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Female television characters are two-dimensional

Sophia McDougall’s great article “I hate Strong Female Characters” has been posted all over my social networks in the past week. I agree that female characters in pop fiction rarely get to be full, complex people, and that “strength” often functions as another one-dimensional, unrealistic cliche.

I’ve been mulling over this topic, and it seems to me the problem involves more than just writers creating one-dimensional women. Women in the real world get pigeon-holed into impossibly contradictory stereotypes, too (virgin/whore) – I’m a woman and a feminist I know I work to be conscious of this kind of stereotyping, including of myself. Meanwhile, the actions of white men rarely limit their access to humanity unless they do something that’s seen as, say, undermining their gender (men of color absolutely get boxed into dehumanizing stereotypes). If this is something that plays out in the real world, it makes sense that audiences would default to limited views of actually complex female characters in fiction. And I think this is exactly what’s happened with Skyler White on Breaking Bad.

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