Tuesday, 12 April 2016


I'm cheating a bit today and covering the style of two women at once.  Two girls one post (sorry).  But there's a reason for it!  I am a fan of women being portrayed as messy, flawed and complicated.  We don't see enough of that, it's still the case that a lot of female characters in film and TV shows are foils for the male lead's dysfunction.  He has to change so he can win the girl, because she's a prize.  Or the kooky, yet completely morally and emotionally sound, lady is there to coax him out of his more troubled ways by playing a weird flute she got in Guatemala, or by dancing in the rain to his favourite song.  If the woman is the lead (and I'm mainly talking about in romance or comedy films here) she's got problems, sure, but they're more of the "Why can't I keep a man?" "When will I have a baby?" "Why can't I stop falling over and bumping into things?" "Look how much ice cream I eat when I'm sad - I'm the worst!" type.

Jessa Johansson and Mickey Dobbs are not those women.  They're both addicts in varying stages of recovery.  Now there is a point to be made that possibly the only progress we've achieved is the introduction of a new flaw a woman on TV/film can have - addiction.  So we're still seeing women who aren't outright dysfunctional all on their own, there's a clear cause for it which leads to the idea that all they need is someone to "fix" them and then they'll be manic pixie dreamgirls, but still, it's a bit of progress.  And if you do want to see women who are immoral and do messed up things while not under the influence of a substance then I can sneakily point you to this piece I wrote about unhinged fictional women for Vice.