Started by Bilbo, Sep 23, 2005, 11:12 PM
"Season of Die, Women, Die!"Television crime shows are often riddled with cliches -- from the tough-yet-committed cop to the black morally upright commanding officer -- but one cliche in particular stands out for its exposure of society's fascination with and ultimately its tolerance for violence against women. Make that attractive, barely dressed women. It's the female crime victim you see every night: beautiful, tortured and dead. exhibit AIn today's Chicago Tribune, Maureen Ryan describes what takes place in the new Fox series Killer Instinct (also here, no registration required):We have reached a new low when a woman is paralyzed, raped and murdered for our television "entertainment." In the opening minutes of the new Fox crime show "Killer Instinct" (9 p.m. Friday, Fox), deadly spiders bite a sleeping woman; she wakes up, but is soon immobilized by the spiders' poison. Conscious but terrified, she's powerless to prevent a man from breaking into her apartment and raping her.- *exactly* and who most wants to ensure that women never feel safe- anywhere. Now men are marshalling the forces of spiders to assist them in their grisly quest for women's blood and bodies! Then she dies.We're told by experts that a constant parade of violence in the media has left most of us immune to such displays of brutality.That's not true.(The only honest sentence in the piece, btw) Besides, nothing could really prepare anyone for a show so wantonly grisly as this worthless, exploitative program.(It exploits women.) True, the rape and death of the paralyzed woman in the opening minutes of "Killer Instinct" happen mostly offscreen, but what's onscreen is awful enough. If this show, the creation of "CSI" writer/executive producer Josh Berman, achieves anything, it's the display of a new level of depraved, deplorable violence against women. Try to get the men who produce, write and star in these shows to discuss the violence is as tricky as removing bound Duct Tape."Because the men who made the shows, and the suits who ordered them, while not timid about slicing and dicing up the female characters in these drama series, go shy all over when asked about the trend," writes Lisa de Moreas. Excuses vary, from "Hey, It's Not Us, It's Reality," to "We're Doing It for the Women." ...to..."hey idiot! your disingenuous fear mongering toward women over decades is going to make us a mint in ad fees for commercial breaks for cosmetics etc. Think we're gonna divulge the "secret"? And you seem too stupid to understand simple cause and effect!No, really. It's for our own good.de Moreas' article, which was published in the The Washington Post earlier this week, provides more gruesome details about the violent fate of women in a number of series this season, including Supernatural, Criminal Minds, C.S.I. and Close to Home. Her observations of why dead women are so popular include this look at who's watching(more importantly..what they're actually tuning in to?..she actually proves herself wrong when she points out which shows this demographic really watches- idiot. (and read Amanda's take on it for another perspective):if you have some time to waste The entire television industry these days is obsessed with the pursuit of young male viewers. Young male viewers are the most elusive viewers. It's because they're so busy doing other things(right on!): playing Xbox, downloading music on their iPods, playing Internet poker, pimping their rides. Advertisers pay top dollar for ad time in a show that attracts more males 18 to 34 years old because it's so hard for advertisers to reach them. And they attempt this by *not* providing anything close to what they just said attracts this demographic?! wtf? Delusional. These shows are made for women.And did you know that last season's highest-rated scripted, live-action series among males ages 18 to 34 were "Desperate Housewives," an ABC prime-time soap about a bunch of forty-something hotties on suburban Wisteria Lane, and "CSI"?but not the show she just railed against- Killer Instinct.Surprising, huh?From which, we conclude, young men like their older women in teddies having sex with teenagers who cut their grass (or, in the case of Teri Hatcher, naked and in the bushes), but they like their younger women -- well, dead.it's good to see that young men are willing to put aside their video games in favor of a mature woman with a little zip in her hip. Which explains why, on all of these new Die, Women, Die! series, the victims are pretty young women. Mostly white, too -- just like on the cable news networks.Is it any wonder that CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler, when asked about the trend after one of her network's Q&A sessions, responded, "Perhaps we should take a look at the society as a whole."We're particularly sensitive," said Tassler, whose network boasts all three "CSIs" as well as the new "Close to Home," in which a boy sets the family house on fire with him, his little sister and his mom inside, in hopes the fire department will come and save them from Dad, who's kept them locked up there for a couple of years -- some of which time Mom has spent wearing a dog collar, leashed up in the basement.Boy kills innocent women in response to bad man. And this is good?While Tassler seems in need of some sensitivity training, I am pleased, though, to see so many television critics questioning this trend. TV critic Bill Goodykoontz (The Arizona Republic) offers a similar critique and also discusses how, with the exception of The Sopranos, "the consequences are rarely as memorable as the crimes that lead to them."Well, if we showed all of these men being brought to justice, well, then there wouldn't be much of an argument for a patriarchal conspiracy, now would there? Of course, these crimes need to be portrayed as pathologically misogynist and without "memorable" consequences. But who expects feminists to understand consequences?Philadephia Daily News TV critic Ellen Gray's list of five things you can say to sound smart about the fall television season includes this tidbit: "The networks may not be allowed to show Janet Jackson's breasts, but they don't mind introducing characters who would cut them off."Questions raised by other TV critics also made it into de Moreas' Washington Post story: "About 98 percent of this is about 'CSI' and its spinoffs, which also worked," notes Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel TV critic Tom Jicha, who was asking most of the Die, Women, Die! questions at the press tour. At least once during a Die, Women, Die! show Q&A session, someone promised critics that in the course of the TV season, they'd show crimes perpetrated against men as well. But, as Jicha noted, "When they're looking to sell the show, they always put the women in chains."(...with the men being portrayed as pure evil..)It's true, in the pilot of "Invasion" -- that's the one in which unseen alien-things swoop into a Florida town during a hurricane and do unnamed things that leave some of the citizens, including the sheriff's wife and the local minister, smelling different -- it's the sheriff's wife who's found naked in the swamp, not the pudgy male minister. Wonder why that was?Answer: Because nobody would give a f*ck about himMaybe the detectives can figure it out.Lord knows you can't.
"We have reached a new low when a woman is paralyzed, raped and murdered for our television "entertainment.'"
Are they implying we're a nation of necrophiliacs?Posted by Amanda Marcotte at 08:40 AMA reader sent me this article from the Washington Post about TV critics getting fed up with the amount of violence aimed almost strictly at hot young white women on shows like "CSI" and all the rip-offs. Same story, different genre. Horror movies have been criticized for eons now for having far more female victims than male victims, and for dragging out and relishing the deaths of the female characters while often treating the male characters' death with discretion. I've always been uncomfortable with these criticisms and I couldn't put my finger on why until I read this paragraph:From which, we conclude, young men like their older women in teddies having sex with teenagers who cut their grass (or, in the case of Teri Hatcher, naked and in the bushes), but they like their younger women -- well, dead.I'll be the first to say that our culture cultivates misogyny of a particularly sadistic bent in young men. That much is obvious to me. But I really quarrel with the idea that young men as a whole get a thrill out of watching young women specifically get killed in gruesome ways. It just rings false to me. I think it's actually a teeny bit more complicated than that. I think what's going on is that people really like to see shocking violence. God knows I like my scary movies, though even I have my limits. But, and to pull on de Beauvoir's theory that people empathize with men and objectify women--all people, including women--I think when men get killed, it freaks people out too much because they empathize with men.Well, if this logic follows, and the feminist dogma that men are unfeeling and emotionally inaccessible creatures is true, then it stands to reason that empathizing with men would actually mean not caring about men We feel more removed from women's deaths.(Just look at the endless coverage of missing women for proof) I think also there's a dignity issue--we want to see the humiliation and degradation, but due to the audience empathizing more with men than women, we are less comfortable with the humiliation of male characters.(Since when is being murdered considered "humiliated"? Bizarre.) It doesn't surprise me that young men are the ones who are the worst about objectifying women and over-empathizing with male characters--youth pretty much by definition means limited experience and a tendency to view the world through your eyes only.(let us know when you grow out of it.) By no means is this theory of mine across the board--there's no doubt that a lot of people get pleasure out of watching women get hurt because they are sadistic or misogynist. I've definitely seen that in some men while watching programs like this, but it's not been my experience that the majority of young men are especially thrilled by the idea of watching a young woman get killed. It's just more that young women give the young men in the audience just the right mix of empathy and distance--their youth makes them seem real enough to scare the young men in the audience but their sex gives them the distance to objectify them and not get overly upset. (So, that *is*, in fact, your theory across the board. Men, as you cited de Beauvoir above, do not empathize with women; they are only capable of objectifying them. Now you claim that men may empathize with women, but their insistence on objectifying them precludes them from actually valuing them (which would actually be empathizing), which results in pretty much the same conclusion as de Beauvoir, which you appear to be attempting to water down, but then end up confirming. Do you even understand your own logic?)Sadly, addressing what young women get out of this is almost beside the point, because TV programmers couldn't care less. I'd like to write about it some more, but I'm pressed for time. Maybe later. (So, now the foaming feminist doesn't have the time to address what women get out of this?! (or, more importantly, how they contribute to it?) I thought that was *the* basis of all feminist critique? tool.
Which explains why, on all of these new Die, Women, Die! series, the victims are pretty young women. Mostly white, too -- just like on the cable news networks.