Monday, October 7, 2013

women/men creators

Not that I would want to make a hard-and-fast rule about it or get into some effete bout of fisticuffs over it, but I wonder if, based on presentation, a distinction could be found between fictional creations of women and those by men.

Caroline Proust/Capt. Berthaud
I have been watching with something akin to addiction the French TV serial "Spiral." The characters are credible both in their strengths and weaknesses. Infrequently does the police-procedural story line leap conveniently beyond the substance ... doing so in some hurry-up effort to wrap up an episode before the allotted time is reached.

The central -- or one of the central -- characters is a woman police-captain. She is one of those wan, wounded and intense women who have become something of a staple among better police dramas. As it is hard not to credit or like or hate the other characters, so she is likeable and credible, if a bit opaque. I wonder sometimes if the author is reluctant to deconstruct Captain Berthaud for the audience, as if Berthaud's persona were too close to home for the creator ... whom I imagine to be a woman.

One of the very small aspects of "Spiral" that I appreciate is the treatment of sexual intercourse. The treatment is direct -- it happens, it's human and it is exercised out of a variety of human needs. It is part of the human story. It is A Human Possibility rather than, as too often in the prurient United States, The Human Possibility. Is that a woman's touch or is it the fact that Europeans are generally less twisted on the topic?

On a similar frequency, when they're any good, I seem to prefer women comedians to men. Women go for the human jugular with more regularity -- the fractures and soft spots and foibles in human nature. They go for the jugular not as a means of surprising anyone, but rather as a means of pointing to what is important and life-giving. And it's as if they are with us ... and aren't we a pretty damned funny lot? Even when they point an accusing finger, it's a means of depicting the object at which anyone might similarly point. Women don't stir the pot, they seem to jump in and feel the heat. In humor and in police fiction, it's a richer stew.

Men, if I were to make more of this than I actually feel, go for the power and the overview and the distance. We are invited to see things from a safe perspective: There, there -- everything is under control... no need to immerse yourself or be dragged from the comfort of the sofa. This is about "them" and you are safe.

All of this suspecting speculation about women and men creators lingers in my mind like the downwind scent of warm apple pie. I don't mind much one way or the other if it's true or false. A good story is a good story. But I wonder.

1 comment:

  1. Spiral is very entertaining and Caroline Proust is a total fox.