Monday, July 20, 2009

Media Trend: Tough Women Who Triumph

"Getting By With Brassiness" was the headline of the story in my local News and Observer yesterday.

It pointed out a change that I'm surprised I haven't noticed: the string of new female lead characters who are gutsy and tough, yet still star. They're not fallen women, or drugged-out, or whores with hearts of whatever. They're clear-eyed and outspoken, see the emperor's new clothes, and yet they don't get punished for it. They're attractive women.

Edie Falco as Jackie is one. I always thought she was sturdy and attractive as Carmella Soprano; I even named my 1992 flower-painted gotta-keep-on-ticking automobile Car-mella Camry.

But as Nurse Jackie, Mon Dieu! What a force! And yet still feminine and a healer.

This is delightful progress, both on TV and in books: "The new breed of brash, audacious woman has pushed into literature as well. Lisbeth Salander, heroine of the best-selling mystery novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, is 'prickly and irksome' but somehow still alluring: 'She was like a nagging itch, repellent and at the same time tempting,' the narrator notes in the book by the late Stieg Larsson, published last month in paperback by Vintage."

Not that I wish to be a nettlesome person myself. Or brusque or brassy or even no-nonsense.

But I like the fact that I have that choice, and that the freedom doesn't have to come at such a devastating cost as one's femininity or a happy ending.

Here's to Julia Keller of The Chicago Tribune who noticed and wrote the syndicated article.

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