In the previous post I described some various ways in which tough women inevitably have traumatic pasts, but so what? I mean, sure, that’s strange and all, but there are lots of tropes out there in the pop culture world. True…but not all of them indicate a key issue that still plagues the world of entertainment and beyond. Inequality.
It takes a special kind of woman to be as tough as the men and in pop culture it takes one with a traumatic past. Something that’s hardened her enough to hang with the guys, do a “man’s” job, and perform those tasks most often considered masculine in nature. The trauma itself is not always the same – domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape, the death of a parent at a very early age – but the results are. Someone tough and determined enough to live and succeed in a male-dominated world, but never without some terribly painful past that underlines she’s still the “softer” sex.
Certain characters achieve a level of venom from audiences that can be surprising. Even when they aren’t the main antagonist, trying to take over the world, or even all that villainous, people loathe them…but why? Why is it that certain characters garner more hatred than others? Is it that they aren’t as clever, physically attractive, or entertaining as their more tolerated counterparts? …Sometimes, but not always. Usually there is a deeper reason behind the audience’s intense dislike. It would seem that those characters on TV, film, and in comics who really get our blood boiling are those we’ve met – in one way or another – in real life before.
In a previous post I discussed how a psychopath like the Joker can fly under the radar by playing crazy. I also mentioned that that isn’t the only way a psychopath can go unnoticed by the rest of society; they can also play subdued. This is how most function without notice, by appearing and behaving like the average, everyday, person. They have jobs, families, friends, and show the appropriate emotions at the appropriate times. Admittedly there are still moments they slip into their more cold, calculating, and ruthless nature, but those times are often dismissed as a single event (even when it’s a repeated one) or a quirk. …This seems to be what House of Cards’ main female protagonist – or will that be antagonist now? – Claire Underwood is able to do.