A Reaction To The Anti-Heroine

A Reaction To The Anti-Heroine

The evolution of females in film and television

Previously written for a comparative literature class on Women Who Kill.

The entertainment industry strives to shock people. From inappropriate language to sex scenes, television and film have normalized often taboo subjects and pushed viewers out of their comfort zones, into more artistic and open-minded heights. An example of this creative undertaking is the antihero. As mentioned in all of the articles protagonists such as Walter White from Breaking Bad shocked viewers into a binge-worthy frenzy based on his immoral, unattractive and sometimes revolting actions that were somehow held together with a certain likeability and charm. However, White was not alone in this antihero phenomenon. As this genre of characters began to grow their traits became more predictable and the initial surprise of rooting for the morally corrupt died down. The television industry needed something to keep viewers on their toes; enter the anti-heroine. Due to social norms that dictate women to be feminine, nurturing, loving and delicate the anti-heroine already had one up on her antihero predecessor. Not only would viewers be shocked that they were liking a traditionally villainous character, but they would not be expecting acts of violence, selfishness, manipulation or cruelty to come out of the feminine form. Without having to force too much change on an existing template, screenwriters found a way to keep their shows fresh and exciting.

Of course this shift from [anti] hero to heroine is not a one sided action to increase viewership and revenue. The birth of the anti-heroine was brought on by a variety of social factors and opinions that called for a more complex female lead. The anti-heroine was not born overnight, and her outline can be seen in more traditional television shows. For example, Christina Yang in Shonda Rhime’s Grey’s Anatomy holds the faintest signs of anti-heroin-ism. Her distinctly not nurturing nature, her single-mindedness bordering on selfishness and her intense career drive were all traits that marked her as un-feminine and sometimes difficult to like. Yet viewers, including women loved her. There was something in her imperfect sometimes “masculine” nature that made her relatable and lovable.

With an increase in feminist-minded conversations in the public spheres, the Christina Yangs of television have been able to graduate from supporting characters to lead roles. They have also been given the opportunity to shed some of their likability and rationale for the wrongdoings, growing more multidimensional and human in the process. So while the anti-heroine has been a long time in formation, it cannot be ignored that our increasingly open-minded socio-political environment has helped catapult her to center stage, forwarding the momentum of feminist thought.

The anti-heroine is as crucial to traditional gender equality and women empowerment as young girls having role models such as Michelle Obama and Emma Watson who are intelligent, independent, confident and successful. While I am certainly not suggesting that children emulate television’s murderers and schemers it is important that women are being given roles that allow them to break away from gender stereotypes and hold a torch to traditional masculine portrayals of actions and emotions. The anti-heroine removes female characters from the pretty, crowd pleasing box that they have typically been wrapped in and transforms them into actual. human-like characters. These anti-heroines are complex and dark and formidable, yet they are still charming, engaging and sometimes likable. Just like the real human population they are imperfect and even bad. Unlike real humans, they find support and loyalty from their viewership. Portraying women as capable of the same evils as men on television is an initial step in creating a society that accepts and promotes women not because they are lovely and kind and beautiful, but because they are human beings who are worthy of being accepted and promoted. In the quest for equality of genders it is important to show that women are just as capable of being strong, decisive and in control as men in ways that both harm and benefit those around them- and the anti-heroine does just that.

Popular Right Now

I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.

It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

11 Amazing TV Shows That Are Ending in 2019

All good things must come to an end.


It might just be the beginning of 2019 but there are many TV series wrapping up already. There are many breathtaking and original pilots around along with several reboots coming. This might be one of the greatest year for TV.

However, all good things must come to an end. Some series have been planned out and are going to be finished while others have been cut short. Sadly, here's a list of TV series to say goodbye to this year.

1. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Final Date: May

12 Seasons//279 episodes

2. Orange is the New Black (Netflix)


Final Date: End of 2019

7 seasons//91 episodes

3. Jane the Virgin (CW)


Final Date: Mid-late 2019

5 seasons//100 episodes

4. Games of Thrones (HBO)


Final Date: Summer

8 Seasons//73 episodes

5. Broad City (Comedy Central)

Comedy Central

Final Date: March

5 seasons//50 episodes



Final Date: Spring

7 seasons//67 episodes

7. Homeland (Showtime)


Final date: Summer

8 seasons//96 episodes

8. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Final date: January 25

4 seasons//52 episodes

9. The Affair (Showtime)


Final Date: End of 2019

5 seasons//42 episodes

10. Friends From College (Netflix)

Final Date: End of 2019

2 seasons//16 episodes

11. Crashing (HBO)


Final Date: End of 2019

3 seasons//24 episodes

Related Content

Facebook Comments