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”)

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