Redheads Who Could Kill Me: Obvious Kink is Obvious
Author: Amal Nahurriyeh, amalnahurriyeh
, amalnahurriyeh at gmail dot com.
Fandoms: The X-Files; Battlestar Galactica (reboot); Buffy the Vampire Slayer; The West Wing; Doctor Who (new)
Spoilers: Through the entirety of existing canon for all shows (does not include Buffy Season 8 comics)
Written for ladiesbigbang
2010. Thanks to the mods for this exciting challenge! My other meta contribution, On Being a Writer of Woman-Centric Fic, is here
This meta has a compliment fanmix, made by tree
; it can be downloaded at her journal borrowedfable here
. Many, many thanks to tree
for it; it's totally amazing.
Screencaps are from the following sites:
X-Files: X-Files Archive
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who: Caps by Emma-Jane
The West Wing: Oxoniensis Caps
Battlestar Galactica: Frak That
Thanks very much to the dedicated cappers, who make it possible for people like me to be lazy.
All the caps I used, plus many more that didn't make it in (THESE LADIES ARE SO LOVELY I MUST HAVE PICTURES OF THEM) are here
on my Picasa.
You know, I like to think that I'm a fairly complicated person. I study philosophy for a living. I'm always encouraging my students to make more nuanced arguments. I like the media I like because they are complex, and meaningful, and have lots of room for structural poking and prodding, and allow me to make in their medium. I am srs bzns fan, watch me overintellectualize.
Or so I say. It's not like that's a lie
, per se. But. Do you want to know, really, why I get invested in the media I do? I'll let you in on a secret. It's a two-part evaluation:
- Is there a female character on this show who could kill me?
- Does she have red hair?
If the answers to 1 and 2 are yes, I AM SO FUCKING THERE.
Of course, there are other fictional characters I'm attached to; most of them could kill me, but not all. (Some of them are even dudes.) Clearly my fictive kinks aren't entirely ironclad. But, well, I don't think it's a fluke, do you?So, What's Up with the Redheads (Who Could Kill You)?
The connotations we are supposed to have, at least in North America, when we see a redheaded woman seem to rest around the concept of fiestiness. Redheads have attitude, spunk, a particular type of girlish uppityness. They talk back to authority, they argue, they're in your face and brash, just a little bit. In the end, sweet and well-meaning, most likely, but not without a bite.
The problem is that none of the women in this essay are anything like that. What they are is tough, strong, powerful. Sometimes they are silent, sometimes loud. Rarely flustered. And, yes, they do talk back to authority, but not with spunk
, not because they're fiesty, but because they have power, authority, strength. That's what draws me to them initially: the intense strength they hold within themselves, and exercise with both care and determination. These are women who are impressive
, both in their accomplishments (major politicians! officers of the law! savers of the world!) and in that they make an impression on you when you encounter them. No one could ever forget these women. They take up space. The hair, here, becomes a visual representation of this strength and power. You can see a redhead from across the room; she never fails to be visible. Even if they are more serious, in many cases, than this notion of the fiesty redhead, they carry that set of associations with them intimately.
But their strength is intimately intertwined with violence. Of the five women in this meta, four directly wield deadly force, and the fifth eventually helps to manage the largest military in human history. Each has some ambivalence towards this power, but reassures herself that she deploys it in the interest of what is right or good. If they kill you, it's because you deserve it, at least a little. Here would be an interesting place to point out that I am, myself, a Quaker and a religious pacifist. Nevertheless, I am deeply compelled by characters (both male and female) who do things that I find patently immoral, such as killing people, but have an intricate and well-reinforced moral code for doing it: those who demand good reasons for killing, but are perfectly willing to do the killing if they are convinced. All of these characters fall into this category. None of them kill for fun, or because they're told to do so. They exercise the violence they control only when they feel they have a pressing reason to do so.Dana Scully( Lots of significant things happened between the Pilot and Deep Throat. )Laura Roslin( Airlock. A. Baby. )Willow Rosenberg( Oh, Willow. You start off so innocent... )Claudia Jean Craigg( You have to respect the Jackal. )Donna Noble( I just want to travel forever and ever. )In Conclusion
I love these women.
I love them for being a subversion of the idea of "the redhead." I love them for being something more than just the "strong woman," the "fierce badass," but for being intricate and complex characters who are undeniably both strong and powerful without becoming caracatures. I love the idea of them sitting together in some great fictional hair salon--Donna and Amy swapping TARDIS stories under the dryers, CJ and Roslin running out of the room every ten minutes, curlers still in, to take phone calls, Scully silently judging everyone else in the room from behind her copy of Cosmo. I love that there are characters out there who helped me create this kink, obviously enough; I love that it keeps getting fed.
I love their hair.
Have I mentioned that?