I found a really thoughtful and well written piece on the good woman versus bad woman because of their sexual choice dichotomy. Check out this article by The Mary Sue, Sports Writer Speaks Against Objectification of Women By…Comparing Them to Hookers. Teresa Jusino, the author, makes several good points. It’s worth the five minute read.
You can’t talk about women’s worth while simultaneously judging which “types” of women “deserve” respect over others. If you think women deserve respect as human beings, then you don’t get to divide them up into “good” women and “bad” women because of what they choose to do with their bodies, sexually or otherwise.
This. The virgin vs sex worker dichotomy. The idea that a woman is good or bad depending on what she chooses to do with her body for sex.
I see this so often in movies, television, and a lot of the urban fantasy novels that I read. Judgement of a woman’s worth based on her desire to have or not have the sex (especially as it pertains to the male main protagonist). The ones having the sex in a manner not condoned by their society dying, just so the writers can get rid of the problem woman, the bad woman. ::coughfireflyheartofgoldcough:: I love me some Firefly, but a nice breaking of trope would have been Nandi in Heart of Gold still living and sexing people even when Mal left . She is not a problem woman, or a bad woman, just because she had sex with the main character who we all shipped with another character. No, Nandi’s worth should have been tied to her ability to lead women, take care of the employees in her charge, and create a safe haven on a rough planet. In those things she was capable and it would have been nice if she had been left alive to continue to do that.
When I find real female agency, a woman choosing to do what she wants for herself, and her worth dependent on her capabilities to lead, to fight, to care for others, her value is seen as what she does as a person and not in bed, then I rejoice. If she has female friends she does not cat fight with, but supports and who support her, my heart does a triple patter and my breath catches in aw. If the woman herself does not judge her worth by her sexual choices, but her ability to be the best person she can be in the situation she has been thrown into with the problems she suffers from her past, OMG, it is a miracle. Thankfully, these types of novels, shows, and movies do exist and they point the way for those still struggling to catch up. (If you haven’t already, read my Top Ten Reasons to Watch Dark Matter to learn about one show that does it right.)
Hopefully a trend of female agency and worth based on competency in responsibilities will continue to be a growing trend in the years to come. I am grateful to find that I do come across it more often, if not as much as I would like.