Lovely Ladies

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First of all, all women who are not imaginary are “real women.” Five feet tall or six feet tall, ninety pounds or three-hundred pounds. Are they real? Are they women? Then they are, in fact, real women.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, I want to talk about women on television. On 30 Rock, Jack Donaghy insists at one point that a female character who has gained weight needs to either immediately lose 30 pounds or gain 60—anything in between “has no place on television.” It’s a funny line, because it’s a funny show. But I think that we all know what he was talking about.

No matter how beautiful they might be, women in television tend to be wedged into certain body-shapes, particularly if the audience is supposed to believe that they are attractive. Oh, the exact size of the actress’ clothing might change—there is a range (a range that often increases during times of economic struggle, oddly enough—remember the “top-heavy” models of the early 1980s?). Think about, say, Penny from The Big Bang Theory (a show which could get its own ranting post for a number of reasons).

There are some key examples that are wonderful deviations from this type while remaining beautiful. Did you guys watch Dollhouse, one of the best shows ever made (and, in particular, the best thing that Joss Whedon has every done—which is saying quite a lot)? Eliza Dushku and Dichen Lachman certainly fit the bill for the particular type of stunning beauty that we are accustomed to seeing on television. And, to be clear, there is nothing wrong with that. These are beautiful women. Were I sexually interested in women, that would almost certainly be my preferred body-type. But do you know who else was on that show and gorgeous? Miracle Laurie. She is so pretty, you guys. And she is definitely not fat. But she is definitely not slender, either. Still gorgeous. I love that she was on television, and on television playing …

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Many Twilight-Bashers Miss The Point

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Look, I hate Twilight as much as the next person. Actually, I probably hate it more than most. Twilight does not do any favors for women—and it also does not do any favors in terms of its portrayal of vampires. And I like women. And I like vampires. Love them, even. Since I was in second or third grade. Vampires, I mean.

I hate self-hating vampire guys who fall in love with local girls who are human but somehow special (Angel, Mick St. John, Stefan Salvatore, Bill Compton), but I can still enjoy the stories in which they are central characters. And I am not a fan of supernatural worlds in which “vampires” are so different from what I imagine that they hardly qualify for the name (Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse vampires and the vampires of Supernatural). And yet these stories can still be incredibly enjoyable.

Twilight takes both of these common flaws in vampire stories to new, upsetting extremes.

Twilight features the Cullen family of “vampires,” who are a small clan of self-hating vampires who live in secret but try to have a semblance of human lives. Not every vampire in the Twilight universe fits this description, but the “good guy” vampires do.

The “vampires” in Twilight better resemble human-shaped, venomous (for some reason) golems made out of sparkly caesarstone than vampires. I mean, really.

Twilight-bashing should never translate to vampire-bashing. Aside from the readers, vampires are the real victims, here. Vampires, from the older stories of magical beings or ravenous dead that feed upon the flesh or blood of the …

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