Seven Annoyances of Stranger Things
Stranger Things, the hit original Netflix series has achieved enormous popularity and while I applaud its success, I cannot help but notice the underdevelopment of its female characters. As the directors point out, the show is not directed towards a male audience but families, which obviously includes females as well. The creators follow a far too common and disappointing trend in media that oftentimes neglects to create complex, dynamic, and independent female characters that women and girls can fully connect with. The series, while good, provided the perfect opportunity to critique what many shows and movies lack -representative and complex characters for the female audience.
[disclaimer: STRANGER THINGS SPOILERS]
1) Oh Nancy...
Introduced within a love triangle, Nancy was severely limited in her character’s ability to develop on her own, instead becoming a supporting role for the development of Steve and of Jonathan. I’m not saying Nancy doesn’t kick butt -she shoots a gun like a baddie, calls her parents marriage out like it is, points out the injustice of poor barb, figures out how to make the government pay for what they did -, but the fact that she continues to be in this love triangle between the boy who unconsentually snapped pics of her naked and the total jerk turned mama nice guy, it focuses too heavily on some “will they or won’t they, who will she choose” idea.
She could have been a far more independent and inspirational had her character not fallen in love with Jonathan, the pervert like any normal girl would have avoided and chose to kick butt on her own.
2) Jonathan’s pervy move wasn’t cool!
Nancy didn’t consent to her picture being taken with her shirt off. When Nancy discovers the photos were taken she completely ignores how wrong that is. She should have taken a moment to acknowledge that she wasn’t happy with that or addressed the issue. By ignoring it, the directors neglected to point out an important issue on consent.
3) Joyce Byers, a Mother and Not Much Else
Byers is a baddie who will do anything to find her her son, but what else is her character good for? After Will was found, her character began to show just how underdeveloped she was as a character. The only way the directors attempted to spice things up and make her more complex her was by putting her in a relationship 😑. I understand why her character focused on finding Will as she loved her son dearly, but it’s disappointing that she was limited to such a stereotypical scenario... i just wish her character was a little more developed rather than being just WhErEs WiLl!? and bOB!! I want to learn more about Joyce or at least see her connect to El or Nancy in a way that sparks female companionship. Give us something...
4) Of Course they'd Kill Barb
I find it funny that the only age group in the show to have multiple females in season one felt that one just had to go, particularly the one that wouldn’t be deemed attractive by societal standards or isn’t romantically involved with boy.
5) Eleven’s Interests
Why does Eleven, the girl who can FLIP VANS WITH HER MIND diminished to feeling jealous over max cause she just LoVEs mike. Why does every female characters who is worth a moment of the show’s focus involved romantically somehow witch someone else. On top of that, It seems very unlikely that Eleven would be so involved with Will when she has other things to worry about, such as her Mother, the Government, and the Upide Down, which could potentially ruin the world.
6) Eleven’s Interests 2
It makes me sad to see Eleven diminish herself to looking stereotypically pretty in season one. Eleven was a character that could have easily transcended what females are supposed to like. El shouldn’t have been worried about looking pretty with a blonde wig and a dress, but passed the time playing dungeons and dragons. This would have made more sense anyway being that she connected to Mike and his friends and would have been more interested as it was what she was surrounded by.
In season 2, I was much more proud of how her character was less focused on unlikely superficialities, instead opting to wear overalls, taking off that stupid wig to show her short curls. I also appreciated that her look later became something less stereotypically feminine, but embodied the connection she felt to her sister and her new strength. While her later goth look could arguable be just as superficial, by embodying her sister, El’s character gains a new sort of complexity.
7) Where is the Diversity?
Besides Lucas, Why is everyone else on this show white and straight? Why is it that we don’t have a variety of different kinds of people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, sexualities, and gender identities. What we see on screen does not represent what the world is really like and it creates a misconception of what “normal” is. By including these characters, we can redefine what “normal” looks like into something much more true and diverse.
I’m not saying ladies can’t have relationships, be good house mums, wear dresses, and be in love or search for love, but there is more to a female than these things. Mothers have friends outside of their families, women can be friends with men and romantic with other women, or they don’t even think about that sort of thing. I’m also not inferring that a show is wrong for creating complex straight white male characters. It’d be fine if there was more diversity in other shows but it just feels disappointing when Every. Single. Show has these sort of stereotypical half assed female characters whose main focus is boys or something superficial like looking hot and lacks any sort of minority group or LGBTQ representation. There’s an abundance of cleverly made and complex male characters, so why can’t we have the same for women?
I invite you to look at the characters within the movies, shows, and other sorts of media you watch. Count how many complex female characters you can find and compare it to the number of complex males. Then number off as many non-white and non-straight characters you can think of. By creating this sort of general character or lack thereof, it limits how women, LGBTQ, and minorities view themselves. I just think we can do better.
The broadcastHER section aims to provide a feministic point of view on social and political issues. To be a feminist is not to think women are better, but rather an attempt to transcend from stereotypical gender roles. Intersecional Feminism accepts and fights for other social issues many other such as people of color and the LGBTQIA community. We must "lift as we climb", as explained by Angela Davis
Throughout generations, hundreds of thousands of mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, great- grandmothers, cousins, sisters, and women have faced an unacceptable standard set by a system that has failed them repeatedly, Women and men continue to face terrible exploitation and violence at the hands of others must cope with the experience long after, only to be dismissed by authority when they finally decide to come forth. Tired of the injustice, thousands of women, including those of the LGTB community and women of color, held their fists in the air to rebel against the injustice.
January 21 marked a monumental march in history with the most participation, although it wasn’t alone with the number of protests that took place this year and last. With events like #TimesUp and #MeToo sparking in Hollywood, women and various men, walked to speak out about their own stories of sexual abuse. Men such as Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nassar who have been repeatedly called out for taking advantage of women and young girls are just two of the millions of men that decided they had power over women. This is one of the reasons why many grabbed their pink hats and marched along the streets of large and small cities in our nation.
In the midst of the march, president trump stepped inside the chaos even further and tweeted,
His naive attempt to ease his relationship with women, only caused a bigger controversy towards his behalf because he is part of the percentage of men included in this rebellion for unfairness. Using this to ignite their passion for equality, our local town of Las Cruces joined the cause with hundreds of marchers uniting to fight for their own reason. Marchers held up signs stating:
“We will not go back.”
“Women against hate.”
“I will not go quietly back to 1950.”
“No president is above the law.”
“No to trump no to war.”
Seeing how a small town like Las Cruces became united for a day for a crucial cause. It is essential to remember that it all ends with one voice. As small as it may seem, speaking out for yourself or for someone else will end the beginning to an abusive engagement. As stated by Halsey, a singer that joined the march in New York. “But we are not free until all of us are free
So love your neighbor, please treat her kindly
Ask her story and then shut up and listen
Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian
Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs
Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues
For the people who had to grow up way too young
There is work to be done
There are songs to be sung
Lord knows there's a war to be won”
Although the past cannot be changed, speaking out can allow those who need to grieve, finally release their pain and prevent any future allegations that have caused this. Even in a small town or school like ours, a small voice starts the beginning to an end of inequality for all.