The Death of Sharon Raydor

If you were shocked by the ending of last night’s 2nd episode of Major Crimes, then you had plenty of company – I included. I was so clueless I didn’t even know that this was to be the successful police procedural’s final season.

Call me crazy but I didn’t see it coming, until last night’s episode. I assumed (wrongly) that Sharon’s health condition was merely a complication that she would either beat in the end or force her into retirement. Color me surprised and very sad and a little bit mad.

In this article from Variety actress Mary McDonnell shares insights into the decision to kill her character in the show, as well as the shock of realizing the show would not be optioned for a 7th season. I found her to be very gracious about having her character killed off and perhaps a little too understanding.

My hat is off to the producers/writers for taking what was essentially a very unlikable character (Raydor) and turning her into not just relatable and likable but a real hero. A character who didn’t have to pretend to be a man, or tote a gun, or wear hip boots to prove how tough and resourceful she was. McDonnell portrayed her character as a real woman working in a largely male world, and who though tough as nails when needed, never lost touch with her softer intuitive side. And in fact, used that to get to the truth of the matter countless times. Somebody needs to give this woman an Emmy or some other award because I can’t imagine anyone having it done it better. And though I was a huge fan of The Closer and Kyra Sedgewick, McDonnell stole my heart where female heroes are concerned.

Even now when I think of those final scenes in last night’s episode I feel sad and the urge to cry. Not just for the character but for the show itself. TNT, what is the matter with you? You end a highly rated show, yet keep on mindless crap that nobody wants to watch? (I digress, this is fodder for another post though.)

But now here’s the gripe I have – I understand that the writer wanted to end the show on his own terms – and kudos to him for doing that. However, by and large viewers don’t want you to kill off their heroes. They just don’t. You can mortally injure them, you can give them terrible challenges and losses, you can even expose their dark underbellies but KILLING them is really not what we want. We haven’t tuned in for multiple seasons to have the final season killing someone who has become a near and dear friend to us. It doesn’t give us closure that she took care of business before she died. It doesn’t make us feel satisfied that she ended her life on her own terms. It just makes us sad. And frankly, it seemed a little selfish that in order for you to end the show on your own terms that you felt you had to go for the worst possible character to kill off. Yes, I’m sure the shock value was hefty and there are probably hundreds of articles/posts about this because of it. But it doesn’t endear you to the fans. Based on what I saw last night, there are many who are so upset that they aren’t going to watch the remaining four episodes of what can only be described as a topnotch show.

In a perfect world, we’ll learn next week that the whole death scene was merely a bad dream that Rusty had and Sharon will be there waking him and assuring him she is not going anywhere. And then they will spend the last four episodes finding Stroh and kicking his evil ass. Sadly, even I know that won’t happen.

So I’ll just say this. Thank you Mary McDonnell, for creating a living breathing normal woman as our hero. Thank you for showing us that there is strength in a soft voice and dedicated determination. Thank you for showing young women that you can be a woman and be a hero without having to look, talk, or act like a man. Thank you for showing us that in the end, that character is what makes a hero, not gender, car chases, or action scenes.

Women – Theme Friday

How are women different from men?

Women listen
Women cooperate
and see the future through their children
but themselves through their men

We celebrate the small victories
a flower erupted from seed and sunshine
a full tank of gas
a coffee shared with a friend
good hair days
steak on sale
perfect weather on picnic day

We mourn our insecurities
and hide our imperfections
We crave love we feel
we don’t deserve
we always think other women are better
or stronger
or prettier
or happier
but we know they are not

We want to be looked at
but wonder why anyone does
always suspecting
we trail toilet paper on our shoes
or have busted a seam

We want acceptance
but cannot accept ourselves
We feel joy
by being seen
heard and appreciated

We know one another
through our shared experiences
we are mothers, daughters and sisters
confidants, comrades and co-conspirators

We are not from Venus
but from ourselves
from intuition, gentle touch
and tender care

We are not a secret
but an open book
of stories we long to tell
to anyone who
wants to know us

copyright 2010

What women does Christine know?
Clancy Jane’s women meet here

Women + Blogosphere = Impact – Part III

Okay, now it’s my turn on the hot seat and honestly, I don’t mind one bit. Several of the ladies who participated in this post were curious as to what my answers would be to these questions, so if for nothing else, this is for them:

1. What do you believe is the difference between men and women bloggers – e.g. approach, subject matter, readers, etc.

While there are male bloggers who can do the sensitive thing and female bloggers who can do the kickass thing, I do believe that women bloggers are more personally interested and caring about their blogs, their readers and how whatever topic they are writing about will affect the people who read it. It may be the inborn nurturing nature of women who brings this about – but to me it is very obvious.

2. Do you feel men bloggers have a greater impact in the blog world than women – such as more readers, more loyalty, wider range of topics/interests, greater appeal to male and female readers alike, etc.

I do think that male bloggers are taken more seriously. Regardless of topic. Even the ones who write poetry or prose or the touchy feely stuff – perhaps especially, because you know it’s like a big deal when a man reveals his deepest feelings, right? But not so much when women do? WTF? I mean, seriously – why is this?

3. When you decided to start blogging – did you have a particular effect/impact you wanted to create? If so, what was it? Did it change once you started blogging?

Primarily, I wanted to get writing more regularly, wanted to create something that would demand I give time to writing and quite honestly, I wanted to know if strangers would respond to what I wrote. Has it changed since I started? Yes and no – it certainly does demand I write regularly, lest I have an empty blog with no posts. But I am finding that I have an urge to write more meaningful posts, explore new topics, ideas and approaches. Blazing new blogging frontiers? Probably not, but maybe new writing fronteirs because long before I was a blogger I was a writer and honestly that’s all I really consider myself to be.

4. Regardless of whatever effect you set out to create by blogging, do you feel that you’ve had an impact by being a female blogger? If so, how and/or in what way? Who/what did you impact?

I do believe I’ve had an impact, in many ways. There are people who have flat out told me that something I wrote made them think, change their perspective, help them face a problem they were avoiding, feel good, laugh. It’s very gratifying when someone tells you that you made their day in some way. Writing something that touches another human being and somehow helps them is the stuff that reaches straight down into my guts and grabs ahold tightly. Was the impact brought about because I was a woman? I don’t know – I think that who I am has a lot to do with being a woman because that’s my paradigm and were I a man I’m not sure I would have written many of the posts I have written – so I guess that’s a yes.

5. What contribution to the blog world do you feel women bring to the table that male bloggers do not? Or is there no gender gap between male and female bloggers?

I don’t know if I’d call it a gender gap – I don’t really like that term but there doesn’t seem to be another to replace it – but I will say that women do bring something special to the table – their humanity, appreciation for all the small pieces of beauty in the world and a sense of community that I don’t think is native to most men. Not that men are all uncaring bastids, that’s not true at all (I happen to think men are quite the lovely creatures, actually) – I just think women are more likely to reach out, help, nuture, care, worry about you if don’t post for a week, and just generally, notice the details.

6. Are women bloggers held to a different standard than male bloggers? If so, what is the difference – e.g. what is taboo to a female blogger but okay for a male blogger or vice versa? Inequalities??? Not taken as seriously?

Yeah, I think they are. Particularly when it comes the baudier content. Men can pretty much get as gross as the day is long and people will throng to their blogs and get a hoot out of it. Women though, I think have to approach it a little more carefully, set the stage a bit longer and develop a readership first. And too, I don’t think women are taken as seriously as men with certain topics, like politics for example. I sometimes do political posts and I have had some serious ambushes from readers who really challenged me as though I were an idiot. If I’d been a man posting the very same thing, I don’t believe that those attacks would have come about – there might have been some lively debate but it would have been good hearted instead of mean.

7. If you could change anything in the way female bloggers are regarded in the blog world, what would it be?

I would like to see women bloggers just be thought of as bloggers. That a female power blogger doesn’t have to be a Dooce clone to be that. And honestly, no offense to Dooce, but what’s up with that standard? We have to be rude and outspoken to be taken seriously and be read? The problem I see in general in the blogosphere is that there is way too much pandering to the crowd. Meaning, we spend all this time trying to figure out what will bring in the big stats and start writing to that, rather than writing what means most to us and bringing ‘the crowd’ up to our level. Believe me, I’m as guilty of it as the next blogger and every time I do it, I want to kick myself. We shouldn’t be so seduced by the stat counters and the anylytics programs, unless really it’s just about the attention and frankly you can get more attention getting drunk with B list celebrities than going to all the brain strain that the pandering entails.

8. If you could have your wildest dreams come true as a blogger and create whatever impact you wanted, because you had thousands of undying loyal readers, what would it be?

I have to say, I love to inspire dialogue with people. I love to get people thinking, not necessarily what I think, but just thinking. I believe that a thinking person makes the world a better place. There would be so much less reactionary crap from high school shoot outs, to road rage, going on, if people thought more and were more thoughtful. Also, too, I want a fucking book deal. If the cat guy and the stupid white people guy can get one, then hell, it’s my turn.

9. Anything else that you feel separates female bloggers from male bloggers that you want to expound on?

Just a casual observation that female bloggers seem to be coming into their own and perhaps male bloggers are dwindling. Or maybe there always were more women bloggers but they used to be a lot quieter? Hard to say. It just seems that way to me. But I’m happy to report that I think women have finally found a good use for the internet.

And so concludes our not too scientific women’s study on blogging, bloggers – male & female and all things good and wise. I really had fun with this. I hope you did too. And I wanted to throw out this idea – I would love it if any of you lady bloggers out there had similar ideas for posts such as this and would like to do a cooperative project. So, if anybody has an idea they want to shoot over to me – please feel free. I think that addressing women’s issues, blogging and otherwise are important to our community and a lot fun too. Thanks!

PS: And this is a special p.s. to Gerry – if you can get 14 men bloggers who want to do the same questions, etc. I’ll do a post and give equal time. Never let it be said that I am not an equal opportunity blogger. Or, if the mood strikes you, do it yourself and let me know when the post is up. 🙂

Do You Fake It?

This morning I was listening to the usual radio station that wakes me everyday. The hosts, Foxy and Valentine, always have a topic of the day and today’s topic was women faking orgasms. Apparently, a study claimed that 70% of all women fake orgasms on a regular basis. WTF? Are you kidding me?

What I found really amazing was that they both accepted that concept as though it were the truth without questioning it. I simply couldn’t. I had many questions: Who did the study? What was the size of their test group? What were the exact questions from which this ‘result’ was gleaned? I, personally, find it difficult to believe that only 30% of women out there are having a good time in their sex lives. In fact, I know that can’t be true. If the 70% figure were correct then theoretically 7 out of every 10 women you asked would say yes, they faked it. I promise you I can call 10 of my friends and I wouldn’t get that answer from 7 of them.

Personally, I think there was probably a goal for this study – perhaps to prove that western women are too stilted sexually so that they can sell a female version of viagra or some other lame product that has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Especially in today’s world with all the feminists out there, could it really be true we aren’t enjoying our sex lives?

I know it isn’t true in my case – but I will put the question to you – do you think it’s true that 70% of women fake orgasms regularly? Do you? I don’t mean the occasional fake, when you’re tired or stressed and you just need to get to sleep – or those times when things just don’t gel (so to speak) I mean regularly – like more often than not.

LOL – I wonder if anyone will answer this. It could be too much to ask of you guys. But I really want to know, what do you think of this?