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Why is there no recent meta concerning the gender issues in Supernatural? Everything I can find seems to only be as recent as season three or four.

Speaking of meta, it's ridiculous how much fan dumb there is. It sort of makes me want to cut my breasts off and denounce the female gender as a whole. Which is unfair, because there are plenty of awesome female fans out there and the fans' dumbness doesn't stem from their XX chromosomes.

My other problem with the show is that I keep analyzing it from a New Criticism theorist perspective when I know I can't ignore the fact that it's a TV show that has been influenced by the creator and the writers listening to the fans (who suffer from the aforementioned fan dumb) and ugh.

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This is interesting. I honestly, and maybe I am part of the problem, hadn't really considered any gender issues. I sat back while I watched and mainly got involved in the plot - I put the commentary on the back burner (especially seasons 4 and 5 because the Heaven/Hell thing could have gotten very sticky for me). And really, I'm just fascinated with the fraternal relationship and being on the road and being so connected through work and their family (however makeshift it is).

Just, the lack of permanent female presence or what? Ruby and Lilith being evil? Ellen and Jo dying they way they did?

Or is it more to do with the Sam/Dean obsession? 'Cause that's familiar territory from the HP fandom.

I know you have seen the finale, but for anyone else THERE ARE SPOILERS HERE.

I think that attitude is far less damaging than the more prevalent one of "the only good female character in Supernatural is a dead one." It's almost like the moment a female character dies and thus is no longer a threat, she's a saint, but until then, she's loathed by a good percent of the fans.

Mostly it's just the lack of permanent presence of a character that is not (a) white and (b) male. I personally really liked how they handled the Ellen and Jo death scene. And most people I know wouldn't have minded it that much if it did not come after every single other female of import had already been dispatched, usually in ways that were not as drawn-out and memorable.

But when you consider that the four main characters of the show are Dean, Sam, Bobby, and Castiel--four white guys--and that they all miraculously are brought back from death/Hell in the finale... well, I get why Cas couldn't bring Jo and Ellen back because he was lacking his powers in the mid-season finale, but why couldn't God do it? Why did God consider Cas worthy of reviving in the season finale but no one else along the way who wasn't white or male? I'm not saying that I want God to magically swoop in and fix everything, but it seems... sketchy that death is no barrier for the white male fan favorites.

So, anyway, by the end of the show we literally have no surviving females that have shown up more than twice except Lisa (a love interest). And even she is white and the most important thing about her character, really, seems to be that she is the mother of another white male.

Plus all of the horsemen have been white dudes and then there's also Crowley who was white and male (albeit like, bisexual/gay, so I guess that's a point in his favor).

So basically the show ends with five white dudes rockin' it. And from everything that I have read about the next season, everyone they are bringing back or adding is also a white dude.

Sorry if I seem super wanky or anything. I really do honestly love the show. I just can't help dissecting everything, especially when I know that so many of the decisions concerning what characters are brought back are influenced by fans who irrationally hate anything that doesn't have a penis. I love Misha as much as the next person, and think he's a fantastic actor, but the character of Castiel was only supposed to be around for a few episodes before another angel guide took over and we can see how that turned out. Same thing about Bobby. None of these characters were ever intended to be lasting companions to Sam and Dean, but it's a little weird how every single one that the creator and writers decided to keep around is a white dude.

Well, spoilers here too

This is really, really interesting. I guess...hmm, how do I put this? Sorry in advance, my thoughts aren't fully intelligible they way yours are.

We may have already talked about it, I know I've had this conversation with someone, but I really don't like female characters in many of the fandoms I'm into. And maybe that's why SPN grabbed me so instantly. I didn't have to deal with the same old same old female tropes. Buffy faded fast for me - yeah, you were chosen and life is unfair but COME ON. I kept watching for Angel and then Giles and then Spike and then Wesley. House and Wilson keep me involved because Cameron let me down. I think one of the first times I've been fully satisfied was with Donna Noble on Doctor Who.

So, I don't know. I see what you are saying about White Dudes but I just can't get myself to object - to the dudes part, anyway. Yes, they should have mixed up the cast better and not made one of the only African-American actors that hunter who went nutters and who Sam had to decapitate. Dean did have that brief love interest back in season one, but yeah, lots of white people and white chicks needing to be saved by a bunch of white dudes.

I can't help it. The dudes are compelling. If I had it my way, we'd get Sam, Dean and Cas in a season one setting, just driving around and saving people, hunting things. I honestly considered not finishing season 4 of SPN when the brothers started slipping apart. I hated Ruby and the demonblood "addiction" (we've seen this somewhere before, haven't we Willow?) But Cas and Bobby kinda saved the season for me.

And I agree about Misha being adorable (did you see Stonehenge Apocalypse? Poor guy.)

ANYWAY. Sorry for the tangents. I don't get much opportunity to talk SPN with anyone other than my boyfriend. I made Micaela Canedo watch the pilot and she devoured the rest of the seasons before Western's finals were over, but I haven't gotten to see her yet this summer and delve into it.

Re: Well, spoilers here too

There are actually quite a few black people on the show. The ones that immediately leap to mind, aside from Cassie and Gordon, are Hendrickson, the vessels of Raphael, Joshua, and Uriel, that married black hunter couple from the first episode of season three, the marine Jake who stabbed Sam in the back in the season two finale, Missouri, that other hunter who gave Dean information about Bela, and I remember at least one other good law enforcement officer. This, however, is another thing that sort of irks me about the show. I am fairly certain that the number of characters who are neither black nor white can be counted on one hand. Well, aside from "The Hammer of the Gods" episode, but all of those people aside from Kali were slaughtered in like five seconds, so.

I don't mean to come across as "quotas! they must be filled!" or anything, just that there are definite patterns in the show. Like how almost all of the women are the exact same "type"--tall, gorgeous, long wavy hair.

Do you know what it is that bugs you about the female characters specifically? Like, what tropes and stuff? Because Supernatural, while it has some totally awesome chicks, definitely hits a few of the pretty standard tropes. Most notably Mary and Jess are Stuffed Into The Refrigerator to motivate their respective menfolk to engage in stuff. And, uh, then there's the Damsels in Distress a lot and then all the Femme Fatale demon chicks and yeah.

But even though the show has a habit of falling into a lot of these clichés, it has turned out some pretty awesome female characters. The only female character who I truly think was handled absolutely poorly was Anna. My own favorites are Bela, Ellen, Jo, and young Mary. What I don't get about the show is that they did a great job building up some awesome female characters, whoever your preference, but then just... systematically wiped them all out. I'm not asking for any of these people to get regular billing, just that it would be cool if they survived as fringe resources that Sam and Dean could tap into occasionally. Kind of like Bobby, but it wouldn't even have to be that frequent. Instead, though, they're either murdered by demons or monsters or sacrifice themselves for the boys' sake.

I agree that the dudes are compelling. They're what got me hooked on the show, after all. But not only is it hard to rely on two characters to carry a six season show alone, it's unrealistic. If Sam and Dean were really hunters, they would have a bigger network of contacts. They might never meet up with anyone, but it seems unrealistic that they would just bum around the country and happen upon weird spooky supernatural things wherever they went.

Idk, I'm not saying that the show is evil and no one should ever watch it again. It's still one of my favorite shows. I just can't turn a blind eye to the fact that at least some of these happenings aren't coincidental, but decisions made by the White Dudes in Charge influenced, perhaps, by female fans who have internalized some serious misogyny, but ultimately is still the choice of the WDiC.

FEEL FREE TO TALK TO ME ABOUT SUPERNATURAL ANYTIME. I apologize if I appear to be attacking you personally or anything. I've just spent a lot of time thinking about this and discussing it with people.

Haha, I totally lent her my season one DVDs in fall quarter and she was like "I'll get around to it" and then I saw that you'd gotten her into the show, so go you.

Re: Well, spoilers here too

I am butting in and being a big ol creeper-loser-rude person, but this conversation is so interesting!

It actually was a big joke among everyone I watched Supernatural with that the whole show, including the women, followed a formula... Something like, brother angst, beautiful athletic woman with exposed midriff needs help but won't ask for it, brother angst, boys help, brother angst, weirdly uncalled for semi-romantic scene we didn't really expect, brother angst, drive into the sunset with classic rock blaring. Shouting "midriff" became a huge part of Supernatural--you could spot it in every episode (this is more the "windigo period", definitely less the apocalypse period, which is where the show started to lose my love a little bit)

Doesn't it seem like male characters are more compelling in a huge scope of canons? I feel like I've felt that way about a ton of different shows/books/whatever, just personally looking at all my favorite fandoms throughout my childhood. My sister recently went through a stint of deciding she was really a man trapped in a woman's body, and I'd bet some good money it was primarily due to the fact that all the characters she loved and idolized were male. It seems like an epidemic problem within our media--it's like they can't write female characters with the same depth for some reason.

Re: Well, spoilers here too

it's like they can't write female characters with the same depth for some reason.

I have to wonder if it's solely the writers' inability to write complex female characters or if, at least partly, the audience has a tendency to hold female characters to a different standard than male characters and thus judge them more harshly?

Re: Well, spoilers here too

Oh, I'd definitely say it goes both ways. I know I personally do it--even to the point where there are fewer actresses whom I respect than male actors. Does that mean I think less or more of women, I don't know, but it's definitely a part of our psychology as a society I think.

Re: Well, spoilers here too

Yeah and it's wrong. There is absolutely no reason for our society to act this way, except to reinforce the patriarchy by presenting women as consistently less worthy than men. Argh.

Again, not targeted at you, just angry at our society, etc.

Re: Well, spoilers here too

Oh sure, I totally agree with you. I think we expect men to have adventures because men have always been the one having the adventures. Even if cerebrally we acknowledge that it shouldn't be this way, I think it's pretty hardwired into us to view women as doing one set of things, and men as doing another. But it's not going to be until we can really change our culture's metanarrative on their views of women that we're going to see that change--even if we can mentally accept the concept of equality, I think on a subconscious level those prejudices will continue to be held. Maybe we won't ACT on them, but it'll still be there. It likely won't be in our generation, but in the same way our generation has been way more successful than previous ones at accepting homosexuality and diversity in race, I think it WILL come about eventually.

That's the crappy thing about examining society... You can see all the ways that it SHOULD be, and there's not a ton you can do to fix it. *sigh*

Hmm, that?s some cool information. I would search on Google to find other relevant articles. Actually, I came across your blog on Google Blog Search. I?m going to add your RSS feed to my reader. Continue posting please!

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