Tuesday, June 5, 2012

You Ever Notice How There Aren't Any Girl Werewolves?

In the next couple of weeks, don't be surprised if you see a lot more movies and TV reviews coming out of me. It's not that I've given up on books and comics, it's that I'm about to move to Vietnam and lose my Netflix privileges for a few months until I get back, so I'm stocking up.

Anyway.

I've been seeing a lot on the internets lately about this new Teen Wolf show on MTV. Its first season premiered last year, and I paid it absolutely no attention, except insofar as I had to for my job. It looked like yet another impeccably groomed successor to the let's-try-to-be-Twilight-with-a-lower-budget kinda deals, and I wasn't at all interested. Then I saw a couple of funny quotes, a screencap here or there, and I thought I'd give it a whirl.

It is now 18 hours later, and I have seen every episode.

Well now.

So, first things first, yes, the show is addictive, in the way that teen dramas should be. There's lots of, well, drama, and loads of angst, and the characters are all squeaky clean and generically nice while running around the woods being werewolves and hunters and stuff. Yay cute story moving on.

I cannot express how much I adore this girl.
There's just one problem I have with the show: there aren't any girls.

Sure, there are actual females on the show, from Allison, Scott's girlfriend, to Lydia, Stiles' crush, to Scott's mom, to Allison's aunt, but there aren't any female werewolves. And this is a show about werewolves. I want some damn shewolves up in here!

It's not a new problem by any means. Most werewolf fictions don't mention female werewolves, and the ones that do, tend to make them unusual or an exception to the rule, as is the case with Leah in Twilight (just because I don't like it doesn't mean I haven't read it) and Elena in Kelley Armstrong's Bitten series.

Part of this is probably because lycanthropy is a really convenient metaphor for puberty. Suddenly, our protagonist, usually a white teenaged boy, is sprouting hair in weird places, has muscles he isn't used to, and can run better. But he's also more hormonal, angrier, and filled with strange lusts. And he really, really wants to eat meat.

Women, on the other hand, aren't really allowed the same story about our adolescence. We don't suffer through puberty, someone just waves a wand over us, and *poof!* breasts and menarche. We obviously can't relate to the werewolf side of things.

In fact, the only story to really deal with female werewolves in this light is really Gingersnaps, which doesn't paint an entirely ideal view of female puberty. While male werewolf narratives focus on the physical benefits, the extra strength and heightened senses, this one centered more on increased passions and women driven mad by lust. That's not really the direction we want to go in.

So back to Teen Wolf. Why, out of all of the werewolves on the show, isn't there a girl?

SPOILERS (seriously, though, guys, at this point just assume everything I write has spoilers, okay?)

YOU ARE MY FAVORITE THING.
There is a female werewolf mentioned, actually, though she is never shown alive. Derek, the now Alpha, had a sister who was murdered in order to lead him back to town. We see half of her dismembered body lying in the ground, buried by a mourning Derek. It's not a pretty picture. And later, Lydia is bitten, and has the possibility of changing. Personally, I was all for it. Lydia is sassy, fun, incredibly, and not afraid to admit when she's afraid. She'd be a great werewolf.

Naturally, she's not a werewolf, she's "something else".

It's not that I precisely resent the direction that the show has gone, as I think that the werewolves so far presented make sense in this universe: Scott, the nerd turned jock, who doesn't want the bite but has come to rely on his abilities; Derek, the born werewolf who has more trouble with human culture than wolves, and who desperately wants a pack again; and even Peter and Jackson, who both want so badly to be wolves, and have power, that they seem like opposite ends of the same story.

No, I totally get the reason these guys are wolves. I just don't get why there can't be some ladies in there too.

I also don't love how there's a casual assumption that women must be protected at all costs, with Scott stalking his mother to protect her from a deadly date, and sleeping outside Allison's window to keep her safe. Can we say creepy? But in general the show isn't awful about gender stereotypes. The women can be strong, if the writers let them. Kate, Allison's aunt, is a good example of that. Crazy she may be, but weak she is not.

When it comes down to it, my biggest problem remains the writers' lack of vision. Because I get why they're telling these stories. I just don't understand why only these stories. There are so many more werewolf narratives out there, guys. So many girls just bitten, trying not to wolf out when they get their periods, so many inner city wolves trying not to get busted by animal control, so many rural werewolf families who have to hunt as a pack in order to get enough food to eat.

These stories? They're a hell of a lot more original than just a couple more middle-class white boys angsting about love and loss in California.

His username is Allison. And his password is also Allison. You sure you want this guy in your pack?

3 comments:

  1. You're moving to VIETNAM!?!?!?! Holy crap. You know...you could have done that when your sister was in Cambodia...it would have been much closer to visit her then...

    +Amy

    PS-See you TOMORROW!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll admit the timing isn't ideal for that...

      But yes, going to Vietnam! Coming back, though.

      P.S. Not if I see you first!

      Delete
  2. You should read "lunatic fringe". It's a college age werewolf story about a pack of girls and it's queer. Mt friend Allison moon wrote it!

    ReplyDelete