AIBU to think "Merlin" is a pile of sexist shite...

(25 Posts)
ChristmasFayrePhyllis Tue 01-Jan-13 15:30:41

I do love Merlin but I thought this season was very poor. I was particularly annoyed at it turning into boys' adventures for boys, and Gwen especially being given not very much to do other than waltz around in super low cut dresses.

Having said that, Gwen is still the most competent person in Camelot, because she in this season has twice figured out that there's a traitor inside and then actually done something about it.

Darkesteyes Sun 30-Dec-12 23:43:49

Wow i never realised Avalon was a series. Or that shed written so many works. Amazing woman.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marion_Zimmer_Bradley

Darkesteyes Sun 30-Dec-12 23:38:14

I so wish that someone would make a film or series of The Mists of Avalon but only if it was EXACTLY like the book.

Fourth or fifth recommendation for the mists of Avalon, really gets to grips with how the culture moved from a feminine centric belief system to the patriarchal belief system that christinanity does seem to have a bias towards.
And the women are not evil, though Morgase has some motivations for her actions that are questionable.

KayHarker Sun 30-Dec-12 22:27:10

Yep, the Mists of Avalon is a really top book - mind you, I think that of all her work.

RiaUnderTheMistletoe Sun 30-Dec-12 19:24:14

I think Gwen must have been glued into her dresses, with all the riding and being carried around unconscious I don't see how else they stayed in place.

BelaLugosisShed Sun 30-Dec-12 16:00:42

To be fair, Gwen couldn't have done much running around or fighting because she would have popped right out of her sheepdog bra hmm

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 30-Dec-12 14:52:20

ANother recommendation for the Mists of Avalon, which is a marvellous women-centred version of the Camelot mythology.

Lessthanaballpark Sat 29-Dec-12 23:02:35

"In fact all the 'good' women this series were passive and wimpy, and all the ones with a backbone were evil."

YY I think that I feel this is true of so many "good" female characters - they're so wimpy and they don't have agency in their own right, they're always there to back up the male lead. The ones that have any gumption are always the evil ones, whose power has gone to their heads, but I end up liking them more because at least they have spirit.

I really liked Morgana cos Arthur & Merlin were such bores. But I obviously wasn't supposed to..

RiaUnderTheMistletoe Sat 29-Dec-12 22:08:45

Merlin has really gone down hill in this respect. In the first series Morgana and Gwen were on screen nearly as much as Arthur, they were interesting, they even had personalities shock By the end they were reduced to the baddie and the wife.

I think Gwen contradicted Arthur more as a servant than as his girlfriend/wife. And remember when she fought the raiders in Merlin's village? I really expected her to join the battle against Morgana, but no, she was happy to stay in the tent and yell for bandages hmm In fact all the 'good' women this series were passive and wimpy, and all the ones with a backbone were evil.

Since the overall goal changed from 'legalise magic' to 'worship Arthur' I think all the characters have become less likeable. Tbh I'm glad it ended.

meditrina Fri 28-Dec-12 23:49:00

There were plenty of male bad users of magic (eg the one with the elixir to cure all ills) as well.

And although I was extremely irritated by how vapid Gwen became in the final series, and how low cut her dresses became, set against that is the way the knights were portrayed (beefcake Percival, shampoo ad Gawain etc). Lightweight all round, really.

Lessthanaballpark Fri 28-Dec-12 23:43:52

Rosy yes I think that's one of the things that annoy me, that wizards are seen as good whilst witches are evil. It also just seemed to be an epic bromance about men doing chivalrous things whilst the times women conspired it was generally for evil.

The problem is always exacerbated by the general lack of female characters because there's less scope for diversity and nuance; the women are good or bad and not much in between.

Thanks Darkest, I will have a read. smile

Darkesteyes Fri 28-Dec-12 23:26:20

When i was a teenager i read The Mists of Avalon by Marion Bradley. Its the Camelot legend told from the point of view of the women. Its been 23 years since i read it but i remember the Beltane Fires scenes!

rosy71 Fri 28-Dec-12 22:59:21

I know what you mean. I found it increasingly annoying that Morgana (virtually the only female character) is evil whilst almost all the men are good. Also, Merlin uses magic for good purposes whereas she uses it for bad purposes. There's also a distinct lack of female characters in it generally. In fact ds1 (7) once asked, "Weren't there any women in those times?" angry

GreatCongas Fri 28-Dec-12 18:28:14

I don't think much was known about Morgaine until the later writers anyway
It was all twisted anyway for merlin
as her sister was supposedly morgeuse (they kinda got that) who was the mother if gawaine and mordred.
Mordred is written about as being a baddy though
The thing with the merlin programs was that I didn't find her to be evil. Well she's wasn't nice but neither was arthur. He was dressed up to be bur thought that it was made rather obvious to the viewer that he was actually as bad as she was

Lessthanaballpark Fri 28-Dec-12 18:17:47

Well from what I know Morgana was a priestess, a goodie in Celtic mythology till the Christian writers turned her into an evil witch.

I think that's kind of what I'm getting at: fairy tales and legends that are the source of so much children's fiction seem to abound in negative images of female power.

GreatCongas Fri 28-Dec-12 18:13:00

I kind of assumed that nothing extraordinary would happen as she would rule well and wisely rather than rile everyone and have loads of enemys that want to kill her

FloweryDrawers Fri 28-Dec-12 18:02:10

Ah, right - admittedly I don't know much about Arthurian legend, either, so am not the best person to comment!

RosemaryandThyme Fri 28-Dec-12 17:59:50

Yes good point, am expecting a follow-up series though...

Lessthanaballpark Fri 28-Dec-12 17:56:32

Yes although the show is over now so we won't get to actually see her leading. I did see it as a bit of a sop tbh, thrown in at the end.

RosemaryandThyme Fri 28-Dec-12 17:44:20

Harry Potter - Hermione is clever rational and democratic, ginger boy a bit of a buffoon and Harry rather weak most of the time.

Buffy - goes without saying.

ummm - gosh got me thinking now, was pleased to end with Queen Gwen on the throne.

GreatCongas Fri 28-Dec-12 17:38:41

Well the kingdom did finish up with a good queen

Lessthanaballpark Fri 28-Dec-12 17:22:51

Hmm well I waiting to see if they would allow Morgana to redeem herself at the end as in tradition she saves Arthur at the end. But no, Merlin does..

I do see of course that there are many power-crazed male villains but they are usually pitted against reasonable male leaders whereas I don't think that happens with female ones so much.

FloweryDrawers Fri 28-Dec-12 16:25:29

I think there are a fair few power-crazed manipulative male villain tropes as well. Haven't seen Merlin but if it's Morgana you're talking about, then it's based on very old stories so would presumably have similar themes to fairy tales. One of those is the evil female figure. Whatever sexism is involved there, however, is intrinsic in the story rather than the BBC's fault for making the series that way, as I can't imagine an adaptation where Morgana isn't evil.

Lessthanaballpark Fri 28-Dec-12 16:09:25

and to think that the trope of the "power-crazed manipulative enchantress VS benevolent male leader " is a pretty common one?

Off the top of my head I can think of "Simba's pride", "Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe" and "Working Girl" where the female leaders are depicted as being scheming, vengeful and authoritarian in constrast to the male leader who is rational and democratic.

In fact I can't think of any where the reverse is shown. Help me think of one please!

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