Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We are men (Day 90 KEDfaY)

A cowl I started with my handspun, whoo!

I watch a lot of TV. I might not let on about how much TV I watch, but pretty much when I am knitting, I am also watching something. That's just how it is. I don't see a point in not multitasking when I can easily multitask and it's almost as if knitting and TV watching were meant to be paired together.

So the new season has started up and I'm watching pilots for new shows along with season premieres of shows I already enjoy. The Mindy Project always makes me laugh, Bob's Burgers is always good too (Louise is my spirit animal), I'm glad that How I Met Your Mother is finally wrapping up. I've also enjoyed some new shows like the Goldbergs and Mom. Today, I watched the pilot for We Are Men. I've already seen some people grumble about this show, exclaiming that we don't need another show to tell us the troubles and woes of men because it's just SO HARD to be a man. I'm a large proponent of gender equality, don't get me wrong, but We Are Men wouldn't work if the gender roles were reversed. My brother brought up a good point one day when we were discussing something, I think possibly about Elementary and the gender swapped Watson (if you want to know more of my feelings about that, take a look at Elementary Schooled where we talked all about Elementary this week!). I'm sure my brother had seen this somewhere online but the best question to ask about a character and their actions possibly being sexist or problematic is to ask if it would be okay if the sexes were reversed. 

We Are Men wouldn't work as a TV show if the roles were reversed. If the show about a young woman who had been left at the altar and then went to live with stereotypical "man eater" type women but pines for her ex who is emotionally abusing her the whole time, you would have a TV show fit for Lifetime, not network television and it probably wouldn't be a TV show but a bad made for TV movie complete with makeover montage. The show is problematic. It portrays a lot of people in various stereotypes but I don't think it's another show about men that is mansplaining (a word that I tend to vomit when I say but seems grossly appropriate here) about how their lives are so hard as divorced men. But again, if the show were completely gender swapped, we would be watching a show about an emotionally abused woman trying to go back to her abuser while her sexually promiscuous friends try to stop her and show her the error of her ways. So why can't we look at it as a show about emotional abuse without the hassle of gender swapping? If countless daytime talk shows have shown me anything, it's that men can be abused too and emotional abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender. I've seen it happen to countless people, not just women. 

So while the show is problematic for multiple reasons, I think that we need to look past the sexualized stereotypes for a few minutes and look at the bigger problem of saying that emotional abuse is okay and can be used for comedic purposes. The nagging wife/girlfriend isn't just a nagging wife/girlfriend if she's forcing you to give up a job opportunity that you're interested in or forcing you to stop speaking to your friends. That's an abusive relationship and we should have all learned by now that that's not healthy. 

Don't be these guys.
So that's my rant for today. At the end of it, We Are Men wasn't so bad that I won't give next week's episode a shot. It has potential even if the concept is a little stale.

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