My academic lineage, so to speak, includes a number of feminist scholars (Joan Ferrante, Gillian Overing...etc). I consider a part of my medievalist heritage to be feminism, and so I take a very keen interest in analyses of pop culture which are interested in the representation of women. Thus, when I saw on Whedonesque this post from Karrin Jackson, I wanted to link to it as part of my ongoing posting on the Doctor Horrible phenomenon. Again, this isn't medieval, but it is still part of THIS medievalist's view of the world. The review is particularly striking for observations such as this:
It's a bit of a cop-out that Penny dies rather than Billy or Hammer having to face her for what they've done, but that's the tragedy of it. She remains a prize, not to be won by one or the other, but lost by both. They never do see her as a person. Here's this woman who's just living her life, doing her own thing, and these two guys come in thinking they'll save her (from what?) and in the end they both destroy her. Because she's not a super hero, and she's not a flamethrower wielding punk-ass death machine. Why should she have to be? Why can't she just collect her signatures and do what matters to her?
I've seen comments about how someone that stupid who falls for someone so obviously jerky deserves what she gets. Wow, a death sentence for failing to be omniscient? Isn't that a little harsh?
She doesn't know what we the audience knows. She doesn't see what we see. He sweeps her off her feet (did I mention Nathan Fillon) on a lie, and her crime, her death-deserving stupidity, is that she believed him -- for a time. She deserved to die because she couldn't see right through the super hero's public face to the greedy jackass within, and she didn't look deeply into Billy's soul in time to turn him from his evil path, since the dumbass clearly can't express himself adequately with words, and, and, and... for heaven's sake, she just wanted to gather a few lousy signatures! Aren't we putting an awful lot on some woman just trying to get by in the world? Whose crime is giving people the benefit of the doubt? Yeah, she totally deserves to suffer, be betrayed, and to die.
Man, I'm glad these people weren't my judge, jury, and apparently executioner during my misspent dating years.
I think maybe what she deserved was to be left the hell alone in the first place.
Yeah, it would be cool if she had whipped out an uzi and mowed them all down, then stood atop their corpses and said, "And that's what happens to jerks who mistreat women!"
Except that's not how it goes. That isn't how it goes at all. Women get torn apart over stuff like this. Their lives get destroyed. That's the sucker punch with this piece. If it didn't make you mad, then you missed the point.
More medieval, next time!
Type rest of the post here