Should I start a Shitlist?

I’ve been thinking about starting a list on site of producers and writers who have committed particularly grievous offenses against female characters. Stick a link to it in the margin, and you guys would be able to suggest new additions in the comment field. Does this sound like fun?

I’m just getting fed up. The more I look around, the worse it seems to get. It’s subtle, but that makes it even worse, because that means it’s so ingrained in the culture, and we’re so inured to it that we’re not even aware of it anymore.

And I’m not talking about producers who fail to make their central characters women, or anything so petty. I’m talking about producers who might as well be deliberately deconstructing women to make the point that women can’t function without men. That attitude exists in our society, and it doesn’t need any reinforcement.

Let me know if you think this would be cool.


  1. says

    I dont know about a list of writers/producers per se, being outside of the US it probably wouldnt mean much to me… perhaps a list of some of the worst offending programs/characters or TV series would be more tangibile? [This is the point where you tell me you have a list like that and I conceed that I’m blind]

    I mean the only decent show out there was Ab Fab and even CJ on the West Wing was fretting about her clothes come season two.

    I think SeaQuest DSV season two contained probably one of the worst representations of female characters – but for the life of me I cant remember her name >.

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    I don’t already have a list like that, and it’s a good idea. And the list could contain the names of particularly offensive producers or writers, along with the more “tangible” details.

    Sorry it cut off your comment. I think it was because of the funny little character at the end, right before the period. That’s an HTML code character, so it could have confused the comment form, so to speak. :) If you still have the rest of your comment, I can edit it in there.

  3. Raeka says

    A shitlist could be useful in knowing what movies/TV shows to avoid –but one thing I’d like to see even more is a WinList. There are a ton of reviews on here, but it’s a bit time-consuming to shift through them all, looking for something decent to read/watch 😛

    …unless such a thing already exists, and I just haven’t noticed it?

  4. Maria V. says

    I think both could be great, especially since we could then link to the appropriate Hathor entry. It’d be a running index.

  5. says

    We could set up pages like that, except, there’s no firm agreement as to what shows are good/suck, and it’s not a quantifiable measure. In fact, there are a few shows I’d be tempted to put on both lists – Buffy, Stargate, to name two.

    Maybe a couple of pages listing shows with staff notes on why we put them on one list or the other, or both. Or maybe one list with ratings of shows from 1-5 or something? It’s worth talking about behind the scenes, for sure.

  6. Ray says

    I like the idea of a list of shows, etc. with ratings and a brief explanation. Perhaps also a link to a page for each where various people could rate, since I’m sure we have disagreements. But I for one would appreciate a list of movies I can watch without cringing constantly.

  7. says

    Er, um. Do *you* know how to code something like that, because I sure can’t.

    I’m willing to do what people want, to the extent I know how, but you should understand I am totally self-taught on the webmastery thing and it took me 5 years to figure out how to build a drop down menu like the one you see at the top of the site now.

    I also remain concerned about the idea that it’s remotely possible for one person to tell another what they can watch without cringing. I don’t really like the idea of “recommending” stuff because… okay, imagine a movie in which there’s a really good white female character who’s totally what we’re looking for. But then there are men of color in it with ghastly stereotyped roles. Do you “recommend” something that contains terribly stereotyped men of color because it also contains an interesting female character? I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that. Additionally, no matter how good a show or movie is, it’s extremely rare to find not even a token white male lead, since that’s the formula. Do we praise these shows when they also contain women who don’t suck?

    That’s why I have always avoided “recommending” stuff.

    One final note: lately, I’ve been thinking I’m very, very tired of saying good things about shows that follow the formula of “Mr. Honky Saves the World with his little friends” just because the “friends” contain a woman or two who’s not a vapid fool or who has conversations with other named women about something other than men. It’s not good enough. I want to reserve “recommendation” for stuff like Cagney & Lacey, that really breaks the mold.

    So, I recommend C&L, and Xena, and um… that’s it! Night, folks!

  8. Raeka says

    One thing we could do is have each movie/book/whatever have several…categories?… attached to it, that could be rated as good/bad. So, for example a movie that has a strong female lead, but the characters of color are stereotyped would have a positive note in the ‘Feminism’ category, and a negative one in the ‘Racism’ category.

    I mean, there’ll have to be a ton of nitpicking to narrow down categories, etc, but I was also thinking that that’s what the brief explanation would be for: to say ‘this is why I liked the show. This was not so great about it, but overall I felt it was worth it.’

    Ummm…I’m not even sure what shape or form this Recommendation list is taking at the moment, so I couldn’t say whether I know how to code it or not. Even so, I’m hesitant about offering what little I do know, since I’m generally terrible about getting things out on any sort of reasonable time schedule, unless my grades depend on it.

    I’ll keep watching the thread, though.

  9. Ray says

    Ah, I see your point Jennifer… (and no I don’t know how to code that. At all.)

    Raeka, I like your idea! My only fear (which applies to my earlier post as well) is that a point system sort of thing would replace the in depth writing that we have here now, which frequently does address the same breakdowns. We need to be able to address, through one way or another, the complexity of the art that we discuss, and how even a single aspect of it can be both maddening and attractive.

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