Fangirl Poetry: An Ode to Agent Carter

Some TV Execs are pleased with themselves, over at ABC

“Women have never had it so good!” they’ll say in synchrony

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They’ll say, We gave them a show,

with a Lady Hero,

But cancelled ’cause ratings were low

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They’ll go on, We gave it a shot,

But the ratings were not

Worth it’s prize prime-time spot

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They’ll go,  We don’t need someone like Peg on TV

A dynamite gal, an upper-case “She”

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A character with brains, and brawn, heart

A woman who isn’t afraid to be smart

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There are plenty of others, to whom girls can look up

Like those ladies on YouTube who barf in a cup

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So we’ll let the ax fall, and give Carter the boot,

The fans, how they’ll wail, though their point will be moot

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But we on the ground know the truth, ever tragic:

With Peggy gone, TV lost something magic

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Whitney Weldon

 

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Fangirl Talk: Why Every Guy Should Watch Agent Carter

 

It’s a truth rarely acknowledged that if you’re a lady in any industry, even when you win, sometimes you just can’t win. And for all it’s glamour, show biz is no different. (Don’t believe me? Then tell me, Where’s Rey?)

And while there does seem to be a general upswing for the portrayal of women in pop culture, “better” should never be mistaken for “good”. I can count on one hand the number of well-rounded, realistic, inspiring females in film or TV that aren’t also overly 1363991751468,0sexualized and whose character arc doesn’t ultimately lead her on a quest for romantic fulfillment. Calling a woman in TV “complicated” is shorthand for saying that she has a dark past. Calling her “strong” is another way of saying she’s emotionally unavailable. These have become the hallmarks of an empowered and sexy woman on TV.

When viewed as a whole, the representation of ladies in TV can seem pretty bleak. Luckily, there are some shows that are getting it so right,  it’s hard not to feel optimistic. Enter ABC’s Agent Carter.

If you aren’t watching the second season premiere of this Marvel spin-off tonight, you’re either not aware of just how good it is, or (frankly) a dude. Or possibly, you’ve been scared off by accusations of skewed gender politics (side note: it’s a show about a working woman in the 40’s. The fact that she’s surrounded by white men is just an accurate reflection of the time). Peggy Carter  (Hayley Atwell) is exactly the kind of hero prime time needs.  She’s carving her own path in a male dominated industry.

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And she’s doing it better than most of the males dominating that industry.

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She’s got an infallible sense of self…

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And self worth.

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Her hotness…

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Is the least interesting thing about her.

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The real tragedy of Peggy Carter’s situation is that her struggles with being looked over, objectified, underestimated, and undervalued aren’t specific to the 1940’s. Perhaps the reason this show has resonated with audiences and critics is because, almost 100 years after the ratification of the 19th amendment, it’s still easy for women to feel like an accessory. So if you’re still not watching this show, you might want to rethink your stance on Agent Carter. Watch it because it’s well-written. Watch it because it’s good TV. Watch it because it explores the conflict between perceived weakness  and inner strength. Or maybe watch it because Peggy Carter has a wicked right hook.

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You’ve been warned.

Whitney Weldon

Fan Rants: Why You Should Be Watching Agent Carter

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with one of my Fellow Fems about female under representation in pop culture (like many a pretentious, twenty-something, bra-burner before us). She made the inevitable leap to how unfair it was the Marvel’s Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) doesn’t have her own stand alone movie. My initial response was, ‘right on, sister’. Then I asked if she’d been watching ABC/Marvel’s new series Agent Carter. She answered that, no, she wasn’t. Come again?…

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It’s probably the worst kept secret in network TV history that Agent Carter is serving as a dry run for strong female leads in the MCU. If smart, empowered, beautiful, charasmatic Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) can’t draw crowds with a limited run TV show, why should Marvel shell out millions upon millions to make a female driven superhero movie? And let’s not kid agent-carter-pilot-hayley-atwell_article_story_largeourselves, Carter is enjoying pretty abysmal ratings, despite the fact that, in my opinion, it’s a good show. It’s got a great lead in Atwell, James D’Arcy as bulter Edwin Jarvis makes for an awesome Girl Friday, and frankly, it’s been much fresher and more entertaining than Agents of Shield ever was in it’s first season. So why in the Susan-B-Anthony can’t this show seem to thrive?

I keep coming back to one thing. Because really, there is only one reason I can think of why audiences would be more receptive to a Black Widow stand alone than a Peggy Carter one. Black Widow is defined by her sexuality. I mean, yeah, she can quip with the best, and kick all the necessary ass, but she’s also severely underwritten and hyper-sexualized.  If Peggy Carter ran around in a black cat-suit, would that make her more marketable? I’m actually scared of the answer. la_ca_0325_captain_america

I guess what I’m getting at is, let’s not perpetuate the idea that Marvel’s fan base won’t support strong, independent, female leads with more to offer than their butt-kicking capacity and deft application of feminine whiles. Let’s promote female characters with emotional depth and intelligence and appeal that isn’t directly related to how good they look in skin-tight stealth suits. Watch Agent Carter, Tuesday’s at 9 on ABC, and you’ll see what I mean.

Whitney