We all have characters we love to imagine suffering a horrible death, like Joffrey Baratheon or Sheldon Cooper. But female characters get held to a weird double standard. The set of behaviors we’ll accept from a woman on TV is weirdly narrow. The actress who played Skyler White on Breaking Bad received so much vitriol from fans that she wrote an article in The New York Times defending her character. What were Skyler’s crimes? Being a wet blanket who always criticized her drug lord husband, as if she was trying to stop him from going to the bar with his bros instead of asking him to stop emotionally abusing his family while he ran a violent meth empire.
And so many otherwise-rational men had such a burning hatred of Carrie Bradshaw that they achieved a dangerously ironic level of cattiness. She’s routinely named one of the worst female characters ever conceived, for having the audacity to sleep around and be self-centered – a trait that earns an equivalent male instant Awesome status. Oh, and for some reason, it’s still considered hilarious for South Park, Family Guy and your comedy-challenged friends to compare actress Sarah Jessica Parker to a horse, because apparently it’s perpetually 2002 and horses are a mythical animal no one’s actually seen.
It’s not just viewers who have female characters under constant scrutiny. Whether it’s the questionable journalistic ethics of House Of Cards’ Zoe Barnes, Homeland’s Carrie Mathison sleeping around, the victimhood of Mad Men’s Betty Draper, or the unspeakable ugliness of Girls’ Hannah Horvath, TV critics love to pick female characters apart for … not being perfect, we guess? Meanwhile, Walter White straight-up tries to kill a child and he’s still simply a “badass.
Nathan Murphy and Diyar Akar, “5 Weird Ways You Didn’t Realise TV is sexist.”
“Hey guys. I don’t really want to be here. I want to be home folding socks and watching the people from Vamperpump Rules on Watch What Happens Live. I just threw on heels as a token gesture. I’m not even going to stay for the screening.”
Robin Wright at house of cards premiere, Jan 31 2013