As always, I've been thinking about women in this show; it's sort of a curse. As I mentioned in my last blog, I've tolerated a much higher level of women being shit upon than I usually would, due to the fact that I don't feel this show is presenting any sort of ideal reality on any level. But, I'll never put it out of mind completely. Here are some things I have been noticing in regards to females and The Wire:
-*-Kima is obviously a really strong female character. She doesn't take anyone's shit. My only problem really is that her strength comes from her ability to "be one of the boys." However, I realize a group effort to value nurturing as much as strength within the BPD is not going to happen. More importantly than her strength though, from a feminist viewpoint, is that she generally has the total respect of the men she works with, which is really impressive for a television show. I sort of feel like her lesbianism is a cop-out, a way to make her less female within the show. (Although I like the way she and her girlfriend are portrayed, if I may digress into how gay people are treated), and that it send the idea "strong women are less feminine (lesbians)." She straddles the line between bulldyke lesbian and "hot" lesbian in place for male viewers. Her and her partner are real and do not conform toooo much to stereotype.
-*-One would think that police (good guys) would have a healthier view of women than drug dealers (bad guys) but like every other good/bad aspect of a person, there seems to be an equal amounts of good and evil on both sides here. D'Angelo is pestered about why he didn't fuck a bitch if he was gonna kill her anyway. Officer Herc says if a female officer complained to him about sexual harassment, he would "slap her parter for dipping into [his] stash, take missy home and fuck her 'till she smiles." In both instances, these things are met with either a look or a comment of disapproval from male peers. Probably not the level of disapproval warranted, but I'm looking for the silver lining in rape glorification, a tough lining to see indeed.
-*-The amount that a woman or the concept of women is referred to as "pussy" on the drug side is almost ridiculous. I'm glad to know that I can be reduced to a vulgar euphemism for my genitals--apparently the only useful part of me.
-*-I was almost excited about the judges seemingly high opinion of Rhonda Pearlman, only to find out moments later how attracted he is to her. This of course does not directly negate what he said to her about her professionalism and competence, but as far as I have seen, Kima is the only main female character who has garnered respect from men without them obviously wanting to sleep with her. The flip side of this is that Rhonda Pearlman is not a young super model and she's viewed as sexy anyway--the case with several women in the show.
-*-Actually, Kima is one of few main female characters period. I get that this is supposed to be real and that there simply aren't many female homicide officers or many female drug dealers, but clearly women are sometimes crucial in a plot (in real life, I like to think it's half the time). I feel like some of the women that were instrumental but remained secondary or even tertiary characters could have had more focus on them. In general, I've found if a show actually has 50% (like real life...) female lead characters, it's perceived as a show for women. Shows with mostly male characters are for everyone. Obviously, in the Wire, the vast majority of the leads are male, so that's not a strong point as far as gender equality goes.
Overall, I've intentionally overlooked dozens of utterances of "bitch," "fuck her," "pussy" and various other ubiquitous reminders that this is a man's world to save my sanity. I also spared you from the gangsters' insults about Omar's sexuality and what that implies for women. This IS a man's world, more than most shows, I think, but it has a few progressive notes and I'm taking into account the reality vs. pretend ideal in all of this.
PS. So you don't all think I'm humorless or some worse fate, I must make it known that the scene where Bunk is trying to determine whether he smells like pussy and has burned his clothes in fear of it is hilarious.