|Real women are silly and fun and can fish too! Also shorter.|
Take The Walking Dead for example. The females are all typical Hollywood female stereotype.
First you have Andrea - the strong "I really want to be a man but I'm not so I'll just ACT like a man and show them I can do everything they can do" female. Andrea takes a lot of hate on the fanboards and while I like the character and am actually a fan of the actress (I remember Laurie Holden from the X-files), she's pretty much your stereotypical man-in-a-skirt character right down to a post-killing-rampage-high car sex romp with Shane.
The only real part where Andrea got interesting to me at all was her relationship with Dale. He clearly had feelings for her that she did not reciprocate, but instead of talking about the elephant in the room with them she would avoid him or talk about something else that did not address what both characters were really thinking and should have discussed.
Mind you, this is no shrinking violet afraid of confrontation. She wields a gun, she tells Rick and Shane off fairly regularly and pretty much everyone else too. But she doesn't address the issue that most needs adressing, so it comes across to me as (a) out of character and (b) contrived to create tension / drama where in real life, no female I actually know would behave that way.
I've been in a similar situation, and I can dig avoiding it for a while because that's human nature. But no real woman, particularly one as direct as supposedly as strong as Andrea, would live in that sort of tension day in and day out when there's plenty of tension to go around. Other stuff she might not be able to fix, but some old guy hitting on her all the time and trailing her like a puppy dog she could fix, and every female I've ever known or care to know would have addressed it rather than live with it for weeks or months on end.
Oh, and in the season finale Andrea had to be rescued by the next incarnation of a strong female on this show, Michonne. So now there are two of them. Lovely.
Carol is pretty much the exact opposite of Andrea in that she has a lot more inner strength to deal with things, but her character's role was pretty obvious from the moment we met her. Carol is The Victim and will always suffer more than her fair share with this group. And if and when she protests and tries to show some strength, she's going to come across less as tough or determined and more as scared and over-reacting.
In the season finale Carol had to be rescued within a matter of minutes not once but twice, after first running into danger to begin with, thus jeopardizing the lives of others. Andrea tried to save her and ended up nearly getting bitten, but of course it was the big strong man who doesn't want attachment but is developing some, Daryl Dixon, who finally and successfully rushed to Carol's rescue. On his motorcycle no less.
Carol is one of those female characters who everyone is supposed to feel sorry for and like because she suffers so much, but what Hollywood doesn't get is that for real women like me, we detest these women. It has nothing to do with jealousy (because hey who doesn't want a wife beater or a zombie-ear-trophy wearing masochistic prick with intimacy issues) and everything to do with logic.
If I were Andrea I'd have left Carol to die and made my escape. Would Carol have come back for me? Hardly. Moments earlier she was trying to convince a mother to abandon her child when danger was all around. I get that Carol is scared, but Carol is always scared 24/7 or else she's crying or trying to seduce another protector.
The kicker is this - Carol has plenty of inner strength. She was utterly devastated by her daughter's death but either got over it pretty fast (unlikely) or has internalized a lot of the pain - which having known women go through such deep pain seems highly likely. Why Carol keeps going - is Dixon really worth living for or is she just doing it out of habit - her motivations after Sophia's death is a mystery that has yet to be solved.
In reality losing a child breaks apart marriages and some people never recover themselves. Carol, meanwhile, has started the series as a victim and remains one to this day, and the apparent death of her Sophia was no more than a drama engineered to drag out an already long, boring season and oft times seems to have more lasting repercussions for remaining characters than the child's mother.
And while we are on the subject of mothers and their children, that brings me to possibly one of the worst lead female characters on a hit television show - Lori Grimes, as portrayed by the likable Sarah Wayne Callies.
While losing Sophia seems like a blip on Carol's radar, the mere thought of losing Carl (who names their kid Carl these days anyway) tends to send Lori over the edge. This is pretty much how every woman in my life operates, including my own mother, despite the fact that I left my childhood behind a while ago. When I had my car accident she stayed strong in front of me and melted down in private, so props to the writers for at least getting that aspect of Lori Grimes right.
Any conversation or motivation or reasoning unrelated to Carl, however, and Lori Grimes has clearly been cobbled right out of a How To Build Your Female Lead Character book. Whatever hate Andrea gets on the fan boards is probably doubled or trebled for Lori, and pretty much deservedly so.
I've never met, nor do I ever hope to (never visiting Hollywood), a female like Lori Grimes or her countless incarnations throughout television and movies.
First, there's the love triangle. Her husband supposedly dies and she takes some other man's word for it. Yes, danger was all around so I'll buy that. A few days later she apparently needs comfort and takes the best friend's comfort because she's having a moment of female helplessness and needs / wants a protector for her and her son.
I can get all that. What I can't dig is the ensuing triangle that manifested the moment her not-so-dead husband showed back up on the scene. She tried to have the best of both worlds, sneaking away to hiss at Shane not to tell Rick while trying to recommit to her marriage.
We won't get into Rick and Shane's behavior here since this piece is about the writing of the women on this show, but Lori immediately morphed into pretty much every soap opera female in a romantic triangle I've ever seen.
She's been blessed with 2 Alpha males lusting after her scrawny ass and any redeeming qualities she herself may have had has now been overshadowed by the need to manufacture tension between the men. Threat of imment gross zombie death and 2 Alpha males fighting for control of a small, ragtag group is just never tension enough in Hollywoodland so there has to be a sex factor thrown in just for good measure.
Lori goes from pushing Shane away to keeping him close for protection. She does the push-pull thing with Rick too, and apparently this is all due to mood swings right down to the standard soap opera cliche of Who's My Baby's Daddy? Cue Jerry Springer. Seriously.
I don't know if the ones casting the show picked Callies because she's nailed the wishy-washy over emotional high school drama queen thing so well or what? She did the same character in Prison Break, and I tired of her then too.
What could have been a great role for her - helping out an inmate she fell in love with - turned into an amazing love story (not) instead of a female who got duped and has to rebuild her life thanks to this no good asshole who used her to save his brother.
Second, Lori all but begs Rick to kill Shane - because that way she can stop with the love triangle shenanigans and stress I guess - and now that Rick has done it she's all disgusted with him. Well Shane did plot to kill Rick and was even threatening him at gunpoint, but that has to be overlooked as Lori's lingering romantic feelings for Shane are now stronger than her feelings of fear and hate for the guy and the threat she thought he represented to her marriage and family unit.
In real life it has been my experience that everyone loves you when you're dead. The biggest asshole SOB can get killed and all you see on the news is how his family loved him and they're all crying and heartbroken. So I get that part.
But if that same asshole SOB was plotting to kill my husband and threatening him at gunpoint and my my husband manages to kill him first, chances are pretty good I'm not going to get mad at my husband for defending himself.
Nothing Lori does is logical. She's all emotion all the time, and no female ever actually operates like this. This human race would have died out long ago if we did.
Post-season finale the show's writer tried to pass Lori off as complicated and having all these unresolved emotions. It's nice of him to try but really what she is is one dimensionally emotional, lacking all logic or sense and the writers use her to drive their male lead (who is, in fact, a well-written character) pretty much gonzo at any given moment.
Remember when Lori went after Rick when he was drinking with Hershel in the bar? She's never once been able to take care of herself - having always relied on Shane or Rick to do it - but she didn't let that stop her. Clearly she thought Rick needed her protecting or something (seriously) and went after him, risking her son becoming a orphan should she and Rick not return. Even her primary motivating factor for everything - her son - was not enough to counter her sudden need to go off on a mission after a husband who has proven he can take care of himself and was unlikely to need her help.
Lori does not even compute on the maternal instinct levels lately, so her character continues to grow progressively worse. Instead of explaining to Carl that Shane tried to kill his father and that his father had to protect himself, she allows her son to buy into Rick's grief-stricken claim that he murdered Shane and believes it herself.
Whether or not she believes it is immaterial, but in order to maintain the all-important father-son relationship, especially in a zombie-infested world, her first instinct as a mother should have been to defend Rick to her son. That she cannot or will not even operate as every mother I've ever met would is a clear indicator that these writers are completely clueless when it comes to motherhood and female motivations.
Maggie, on the other hand, is the tough but not too tough 20-something girl still pining for true love and realizing it's never going to happen. She deals with the reality of the situation better than most females on the show, and her devotion to her family is one of the best and most likable things about her. When Glen shows up he's not her Prince Charming, but he's nice enough and cute enough and what with the pickings so slim since most eligible bachelors are now zombies, he'll do.
Maggie is the "I'll take what I can get" character, and frankly I DO know women like this, so she's one of the more accurate females on this show and since she doesn't get a lot of airtime I'll give the writers props for not YET screwing up her character beyond reality. However as characters keep dying and if Maggie keeps surviving, I expect she'll continue to evolve into one of the standard Hollywood stereotypes.
Maggie still needs rescuing, but since I'd need the occasional rescuing in Zombieland - but not every single damned time (ala Carol) I'm going to give her a pass on this one too. Besides, Glen is hardly an alpha male and occasionally needs rescuing himself so it's a fair matchup for a change.
Odds it continues this way? 0%.
On TV shows men are the logical creatures making plans and taking the lead in dramatic situations, and women either need saving, protecting, bedding (by more than one of the alpha males) or killing - particularly for dramatic effect (see Sophia). That's it. They serve no other purpose.
Every female I've ever met in real life is capable and does use logic to make plans and take the lead in the stressful situations in their lives. They rarely if ever rely on a man to do it and work in unison with their partners when times are tough.
They don't pick up guns and start trying to prove they are just as tough as men. They don't run around needing to be saved all the time. They don't sleep around and then attempt to prolong a soap opera scenario. And on and on and on.
I'm picking on a zombie show here, so I suppose a reality-type female is a bit much to ask when one is getting overrun by hoardes of flesh eating undead. But the fact is that no matter what show you are watching these are the females you get.
On Hawaii Five-0 recently they introduced a tough female version of the lead male Steve McGarrett. She was universally reviled. Why?
Because she wasn't tough. She talked a good game but she needed saving and whenever McGarrett looked at her sideways she went all puppy dog eyes on him.
Someone really needs to burn that damned How-To book on creating a female character in Hollywood and start from scratch. I'm really tired of almost never liking any of them anymore. And after years of this shit it's getting pretty offensive to watch.
Don't even get me started on rom-coms.
Meanwhile on The Walking Dead, just lay off Maggie, okay?