Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Big Gender Theory (a.k.a. My Big Bang Beef)

I love The Big Bang Theory, but I have one beef.

Of the three main female characters (if we ignore Cinnamon Koothrappali and the voice of Mrs Wolowitz Snr.), two are scientists and one is an actress, yet none of them seem to like or know anything about any form of science-fiction or fantasy.  They consistently get Star Wars and Star Trek mixed up, like they're so interchangeable, and despite being roughly the appropriate age for its original TV run, none of them had even seen Buffy.  I find this implausible and just a little insulting, if I'm brutally honest.

I'm not daft.  I realise that this is an important artifice in the show's construction - binary opposites provide tensions and tensions provide both comedy and drama.  It's a big bang-ing together of genders and cultures.  Fanboys against normal girls (although that definition of 'normal' is debatable, perhaps!)  I'm also aware that there have been a couple of fangirl characters on the show, but none of them have stuck around.  It just makes me wonder what is so threatening about fangirls that we can't have them on TV, and have them be intelligent, or at least functioning, adults.  It seems to me that fangirls can only been shown if they're slightly psychopathic or groupies.  Oddly enough, academic work on fan culture frequently highlights the fact that much of it revolves around women, and I don't just mean Twi-hard mums with cheap tattoos of Robert Pattinson on their backs.  Granted, before Big Bang we hadn't had a hit, prime-time show led by geeks at all (no, Urkel doesn't count), so maybe further change will come.

I should also say at this juncture that I'm not really a feminist; just a girl who loves her Star Wars and hates the fact that these kind of misconceptions may mean 'non-fan' women continue to avoid SF and fantasy and therefore miss out on all the fun. 

Having said all this, my favourite episode has got to be the one where the girls try to figure out what is so engrossing about comic books, and end up in a heated argument over who is able to lift Thor's hammer.  

(For the record, out of the [movie] Avengers, only Captain America is worthy.)

No comments:

Post a Comment