Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Reply To: On the TV portrayal of the "Strong Woman"


[quote quote=6751]And I don’t mean that traditionally masculine-gendered traits in women aren’t a valuable thing. I don’t denigrate them. One of my grandmothers was incredibly taciturn and quick to anger and plainspoken, and she was a go-getter, and she struggled because she married in the 50s in South America where her behavior was seen as not desirable. Then my mother, her daughter, is prim and ladylike and delicate and all things traditionally feminine, and while I love her, I have looked to find a better balance in my life because I think you lose something if you can’t access all those things.


I’ve not read the Game of Thrones books, i’ll get around to it eventually. I’ve watched the first 3 seasons, and this post made me think of Brienne of Tarth. Gwendoline Christie, the actress that plays Brienne, is 6ft 3inches tall (just like me). I was super excited when she was cast to play in GOT, but then I realized that the tall woman was being typecast as the masculine ass kicking character, “All my life men like you’ve sneered at me, and all my life I’ve been knocking men like you into the dust.” ―Brienne to Jaime Lannister[src]. Everything about that quote reminded me of the game of pretend I spent my teenage and early adult years play acting at. Being freakishly tall, and I quote “the tallest woman to go through my counties school system in over 60 years” they actually checked, I was typecast as sporty/strong/masculine. I was never allowed to be anything but these, despite the pressure from my family to be the opposite-dainty/feminine/quiet. My point in sharing this is that so often in the conversation about “strong” female characters, physical strength and size come into play. Take Chyna the wrestler, and Xena Warrior Princess, these were the strong characters that I could identify with. The focus was never on their emotional sensitivity, or their academic ability, but how fast they could outfight a person, because I was taught by social conditioning that those were my only options. I would love to see the female romantic lead be taller/stronger than the male lead in a mainstream movie/tv show. I would love to see well rounded female characters that match my demographic. It feels awfully lonely to never see me on the screen, without having a sword in their hand. This is why I love Brianna Randall/Fraser/Mac, she’s a chance for me to see the physical/emotional strength and the vulnerability.

This turned into a personal rant about a sensitive subject for me, and I apologize. I needed to get that out. 🙂

Prompted by this: http://celticglamazon.tumblr.com/post/110144476027/imagine-i-used-to-have-really-long-blonde-hair