Monday, October 14, 2013

Supernatural Is Sexist And Misogynistic. But It Doesn't Have To Be.

Nothing that I say in this article is particularly new, either to me or to the internet at large. These are not original thoughts, or rather, they are, but not original enough to merit any fanfare or applause. So why share them at all?

Because even though these aren’t new concepts, they are still important. 

Novelty is not the only determiner of worth, and although I am well aware that lots of people have said this before, I think it’s high time someone said it again.

Supernatural is incredibly sexist. And pretty racist as well.

It’s actually really hard for me to admit this, though I have pointed it out several times before, because, as you probably know by now, Supernatural is my favorite show currently on television. Oh, I have a lot of shows I love that are currently airing, like Elementary and Game of Thrones and America’s Next Top Model (don’t judge me), shows that I obsessively follow and intensely wait for the next installment. But none like Supernatural. No other show currently on the air has inspired me to skip class so that I could watch the episode air. I love school. That was a big deal.

So. I love Supernatural. I love the characters, I love the story, I love the writers who make it, the directors who shoot it, and the props people who presumably put the props in the right places and things. I love everything about this show.

That does not mean that I approve of it.

It’s a hard thing, loving something so incredibly much and still being keenly aware of its shortfalls, but it’s true. I am perfectly aware of how many problems there are in Supernatural, and instead of just handwaving them away because I love it and I want it to do well, I have to admit that something else happens. When I see Supernatural do something wrong it actually hurts. A lot.

You see, I want it to be good. I want this show to be an exemplar of good writing, to be a beacon of hope to all of us who long for better representation in the media. To be just as good at saving our hopes and dreams as the Winchesters are at saving the world.

Unfortunately, Supernatural is exactly as good at representing women as the Winchesters are at saving the world. It’s terrible.

Instead of going into a diatribe about all the women that Supernatural has “done wrong” over the years, which would take a dissertation, we’re just going to look at the first episode of season nine. Partly because it’s topical and I was going to review it anyways, and partly because holy crap is it a perfect example of all of the things that would appear in the aforementioned diatribe.

So, shall we?

The episode starts presumably a couple of hours after season eight ended. Sam (Jared Padalecki) is in a coma in the hospital, dying from the wounds he incurred in trying to close the gates of Hell. Since his wounds aren’t exactly physical, there’s nothing the doctors can do. Dean (Jensen Ackles) threatens them with everything he’s got, but in the end, it’s just Sam in Sam’s head trying to decide whether or not he wants to live. Also, Dean and Bobby (Jim Beaver) are in his head with him (actually, they’re mental projections, but who cares) arguing over whether or not he should die. So just another day in the office, eh?

Dean, in a desperate plea to bring his brother back to the land of the living for the umpteenth time, reaches out to Castiel (Misha Collins), but gets no response. After, he opens up the line to all the angels, which as you may recall, fell to earth in the season eight finale. Said angels hear his plea and several come to aid Sam. Sort of.

Meanwhile, Cas finds himself rather human and wandering around civilization. Also, constantly confused for a crazy homeless person, which makes perfect sense. He bumbles around for a bit, trying to get into contact with Dean and failing, and eventually has to get a ride from a kindly trucker back to civilization.

Lots of angels show up to “help” Sam, but mostly they just want to find out where Cas is so that they can kill him for getting them kicked out of Heaven. One of said angels nearly kills Dean, but he’s saved by another angel: Ezekiel (Tahmoh Penikett). Ezekiel is gravely wounded, but he wants to help Sam.

Cas gets picked up by Hael (Grace Phipps), an angel struggling to find herself after the fall. Hael wants to see the Grand Canyon, and Cas wants to help her. Except…he finally gets in touch with Dean, who assures him that all the angels are trying to kill him. And Hael predictably goes a bit nuts and knocks Cas out so she can kidnap him.

Back at the hospital, Ezekiel discovers that Sam is going to die unless he heals him, but he can’t heal Sam, because he is so weak. The only way Ezekiel can heal Sam is to do it from the inside. Which means he needs consent. And Sam is in a coma. Also, all of the angels are trying to kill them.

Cas wakes up in the car with Hael who explains her grand plan for the two of them to be together forever. She’ll join with his vessel, which is now his body, because Cas is completely human. They’ll never be parted, and Hael will help Cas be protected while he helps her learn about humanity. Cas is kind of not okay with that, and crashes the car into a tree. Hael is a bit the worse for wear. It’s gross.

Dean goes into Sam’s coma to convince him to live, and the yes he gets is enough to get Ezekiel into Sam’s body. Sam wakes up, unaware that he is host to an angel, and Dean gets another terrible secret to bury with alcoholism and regret. Cas kills Hael before she can get him killed, and discovers that humans have to do things like eat food and wear clothes. He dislikes this.

Everyone caught up? Good.

Oh, and I nearly forgot. Crowley (Mark Sheppard) is in the Impala’s trunk. Now we’re all caught up. No idea where Kevin or Charlie are, but it’s not important at the moment.

What is important is this: what was up with the women in this episode. Did you catch what happened? Because I did. Oh did I notice.

There were two female characters of note in this episode. The first was Hael, obviously, and the second, the only other major female body on screen at all, was a nurse at the hospital who turned out to be an angel. Oh, and a nice old lady at the Laundromat who looks at Cas like he smells, which he probably does. That’s it.

That’s a bit weird, isn’t it?

I mean, think about it. This was an episode full of old, familiar characters and new characters alike. It had lots of opportunities to showcase old relationships, new relationships, characters of all races and genders. Angels are, after all, genderless in their original state. So, main point, why are all of the ones we meet in this episode white, and why is the only good guy a man, and the two female characters are both evil? I smell badness.

If this were an isolated incident, if this episode were just one out of the literal hundreds which happened to feature very few characters of color or female perspectives, then I don’t think I’d mind. For that matter, I’m not sure I’d notice. It wouldn’t really matter, would it? But it’s not an isolated incident. Far freaking from it.

Supernatural, like lots of shows, is particularly biased in its writing. While there have been a fair number of female characters over the years, they all share a few characteristics in common, and those characteristics are depressing and kind of weird. First, the female character to have appeared in the most episodes was Lisa Braeden (Dean’s lady friend), who appeared in thirteen episodes. That’s thirteen out of one hundred and seventy-seven.

Now, admittedly, Supernatural is a show with a lot of character turnover, and after the boys and Cas the most a guest star has appeared is fifty-seven times for Bobby, or twenty-nine times for Crowley, or fifteen times for John Winchester, but it’s still not looking good.

After Lisa is Ruby 2.0, at twelve episodes, then Ellen Harvelle with ten, Mary Winchester with eight, Jo with seven, and so on. The point isn’t the actual numbers, it’s what they represent.

What this means is that there is no consistent female voice on Supernatural. There is no female presence really at all. Of the female characters I mentioned, all of them are dead, with the exception of Lisa, who has lost all memory of the Winchesters and presumably will never be seen from again. And though Supernatural is infamous for bringing back dead characters, none of these women have ever been brought back. Not for good, like the male characters are. Repeatedly.

So, there’s that. But there’s more. Oh, there’s more.

You see, the women on Supernatural are problematic for more reasons than just their invisibility in the narrative, though that is a big issue. There’s also the roles they play that ought to be considered. Each of the women in this show, with one single exception, can be fit into one of four categories: mother, daughter, love interest, bitch.

Think about it for a second.

The only real exception to this rule is Charlie (Felicia Day), though she could arguably be put in there as “daughter”. Still, she is the only female character to whom the boys relate as an equal. She is the only one that the narrative treats the way it treats its male characters. She does not die by the end of the episode, she has a life outside of the boys that is not glossed over or filled with unimaginable supernatural horror (like Jody Mills), and she is perfectly capable of up and leaving at any time. She’s there because she wants to be, and the narrative never infantilizes or sexualizes her. That’s it. She’s the one.

As with many other things, though, each of these characters is fine in isolation. Individually, they’re great and I love them all. When added together, unfortunately, we find a rather horrifying truth: that in the Supernatural universe, women are subject entirely to the whims and fates of men, and when they try to break free of that, they must be punished. With death.

We see this in our season opener. Of all of the characters introduced, it is worth noting that both of the female characters are either dead or incapacitated, and the major female villain from last season is referred to only in passing, and is presumed dead as well. Maybe she’ll come back, but I doubt it. They rarely do.

Abaddon (Alaina Huffman) promises to be an interesting villain for this season, but I have very many doubts that she will turn out to be the main villain or even a main villain. I also doubt that she will live through the season. Of the actual female characters who we met in season two that lived through to season eight, we had only one: Meg (Rachel Miner, Nicki Aycox). She’s dead now. Probably for good. (As a point of note, Meg technically appeared in thirteen episodes, and Ruby appeared in about eighteen, but since they were spread out over different actresses, I’m counting them separately.)

The point is this: Supernatural, for all that it purports to be a story about the common man fighting back against destiny and fate and the big bad world, is not. Or rather it is about the common man, but only the common man. There is no female voice to this show. There is no consistent female representation, and as a result, there is no female narrative.

And something is lost.

It’s hard to imagine what Supernatural would be like if it weren’t so unfailingly misogynistic (we didn’t even get into the way Dean refers to women, which is terrible), but I’d like to try.

Let’s pretend that this is a show where everyone gets to fight the big evil. Where women are not sidelined by their vaginas or taken out of danger “for their own good” or killed off because they were mean or written out of the story because they didn’t fit the macho narrative. Let’s pretend that we got to see seasons of Ellen Harvelle helping the boys with their problems, and helping them see their right path. Let’s pretend that Jody Mills showed up more than once a season and actually spoke some sense into Dean and Sam. Let’s pretend that Anna and Cas stayed biffles and went on amazing angels-with-free-will adventures. Let’s pretend that Kali came back and she and Charlie fell madly in love. Whatever. Let’s imagine a world where the women of Supernatural don’t die and they aren’t swept under the rug.

Don’t you want that? Doesn’t that sound awesome?

The show is ending in a season, presumably at the end of season ten, I believe, so there isn’t much time to change. But I don’t think that negates us from trying. Because who cares if we don’t succeed? Maybe striving to make Supernatural a better show for women will make other shows better for women. I don’t know. But I do know that it’s not good right now, and I’m not okay with that.

So. To start with, stop bitching about the female characters we do get. Instead of complaining about the terrible tropes they highlight (which I will fully admit to being prone to), let’s love on them. Make them popular. I’m talking gifsets, tumblr pages, the whole nine yards. Love those female characters, and encourage the writers to give us more. We know they listen to their fans. Tell them the right things.

Write to the writers. Try. Write to Misha Collins. We know he listens. Write fanmail to the actresses who you loved on Supernatural. Don’t go negative. Go positive. Encourage good behavior. Tell people what you love and what you want.

Tell the Facebook page to bring back Mary Winchester, tell the twitter account to show us more of Charlie.

Say something. Speak up. Fans have never been more empowered. Do something with it.

Why? Because representation matters, and there is no excuse for not trying.

Just because I love you doesn't mean I'm not disappointed in you.

44 comments:

  1. Supernatural got me through grad school. I'd never heard of it, and someone randomly rec'd it just before the fifth season (I think?) started, so I got sucked in pretty bad.

    I'm a huge horrordork, and that element is what I paid attention to more than anything (although the humor and the eye candy are obviously ingratiating). I gave up after the 6th season, but now I'm grinding through them again on Netflix. It's hard not to notice, on the second go, how intense the contradictions between great writing and general awfulness are.

    But I do love that damn show. What kind of voodoo is that?

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    1. I want to know what that voodoo is, because then I could bottle it and make ALL OF THE MONEY.

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  2. I used to long for Hailey and Sarah from season 1 to make reappearences, but gave that up around season 5 when I realised they would probably just get killed, and be lucky not to be character-trashed first. (I gave up on the show after Anna's death).

    I miss the show where Sam could argue against letting Hailey help them go looking for her lost brother, and Dean - the more stereotypically masculine one - rather than arguing to "let" her, simply get frustrated at the idea of it being up to them at all.

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    1. YES, OMG YES. That was one of the first things that drew me to the show, that Dean, a hyper-masculine character, was advocating for the agency of the women around him. And then that went to poop.

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  3. You're joking right? No one in their lives except for Cas ever lives for very long no matter what skin color or gender they are. The show isn't sexist its just mainly focused on the two brothers. That's all. Too bad Meg is dead because they could have done a dark spin off show with her as the lead maybe focusing on her history and how she became a demon maybe? You can't expect the show to plug up every hole and you're wrong but Abandon. She seems to be the main villain this season and you're forgetting about Lilith. Females get a reasonable amount of attention on the show but it has to stay focused on them which is the whole point.

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    1. You're missing the point. The show CHOSE to be about two white male characters, and then focused on their relationship with their father, a white male character, their pseudo-father, a white male character, their best friend, a white-male character, his screwed up family (with one exception, Raphael, all white male characters and Anna, who dies and goes crazy), and now their prisoner, a white male character, and their friend, an Asian male character who is referenced much more than he appears on screen.

      I refuse to believe that this constitutes a "reasonable amount of attention." Women are 52% of the human population. And I sure as hell can expect a show, written by people who should know better, to try harder than this. It is their literal job.

      So, no. In answer to your question, I'm not joking.

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    2. You're being rediculous here. The show is about two white guys who happen to be brothers but there are still plenty of Black, Asian and Espanic characters on the show. Rufus being a good example. Are you complaining that he wasn't a series regular? Of course there wouldn't be too many female hunters but I don't see why you complain about the female characters. Really you're not gonna see too many female hunters if you know you may have to fight a vampire or werewolf hand to hand. Men are just naturally bigger and stronger so they make better hunters. That's not saying Jo or Ellen are push-overs. I'm sure the show isn't intentionally being racist but you can't pull the racism card without being sure. Would it make you feel any better if the show was about to black sisters hunting monsters?

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    3. Yes. Yes I would. That would be awesome. Most of the reason I like Sleepy Hollow, in fact.

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    4. People who are on the lookout for racism generally find it everywhere. Even in places where it doesn't exist. After so research it seems you're not the only one that believes this so I may be wasting my time reasoning with you but Supernatural is the story of two brothers who happen to be white. Its them against the whole freaking world. The series is racist in any way its not intentional nor is it meant to be sexist. I say again its a story of two surviving brothers from a white family of hunters. Plenty of colored characters and females have been shown throughout the series but as it happens EVERYONE dies at some point even the main stars. Rufus and the rest of the cast of characters have other projects to work on or else they would have been around more. I respects your views but I still disagree. I can see how you can feel that way but its a story that has already taken off. The series trys to be fair in its own way but unless there's a spin-off focus on Kevin Tran or some other hunter it will always be about two white brothers hunting monsters. If you try too hard to find racism you'll see it even where it don't really exist.

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    5. Yeah, I'm sticking to my guns on this one. The show is racist and sexist and that's kind of a bad thing. Lots of choices go into a show like this, and at each stage the writers, directors, casting directors, producers and so on have had the choice to write in more female characters and characters of color. They chose not to. They also chose to kill off the ones they did add. So yes. Racist. Sexist. And I'm sorry that bothers you. But it's true. Doesn't mean the show isn't still fun and addictive, but remember that nothing here is an accident. It's not based on a true story or anything. The Winchesters are white men because someone decided to make them white men. That was a choice. And it was deliberate.

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    6. Someone decided to make them white because that is what they decided to write.

      Nobody owes you a story in which every single race is equally represented.

      If I write a show about a family of West Virginia coal miners, are they going to be Vietnamese or black?

      NO.

      Nobody owes you anything in entertainment except for entertaining you. Which the show DOES.

      What do you want? A show where it is a Noah Ark offramp and every single race is represented two by two?

      There are black stories to be told, gay stories to be told and so on and so forth.

      If someone wants to write a story of 5 gay female friends, do I demand they write in more male characters?

      NO I DO NOT.

      If you think Supernatural is racist you might be better off to live in a safe little bubble because the real world will frighten you.

      Stop being angry at white male characters.

      Which is the truth.

      It is not that you want more women or more people of color.

      You simply want LESS WHITE MEN.

      Have the balls to say that.

      Be the racist and sexist YOU are for that.

      Because YOU are racist and sexist because you are mad at white male character leads in any show and movie.

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  4. Yeah, I agree. SPOILERS:
    Rock and a hard place made my skin crawl.
    We had a character (the chastity leader) who had some depth, seemed like an interesting person, got through and left behind a difficult section of her life. What does Dean do? Invites himself him, rifles through her stuff, and delivers some (imo very creepy) cheesy lines, and BOOM. She's helpless, she succumbs. It's awful. Most sexist moment of the show for me, even slightly rapey. Makes light of the degrading, exploitative adult film business too. How many of the girls do you think enjoy sex? Especially if they had a reason to leave it behind.

    Just another prime example of females being the weak, helpless, sex-obsessed creatures they are on the show. I love the show apart from that, but I have resigned myself to the fact that women are there to be props and nothing else. I can't think of one, besides maybe Jo/Ellen/Charlie, that I actually care about or know much about. Of course, Charlie had to be a lesbian because it is inexcusable for a female to spend more than half an episode without having sex or falling in love with Sam and/or Dean, so they had to account for that. Not that I have any hate for LGBT characters, B myself, but just seemed a little convinient.

    /rant.

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    1. I like your rant. It's a good rant. And I totally agree. That scene rather reminded me of the awful sex scene in Skyfall, where the woman has just told him all about her history as a sex worker, and he decides to show up in her shower unannounced and start having sex with her. *Skin crawls.*

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    2. With Charle I think the show producers wanted to support the Lesbian community by having her as they did try to support the gay community by having that one episode with all those Sam and Dean cosplayers. The main to fan boys revealed to have been gay at the end which in some way also supports the slash fiction movement.

      We all know Dean is the typical male horn dog that's how he's always been since the beginning of the series. It's not really rapey if she agrees to it now is it? I don't understand why pornstars feel like they've done something wrong and try to find a church when they're done with porn. It's not like they did anything wrong to be forgiven for. She just hadn't had sex in a long time and she kinda needed it. I personally think he was just trying to help her out. Some of those girls have issue but its a myth that anyone forces them into it. Most of them get into the business because they know exactly what's gonna happen. These are grown adults making a choice not girls that get kidnapped and forced into the business. Sex isn't something to be ashamed of.

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    3. While there is some value in the producers' desire to support the GLBTQ community with Charlie and the cosplayers, which I definitely agree is what they seem to be doing, I also think that there's some frustration here that there are so very few GLBTQ characters over the course of the show. That's what? Three? Out of the literal hundreds of characters we've met?

      And as for your second point, about Dean being a horn-dog and it not being rapey if she agrees to it eventually, that is creepy and weird and I dislike how cavalier you are being about consent and issues of reluctance or refusal of sex. Also, sure, some people choose careers in porn of their free will. Others don't. Tread carefully here.

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    4. To me she left it behind because of other people's negative opinion of the industry. She let their animosity towards her career path and choices outweigh her own enjoyment of sex and life path. She was denying parts of herself because other people didn't like those parts.

      Dean started off giving lines but what he said in her apartment was genuine and she could feel that and it did make her feel better and realize that choosing to be a sex worker didn't make her a villain or a victim. He meant it when he said that he'd seen evil/had nightmares (40 years in Hell, 1 year in Purgatory, lifetime of fighting monsters) and she wasn't one of them.

      She was made to feel by anti-porn activists that by being a porn star she was bringing evil into the world despite the fact that her situation was exhibitionist and not exploitative and involved consensual sex/a positive sexual environment. Not all sex workers have dark childhoods and need saving.

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  5. I'm a longtime fan of the show and have heard the complaints of racism, sexism and misogyny over the years and have generally not bought into it. That has changed due to the post-script seasons of six through the current nine. They have certainly been problematic, especially this most recent episode "Rock and A Hard place."

    However, I fail to see how the original five seasons can be construed as either sexist or racist. Certainly many of the antagonists have been black, but they were not villains. They had good-intentioned motivations that simply went against Sam and Dean's arc. Examples:

    Agent Henriksen was simply doing his job. Once he realized that the supernatural is real he let Sam and Dean go.

    Uriel was following the divine plan set out by God.

    Gordon Walker was an anti-hero who believed that Sam would trigger the apocalypse. Was he wrong?

    I would define each of those characters as heroes who simply served as antagonists.

    Finally, I believe that the only problem with the female characters are the fans themselves. Jo Harvelle and Bela Talbot were both written out of the show due to backlash from the female fans. That's a fact. Both characters originally had more episodes, but since the fans hated them they were removed. That genuinely sucks as both were great characters.

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    1. It's more the framework of these characters that I object to. That in the episodes as they come, these are the bad guys. Almost all of the antagonists on Supernatural have explainable motives, but I find it troublesome that we have only one black character who was never an antagonist, and that being Rufus, was barely in the show at all. It's deeply problematic. Oh, and there was Missouri, for that one episode.

      I think it comes back to choices. I mean, why did the boys' mentor have to be Bobby particularly? For that matter, why did Bobby have to be white? When the character was introduced, there was no indication that he would be as important as he became. Why didn't Missouri become the home base? Why why why why? These are intentional choices that enforced a whitewashing on the show.

      As for the fan backlash, I think these things are bred by the culture of the show. This is a misogynistic show. The women are always being called bitches, evaluated in terms of their sexual availability, and generally degraded. It surprises me not at all that the fandom then took the tenor of the show and chased off female characters. Not surprising at all.

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    2. I agree that most of the black men were never villains but antagonists and even then they weren't antagonists of the show so much of the Winchesters. Dean & Sam may be the main characters but they weren't always in the right and sometimes made horrible decisions that got a lot of people killed. Gordon Walker is who John Winchester might've been had he only been dealing with losing Mary and not also raising two kids. Agent Henriksen is one of the only characters I've seen that plays someone that doesn't know about the paranormal is in the path of the paranormal hunters that I've loved. Usually those characters are so clueless or willfully ignorant but with him it's just, "Of freaking course he doesn't know they really do hunt monsters! He is in a career that tracks down and stops actual human monsters that do the kinds of evil that demons and paranormal monsters do." Raphael was following orders when he killed Castiel and it made sense that the last archangel (Michael, Lucifer, Gabriel, Raphael) around would assume leadership of the angels in S6 and it turned out Castiel was the one that went dark side that season.

      I agree that Bela and Jo were written out because of the fans. I loved both characters but it's hard to find many fans (despite fans being mostly female) that say positive things about them. They don't even try to understand where Bela was coming from having been raped by her father and knowing since she was 14 that she was going to die at 24 and spend eternity in Hell. That story is powerful enough to warrant its own tv show (a lot of the supporting cast was talented enough for spinoffs). And fans acted as if her rape was something she should've just gotten over and act that it was shoehorned in at the last minute to make her more likable despite that there were signs throughout. The look on her face and tone of her voice when Dean said "how did you get like this? Did daddy not give you enough hugs?" and she responds with "I don't know, did your dad give you enough? Don't you dare look down your nose at me" which was both letting us know something serious happened and that it probably involved her father doing something horrible, especially since the writers/Bela tied it into John's treatment of his sons (which everyone accepts as abusive, though not sexually, and something they're still dealing with as adults). And later when she doesn't tell them why she killed her parents because "you wouldn't understand. No one did."

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  6. Not trying to piss you off but here I go. I apologize if what I said earlier comes off somehow disrespectful towards women as I myself have the highest respect for women considering I grew up in a house with old values meaning my dad used to beat my mom. I take any accusation that I support misogynistic people. While I do know that a portion of the females in the adult industry really don't have a choice because of financial reasons or because they are forced into by loser boyfriends which in the past was mostly true but in todays world things have change. Most women today get into porn because they choose to. They aren't forced to take drugs but some do and that is really up to them to say not or not. It's not really fair to say that most of those women are victims. Some become stars and start their own companys and take charge in preventing abuse in the industry.

    You're forgetting Joshua God's gardener who was also Black. I support your choice for raising your voice in the name of equality but then you'd may as well accuse shows like Martin, Family Matters and just about every other Black focused shows of racism because they don't have enough white people. You're right Bobby didn't have to be white and Missouri (I think you meant the Black American psychic lady) Not being the home base. Well she lived in a house not the fortress that the brothers live in now. If she shows up on the show again she'd be dead in a few episodes surely. I don't see Dean calling anyone a bitch unless they happen to be an enemy or if they talk rudely to him. I don't recall Dean ever insulting a female friend in that manner. I do agree the show needs more colored characters but then I'm just waiting for someone else o scream racism if too many colored folks die on the show.

    Being Bisexual myself yes sure they could add a few more of my people on there but that would require time for character development which could happen if the show chose to do it.

    Lastly the women aren't the only ones that get degraded. The guys on the show get a pretty fair amount of beatings themselves. I remember one episode featuring Amazons treating men like crap and being shown to be superior. Dean didn't force her to do anything in fact he was feeling out the situation to see if she was into it. Had she told him to get out I'm sure he would have left. She didn't refuse she just wasn't sure until he said his cheese lines and made her feel comfortable enough to consent which is how it works in real life. I just think you're putting too much though into this. anyone older enough to watch the shower won't easily be programmed to do anything like disrespect women.

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  7. - Excessive amount of "female specific calling names" such as bitch, whore, slut. Dean and Sam, specially Dean, will always use it to refer to a woman in the show at least once, doesn't matter if she's good or evil.

    - Male antagonists kill for all sorts of reasons. Female antagonists were always "bad mother" or "jealous girlfriend/wife". Basically, the "crazy bitch" stereotype. We've never seen an actual psychopath, the women always killed because some man did something to them or for some reason they wanted to do something to another man.

    - Female characters not lasting nearly enough. Stupid-ass, idiotic fandom that hates them for either being better than Dean and Sam at something (looking at S3 Ruby), being a romantic interest or potential, being an actual interesting antagonist because they can't process the idea of anti-heroes or "fun to watch villains" - THAT ARE FEMALE.

    The show has two problems - misogynistic writing and even more misogynistic fandom. That counts for both men and women in it, who can't - for some odd reason - bare to see Dean/Sam emasculated by a woman and somehow related to one. It's hard to think a show like this goes on for 10 seasons without getting called out on its bullshit to a point where it actually tries to change (and fuck the fandom and their anti-female opinion), you know, without it being an HBO show, with the exception of the great Game of Thrones. I watch this show because it's fun but the sexism in it makes it one of the worst on my "Series I've Finished" list.

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    1. The fact that Abbadon is now even a little bit motivated by being a lover spurned fills me with deep, deep rage.

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    2. And I forgot to add that the strongest female in the show we've seen so far (and we know it isn't going to get better than her) is Lilith. She is even used as a feminist symbol, since she was seen as a villain and was punished by God to simply go to Hell and become a demon for the fact that she refused to be submissive to her husband. So I guess it is no surprise she's seen as some sort of feminist icon. In the show, you can forgive the fact that she is a villain - after all it's more fun this way - but the strongest female we'll ever have, in the second episode of her introduction, is basically no match for freaking Sam? Are we supposed to believe he is stronger than the first demon ever created? It makes me so mad that we've had only ONE worthy female villain and in her second appearance she's basically begging for the almighty Sam for mercy and has to escape. Couldn't we have at least one woman in this show that isn't weak? We have at least five strong male characters and it seems that the strongest female is no match for any of them? Ugh.

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    3. And, Lilith always appears as either a hyper-feminized little girl, or a seductive, scantily clad (or even just suggestively clad) woman. So no matter what they say about her power, the visual representation of Lilith always makes it clear that she is defined by her sex, not her power.

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    4. It wasn't Sam the human v. Lilith. He was meant to be the vessel for Lucifer who was pretty much the God of Hell and created before the earth. Sam had Azazael's and later a lot of other demon's blood in him. And she tricked Sam into thinking that if he drank more demon blood and practiced his demon killings with Ruby he'd be able to kill her because they were conning Sam into breaking the last seal.

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  8. I completely agree with everything said. It's heartbreaking. A woman on this show won't last and if she gets in between Dean and Sam in any fashion she is a dead woman walking. This show has had so many opportunities to become a real ensemble cast and have more storylines and focus. But if anything takes the spotlight off bromance for one second it is eliminated. There is a way to include that and still have more going on. It's called layers. I feel like if you base a show on a premise and not a relationship you give yourself a lot more room to play with and grow. I mean look at Buffy. A girl slays vampires but at the same times deals with tons of other characters and concepts and does not just focus on one dynamic. Supernatural's obe trick pony approach is so reductive.

    One thing that breaks my heart is Jo. Jo was supposed to be a badass but got turned into scrappy doo. The blind, psychic, bad ass, confident, sexual woman. she tries to play with he guys and has her vision and life stolen. Lisa has her memory wiped to protect her. Mary and Jessica are killed to propel Sam's storyline forward. Ruby would have been such an interesting addition to the show. What a storyline! A demon searching for redemption. Nope she's evil. Anna and Castiel were both sent to heaven to be tortured but of course the woman is the one who succumbs to it and goes dark side. I love this show but I feel insulted as a woman every time I watch it. And don't even get me starred on the treatment of minorities. And what Charlie is our one throwout? Geez I'm so sated...

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    1. And, of course, Charlie is really only safe because she's "one of the guys". Since Charlie is never defined by her femininity, she is never vulnerable because of it. She's just like a dude! And therefore she has plot armor.

      Personally, I miss the hell out Meg. Yes, she did go from being a badass villain to being converted to good by love, but I absolutely adored her relationship with Cas, and I would have loved to see that develop. That dynamic was one of the most interesting things the show has done, and, like you said, keeping Meg in would have created that ensemble feel the show needs.

      Also they could have not killed Kevin. That would have been nice.

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  9. Personally, I miss the hell out Meg. Yes, she did go from being a badass villain to being converted to good by love, but...

    ... but imagine if it had been Anna instead. The angel who fell specifically to become human is the perfect figure to reawaken humanity in a demon (who is after all essentially a ghost in this mythos). Plus, Sam and Dean's faces would be priceless.

    Now I'm picturing a spinoff where Anna and Meg tutor Hailey and Sarah in the mysteries of the supernatural and form a badass hunting unit - so long as it has different showrunners.

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    1. I need it. Oh man, that would be so amazing. And if we got to see Jodi acting as the girls' home base? Heaven.

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    2. As much as I love Orphan Black (oh so very *very* much), I'd love to see a quartet of leads in a sci fi show without them having to be clones.

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    3. *Female* leads, that should have said.

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    4. Have you seen Lost Girl? I've been hearing good things...

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    5. I've seen some of Lost Girl; it centres on one of the most devoted female-female friendships ever seen on screen (the very best of it is at the latter end of season 2) (one of them is also the show's Deliverer Of Unremittingly Awesome Lines). It's a hot mess in a lot of other ways, sadly, but worth trying out to be sure.

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    6. Good to know. I mentioned it because I know it has a lot of female leads, but I've not actually seen it.

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    7. If nothing else, I defy you to watch more than a couple of episodes without jumping on the All-Hail-Kenzi train. (Kenzi being the aforementioned DUAL).

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  10. I am disappointed to learn that according to SPN Wikki, out of 195 episodes only 33 writers were FEMALE (including some episodes which were co written with males)…..
    Only one female directed: Rachel Talalay, in Season Two. This might be part of the problem.
    Just saying.


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    1. I had no idea it was that bad. Oh man. That explains so much and is so horrifying.

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  11. I know. I really hope they can be innovative trend setters and include more women. They do have a reputation for trying ground breaking strategies. I hate to complain for fear they stop the show. If the fans demanded more of fair and equitable perspective, they might just take all the balls and go. Damned if you do complain; damned if you don't.

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  12. I have stopped watching it because it felt like it became stale with topical plots with no female interaction. I loved many of the females who came through and don't buy that grown men killed off characters due to fan mail. If they did, they were lame and not devoted to layered storytelling. After a while, how long can we enjoy the same misogynistic male centered world without being bored? Lasted until S7.

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  13. Just because there aren't many female characters in the show dosen't make the show sexist. The female characters are just as competent as the male characters. It would only be sexist if the women were portrayed as inferior to the men, which they aren't. And Sam and Dean think that women are just as competent as men, so they aren't sexist either. And both men and women die in the show, not just the women. While I do wish there could be more female characters, just because a show has more men dosen't make it sexist. The writers are men after all, and people tend to write characters after their own gender. But I feel that you're looking for sexism where none exists.And the show isn't racist either. All none white characters are portayed as equal to the white characters. Having a mainly white cast dosen't mean a show is racist. The writers are white and live in America, which is predominantly white. So logically most of the characters would be white. But saying the show is racist because the cast is mostly white, is like saying The Boondocks and Eveybody hates Chris is racist because the cast is mainly black. I think you're trying to find racism and sexism even though there isn't any. I'm sorry if I came across as rude. I just don't agree with the points you make.

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  14. Everything you say is right, except for one thing: you don't need to watch this series if it treats women like sh@t.

    I also liked it up to the point where it turned into a never-ending Dean-Sam-Cas-Bobby sausage party, and at that point I went, "I don't have a sausage, so why am I even watching?" There's no need to be loyal to people who act like you don't exist. Lets face it: if you and me were characters in this show, we'd be dead just for having the nerve to criticize the good ole' boys.

    Don't support misogyny. It won't go away if you ignore it but supporting it will just make it 100 x worse. Guaranteed.

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