Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

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


Ok this discussion is everything I dreamt of. I want to think of a strong female lead as a woman who meets all the requirements on that list, but I think oftentimes it’s more two-dimensional.
While I think that saying anyone can be anything is the ideal we are all working towards, the truth remains that certain qualities do carry genders in our (assuming western) society, and those aren’t reinforced by the individual but by society.
Story time: So I took a gender class as part of my major and I remember this one story of a sociologist who made a commitment to socialize her male son gender-neutral. He wanted a doll, fine, he owned pink things, he was never told to do or not do something because of gender. It was all good. She told the story of his 1st day of kindergarten. He wore a superhero t-shirt and a barrette in his hair. When he got to school, all the little boys surrounded him and said “Um, what’s with the barrette, those are for girls.” The little boy, well trained by his mother said, “I am a boy no matter what even if I wear a barrette because I have a peepee.” So as mom heard it, one little boy paused and looked at her son and exclaimed, “Man, EVERYBODY HAS A PEEPEE, but only GIRLS wear barrettes!”

Welcome to the world, idealists. 🙂
So this is the kind of thing I keep in mind when I think about how the world should be rather than is, because in the meantime we still have to deal with the now.

I think that list is a great start.