Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

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


I never saw Jamie’s actions as being submissive, weaker, or “less masculine” in this episode, and I don’t think I agree that Jamie has to be weak for Claire to be strong–there’s no quid pro quo here, or inequality. A man doesn’t lose his masculinity when he allows himself to be emotionally vulnerable, no more than a woman loses her femininity if she is emotionally strong and confident. And swearing fealty is nothing close to being submissive, at least from where I sit. For Jamie, and the rest of the clan for that matter, swearing fealty is the ultimate unbreakable promise. I do think that that moment in the ep was portrayed as a bit awkward, which might be deliberate, so the audience can see him grasping at straws somewhat to convince Claire that he will not hit her again. I have always seen Young Jamie as a open, sweet, wears-his-heart-on-his sleeve kind of guy, in a culture that is very tolerant of wide swings of emotion in both genders, so his emotional breakdown in the grove was to me a release of all that fear and anger that he pent up since the moment Claire went missing. Not some kind of emasculating embarrassing moment of weakness. I found it perfectly believable for the character, and definitely did not diminish his strength as a man. I’m not sure I like the Jamie POV for different reasons, though. While it is very interesting to see Claire from that POV, what drew me to the books was her unflinching strength of character and take-no-prisoners attitude. If you think of her in the context of her own time, she is a lot of Katherine Hepburn goes to war. The 30s and 40s were huge for female empowerment, especially during the war when so many women were able to get jobs once only given to me, and were able to prove to themselves that they WERE strong and powerful and could do things they never thought they could do. It wasn’t until the late 40s when they were all sent packing home to have babies so the boys could have their jobs back that that 50s housewife stereotype was born. But Claire is still in that “I can do anything, and I HAVE” phase.