|facetofcathy (facetofcathy) wrote,|
@ 2010-10-31 10:24 am UTC
|Entry tags:||fandom:spn, fandom:spn_rpf, fandom_makes_me_cranky|
So a few days ago I was reading a J2 AU fic. I wasn't looking for much, just a diversion, and it had a plot identical to one I'd read before, not something you can afford to be put off by in J2 fandom. It also had a lot of women in it, of various types, narrowly defined by the context of the story which was still celebrity focused.
It had some technical issues as a story. It could have been edited to half the length without missing anything and it used a lot of internal monologue of the POV character (Jensen) in a passive way that made the story feel like it happened in the blank white space in his head, not a real world. But it also had some almost sly and very cogent digs at celebrity culture, fannish culture and Our Modern World®.
It also had, relentlessly, Jensen making judgments about all the women that added up to policing of their sexuality, sexual expression, gender presentation and physical shape and size. All this was politely phrased, even inside his head Jensen never called anyone a slut in so many words. But he does think athletic women are mannish and strippers are whores and having big breasts is better than small, but not if you show too much of them. And it goes on and on.
In fact the story has this rhythm where you get:
Jensen is insecure
Jensen worries his friend will mock him
Jensen judges women (and very occasionally men who don't present as masculine as Jared)
Jensen is physically attracted to Jared to the point that it makes him insecure
No need to rinse--just keep that loop on repeat.
Now, I had my delicious bookmark written in my head before I even bailed on this story and it was snarky and blunt and had a few jokes in it about how Jensen spends so much time policing women's behaviour this should have been labeled as a cop!AU. Then I thought about that rhythm and how relentless a cycle it was. I stopped being able to pretend that the voice I was hearing was really Jensen's. I lost all suspension of disbelief, and I felt like I was reading a transcription of the voices the author hears all the damn time. The voices that tell her she will never measure up, no matter what.
And then I watched the new episode of SPN, You Can't Handle the Truth, and I got to see a few more examples of women who hear that chorus of disapproval and judgment from without and within all the damn time. They got used as mere plot devices of course, there's no narrative concern for them or the hell of a world they inhabit. This episode upped the ante a little and made the men in the show irredeemable asshats who actually do go around judging and objectifying every woman they see, rather than, you know, worrying about their bills or that funny noise the car makes like in the reality-based world we are presumably meant to be escaping by watching this show.
This was actually not a bad episode taken in total, but all of the relentless women are worthless or just their breasts or sexually exploitable or attention whores or what the fuck ever--none of that really had anything to do with the damn plot. Bobby had fun truths to tell, humanizing truths; everyone else lives in a sick and diseased world of misery and pain. I agree with musesfool who thinks that the show can be interpreted through a noir lens in season 6, but the way they are choosing to show the corruption of humanity is revealing of some infection of the authors themselves, not just setting a tone.
This episode was written (partly, in the way these things work) by a woman. Just like that J2 story was.
I don't want to judge Nicole Snyder and her career choices. She's working in a system of such entrenched ideological grotesqueness that I can't even begin to imagine what that's like. I don't know what to say to Nicole or to Sera Gamble who seems to be presenting the television industry with a resume of the ways she too can be one of the boys with one horrid stereotypical woman after another. It's not their job to save the television industry from itself.
I don't even know what to say to that J2 author, because the only thing I can think of is to say dammit, you do measure up, no matter how you look, act or feel. But that sounds patronising as all shit.
I didn't finish your story. I hope someday you read it again from a place where you can see what it says. Yes, dammit, you do measure up, no matter what.