Confessions of a failed feminist
I enjoy Two and a Half Men. Does this make me a failed feminist?
Feminists make a great deal of noise when it concerns America’s #1 hit sitcom. Charlie is labelled as misogynist and sexist under a thin veneer of “comedy”.
I understand people’s concern with its 7pm timeslot, but what I don’t understand is why people are so angry. Especially women.
I think the show is taken way too seriously and if you don’t like it - well, you can just switch it off. Simple.
There has to be a reason why it’s so successful and that reason is its humour.
That, and Jake. Without Alan’s son there just wouldn’t be a show. He has me in fits almost every evening.
Humour is infectious - even dark, sometimes inappropriate humour. We laugh because it’s daring to shine a light into the way the male mind works - something women, myself included, are often perplexed about.
As Charlie’s character depicts, men think about sex. A lot. Is this so bad? Aren’t the women in the show just as free to express their sexuality as Charlie is?
Why do those opposed to the show claim that the women Charlie beds are merely needy, vapid individuals? Perhaps they are just looking for a bit of fun - no strings attached.
The thing that confuses me the most about haters of the show is their unwillingness to see the strong female characters that dominate it. Charlie’s sharp-tongued housekeeper, Berta, is notoriously funny and is tough as nails. Charlie would never mess with her and Berta frequently reminds him that he may be her boss, but she’s the woman of the house.
Charlie and Alan’s mother, Evelyn, is also a no nonsense kind of woman. She engages in plenty of risky behaviour and is a strong female voice for the show.
Then we have Rose, Charlie’s neighbour and stalker - although she is rather quirky, her character is just as complex as Charlie’s. She may have an obsession for Charlie, but the darkness of her character is far more intricate.
The fact is that men are just as confused as women are when it comes to the opposite sex. Charlie tries to work out Rose’s pattern of behaviour, but she’s just as aloof as he is.
Rose is unpredictable and this is one of the things I love about the way she is written. Just when you think you’ve worked her out she changes direction. Much like the everyday woman, really.
The critics are right when they say Two and a Half Men is based on gender. What I don’t agree with is that the show represents women as objects of sexual pleasure for the main character.
Why does a man engaging in casual sex immediately cast a shadow over the woman? Why isn’t it the man who is primarily judged? Perhaps it is that we expect a man to behave this way, but are shocked when a woman acts the same.
Didn’t we distance ourselves from this years ago with Carrie and her New York ladies having sex like men? Isn’t it a bit ho-hum to continue to ridicule or make women appear like victims when it comes to expressing their sexuality?
Surely we’ve all grown up in the past ten years. If a man enjoys casual sex with a woman it is nothing more than another notch on his belt. But, if a woman has a fleeting affair with a man she is being used, objectified or is labelled a victim.
So, I wonder: Have I failed as a feminist for not joining the haters of this show? As a woman I feel that I am expected to be filled with rage about the sitcom, but I’m not.
The real problem stems from the real life Charlie Sheen, and his alter ego, which aren’t so dissimilar anymore.
There seems to be a growing trend of viewers and critics that are unable to disassociate Charlie Sheen from Charlie Harper. Perhaps this is fuelled by the casting of Charlie Sheen using his own name.
Has Sheen become the womaniser he plays every night on TV? Yes. He is the highest paid actor on the small screen right now; surely you’d expect some ego.
I won’t pretend that his real life antics are to be made light of, they speak for themselves, but I do think the TV series is good value - you just need to stop trying to make it something it’s not.
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