Is watching (Deadwood) cowboys anti-feminist?


I wrote my Masters thesis on writer Sam Shepard's negative potrayal of women - how the male cowboy heroes  projected all that was "holding them back from freedom" on to women.

This from my thesis:

“One of the myths that Shepard is devoted to representing is that of the Great Western Frontier, where cowboys were supposedly able to roam free… He has said ‘Cowboys are really interesting to me – these guys, most of them really young, about 16 or 17, who decided they didn’t want to have anything to do with the East Coast, that way of life, and took on this immense country, and didn’t have any real rules’”.

In Shepard's writing everything to do with "civilization"; rules etc is connected to women in a highly negative way.

My (male) friend and I were discussing whether I should watch  and more importantly - would I be able to enjoy? -"Deadwood" (all about cowboys) . He said, "You are going to love the cowboys from an aesthetic point of view, you will love the writing and acting, but the misogeny will make you stop watching. The only women in it are whores who are written from a negative perspective".

If one is a feminist would it be possible to enjoy it?

We talked about whether dramas like this - no matter how authentic and awesome the set; costume design; script and acting - perpetuate negative stereotypes of women (and glorify the men who do it, potentially encouraging ng modern day men aspire to some of that behavior - e.g bad boys weekends etc.) or whether the makers "innocently" (?) just reflect the way it was.

Not really comparable but arguably Mad Men makes smoking look cool, yet we know about Cancer. Do we smoke more because of it?

It's an age old question. Can art merely reflect? Does it have to have a conscience? What are we creating in our world? Does portraying it inspire people to behave well or not? Is that good or bad?

What do you think? Is (just) watching Deadwood anti-feminist? And is liking parts of it?

I suppose the answer is to create more cowgirl stories and combine the "freedom" with the feminism.

Look what Miss Moss found:

Besides gourgeous Liz (who is acting), look at these working cow gals - every bit as capable (and sexy?) as the men and looking good while doing it.

Which feminists have seen it it? Do I give it a try?

1 comment:

  1. My boyfriend has started watching it. I will give it a try.