I've been frustrated for about a day after a conversation I had with a gal friend at lunch yesterday.
The topic stemmed from the idea that some men aren't interested in watching a show that stars mostly women (such as "Girls" or "Orange is the New Black") because they couldn't relate to the female characters. The conversation included us talking about how the male viewers must not feel represented and therefore find it hard to find a reason to be interested in it. Then we discussed the last time either of us had felt actually "represented" -or could relate to someone- in a movie or show we liked. Both of us came up with examples that were male characters. When I pointed this out, my friend said "Yeah, but it's because we have no choice."
While I knew this was already true before hand, it made me that much more frustrated. Women don't get the luxury of having so many mainstream-audience movies, where we are represented and/or well written and powerful, that we can just shrug new ones off. In fact, when one or two are finally made, we throw a freaking party because it's so rare. Nearly every movie or show on TV that's for a mainstream audience (meaning not a special interest group like "just women," "just men," but for ALL people) stars mostly men, and if we get a lady in there somewhere, we should be happy about them throwing us a bone.
We are expected, as women, to be ok with most main characters being male. We are expected, as women, to relate to these male characters with no question. But ask a man to do the same for a female character? Forget it. There are so many other choices out there for a man to watch where guys, just like him, do cool stuff. Why would he want to see a show of all women he has never had to try to relate to? He might have to step outside of himself and see a female perspective YET learn he can STILL relate to these characters, but when you don't HAVE to do that... Why go to the trouble?
How about because we ladies do it all the time, because we have to. And men who refuse to step outside of their comfort zones in this way are the reason why more awesome female driven shows don't exist. And what's really upsetting there is most guys who are like this don't care that those shows aren't getting made bc it doesn't affect them. So the power to see this situation change is in the hands of the people who don't care if it ever does. This is why I am so frustrated.
I am not claiming to be uncovering something new here. It's something tons of people already have written much more eloquent pieces about. This is just my personal frustration right now.
I am not saying male characters are bad and I can't relate to them. Quite the opposite! But female characters can be just as relatable and great for both genders, too, if given the chance, but they hardly ever are.