I’m Just Here. Trying to Not Lose My Mind.

Like most Americans, I’ve spent the better part of the last 16 months of this pandemic developing new hobbies. Mine has been getting angry at everyone online. Maybe that’s not really a new hobby but it sure is time consuming. As an aging American woman, there’s a seemingly endless supply of things to get angry over. Questions such as “why do I keep making less money the longer I work” and “why does some fat old lady keep showing up in my selfies?” come with answers that really piss me off. There’s the ever-looming undoing of Roe v. Wade all over the country and frankly I’m still fucking gob smacked that Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t in her second term and why the hell do I have to roll the dice with online shopping only to get SHIT clothing made in sweatshops when I would like to go to a REAL STORE AND TRY THINGS ON BUT THEN AGAIN WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT?!

Besides the usual lady gripes, I have had problems getting staff for my adult daughter with autism because who wants to take care of a person who, due to their sensory processing disorder, often presents as  “asymptomatic” for all kinds of infections and illnesses during a global pandemic?  As much as I would love to exercise away the stress, my arthritic knee with the torn meniscus ensures that I pay dearly for any undue pressure put on my feet. If there is an exercise that I can do entirely on one leg, I’ve not found it yet.

All this to say, I’m stressed. So when the following cute little question popped up in an online writer’s group, I stupidly answered it and followed the responses,

This question is for the women in this group. What kind of unrealistic tropes are you sick of seeing on film and television?

Why did I follow this? It’s because I’m a dumb, stupid girl, that’s why!  Here is a sample of a responses from self-identified males!

I’m a man, but “even as a man,” I’m tired of seeing the uber-bitch take-no-names woman in power. Talk about sexist stereotyping.

First of all you’re not “even as a man”, you ARE a man. Maybe. It’s the internet. Who knows? This particular example is neither sexist nor truly a stereotype. I mean, this “man” is bad at sexism. I can see how you think it may be because men see any woman who is decisive and powerful as an “uber- bitch”, aka any decisive woman.

Let’s take a look at another dollop of dumb, shall we?

do you mean like… If a woman is a boss in a movie, she HAS to be coded as like a “ball breaker” instead of just a smart savvy business person?

Why do men always bring their genitalia into everything? You don’t hear us talking about our ovaries all the time and look at what they do to us (men: please google menstrual cycle)

Here’s a whopper:

I am working on scripts where the full-figured woman is a main character. Super smart and a model. The films are faith based and you see her pray a few times.

A “smart”  AND a “plus sized model”!?!?Is the film set on Venus, too? 

Here’s another gem. 

It would be helpful and interesting if people gave three or more movie examples with each trope.

In other words, Ladies follow directions and help us. Sincerely, the men. 

Why not another Funtime fantasy wish for a Mr.Screenscripter? 

Just once I’d like to see a female character who is confident at embracing her womanhood and enjoys being feminine but is still intelligent, sexy, and internally strong. I’d like to see her defeat the chauvinistic, headstrong, xenophobic male by just being a sweet, feminine woman who he underestimates because she doesn’t conform to the man’s world and won’t become like a man to get ahead.

Excuse me, sir.  I think you were talking about Finding Dori. That was about a fish. But you’re right…wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to conform to a man’s world to get ahead?  How about collaboration, balance and diplomacy? All the things that every PTA president (even the decisive, excuse me, UBER BITCHY ones) exhibit. That world would be better for everyone. 

Here’s a hypothetical meant to make you go hmmm

What do you do when you avoid all the tropes and people then say you’re not writing characters accurately? Like if you avoid all the stereotypical black women tropes, but you end up making a white man with a woman’s name?

Hmmmmmm… I have no words.

This one is long but still dumb:

I was mostly thinking of the people who ask how to write XYZ type of character, followed by responses from people in those groups that usually include what I know mostly as stereotypes. How do you have accurate representation when part of that representation comes off as a stereotype? For example, you say that getting married isn’t every woman’s dream, but the woman who doesn’t want to get married is just another trope (one that is very common now). By avoiding one trope, you use another.

Humans…they are so crazy!  Some people feel one way, some another. Sometimes people can feel one way and then feel another. How do we survive?

Then there’s the man who worries about tokens:

Ultimately I’m generally against a character representing a group because that’s how you get tokens. I want to write characters as individuals

Ahh, yes, the individual who is beyond race, class, and gender. You know, that, umm, whatever individual. 

Because this was a post about women and for women, the mansplaining was to be expected, but this, this was something. . 

In response to a (few) women talking about how they were sick of the “women owning a bakery” trope one observant “man” noted that he knew “a few female bakers.” Good for him! 

I know a few female bakers.

There’s always one, then  there is always guy:

I used to work in Food Service. The reality that it is a male dominated profession is staggering. Even though the woman who do make it in this world are driven, talented and bring a level of professionalism and integrity to a too often frat house atmosphere in back of the house. Not if you say women baking from home or cooking I after (sic)completely. Also, for a while we had the wedding cake decorating woman trope completely played out. Baking professionally is damn hard. You have little social life; your world starts and ends when everyone else is asleep. No holiday, no time with family.

Dude…reread this and think about why you wrote it because I think you were offended that someone thought baking, a job you did, was women’s work.  For the record, BAKER is included in USA Today’s list of 10 female dominated professions.  I get how you could think being a baker is a male dominated field since almost every profession on the planet is male dominated. Maybe it’s the $25,000. salary that turns off men or maybe because it’s so damn hard. (full disclosure I know baking is hard, it’s all the math!) 

Here’s a response posted by a man when a woman stated that she hadn’t read a man described as “firey”…

Bernie all the time, except for mitten photo…

Indeed, a Bernie bro. No wonder Hilary lost. 

Lemon, out!

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