Unlikeable Female Characters : The Women Pop Culture Wants You to Hate
An incisive exploration into the evolution of unlikeable female characters: what makes them unlikeable, how audiences have reacted to them, and whether pop culture—and society—is finally ready to embrace complicated women.
Female characters throughout history have been burdened by the moral trap that is likeability. Any woman who dares to reveal her messy side has been treated as a cautionary tale. And yet today, unlikeable female characters are everywhere in film, TV, and wider pop culture. For the first time ever, they are being accepted by audiences and even showered with industry awards. We are finally accepting that women are—gasp—fully fledged human beings. How did we get to this point?
Unlikeable Female Characters traces the evolution of highly memorable female characters, from Samantha Jones as “The Slut” in Sex and the City to the iconic Mean Girl, Regina George, examining what exactly makes them popular, how audiences have reacted to them, and the ways in which pop culture is finally allowing us to celebrate the complexities of being a woman. Anna Bogutskaya, film programmer, broadcaster, and co-founder of the horror film collective and podcast The Final Girls, takes us on a journey through popular film, TV, and music, looking at the nuances of womanhood on and off-screen to reveal whether pop culture—and society—is finally ready to embrace complicated women.