Do you think it’s fair to dismiss them entirely as mere “stereotypes” and ignore the way they break the mold? The multiple age range of women — Ellen and Pam — and their functions in the story (as other hunters with their own agendas, not as mere mother figures). The subversion of the fridging trope (Mary being a hunter, who made a deal of her own). Characters that are narrative mirrors (Jo and Dean, as children trying to live up to their parents) versus mere romantic goals. MOTW girls that save themselves. Romance that never factors in as a deciding factor versus an alternate goal.

Dismissing them as “stereotypes” is really, really troublesome in a discussion about varied representation of women in our pop culture.

(can’t really argue with the “less dynamic” charge, as I don’t actually know what you mean by that.)




  • Supernatural: How many strong women have you seen on this show that didn’t fit either of those two stereotypes already mentioned? Again…it doesn’t happen. Most of the comments made by the guys is misogynistic and homophobic.

Can we….can we not? I am so fucking exhausted to see the women of SPN dismissed as mere stereotypes. If you don’t watch the show, fine, I get it, male maiin characters is exhausting, and I absolutely, 100% get not having the energy to give another show with two male, white main characters as leads. Absolutely, 100% understand.

But the women aren’t mere “stereotypes” is to dismiss a whole hell of a lot of interesting things the show has done with women in terms of agency and drive, and I really, really resent to see the erasure of worth of female characters in an attempt to bolster a feminist argument.

Classifying Mary, Jo, Ellen, Pamela, Anna, Ruby, Jodie and more as “mere stereotypes” is really, really fucking big thing to say with absolutely nothing to back it up.

I actually watch Supernatural and the female characters, though interesting, aren’t really dynamic.

The age range is great in women on the show is great.  That I have no problem with.  The functions of Ellen and Pam are great, too. I don’t see Mary as being as impactful, though.  She made a deal to save her boyfriend over her family. And that made me uncomfortable.  While it is a great tool for the story, it makes her seem like she needed John to survive and that makes a strong character seem weak.

I think that’s…an interesting interpretation of what happened with Mary and her deal. I don’t think John has ever been presented as something Mary needed in order to survivor. He represented an escape out of a life she didn’t want, much like Jess did for Sam. The Sam and Mary parallels were actually pretty strong in that episode, and paired with Dean being named after his grandmother, and his mother wanting exactly what Sam wanted (a “normal” life) — the use of a female character as a narrative mirror to a male character, and a female parent as a narrative mirror to a male character (versus the traditional “dad and son” trope) is a pretty significant subversion.

Jo is definitely a lot like Dean, which is a great thing for the story, but a lot of the time she comes off as whiny.  (Of course, Dean comes off as whiny, too.)  She has this tendency to be the whiny, little sister character and that is very demeaning, when she could’ve been more. 

The use of “whiny” to describe a female character for bearing the same traits as a male character (which is either forgiven, or not used to dismiss the character as a whole) feels a little problematic tbh, and I’m not entirely sure how to engage with that. You’ve acknowledged that she shares similar traits with Dean, but in a female character it’s somehow….less desirable?

I’m not entirely sure the point that you’re trying to prove with that, to be honest. We can agree to disagree whether the female characters did or didn’t work for you (personal taste is personal taste, and I absolutely cannot argue against that), that’s entirely fair, I’m mostly speaking to the charge that they’re all “stereotypical” and worthy of dismissal for it, when they are neither stereotypical, neither in their presentation or narrative use within the text.

Actually, I don’t like Dean as much as a lot of the other characters.  (I prefer Jo to him.)  

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.