Thursday, May 22, 2014

Girls Girls Girls

When I was a kid we had an audio/visual club in our school and, if I recall, it didn't have any girls.  I don't think there was an official rule, but setting up film strips and the like was considered something mainly of interest to boys. (Whether you'd call it sexism or not, it wasn't as if this was considered a great position--it was something for nerds to do.)

Now at the A.V. Club, which comments on popular culture, they seem very concerned about the place of females in popular entertainment.  As I noted a couple weeks ago, they're surprisingly troubled about how poorly women are treated in Game Of Thrones--though reviewer Erik Adams hardly seems to notice that men in that show, if anything, have it worse.

And now, in a review of the latest episode of Silicon Valley by Les Chappell, we get this:

The largest success of “Proof Of Concept” is that it acknowledges one of the show’s most glaring omissions, its lack of female characters. Several publications (including this one) have criticized the show for its lack of gender diversity, a complaint that showrunners Mike Judge and Alec Berg have countered by saying it’s representative of the world they’re portraying. Both have also expressed a desire to satirize that trend, which Monica does by warning them that this isn’t the safety of Palo Alto: “Normally the tech world is 2 percent female. For the next three days? 15 percent.” (“It’s a goddamned meat market,” Gilfoyle observes.) While the show shouldn’t feel obligated to include more female cast members to satisfy criticisms, it also shouldn’t be tone-deaf that those criticisms exist, and an acknowledgment of this disparity is a step in the right direction.

This is a success--putting women in a show about tech nerds?  The show should have as many women as it needs, including zero if it works.  How many female characters you have, or male characters, or blacks or whites or Asians or whatever is, artistically (which is what Chappell's talking about), irrelevant.

Shows shouldn't feel obligated to add characters due to criticisms from fans or reviews if those criticisms are stupid.  It's not a question of being "tone-deaf" or moving in the right direction--ignoring stupid advice is the right thing to do.

I've never been too concerned with the sex of the people who write A.V. Club reviews, but now that they bring up the topic, the men seem to outnumber the women by a significant degree.  Don't they think something should be done about this? If they can't afford to hire more people, let me suggest they fire the men who complain about sexism and replace them with women.


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