“A woman, I forget who, once asked a male friend why men felt threatened by women. He replied that they were afraid that women might laugh at them. When she asked a group of women why women felt threatened by men, they said, ‘We’re afraid they might kill us.’” – DSI Stella Gibson, The Fall
Often when I’m watching a crime show on television, I worry that Gloria Steinem might swoop into my living room and snatch away my Official Feminist Card™. I’ve always been intrigued by solving mysteries, and am often drawn to television series of that genre. But the downside to this particular fascination is that these shows are not particularly kind to women. Best-case scenario, the fairer sex is depicted as the semi-competent and often imperiled sidekick to the macho male detective. Worst-case scenario, she is an anonymous and sexualized victim, merely a prop to move the story along or to make the killer look more powerful. Even on shows with a female lead who wields some actual authority, such as Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit, the underlying (and very intentional) titillating nature of the crimes adds an ick factor I just can’t get past.