"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Antifeminist Childhood: Brenda and Dylan's First Date Edition

My friends and I were completely hooked on 90210 throughout middle school, and we all knew that Brenda and Dylan were meant for each other and totally the perfect couple. He was so hot and mysterious, and she was so girl-next-door that it made us feel like even we could end up with a perfect guy like Dylan.

But I recently caught a rerun of the episode in which Brenda and Dylan go on their first date, and I saw the beginning of their relationship in a whole new light. Watch and count the stereotypes:

According to this scenario (and others like it throughout TV and movie history), those hot, mysterious guys sometimes can't control their anger to the point that they're mean and scary to the people they care about. They can't help it. But they mean well! And they really do care about you! And, if you're compassionate and understanding enough with them, they just might let you in so that you can hop on the roller coaster of intense love mixed with intermittent violence.

Later in this episode, Dylan stands Brenda up for their next date, and after she cries about it all weekend, he comes and lets her know that he was helping his fugitive Dad skip town, and he's really sorry, but he didn't know what to do, at which point she immediately changes her mind about never wanting to see him again, melts into a pile of goo, and makes out with him on the couch.

Any chance that my 13-year-old friends and I took away any ideas about what constitutes a healthy relationship?


plumpdumpling said...

God, yeah, and look at how horrible your choice for a husband turned out to be. He thinks you look great at any weight and in any outfit, he makes perfect eggs for you at will, he's always waiting eagerly for you at home, and he bought you a non-gaudy engagement ring.

"90210" really screwed you.

Tracey said...

Well, I like to think that if I hadn't developed a feminist consciousness somewhere along the line, I would have married a guy from our hometown who really liked beer, chewing tobacco, football, and fireworks.

Bodies in Motion Massage said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only woman rethinking the choices I made of romantic heros from the movies, shows and books I read as a teenager. God, did anyone else read those Harlequine romances? Now those were filled with the strong silent misunderstood quasi-violent neaderthals we grew to love.