roles assigned to the female and male sexes. However, there are more than two biological sexes in the world than just female and male (a person can be born with many different combinations of X and Y chromosomes, with various physical implications) which first of all complicates things; and secondly, these roles assigned to the sexes are often polar opposites, as if there were no middle ground: values and roles assigned to men could be for example strong, unemotional and leaders, while for women it would the be opposite; weak, emotional and followers. The distinction between sex and gender is therefore crucial; while sex is a biological definition based on a persons reproductive system (or what sex chromosomes they have), gender is a social and cultural construct, and thus, the roles, norms and values attached to each gender is not fixed to the sex at all, but enforced on us by our society and culture.

These gender roles and norms manifest in the forms of masculinity and femininity, and the distinctions between what is seen as masculine and feminine are very clear. Robert Jensen describes dominant masculinity in the US culture as the assumptions of how real men should be/act: strive for dominance, control and conquest by being aggressive and competitive, and by distancing himself from all things womanly/feminine, whether it be actions, mindset, emotions or material things. Men should strive to be the King of the Hill, the one and only in control and dominating others. Compare this to what Lynn Peril describes the definition of femininity from the WWII era; pink think. Basically, pink think implied that women, (like the pastel color pink), is delicate. Other values of femininity include being soft spoken, always looking out for her man, taking good care of the home and the children, attending to her appearance (wearing pants was unacceptable!) – all of these values implies that a woman’s goal in life was to find a man, get married, have children, stay at home and raise them while the men eared the money – and in order to get a man you’d have to be feminine, because no man would want an un-feminine woman!!

These “basic”, or stereotypical, views of masculinity and femininity are definitely still alive today. I have to say though that I was more conscious about it when I was younger, especially as a teenager when all you really wanted to was to fit in and be normal (which implied that you had to follow the rules of masculinity/femininity), but of course, I still see it today, both among my people I know and as shown in the media. For example, one of my roommates has been talking to this guy on a dating website, but according to her, it’s not going anywhere because this guy hasn’t asked her out yet! Of course, my suggestion was that she asked him out instead of just waiting around, but that was not an option in her mind, not because she wouldn’t mind doing it, but because she thought it was something the guy is supposed to do and that it would sent the wrong impression of her to the guy (being masculine or acting like a guy)… The media is perhaps even more trying to keep these views in place, especially as we say in advertisements, like the different codes of gender displayed. I had never thought much about why women always pose with heads/torso tilted, or standing with a knee bent etc, but after learning about these codes, I am now more aware about it than ever, and I can see it has a effect on us as viewers and consumers. It is naive to think that the constant exposure in the media, like advertisements, TV, movies, games etc enforcing these views of femininity and masculinity won’t affect us in one way or another, but mostly, it’s going to be stereotypical or exaggerated, and thus affecting us in negative ways.

Personally, the way I have struggled with my own femininity has basically been the source (aka ruled) for the way I have lived my life for the past fifteen years or so. Of course, when I was little, people always tried to enforce “pink think” on me. My parents raised me and my one year younger brother pretty much the same, and to make it easier for them, I didn’t get pink clothes or dresses to wear for example, but instead more neutral stuff that my brother could use as well. However, there were others that did try to enforce more feminine stuff onto me. My father’s aunt for example, always gave me tons of super girly dresses and dolls as presents, but the more I was forced to it, the more I disliked it – just because I was forced to it. As a result, when I was younger I hated the color pink and anything “girly”; the girls I knew played with dolls, took riding lessons, sang in the choir, wore dresses to school, had pink backpacks, shoes, dresses, notebooks, pens etc, and so I came to dislike anything connected to them or what they did. It didn’t make my life any easier, because instead of trying to spend time being feminine and conforming to the norms and rules, I did everything in my power to be the opposite, which was also quite the challenge… I never tried to be masculine or try to fit into the boy’s world, I just didn’t want to be associate with the girly stuff.. I don’t know if I would consider this as “resistance” to the norms, to me it was more of a personal vendetta, but maybe it made others see masculinity/femininity in a new way, because of the way I refused to conform…

(Originally posted on 2014/10/30 for Melanie Klein’s class blog “Women and Popular Culture”)


Culture Jamming

Culture jamming, vidding, remixing and adbusting is a creative, eye-opening and fun way to look at and bring out certain aspects and issues within our society, as reflected through our culture. Through cultivation, we are so used to seeing pop-culture like TV shows, movies, ads etc portray women in sexist ways; focusing on their beauty and appearances, sexualizing women and girls, showing them as helpless or vulnerable needing a man to rescue them and so on.. We see this so often that it becomes our frame of reference; we take these images and stories for granted; we think this is the norm. But, it is just the effect of being raised and being exposed to patriarchy, sexism, misogyny and androcentrism all life. Culture jamming tries to expose this. It tries to change the way we look at “ordinary” things in our culture, like TV-shows, movies and ads, to tell a new story.

By altering something familiar and popular to highlight and bring out different messages than the intended, culture jamming becomes a very effective tool to make people see the actual undertones and underlying messages of our culture, and thus, our society. Especially with the new media, using remixing and vidding to transform and alter material available online (so pretty much anything) and then spreading these new creations on social media platforms, is very affective in getting at tenting and gaining a wide audience, which is the key. I would definitely consider culture jamming a form of media literacy, since it deals with critically examining all kinds of media and the messages it sends out to the audiences, this is just a creative and fun way to do it, and I feel like more people would be susceptible to culture jamming than let’s say a more critical, analytical, educational (“boring”) approach, like an article, writing about the exact same underlying tones and messages in the altered videos. These remixed and altered videos and pictures of ad-busting are very likeable and sharable – it’s pop-culture! – but still gets the message through nonetheless, and I think that to reach out to people, especially the younger ones like myself and people in my generation, using creative ways like this would be the best way to catch our attention.

For example, one of my favorite remixed videos was, to no-ones surprise, the Twilight/Buffy remix. I have seen it around the web before, I just had no idea there was a word (remixing) and a context (culture jamming) behind it. I might be biased in this case, (I was never a fan of Twilight, not the book series nor the films, but I’m still a huge fan of Buffy!) but I have many friends who like(d) the Twilight-series. Now, I could try and have an argument with them, explaining why I never liked sparkly Edward and why I think their whole relationship was not romantic or interesting at all, especially when there are so many other good shows/films/books out there about the same subject, and so on, but I’m sure not many of them would give a crap or even listen to me. However, if I were to show them this remixed video, I think I would get a different response – and just to be sure, I made an experiment and showed this to my roommate who really liked Twilight, and yes, now she actually got a bit of my point! Success!

Another video that I liked, one that I hadn’t seen before, was “If Men Menstruated”. At first I just thought it was funny, but then, just like Titanic and the iceberg, it hit me! If men actually menstruated, these little scenarios depicted in the video could totally be true! Living in our patriarchal society, where men are valued more and where men’s interest is at the center, why couldn’t something like this be true? If it affects men, it’s important and therefor worth noting and celebrated. If it concerns men, it’s okay to talk about it, spend money on it, care about it and take it seriously. I understand this video might be an exaggeration, but still, it really opened up my eyes wide to really see what androcentrism really implicates…

If I had time, I would love to do some sort of remix with all the popular songs that are constantly played on the radio and in clubs, and combine it with images, clips or just maybe even writing out the lyrics completely.. By really concentrating all the lyrics in one place, one after another, I think you would really be able to see how highly sexist they are… Even though words like “shit” or “bitch” are taken out from the lyrics to make them kid-friendly, what about songs that objectify women and women’s bodies for example? I’m planning on doing something similar but simpler on this issue for one of my zine-pages btw…

(Originally posted on 2014/10/28 for Melanie Klein’s class blog “Women and Popular Culture”)

Pro-Women Line

In the articles by Rachel Simmons and Kate Harding, they both discuss the issue of the hook-up dating culture that is becoming more and more common, and more specifically so, how it effects the lives of young women. Simmons, as a columnist for Teen Vogue, looks at the issue from the perspective of the young girls who sends her emails and are very upset about what this kind of “dating” implies; hiding their feelings regarding the relationships to make the guy stay. Simmons is very sympathetic towards the girls, she understands that they want a change somehow, but she blames the sexual revolution and the sexual freedom as the cause for this, and suggests that the solution to this problem would be to go back to the old dating standard, because there was “something about that framework made more space for a young woman’s feelings and needs”.
As support on why this hook-up culture has a mostly negative effect on young women, Simmons also brings in a lot of statistics and examples from a study on the hook-up culture, done on college students, by sociologist Kathleen A. Bogle. In contrast, Harding’s article, as a response or critique to Simmons, takes on a more pro-woman line in her discussion, and shines a new light on the whole issue. For example, Harding thinks this hook-up culture isn’t either intrinsically good or bad, but perhaps a great option for some girls while a bad fit for others. In addition to this, she also suggests that it might not be a good idea to go back to old dating standards either (for many reasons), but that it might not even be the hook-up dating culture that is the culprit in making these young women feel bad about themselves and their relations, but that it is in fact the “intense pressure on girls and women to focus on getting and keeping a guy, rather than on getting and keeping whatever they want”. By not just dismissing the hook-up culture as bad for all women, Harding instead goes out to find the cause for why so many young women feel this isn’t working for them: problem) they are not supposed to talk about their feelings regarding the relationship, why) because of the sexist and androcentric society in which we live in, men’s feelings and concerns comes first. So basically, instead of putting the blame on the hook-up dating culture, maybe women should stop trying to satisfy their men’s wants before their own – that will at least put the two partners at the same starting place.

While I was looking through my Twitter feed the other day, I stumbled upon this article/blog post titled “16 Things I Want My Daughter To Know”, and because I had recently read these articles by Simmons and Harding, I recognized after reading this one, that it surprisingly took on an anti-women line. In the article, the author Christine Burke takes up some life lessons, advice and other general things she wants to tell her daughter before she turns 18 and has to “fight for herself”. She wants her daughter to be “confident, plucky and strong” and in this list from a mother to her daughter (right now 9 years old), she gives some examples of things she yet has to teach her to become this. Of course, this is just one woman’s list to her daughter, but it’s out there on the web for everyone to read, and right now it has 98K likes and 21470 shares on Facebook for example… While it starts out well (1. Girls should never apologize for saying NO), the rest of the list is mostly centered around appearances (5/16 points on the list) and how to deal with men (3/16), including some remarks in the article of learning how to “distinguishing between a douchebag and Prince Charming” and learning how to make that “Thanksgiving stuffing her father’s side of the family eats (it’s DISGUSTING but, dammit, she needs to know….)”.

The problem that I see with this list, and the article as a whole, is that it implies that this young girl, in order to become confident and strong, has to focus and work on her appearance (dress in heel, wear a dress and red lipstick, have good shoes and handbags, a nice haircut, remove other body hairs etc) and how to get the right man (remember though, his mother loved him first, the right man will stand beside you, not in front of you and he’ll give you an orgasm – it’s not all about him!). This list is androcentric even though it’s written by a woman for a girl, in that it sexualizes the girl and takes the focus away from her as a strong, confident young woman, and instead puts in on her appearance and thus, her ability to find the right man. Looking at this from a pro-woman line however, this list could have been improved with just a few changes. Instead of defining a strong and confident woman out of her looks and her choice in men to begin with, what about some advices on how to appreciate and love her body and looks no matter how she decides to look or dress? A tight dress and spike heels is definitely not for every woman… Instead of assuming that this 9 year old girl will grow up and love men, what about some advice on getting to love whoever you want, does it have to be a man? Instead of implying that these are the things every girl would want to know in order to become strong and confident, what about some advice on how to find these things out? Instead of giving advice on how to move around in a sexist society, what about some advice on how to acknowledge it and how to work around it, find a way to beat it, and help this young girl see the problem with a sexist society (that you’re supposed to take care of your looks and appearance, and that your goal in life is to find the right man). I think that to preparing a young woman to fight for herself in the real world, these more pro-women line kind of advices would’ve been much more helpful in order to make a strong and confident woman.

(Originally posted on 2014/10/20 for Melanie Klein’s class blog “Women and Popular Culture”)

Symbolic Annihilation of Women in Media

As I have come to understand it, symbolic annihilation is the lack of representation of a group (for example women, African-Americans, LGBTQ’s) in the mainstream media. Another good definition that explains it a bit more in death defines it “as the way cultural production and media representations ignore, exclude, marginalize, or trivialize a particular group”. This more clearly shows the problem and it’s cause, that it’s not only a lack of representation, but also where this might have originated from. By mentioning “culture” for example, the roots of this problem can be better understood; meaning that it’s based on our culture, our society and the system it’s based on: patriarchy. Groups like women, who are not valued the same as men in a male-dominated society/culture, are therefor less valued in the media too, because the media wants to represent the dominant group and share their stories, values etc.

“Symbolic annihilation in the media is of concern because it presents people with implied messages about what it means to be a member of a culturally valued group versus a member of a socially disfranchised group.”

When women are seen less than men, the implications of this becomes then that women are valued less, seen as being worth less and basically becoming the exception than being the norm. Essentially, all this is doing is strengthening sexism, the ideology that justifies patriarchy, and projecting androcentrism. Media is so important in today’s life, and while our parents, peers, teachers etc try to help us and guide us to fit in and conform to society, media also plays a huge part in that. But by sending out messages that ignores and excludes women, making women seem less values and worth less, these messages become normative and eventually creates our frame of reference for how we see our world. Thus, when we finally see women, it becomes obvious and stands out, like it’s not normal… For example, in many shows and films (basically you can just look at the posters) you’ll have a bunch of guys, and then one girl to “balance” it out our something… Look at all the most popular (most viewed) TV shows in America right now for example, and you’ll notice that the top ten scripted shows are all male-centered!

It can also be that when we finally see a woman portrayed as something other than what we expected, we point it out and praise her for breaking the norm, but then we’re also drawing attention to the problem itself, without seeing the problem?! I mean, I’ve seen so many articles on “groundbreaking” female characters and portrayals of women in movies and TV, like for example Geena Davis in Commander in Chief as a female U.S. president, Kerry Washington as a woman of colour playing the lead in Scandal, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as buddy cops in The Heat, Charlize Theron’s Oscar winning performance of a serial killer in Monster… Of course, these are maybe some extreme cases, but when we don’t often see women portrayed as powerful (Commander in Chief), capable and funny (The Heat), complex (Monster) and that we come from a full range (Scandal), we draw attention to these exceptions and trivialize it. It’s like, “you have you’re token now, be happy!” or “we’ve showed you know in this movie/TV series that women can do this now, be satisfied with it!”. But of course, this isn’t enough. The symbolic annihilation of women in media won’t be cured by one exception here and there, the media need to create fair representations of women; one that is varied, one that shows all kinds of women, one that shows women doing jobs just like men etc.

Personally, I never saw this lack of representation as a problem before thinking about it in a bigger perspective. I thought that the reasons for media showing more men as powerful, for example as lawyers, doctors, politicians etc was that “maybe men are just drawn towards these kinds of job more than women”. But then again, all I’ve ever seen in the media are men doing this and doing that, how would I know?! By showing more women in all kinds of manners, perspectives, jobs – and represent us in the media as the 50% we actually are in reality – would help women and men create a new frame of reference in what we see as normal, and it would especially help women feel better about ourselves just by seeing us represented in an equal way, with all these options, possibilities etc that the men have, so we feel like we can achieve it in reality too.

(Originally posted on 2014/10/08 for Melanie Klein’s class blog “Women and Popular Culture”)

Information Diversity

According to the Oxford Dictionaries; conglomerate is “[a] large corporation formed by the merging of separate and diverse firms: [for example] a media conglomerate.” The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner, Comcast, 20th Century Fox, Sony, Viacom and the CBS Corp. are some of the biggest, most wealthy and powerful media conglomerates we have today, not only in the U.S. but also in the world. These big corporations own a vast number of smaller companies, ranging from movie production studios, cable and broadcast television channels, news channels, news papers and publishing houses. One example of how this might effect us, can be seen in for example the case of Disney and it’s ownership of the broadcast television company ABC. Back in 1998, two years after the merger, ABC News had a story about the dangers and risks at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida, but the story was killed before it was run. Journalism and news is definitely endangered when it’s parent company decides what stories to run or not, because as we all know, profit is everything, and a story that puts Disney in a bad light, well that’s no good!

We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective. – Michael Eisner, former CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

Vertical integration, and more specifically synergy, is another important aspect of how these media conglomerates influence the media to get even more profit. To take Disney as an example again, not only can you watch the movies they make, but then you can buy merchandise, clothes, books etc from Disney stores. You can also see you favorite Disney-characters in real life at the Disney Resorts, or watch them on the ABC Family show Once Upon A Time, where now Disney’s newest franchise Frozen has arrived! (And of course, by watching the show, ABC will get higher ratings and shares, and thus, in turn, ABC and Disney will profit more from the advertisers who want to show commercials during the show). Especially when it comes to kids, advertising in the form of commercials shown during “family shows” or children’s programs have a different impact, because at a young age kids usually can’t distinguish between what’s programming and what’s a commercial. I thought it was so weird, and slightly disturbing, to see commercials here targeting children, because until I came here to the U.S. I had never seen that before; in Sweden where I grew up, that’s illegal! And I can totally see why, kids are so much more impressionable than adults, and trying to get kids to recognize brands, get brand-loyalty and get them to persuade their parents to buy certain things is just so cheap.

The cost of a non-diverse media, meaning showcasing stereotypes, archetypes, misrepresentation, biased information – all to make profit for the big parent companies – is not to be taken lightly, in fact, I think it is a huge problem. A media run by profit and not by genuine concern, passion or intent to serve the masses in a positive way; by deciding what our norm and ideal should be – not the reality of our world and lifestyles and creating our desires and wants to serve them. By not having diversity in the media, its messages and information we see and absorb will be biased compared to that of reality. A recent study went in depth to explore this issue in regards to how women are represented in popular, top-grossing movies in  the ten biggest movie producing countries. The study has its limit, but nonetheless, it showed that women were severely underrepresented compared to reality: in those movies, 30.9% of the speaking roles were female and 69.1% male, while in reality men and women are almost at an equal 50/50. Furthermore, when it came to women working in the movies vs reality; globally, women constitute 39.8% of the workforce, but in the movies, they only compromised 22.5%. By showing this skewed picture of the world, its no wonder that our view of the actual world gets influenced.

A personal example from someone like me who wasn’t born nor raised in the U.S., (I moved here less than two years ago) is that my picture of the U.S. before coming here was deeply influenced by the media, and when I actually moved here, I realized that it was nothing like in the movies. Of course, it really depends on where you are in the U.S. since it is such a big and diverse country in general, but this also shows that the messages I saw of the U.S. only matched a part of the reality, it is not near being realistic. For example, I did not know there were so many African-Americans and hispanic/latinos in the U.S. (according to data from 2012, about 12% of the total population is African-American and 17% hispanic), but from watching all those Hollywood movies and TV-shows, these numbers were severely distorted, and caused me to have a wrong picture of reality. Another example of how the lack of diversity has personally affected me, is in the case of LGBTQ visibility. It’s really hard to know the exact numbers and data of course, but the percentage I usually hear is that about 1 out of 10 people identify as LGBTQ (reality), but from what the media depicts, that is not the case. This was very hard for me, and I can probably imagine many others too, when growing up and didn’t feel as there was any good role models or people to look up at, for inspiration or for support.

All in all, the cost of having a lack of information diversity in the media will cause that the misrepresented and/or neglected groups will feel even more invaluable and marginalized, they will not feel represented and valued to the point that it might cause actual problems for them in real life. Secondly, it will also influence the other groups, the majority or people who know little about the reality and take in this information as “truth” because that’s all there is to see, and that will cause a skewed picture of reality and hinder any progress to actually fix the real problems in society.

(Originally posted on 2014/10/06 for Melanie Klein’s class blog “Women and Popular Culture”)

This Is Water

After todays class, the first thing I did was to watch this clip of David Foster Wallace holding the speech “This Is Water” that Seth Matlins started out his lecture with, and I was stunned. Matlins really got to the point of it all in his lecture, that we are not always aware of our most obvious and natural surrounding, because it is the only thing we know, but hearing the original speech was another thing. The focus in both however, was really to help people understand and raise awareness of this environment around us, this world we live in.

In Matlins case, the focus of this awareness was what harm media, pop culture and advertising really can do to us, and especially on young girls. It was very interesting to hear Matlins story and how he came to realize that he, in fact, was “in water,” from how he was privileged by being a rich, white man working in advertising and marketing, and then coming to see the world through his daughters eyes. I think that this is not only a realization that a white, upper-class male must come to see, I for one did not know I was in water (to keep the metaphor going); I did not know I was part of a minority group that is still not being seen as equal to the “majority” group; I did not know the number and statistics of how bad the visibility of women is in pop culture (like how only a few top grossing/award winning movies passes the Bechdel-test, how few of them movies are women centered, and how few women work in the industry) and I did not know about the huge impact that advertisement, simple images (or so I thought..), have on us..

I was brought up in a society where boys were not treated that differently from the girls and when I heard about stuff like gender discrimination and gender bias, I always thought that, “Yeah, it exists, how terrible, but it’s not present in my world, I haven’t seen it, it doesn’t affect me etc.. Or I’m lucky to be born in this country, at this time, where such problems does not exist”. I have never considered myself to be naïve or ignorant, but yes, thoughts like those passed through my mind, before I realized that I too, was in fact, in water. So in order to change things, we first of all have to make sure that people realize that we are living in a world like this, and not brush of the problem as if it were only affecting others, or as if is a problem already solved (because it’s not), and the first step to do so is to cause awareness.

Matlins pointed out that with this bill he has proposed, that will ensure that photoshopped advertisements that gives a distorted picture of reality, often portraying an unrealistic ideal, have to say that they are indeed, only a photoshopped image. If this bill passes, or if advertisers/marketers self-regulate their ads, it will perhaps not change the whole industry nor fix the whole problem, but it will raise awareness to the issue and that in turn, will make a difference, and eventually, might even create a change in the whole industry.

(Originally written on 2014/10/02 as a reflection on Seth Matlins guest lecture)

Pop-Culture Moments

To be honest, I thought this would be an easy things to write about, I mean, I’ve been an enthusiastic TV-series junkie for almost ten years now?! But as it turns out, this was harder than expected! Not that I have no bad or good pop-culture memories, but to find the worst and the best..? That’s gonna take some thinking, and some time, to go through all of the pop-culture I’ve been exposed to over the years, because right now there’s nothing that really stands out from the rest (unless I have some really bad memory that I somehow have repressed, who knows?)… So to start with, I’m just gonna go back to the very beginning, and start with the first best pop-cultural memory I have; the Swedish movie “Fucking Åmål” (or as it’s called in English: “Show Me Love”). I can’t remember how old I was when I saw this movie for the first time, it was released in 1998 when I was 5, and I probably saw I for the first time when it was shown on TV a few years later, maybe at age 7 or 8… And although I cannot remember the whole storyline, it’s been many years since I saw it last, one thing I do remember is that I saw myself portrayed in one of the characters, in a way that I had never before when watching American movies and TV-shows, no matter if they were comedies or dramas, or directed towards kid/teens/adults – this was something completely new. Growing up watching this movie had a huge impact on the way I have lived my life and how I began to see myself, in a good light. I grew up to this movie, a movie I watched with my family, on sleepovers with my friends years later – because it was a popular, mainstream teen-movie, and it helped not only me realise that being gay is not something wrong, something to hide, something to be ashamed etc, but it also introduced characters like that to my straight friends – I’m not gonna grant it too much power, it has it’s flaws, but I definitely think that by being a part of the generation that could grow up watching critically acclaimed, mainstream, women-centered, gay-centered, teen-movies like “Fucking Åmål” – that did not play on stereotypes AND included a happy ending – increased tolerance and understanding that has made my life a little bit easier. The first worst pop-culture memory I have is from one of my favourite shows, Xena. Overall, I think it is a wonderful show with a great storyline and great characters, but the things that bothers me with it is the end; it left me with a very unsettling and disappointed feeling. After working so hard to redeem herself from her dark days, saving lives over and over again, fighting evil in forms of men, women, demons, Gods etc – Xena is invincible, the hero that saves the day, a warrior like no others, a woman who does not need a man to save her, she can save herself! But – in the end, to fully redeem herself from the bad thing’s she’s done, she has to die. Some say it’s a heroes death, but I disagree. It truly bothered me when someone as strong as Xena, the most capable woman ever scene on the television screen, cannot move on from her past, but has to die in order to succeed. Why could’t she have lived instead, to show that it is possible for people to move on from even the worst possible circumstances in life, to overcome the worst possible experiences and bad things that have happened to them/what they have done, to show that it is possible for people to change their lives for the better?! Nope, she had to die. An eye for an eye; she has to die for all the killing she has done in her past, even though in the end she was a completely different person… Yeah, well, as you can tell, I’m getting upset all over again just writing about this! I can think of many more good/bad moments from current TV-shows that I watch now, but as I said, these two examples above are the very first, memorable moments I can remember, the ones that has had the most lasting impressions on me, for good and for bad… I’m gonna continue here with focusing on TV/film, because that’s what interests me the most.. So, storylines of women that I would like to see more of are the ones that portray women as equals to men, it’s as simple as that. I believed that if both men and women are able to see women doing things that men do just as good (being presidents, CEO’s, bosses, lawyers, doctors, working in science and technology etc) it will become more natural and it will be easier to accomplish in real life. In addition to that, I would like to see more women of color and more diversity in the women represented, it’s scary how few of the most popular TV shows feature women of color and other ethnicities than white – especially as I’ve noticed when it comes to comedy shows. Lastly, I would also like to see less stereotypes and negative portrayals of bisexuals/lesbians/transgender in TV. I love Orange Is The New Black, and there are many more up and coming shows that are trying to change the norm (see Faking It, or Transparent) but generally, I feel that it is still too little representation, and of the wrong kind too (see True Blood, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Pretty Little Liars, or just recently Chicago Fire – who died to make the story “interesting”? The lesbian! Sigh…! Is it a coincident or do lesbians just have a higher death-rate than straight women??). Anyways, I think the shows we have today are much better in representing women than what it used to be, but it could, as always, be even better, because we are still not near equality. (Originally posted on 2014/10/02 for Melanie Klein’s class blog “Women and Popular Culture”)