Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Female Antihero

Well I'm off the cough syrup and back at work.  I usually stay away from deep, cool browns because I am never sure what they go with - navy is too dark, black is too similar, tan is too earthy toned, white is not appropriate in January, etc.  I got this sweater and I like the fit and the longer length sleeves but these grey pants don't really do it for me.  I think this means I have found a hole in my wardrobe and therefore something new to look for: cool toned grey pants or brown pants (not tan! I have too much tan).  It's always good to be looking for something so you don't end up buying everything.

Sweater: Lafayette 148 Scoop Neck Sweater // Pants: Theory // Necklace: Kate Spade Scatter Station Necklace (also here) // Watch: Michael Kors Tortoise "Showstopper" Chronograph 40 mm

This was my first Michael Kors watch and I loved it so much, I used to wear it all the time but now I find I very rarely find things to wear it with.  I'm not much of a brown person I guess, although I do think it looks great with my LV Damier Neverfull.  

But onto the Antihero...

I watched the miniseries 'Top of the Lake' this weekend starring Elisabeth Moss a.k.a. Peggy Olson.  Has anyone else seen it or had feelings about it?  I think Elisabeth Moss is so beautiful, I remember she did a shoot for Parade magazine once and I could not get over how stunning she looked without that awful Peggy hairdo.  I liked the show a lot even though it was incredibly similar to 'Twin Peaks' (so much so that I thought the closing credits must have been a nod to that, showing the producers are aware of the similarities and not just trying to do a remake).  

I kept thinking about the similarities between Moss as the lead detective, Robin, and Gillian Andersen as the lead detective in the show 'The Fall', searching for a prolific serial killer.  It seems like TV shows like to use the trope of a woman as the lead detective - the only female in a room full of men trying to hold on to their attention and assert their authority over them in the workplace.  Moss has difficulty holding a meeting without her subordinates mumbling to each other and abruptly leaving the room, just as Andersen finds herself constantly justifying her behavior and being questioned about the instructions she gives.  

It's nice to see women in positions of power in shows like these, but it's upsetting that they always show these women who are so strong and career-minded as essentially morally corrupt when it comes to their domestic lives.  Moss is engaged but, almost without a second thought, begins sleeping with someone from her hometown never to really mention her fiance again.  It is likely she was unhappy with him as she does say they were having a very long engagement but surely the ethical thing to do would be to break off that before embarking on a passionate relationship with someone else.  Similarly, one of the rare times we get a glimpse into Andersen's psyche is when she is giving a young, married police office who she has just met her hotel name and room number, inviting him back to sleep with her.  Later, when she finds out he was married, she shows no remorse and we even watch her coldly remind her colleague that he was also married when she slept with him.  

Is it possible that women can be committed to their careers without being incapable of keeping a stable social and love life?  In AMC's 'The Killing', the lead detective played by Mireille Enos also watches, emotionless, as her engagement and wedding plans fall apart and she abandons her once-future husband for her case.  This I was more willing to forgive because it was used as character development, showing how absolutely consumed she became in her search for the killer of a murdered teenage girl, but with the other two characters mentioned their lack of compassion, empathy and morality in their personal lives are hardly needed to prove to the viewer they are dedicated to their jobs.  Aside from giving TOTL a love story interlude, what was the purpose of her sordid affair, and why was it necessary she have a fiance at home waiting for her while she is sleeping with someone else atop mossy rocks in the forest?  What did the scene with the young police office Andersen invites to her hotel room offer us, story-wise?  We already knew she was cold - everything about her demeanor tells us that.  If anything, it detracted from my view of her as a strong and capable woman because she put her reputation on the line by soliciting this man publicly and becoming involved with someone who she worked with, albeit marginally.  Wouldn't it have been more in keeping with her all business persona to carefully keep her sexual needs separate from her job?  Perhaps the point was supposed to be that she is so immune to criticism and what others think that she would cavalierly put her reputation at stake for a one night encounter.

With our male antiheroes, we see them have it all regularly.  Don Draper was despicable and sure he lost Betty but hey, she got fat and then he got Megan so who really came out on top here?  Walter White put his family's lives at stake almost daily and totally disrespected his wife's wishes and disregarded her feelings.  At the end though (SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN), he didn't get what he deserved from her, which would have been her turning him in.  He got a silent nod and slight smile of forgiveness.  He made peace with her in a way Enos in 'The Killing' never did with her fiance or son (as far as we saw).  Even the original antihero, Tony Soprano, got his family back in the end, despite all his dalliances with one-legged Russian women and Bada Bing strippers and women with obscenely long fake nails.  We cheered when Carmela told him to get the fuck out, but then we smiled and were happy when all was okay once again, happy that the family was back together.  

Will we cheer similarly for these female antiheroes if things work out for them?  Or do we hope that Andersen's little wardrobe malfunction exposing a bit too much skin at a press conference gets her a visit from the killer, punishment for being promiscuous?  Were we happy not to hear about Enos' fiance again in Season 3, knowing that he finally left her and gave up after all of the emotional neglect we scolded her for?  This isn't a rhetorical question; I genuinely don't know the answer, because I haven't figured out a female antihero who actually had things work out for her to compare to.

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