[personal profile] wingedbeast
A little backstory, because I don't know that there is a name for this Trope and I'm not about to get lost in a TVTropes search in order to find it. It comes from the comments in another webpage, wherein I had promoted the posts on my blog. Someone had noted that there is a common sexist trope that can happen in some of these kinds of movies. A woman makes ready to do a man's job and is shown to be silly for thinking she can do such a thing.

In some ways, our culture have already addressed this trope. The more common trope, these days, is that the woman announces her intention and, indeed, achieves that which sets out to accomplish. In fact, we've moved past that to a point where, sometimes, the trope is how outdated it is to even need to prove such a thing. The narrative either reaches a point where the protagonist outgrows the desire to prove herself to someone else or reacts, initially, with the roll of the eyes such a demand deserves.

Even so, we can still put in our own response. And, I dare to say that the 60's/70's style screwball comedy is exactly where we should put it.

My proposal is we set up something like a bet.

On one side of the bet, you have a man in a male-dominated field. If we set this to the 60s or 70s, that can be journalism. That means that this can be something along the lines of a cigar-smoking, chief editor of the type that might hate spunk or, in another context, demand pictures of a certain nature regarding Spiderman.

On the other side of the bet, we have the woman entering this field. She has the education and some experience to show that she's at least viable for the field and a reasonable person wouldn't have to look past her sex&gender to understand that. But, we're not talking about inherently reasonable beings, here. We're talking about people.

And, these two people start off the fiction (be it movie or, ideally, series) with a debate. He isn't completely unreasonable. He sees that she's put in the work and derived some useful results, but he still thinks that journalism is a man's profession. He sights the history of men and women and the traditional roles of women, as well as the statistical professions of women.

She, quite rightly, sites the influence of culture in limiting inherent potential. From before they even learn to talk, girls are delivered messages about where they are allowed to go and how they are allowed to excel. His response is to note that the culture happened. It didn't happen at random. If there is excess of culture, his position is that it must be the excessive application of what is, at core, a truth.

The result of the debate, had in all politeness and as much respect as can be honestly shown when one side is telling the other that they are constitutionally lesser beings, is the bet. On a trial basis, the editor in chief will hire the woman as a reporter. After a certain number of assignments, she will be compared against the other reporters, all men, in his employ. None of them are perfect, but to his thinking they are good at what they do. Then, they shall see how the two compare.

The meat of the story will happen with the supporters (both knowing and unknowing) of either side of the debate. On the supportive side of the lady-reporter, there will be one housewife, one working woman, and the reporter's own husband.

The housewife doesn't necessarily want out of the housewife job, it's a solid choice that she finds fulfilling, but not one to which she wants to be limited. It's one thing to find a lifestyle that satisfies you, it's another for that lifestyle to be an insult to you, rather than the accomplishment it should be.

The working woman has a less prestigious position, likely a secretary with underutilized potential, but is aptly placed to be able to provide off-the-record information. It won't be information she can cite for her articles, but it will provide her with leads.

The reporter's husband is in a different occupation, but one with a similar focus on the traditionally male characteristics. I would suggest a police officer. Neither will break professional ethics for the other, but they will professionally assist one another, both providing anonymous leads to the other. He will take some flack from his coworkers, because his marriage is one in which he will do more of the tasks traditionally given over to women. He will do his share of cooking and cleaning and picking up of groceries.

Beyond that, the big reason they assist each other is that they see the value of each other's occupation and the difference each other makes for their occupation. She changes the demographic dynamic of hers and he prefers a method of policing less focused on force. Either one sees contributing to the other as uplifting of themselves.

On the side of journalism being a men's profession for men will be two teams. One team will only be the editor in chief. He will keep his bet to himself, but it won't be possible to keep things entirely clean. He believes in his side of the debate, but his primary motivation, when it comes to the bet, is making sure that the challenges are tough but fair. To do otherwise, to bias the test in his favor well...

That's the other team of his supporters. Their actions aren't necessarily about the bet, but they are related to his belief. This team will include a well placed woman and other reporters. They will see a woman going where she ought-not go and find that to be an excuse for cruelty and sabotage. She shouldn't even be there, so it's okay for them to harass her. She can't be a serious reporter, so it's okay steal her notes, purposely give her false leads, and otherwise attempt to see to her humiliation.

This will offend the editor in chief. It's one thing to believe that a woman's natural place is in support of a man or in raising children. It's another thing to enforce that natural place... The very definition of natural would mean that enforcing it is unnecessary. There are no police demanding adherence to the law of gravity. No, this is something that offends him, because they lack the courage of their convictions.

He won't have to change his position in order to, in the context of those "supporters", join forces with the lady-reporter. No, that's not about equality, but about a commitment to truth and honesty and to keep lies from tainting the results.

It's that commitment to truth and honesty, along with that courage of his conviction, that will lead him to, eventually, realize that his conviction is wrong. But, that's the side-story, really. We all know that's goign to happen. The point isn't to convince people that women are the equal of men. The point is to look at the ways we have a culture that stacks that deck. It isn't editor in chief versus reporter, but the support teams versus each other.

Potential thought, anyway.

Date: 2017-08-10 02:33 am (UTC)
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
From: [personal profile] dragoness_e
The word you're trying for is "cite", rather than 'site' or'sight'. I don't know what the trope is, off the top of my head.

Date: 2017-08-11 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I wonder if there is any way, in this storyline, to address how sick I am of the concept that as a woman I need to be better than the *best* reporter on the current team. When by rights I should be hired if I am better than the *worst* reporter on the current team.

This is a major problem for women and minorities everywhere.

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wingedbeast

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