Friday, September 23, 2011

Lost Girl Season One, Episode Ten: The Mourning After

A young woman meets a man and decides to take him home. Once there they have sex, but when she awakes he is gone.  She runs herself a bath and then sits and writes words like whore, slut, skank repeatedly over the wall, before grabbing a blow dryer and bringing it with her into the tub, thus committing suicide.

Rather than doing a straight up blow by blow of this episode, I thought that we would talk about sexism and patriarchy, which were essentially the themes.  Let's begin with consent. Lauren and Bo slept together finally, but unfortunately it was at the behest of The Ashe. For Bo, this is sex by deception and absolutely negates her right to consent to sexual activity.  Lauren countered by suggesting that since they would have eventually slept together anyway that consent is a mute point.  This is one case in which Bo is absolutely right.  This was sex by deception and some may even go as far as to rape by deception because Bo most certainly would not have consented had she known that Lauren was there at the behest of The Ashe.

Albaster cause massive guilt over any kind of sexual behaviour, leading to shame spirals, eating disorders, and suicide.  They largely target women. According to Saskia, they are the exact opposite of succubi who feed off sexual pleasure. Both succubi and inccubi are capable of feeding off of the opposite sex, as well as the same sex, and therefore they the alabster are not the polar opposite of them. What they are is a paranormal group that is misogynistic to its core. For them to be the opposite of Succbi and Inccubi, they would have to feed off of men and women equally.  Of course this follows the whole he's a stud, she's a slut routine we have going in the real world.  As much as we are supposedly post feminist and liberal, it is commonplace to slut shame women for their sexual behaviour, while men are congratulated.

After Bo's first attempt to feed off of Bertram fails, he says to her, "You see when I am done with you, you're going to take a little nap and you're going to wake up knowing what a dirty worthless slattern you really are and know you don't deserve to live."  About his previous victims Betram says, "None of those bitches were innocent. Every single one of them gave into desires of the flesh at one point in time." His language and behaviour absolutely are reflective and oppression and violence women face everyday.  

Saskia bursts into the room and saves Bo (we all know that super empowered Bo cannot save herself) and she tells Bertram that unfortunately for him that she is shameless.  After tying up Bertram, Bo says, "face it Mr.prude you are just as horny as the others, it's just that judging others is the only thing that gets you off." The moment that Bo leaves the room to tell Dyson, Saskia takes all of his energy, killing him. Saski tells her that Dyson will do nothing and that the dark fae could five a damn about the death of humans.  She further goes on to say that she did what she did to protect Bo; however, Bo sees this as murder because he was tied to a chair.

Bertrams entire existence was based on shaming women because our sexuality is harmful and by killing him, Saskia proved exactly that and in that moment, all of the effort that went into constructing him as bad was erased. It was also troubling that when Bertram seemed resistant to Bo's charms she asked him, what's the matter, don't like girls.  It couldn't be that he didn't want her because White women are the most desirable women right?  All Black men just crave that White female flesh.  I am sure she felt within her rights to insinuate that he was gay, which btw is also homophobic as hell because she did so only as a way to emasculate him.

Bo is supposedly the strong female protagonist and yet she is continually saved by her one true love interest Dyson.  He looks deeply into her eyes and tells her that he will make it all go away. Bo embraces him and says I wish you could then quickly pushes him away.  Even when Dyson is not actively saving her, Bo is wishes that he could.  Are we ever going to see a moment of self-reliance from this so-called strong female hero?

If that were not enough, for the past several episodes, Bo has been treating Kenzi as little more than a servant.  In the middle of a conversation between Kenzi and Trick, Bo cuts her off and drags out of the bar because she wants Kenzi to accompany her. Even when Kenzi persists that she wants to speak to Trick Bo keeps dragging her along.  This negative treatment has Kenzi to seek affirmation from a man.  Yes, once again the women in Lost Girl, need to find a man to make them feel empowered.

When Bo finds a new shiny BFF, she is quick to discard Kenzi as though she's refuse.  Instead of sticking my Kenzi's side she puts her faith in someone unproven because apparently women are just that disposable. While Bo is busy making friends, Kenzi helps Trick keep the bar and is smart enough to tell him that she knows there is more to him than meets the eye.  When Bo and Kenzi finally sit down together, Bo promises to listen to all of Kenzi's experiences and then promptly turns her head to think about Saskia instead.

Dear writers, can we just stop the hole yaya sisterhood routine because Bo cannot even spare five minutes for Kenzi and has proven time and time again that she does not value her.  Bo's priorities in life are her first and Dyson second, leaving little room for the so-called female solidarity that we are supposed to see between Bo and Kenzi. 

Much of what passes for female agency and empowerment in the urban fantasy genre is quite a bit like this episode.  Simulacrum - is the only word that is apropos to define the genres treatment of the so-called modern emancipated woman.  Heaven save us from such an unclearly defined freedom that it mirrors that which we have already labeled as oppression.