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21 September 2011 @ 07:39 pm
TVD: This Is About Women  



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So, let's talk Andie.

Seriously, as a character, she doesn’t didn’t interest me much. As a type, she did.

[Fair warning: incoherent rambling behind the cut. Also, rage. If you don't want to hear stuff about characters, don't read. But I've done the squee post, so I'm entitled for a bit].

I’m always at a loss when it comes to this show and self-awareness, because there’ll be a moment where I’m all *headdesk* WHAT ARE YOU DOING, SHOW? And then I’ll be all “OMG, OMG, THEY KNEW ALL ALONG”. Damon especially gets all these self-referential moments which make you think “oh wait, so he did realize”, and then he goes and does the same thing ALL OVER AGAIN and I don’t even.

- I think my entire problem with Andie’s representation is that there’s always an element of doubt in the functioning of her free-will. There are times when you think “oh, that’s her making the decision right there, so Damon doesn’t compel her all the time”. However, the truth function of these moments is always suspect. For instance that was the impression that Klaus gave with Andie’s blithe “you didn’t compel me, so I didn’t leave” speech, but she’s compelled to be in love with him. And the show never makes it explicit whether that remains an overarching compulsion in their ‘relationship’ or what. In which case, her personality is tied to Damon’s subjectivity; she’s basically a zombie, which is just scary, imo. Also, Andie’s occasional sassiness; like telling Damon to use a blood-bag because she needs to rush for work, proves nothing on the compulsion angle whatsoever; Caroline, even under compulsion was able to do an excellent, bitchy “does it look like I do dishes?” Which suggests that compulsion can’t exactly erase someone’s entire personality. For instance, it might be possible to compel someone to sing, but it might not be possible to make them a good singer. In which case, it’s possible for Andie to answer back to Damon or make demands on him without it implying that she’s free from mind-control.

- Either that or the girl is suicidal with a self-esteem that lies somewhere ten thousand feet below the ground. If these are choices she’s making then she’s basically willing to be Damon’s “distraction” as well as his personal chew toy. She apparently went back to him after the entire horrific scene in Klaus (and nothing will convince me that wasn’t a metaphorical representation of rape, she was in her underwear for heaven’s sake). WHY? There seems to be absolutely no concrete reason for it. What the show is showing me in that scene is that Damon, regardless of compulsion (apparently she’s not compelled at the moment), arouses the kind of sympathy in Andie which makes her stay beyond because he ‘needs to know that someone cares about him’. Which, NO. He absolutely does not need to know that, Andie, GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM HIM. [Also because he tends to snap whenever someone overtly cares about him; check Jessica after Elena’s ‘friendship’ speech and hug]. Fine, I get the whole reform-the-bad-boy trope, but goddammit, there’s got to be some kind of limit somewhere? Because this, in Real World terms, is sheer apologism; ‘oh he only does that because he’s been hurt so badly, he doesn’t mean to, he just needs to be loved’. This is the psychologically established logic of the victim of abuse. Caroline’s case was very clear, she was terrified of Damon after their first night together; Andie just seems to think Damon being a vampire is some sort of emotional issue that can be cured through friendly support. WTF? Or else she went back to him because she’s compelled, in which case, point one.

- Andie is nothing but a prop in order to influence audience reaction towards Damon (and later Stefan). The whole ending of Daddy Issues was geared towards that. And I think that’s why I have such issues with characters when I didn’t earlier on in the show. I loved Damon in his indifferent, murdering, arrogant bastard avatar in season one, and I passed absolutely no character judgments on him, but that was because the show never passed character-judgments on him. He was the Bad Guy. “People die around you, how could it not matter?” You could like him because he was hot, because he had a certain way of smiling, because he was fun, but not because you thought that he was justified in the acts he was committing. And by the end of Daddy Issues, that’s completely changed. In the bathtub scene at the end, it’s not Andie you’re supposed to be sympathizing with, it’s Damon. Poor guy always “in love with his brother’s girl”, never the first choice, etc, etc. Ian said something to the effect that it’s so sad that Damon can only open up in scenarios where he can erase the fact that he ever opened up (Jessica, Andie) and that’s all the only means of communication he has left. Um, great. But what about Andie as a person in her own right?

- Rose played almost the same role as Andie later did, but that was entirely different because Rose made choices. She chose to stay, chose to sleep with Damon, chose to help him. All Andie chose to do was get naked in a bathtub with Damon.

- Which brings me to— what the hell is it with people saying that Andie chose to sleep with Damon initially therefore anything he does to her afterwards is completely legit? This is the exact same argument that rose in Caroline’s case. Apparently, by saying ‘yes’ once you give someone a permanent right to your body. WTF EVEN? Even worse are the reactions where apparently Caroline and Andie are sluts and therefore deserved to get raped. Except it’s not rape at all because they a) weren’t compelled to have sex with him b) are sluts and sluts can’t get raped. THIS MAKES ME RAGE SO MUCH, I DON’T EVEN. He doesn’t explicitly need to say “I COMPEL YOU TO HAVE SEX WITH ME”, all he need to do is go, “don’t be afraid” (which he did with both Caroline and Andie), and any time they have sex after that, it’s rape, because he’s taken their free will out of the equation. They have no agency to refuse, in fact, they have no reason to refuse, because he’s taken away all the reasons on the basis of which they would have refused. Would either of the girls have stayed if they hadn’t been compelled initially? Obviously not. They were both terrified when they found out, and they would’ve just run as fast as they could have. AND THEY DIDN’T.

- The only reason I can find for someone not accepting it’s assault is because they’re looking at it from Damon’s POV. Guy’s a vampire, so basically ‘not killing the girls’ is going easy on them. Guy is also hot, so who wouldn’t want to sleep with him anyway? It’s all about Damon’s existential crisis— LOOK HE KILLED JESSICA AND DIDN’T KILL ANDIE, PROGRESS, REDEMPTION. But if, even for a moment, it’s taken from the girl’s POV; how does it make a difference to Andie whether he killed Jessica or not? They’re two completely different people. For each of them, Caroline, Vicki, Jessica, Andie, it’s just as horrifying a personal experience regardless of what Damon is or isn’t capable of. Also, the fact that Damon’s been through so much and snaps because of a reason, is again only important if taken from his POV, not from any of the girl’s. Also, most of them only exist as a foil to his redemption arc, which is just a little sad.

- The entire Andie/Damon “let’s go on a road-trip to save baby bro” and “I’m not your slave [get your own champagne]” in the premiere is more than a little farcical imo, because it’s the show trying to abdicate all responsibility for a situation of their creation. I’ve heard it be said that it seems that Andie is not as compelled as before, which is, in fact, my entire problem with the scene. Basically, this is supposed to be <i>resolution</i> for their relationship. This is the writers refusing to show the relationship for what it actually is, and trying to make it seem as if there is no imbalance of power at all, DAMON’S GETTING HIS OWN CHAMPAGNE, HE DIDN’T COMPEL ANDIE TO GET IT FOR HIM SO ALL’S WELL as well as the later OH LOOK DAMON’S SAD AT ANDIE’S DEATH. In the worst case scenario, that scene wasn’t about Andie at all, but just a plot device to get Damon out of the bath-tub and have him run into Elena.

- Stefan. This is just tricky because again Andie becomes a prop to convey Stefan’s love for his brother. The whole point of the drama was to convince Damon that he’s genuinely switched the button off and become a ‘true’ Ripper,which actually he hasn’t. So Stefan made a choice in this scenario; killing Andie is a decision he makes, he kills her to prove a point. And the entire scene was about the lengths Stefan would go to to save his brother—how hard it is on Stefan. Poor guy has to kill people because he sacrificed his life. Again it’s a male drama with a female as collateral damage. And the point is, I’m not sure the show realizes that, I think they’re actually saying it’s ‘really hard’ on Stefan.

- And because of this the entire last scene with Stefan and Elena, which I genuinely loved, also made me *headdesk* because I was going ‘THAT’S A MISTAKE, THAT’S A MISTAKE’ the entire time. Stefan just revealed to Elena that he hasn’t turned the button off, that he’s still there. SO, UM, WHAT WAS THE ENTIRE POINT OF KILLING ANDIE? Does he think Elena is not going to tell Damon or try and find him? OBVIOUSLY NOT. In which case Andie died because the show didn’t know what to do with her any more. Since the ending ENTIRELY negated her death.

Promo Spoiler. And this is exactly what does happen. Elena is all “but he wouldn’t have called if he wasn’t the same”. After she hears about how he killed Andie. WHOA. Which also means, Elena knew all this while? That possibly everyone knew all this while about the Damon/Andie shenanigans and NOBODY BOTHERED TO DO ANYTHING? Nobody so much as went “hey Damon, what the hell, man?” (except Stefan once or twice, which is sad all on its own). And now he apparently needs consolation because his “fake compelled girlfriend” died. /end

I think none of this would’ve made the slightest difference to me if I felt the show’s trying to tell me that they’re utterly, inherently selfish (which is why I like Katherine so much, because the show doesn’t apologize for her or try to justify her behavior). That this is what they’ve become, this is who they are now. But I’ve never felt like that is what the show’s trying to tell me. After all what would be the point of “don’t give up, Damon, you’re so close.” If there wasn’t a hierarchy of morality being constructed? What would be the point of Damon’s redemption arc if we weren’t supposed to sympathize with him? And if we’re supposed to think his not killing people is good (like we’re obviously supposed to), then how the hell are we also not expected to think that the rest of the characters are actually human!Damons in so far as that no one is willing to engage with the issue itself, even if it isn’t of their own creation. How is Elena not confronting Damon about Andie not OOC for her? In fact not only Elena but Caroline, who's freaking gone through this shit, or Alaric with absolutely no reaction, or anyone, really.

I mean I’m going to think it’s ridiculous if the show keeps telling me that Elena Is Not Katherine because she won’t play with the emotions of both the Salvatores. Seriously, that’s just the lowest common denominator (even though the show seems to feel that it’s the fundamental difference between them). If they’re making Elena darker, showing the audience that she has no boundaries anymore (AND I’M SO DOWN WITH THAT, THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN) then it needs to be obvious, then there shouldn’t be a Elena Good, Katherine Bad dichotomy. Then we should see a transition, otherwise, I can’t even be sure the show knows what it’s doing with Elena’s character.

Okay, I’m done, now I shall totally squee over the next episode, uncritically because this stuff never seems to matter during, y’know, the actual watching.
 
 
 
unoshotunoshot on September 21st, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
I think this was the one sour note in the season premiere, for me. For a show I often like on a feminist basis, TVD dropped the ball on Andie -- I must agree. And I liked Andie and I wanted to see where that whole twisted thing was going; if they'd explored it and acknowledged what they were doing, it would've been a hell of an interesting thread. But:

Andie is nothing but a prop in order to generate audience reaction towards Damon

And her death is solely to generate tension in the Damon & Stefan relationship; the tried and true "something happens to the woman in order to motivate the man to action." See also: Gail Simone's Women in Refrigerators page, which is good shorthand for this bullshit.

In short: I AGREE WITH ALL THAT STUFF YOU SAID.
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on September 21st, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
I think the weird position the writers put themselves in was that they took the Damon/Andie thing in such a direction that actually acknowledging or attempting to explain it for what it was would've probably made Damon beyond sympathy for a lot. Stripped of all emotional justifications, it would've just been abuse and I suppose that's not acceptable for any character they're trying to project as a(n) (anti) hero. They just wrote themselves into a corner D: At least that's better than that they just had absolutely NO FREAKING IDEA what they were doing and what it implied.

(And then you have fandom coming in with "oooh, maybe Elena'll be jealous of Andie." What. the. actual. fuck.)

And here I'm just afraid Andie's death is going to become a "Damon, talk to me" moment, which, NO. And interesting link looks interesting, must see!

In short: ILY.
(no subject) - unoshot on September 21st, 2011 03:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on September 21st, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - frelling_tralk on September 21st, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on September 21st, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - frelling_tralk on September 21st, 2011 10:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on September 22nd, 2011 04:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - frelling_tralk on September 21st, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on September 22nd, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lizzie: tvd|miss mystic fallsxx_pinkstar on September 21st, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
This was interestinggg, some points I really hadn't thought of there as I tend not to think too much into the Caroline/Andie-Damon issues CUS YOU KNOW DEM WRITERS AINT. And it gives me internal issues when I do.

But I LIKED Andie for some strange reason, I was actually a bit gutted when she died and made sad faces for Damon's reaction. I really felt like she wasn't being compelled so much at the beginning of the episode when Damon was all 'get me that' and she's all 'lol no, do it yourself' '..-.-..k' last season he probably would have had a little rage about that and she wouldn't have dared to refuse.

But despite the messed up-ness of that relationship I think Damon feels like he's lost *something* whether it be a friend or just someone who is there for him unconditionally if he likes it or not. (Or... she likes it or not. idk. compulsion confuses me.)
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on September 21st, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know, once you start thinking about this stuff, everything else just sort of collapses, so I don't let over-analysis interfere with the squee; I do NOT want fictional people giving me migraines (Damon often does, because I love him so hard and he's SUCH an ass).

I actually really liked Andie in the premiere; before that I was just a little freaked out by the Andie/Damon dynamic. But she looked like she had potential (Jenna, Anna, Isobel, man, this show).

I really felt like she wasn't being compelled so much at the beginning of the episode

Ooh, you know, this was actually exactly my problem; that the show somehow thinks this is resolution. Sort of 'HEY LOOK, HE GOT UP TO GET HIS OWN DRINK, IT'S AN BALANCED RELATIONSHIP, YOU GUYS', which, it's not. That scene was just meant to show exactly that she's 'less compelled' like it changed everything that had happened before. She was also not on vervain (Stefan managed to compel her), as she would've been, had Damon and she actually started a real friendship, so his gesture was more token than anything.

Oh mean, compulsion confuses me too! And it's just really hard to judge, so it's impossible to determine whether it's Andie or Damon speaking through Andie, including the unconditionality D:
Pied: carolinewheatear on September 21st, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
Andie is nothing but a prop in order to generate audience reaction towards Damon (and later Stefan).

So much word. Ugh, this is my biggest issue with the whole thing.

The entire Andie/Damon “let’s go on a road-trip to save baby bro” a little farcical, because it’s the show trying to add some semblance of normalcy to their relationship- BUT LOOK THEY’RE FRIENDS, SRSLY.

It is a farce, and I think it's even worse because I got the sense that the writers were trying to gloss over their relationship. They deliberately downplayed the compulsion angle. And that to me says that they're not willing to show this relationship for what it is. If they're going to show Damon compelling and abusing a woman, the writers need to own that.

And this is exactly what does happen. Elena is all “but he wouldn’t have called if he wasn’t the same”. After she hears about how he killed Andie. WHOA. Which also means, Elena knew all this while? That possibly everyone knew all this while about the Damon/Andie shenanigans and NOBODY BOTHERED TO DO ANYTHING?

UGH I KNOW. This is why that promo filled me with so much rage. I was really hoping that the Damon/Andie stuff was finished with 3x01 so I could leave that bad taste behind, but no, it looks like they had to go and make it even worse.

Basically you said everything I wanted to say about this. Thank you for this post.
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on September 21st, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
I know, occasionally I'm all 'but why am I talking about this stuff in a teen vampire show'? But if the aforementioned teen vampire show is showing me these things then I should probably talk about then just for the sake of my sanity, haha.

They deliberately downplayed the compulsion angle. And that to me says that they're not willing to show this relationship for what it is.

WORD ON ALL OF IT. I think that's exactly my problem, they're showing something they're not willing to acknowledge they're showing. It's like, 'oh Damon got up to get his own champagne -or whatever- HE'S A CHANGED MAN, HE'S ON THE PATH OF REDEMPTION.' What even? So, basically, it's a negation of everything that's happened before. I think that's what always happens; all that Damon has to do is get his own champagne and all is well. Why wasn't she on vervain if things were actually different? [Also, Damon's use of other women to compensate for the one he can't get...that's just, I don't even know, it just seems to make all the other women so much less. Like they're all just collateral damage on the road to Elena, all the women who can't be her. Like, even if that's not what they mean to portray, it is usually what they seem to end up showing].

As for the promo, I'm just gonna wait for the show, cuz usually it's much better than the snippets they show, but if they play Andie's death for Damon/Elena sympathy, I'm probably going to rage again.

YOU'RE ALWAYS LIKE MY THOUGHT TWIN OR SOMETHING <333
(no subject) - wheatear on September 23rd, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
aerintine: Elena is grievingaerintine on September 21st, 2011 04:22 pm (UTC)
UGH. Word on EVERYTHING YOU SAY. The entire Andie story-line makes me spit nails. I ranted about it in my 3x01 reaction post/comments as well. For a really good episode otherwise, I cannot get past Andie. ENOUGH FRIDGING. I want to write them a letter and explain their failure.

how the hell are we also not expected to think that the rest of the characters are actually human!Damons in so far as that no one is willing to engage with the issue itself, even if it isn’t of their own creation. How is Elena not confronting Damon about Andie not OOC for her? In fact not only Elena but Caroline, who's freaking gone through this shit, or Alaric with absolutely no reaction, or anyone, really.

IT BOGGLES. How do the writers not see it? Are they that dense? Or do they see it, and they want us to erase the boundaries between perpetrators and enablers? Are they trying to make us believe all are equally guilty? And if so, what is the endgame? What are we to take away from it at the end of the day? So far it's all appearing very sloppy and mishandled, at the very least.

I mean I’m going to think it’s ridiculous if the show keeps telling me that Elena Is Not Katherine [just] because she won’t play with the emotions of both the Salvatores... If they’re making Elena darker... then it needs to be obvious, then there shouldn’t be a Elena Good, Katherine Bad dichotomy. Then we should see a transition.

THIS RIGHT HERE. YES. I was just saying last night that drawing parallels between Elena and Katherine is something the show SHOULD be doing, and should be doing often. They're doing a pretty bang-up job with Stefan and Damon, but they're really falling short with the doppelgangers. Elena is still on board the wanting Stefan back train even knowing what he's done. EVEN KNOWING ABOUT ANDIE. She's known about Damon and Andie's fucked up dynamic but accepts it without pause. She's working right alongside Damon like nothing is of concern. ---> I don't think Elena has any boundaries when it comes to other people and her vampires. None. But is the show going to go there? Are we going to see Elena's selfishness as commensurate with Katherine's? Because we should. We absolutely should. That's not a bang on Elena - I WANT THIS FROM HER. She's utterly fascinating as a "pure, good person" who's actually really dark on the inside. I love them putting her in that lily-white dress for her coming out birthday party - she's transitioning from childhood to adult, from innocent to complicit accomplice.
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on September 21st, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
HAI THERE :D Apparently we already think alike? I thought that was an acquired art, BUT I'M HAPPY. Also, I think we both ship the Salvatores (but I'm not sure how far I count since I ship everything) and we both adore Caroline, SO, YES.

Oh, I know, I think I got onto the show's self-awareness wagon because Damon reacts in almost the same way to Elena; killing her brother, force-feeding her his blood, so I was all 'they know what they're doing, they're trying to show him as the bad guy who can try but still will always snap because that's who he is'. NOW, not so much. Because by the end of this entire Andie fiasco, Damon is obviously projected as the victim, which, what?

Or do they see it, and they want us to erase the boundaries between perpetrators and enablers?

I KNOW, RIGHT? And I never even got the impression because we've never seen Andie interacting with almost anyone other than Jenna and Damon. So while I was asking the questions earlier, I got the 'but Elena and the rest haven't seem them together, maybe they doesn't know', which, acceptable. But now it seems like everyone DID know, it's just that it apparently didn't matter. And if they play it for Damon-and-Stefan sympathy (Damon lost a friend! Stefan had to almost let go of his humanity to convince his brother!) I'm just going to be... passive-agressively annoyed or something.

I don't think Elena has any boundaries when it comes to other people and her vampires.

EXACTLY. This is what I've always thought! And I was really waiting to see whether Elena has any boundaries left and I'd be really happy if she doesn't. But the show has to accept that then; she can't still be the symbol of all that is good and kind and pure and selfless and Not Katherine. But I don't know, I'm still waiting to see whether this actually happens. I REALLY WANT IT TO. The show's never tried to generate sympathy for Katherine, even when it shows her softer side in the flashbacks, because the extreme self-interest that she embodies is Bad. Well, I'd like to see Elena's acceptance of ripper!Stefan go down the same road-- that's not a selfless sacrifice for love or whatever; outside the snowglobe, it's utterly selfish because it's not only Stefan losing his humanity, it's also people losing their lives.

WORD ON THE DRESS. I so didn't think of it that way, haha. Must look at your reaction post first thing after college!
Naomi: VD Caroline season 3 by udontjustgiveupfrelling_tralk on September 21st, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
Which brings me to— what the hell is it with people saying that Andie chose to sleep with Damon initially therefore anything he does to her afterwards is completely legit?

I find that argument so creepy because, for all we know, Andie was only ever interested in some casual fun with Damon. Saying yes to a one night-stand does not mean that it's totally cool for Damon to compel her to love him, and ultimately make her desperate to be there for him. The example of her still coming to Damon when he asked her to leave is sometimes used as an example of how her feelings must therefore have been real, but how can we even judge if that action is meant to be of her own free will when Damon compelled her original feelings for him. Just as Caroline was all glassy-eyed and "are you going to kill me" around Damon in a way that she would have never been in her right mind, and was also shown to be pathetically desperate to get back to him and having her self-esteem shredded over and over. I'd argue that looking at Caroline's character in general, that was out of character and connected back to the original compulsion. And indeed she was quick enough to at least respond with an "you suck" when she turned into a vampire and the original compulsion had worn off.

There's no way we can objectively judge any behaviour towards Damon after a woman has been compelled to love him from the beginning

LOOK HE KILLED JESSICA AND DIDN’T KILL ANDIE, PROGRESS, REDEMPTION.

Which is sadly how I suspect the writers look at it. It seems like there wasn't much point to introducing Andie unless it was to make some kind of point about look at how Damon is changing and is no longer quite as comfortable with abusing women as he was with Caroline

Edited at 2011-09-21 05:54 pm (UTC)
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on September 21st, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, I can't understand that at all. Like, what grade would you have to skip to not understand the basic definition of rape? Even if both the girls had voluntarily accepted the guy a million times, they millionth and one 'no' would still mean no.

The example of her still coming to Damon when he asked her to leave is sometimes used as an example of how her feelings must therefore have been real, but how can we even judge if that action is meant to be of her own free will when Damon compelled her original feelings for him.

YES, EXACTLY. It's impossible to judge that at all. It's possible to read it that way and try to exonerate Damon, but that's not what the show's every explicitly stated. The point it, it's not easy to tell whether 'you didn't compel me, so I stayed' is a part of Andie's own subjectivity or it's an extension of Damon's initial compulsion. And their attempt to laugh it away and make their 'relationship' out to be extremely healthy and based on a power-equality (as they obviously tried to do in the premiere) is a bit of a mind-fuck. So, Damon got up to get his own glass of alcohol (also contrived scene was contrived; the importance of that was the D/E meeting, not Andie's freedom from slavery or whatever) and everything's cool?

and was also shown to be pathetically desperate to get back to him and having her self-esteem shredded over and over.

I love Caroline and I have since the Pilot so I agree with everything you've said. Her "listen dungeon boy, I'm done being your slave girl. You seriously hurt me..." was so absolutely self-aware and a complete rejection of whatever he stood for. She obviously wanted absolutely nothing to do with him, but whenever she tried to move on, he came back. Also, "stupid, shallow, useless" was so needlessly cruel and hit her exactly where her self-esteem was the most frayed). And she was such a bitch to him whenever she wasn't under compulsion, it absolutely delighted me :D

It seems like there wasn't much point to introducing Andie unless it was to make some kind of point about look at how Damon is changing

Oh god, I hate that I get this feeling too. Andie just merely seemed like a plot-device introduced only to make Damon's case for the viewership, important only in so far as whether Damon killed her or didn't. She was introduced as far back as Daddy Issues and didn't appear for any scene that didn't involve making s comment on Damon's emotional or psychological state. Even her death id played up for its effect on Damon. I don't even /sigh
sweet baby jesus: ats} lookdarla.moirariordan on September 21st, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
I want to know this show so I can discuss this in more detail, but I'm getting kind of a vague picture to know that there's no way I could get through an episode without my head exploding.

This is kind of what bugs me about the vampire genre, because it is at its core an excuse to portray these extreme gender roles, not to mention violence and violent sex, and explain it away as something inherent to the genre. Like, of course he rapes and kills people, he's a vampire, but it's okay cuz he's hot and he loves the main girl! And there are hardly ever female vampires, and if they are, they're usually evil or an obstacle of some kind. So it's always Vamp Guy and Human Girl, which is a serious power imbalance from the very beginning, and then they usually ramp it up even more just by the personalities of the characters and the situations they put them into. Like the one you're describing here.

And what a lot of people don't think about is how vampires - and any kind of story that involves fantasy elements - is almost always metaphorical in some way, whether it's intentional on the part of the author/s or not. And with vampires the metaphors almost always come back to violence against women in some way, shape or form. Like, every single time. It's so fucking depressing.

The only instances I can think that kind of subvert these tropes are Jossverse (and even Angel and Buffy - the shows - slip into that every once in awhile) and this book series by Christopher Moore - which is about a female vampire and her human male lover (which is awesome and hilarious and I would totally recommend).

The other side of this is what you're talking about with Damon - because there is always, always a redemption storyline with the vampire. Because you can't have a successful story that revolves around a character that is irredeemably evil, and thus writers have to make their audience like their characters, which becomes so problematic when your main character is a rapist and murderer. This is the main thing that actually did piss me off about Jossverse - because as much as the Angel and Spike story lines were pretty brilliant, it still kind of swept to the side that, oh yeah, both of them have murdered and tortured thousands upon thousands of people.

ugh, feelings, i have so many feeeeelings
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on September 22nd, 2011 11:38 am (UTC)
I'm getting kind of a vague picture to know that there's no way I could get through an episode without my head exploding.

This actually may be true; this show has SO MANY ISSUES. But on the other hand, it's so much better than a lot of 'supernatural' based stuff out there and some of the female characters are just insanely kick-ass (I remember going on a long rant about Caroline Forbes on your journal, heh).

Like, of course he rapes and kills people, he's a vampire, but it's okay cuz he's hot and he loves the main girl!

In this show because it's been built well, even with the whole love-triangle-Cliché-of-Doom, but honestly the construction of the 'main girl' as a standard to be achieved in any sort of fiction just annoys the hell out of me. Because, what the hell? Also, this standard is almost always based on the male character’s view of normative femininity. And the degradation of all other non-lead females by the male in order to further the idea of the Ultra Specialness of the female lead in not receiving the same treatment is just—UGH, I DON’T EVEN.

And what a lot of people don't think about is how vampires - and any kind of story that involves fantasy elements - is almost always metaphorical in some way, whether it's intentional on the part of the author/s or not.

EXACTLY. I get the whole ‘but why would you concentrate on something like this, it’s a show about vampires for chrissake’, but the entire POINT is that it has correlatives in the Real World. And honestly it’s not even the show that bothers me so much, it’s fandom. It’s just scary when the majority believes that a girl who slept with a guy on the first date deserves to be abused because she’s easy. And it’s ‘not rape’ because she said yes initially. And even in the show it wouldn’t bother me half as much if they just ‘this is who he is, make your opinions about him’, it’s a refusal to acknowledge that that IS what they’re showing in the first place (I’ve never been in the Gossip Girl fandom but I remember there were huge issues with the non-acknowledgment of the Chuck/Jenny almost-rape thing).

Buffy still has some of the best female characterization, but it’s true of course, that Spike and Angel have to generate a certain response from the audience and in that case the other angle has to be played down for the redemption arc.
Also, target audience. Just, please, don’t show teenage girls this shit if you don’t mean to present any sort of over-arching message, just.

(And on a completely different, much less intense note, this is why Casey/Truman bothered me so much. It has nothing to do with Derek/Casey or what I ship, it’s just— DID THE SHOW EVEN SEE TRUMAN? Were there really people on board who figured he was excellent material for a romantic lead? That is what you're telling all the adolescent girls watching this show?)

I ALWAYS HAVE FEELINGS ABOUT THIS SHOW, IT'S SO FUCKING EPIC AND THEN IT GOES AND DOES THESE THINGS AND IT JUST GIVES ME A MIGRAINE.
waltzmatildah: tvd: jennawaltzmatildah on September 21st, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
but she’s compelled to be in love with him. And the show never makes it explicit whether that remains an overarching compulsion in their ‘relationship’ or what. In which case, she has no personality traits because she doesn’t have personality traits. She’s basically a zombie, which is just scary, imo.

A couple of things...

one. being in love is not a personality trait.

two. let's go for a minute with the theory that you didn't actually mean 'an example of a personality trait = being in love' (because it doesn't) and that you actually meant the things that might fall under that, such as your degree of extraversion around that person, then... aren't you kind of implying that once you fall in love everything else about you ceases to exist? ("she's in love, therefore she is a zombie"). Whether she 'chose' to be in love or not, that's not all she is/was.

But this...

- And because of this the entire last scene with Stefan and Elena, which I genuinely loved, also made me *headdesk* because I was going ‘THAT’S A MISTAKE, THAT’S A MISTAKE’ the entire time. Stefan just revealed to Elena that he hasn’t turned the button off, that he’s still there. SO, UM, WHAT WAS THE ENTIRE POINT OF KILLING ANDIE? Does he think Elena is not going to tell Damon or try and find him? OBVIOUSLY NOT. In which case Andie died because the show didn’t know what to do with her any more. Since the ending ENTIRELY negated her death.

... I completely agree with. And it completely coloured my experience of the Stefan/Elena phonecall to the point where it has reached 'The Waterfall Incident' levels of STUPID for me.
youcallitwinteryoucallitwinter on September 22nd, 2011 11:51 am (UTC)
Heh, I did not at ALL mean being in love is a personality trait, I don't think that means anything at all. But you're totally correct about the second part, 'being in love' doesn't make you a zombie. I'm just saying it's difficult to determine what personality traits Andie did have because you don't know about the levels of compulsion; even if she hasn't been compelled in a particular scene there might be over-arching compulsions working; the love-thing was just an example, so it's always difficult to determine what she's CHOOSING to do and what's just a result of compulsion.

The phonecall was seriously bizarre. Like, aesthetic significance and continuity, yes, but then honestly, Andie's death MAKES NO SENSE in context. That phonecall was the single worst thing Stefan could've done because it totally destroyed his own plans and make Andie's death nothing more than a farce. D:
(no subject) - waltzmatildah on September 22nd, 2011 12:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on September 22nd, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - waltzmatildah on September 22nd, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ever_neutral: tvd ~ as if death itself was undoneever_neutral on September 22nd, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
part one.
Maaaaaan, you just loooooove to host controversial-as-fuck subjects on your LJ, hmmm?

Damon especially gets all these self-referential moments which make you think “oh wait, so he did realize”, and then he goes and does the same thing ALL OVER AGAIN and I don’t even.

Har. I'm always 100% positive Damon always knows how fucked up he's acting. In S2 he's deliberately choosing to self-destruct. There have been some comments about Damon creating this mockery of romance with Andie--but that's THE POINT. Damon doesn't want ANY OF IT to be real. He's wholly rejecting reality for fantasy. His objectification of Andie is manifest within the narrative ("just be my distraction"). Then, in the S2-3 period, he's using Andie for instrumental reasons (i.e. tracking down his brother). Is he willing to exploit Andie's ~feelings for the sake of his goals? Absolutely. Moral development has nothing to do with it.

I think my entire problem with Andie’s representation is that there’s always an element of doubt in the functioning of her free-will.

THIS. And… IDK if that's entirely deliberate? I think it works quite well in S2, though, with that "you didn't compel me!" scene. I was having a debate with another friend about why the compulsion was fucking up there (he had to try SEVERAL TIMES to get her out???), and we both came to the conclusion that compulsion only works according to strength of will. So, Damon had very little self-control in that moment, ergo the compulsion wasn't as effective as usual. (And she STILL stops as she's leaving to make sure he's okay???) This is the best, non-victim-blamey theory I can surmise. I'm also 100% with you on the sexual violence metaphor. This is A VAMPIRE SHOW. There's no fucking way that costume choice (i.e. underwear) wasn't saying something.

I'm gonna be kind to the writers and say that they are pretty anti-compulsion. I mean, the very specific way Andie was killed off--being COMPELLED TO KILL HERSELF--makes a pretty strong statement against removing someone's agency. When I'm in a gracious mood, I'll even say that the incident is framed in such a way that we're supposed to blame Damon too--if he had put her on vervain LIKE HE SHOULD HAVE DONE, she would never have died.

I'd really like to get some fucking fill-in-the-blanks about why Andie and Damon reconciled, though. On Damon's side... that's pretty straightforward. "MY BROTHER'S GONE" --> "MUST GET HIM BACK" --> "OH WAIT I HAVE A FAKE GIRLFRIEND WHO'S A NEWS REPORTER". As for Andie… I disagree that she didn't have any personality traits. Her snipping at him to refill his own champagne demonstrated some degree of agency. So, she was HERSELF, but she definitely wasn't totally chill about TRACKING DOWN HIS MASS-MURDERING BROTHER of her own free will. She was being compelled to keep Damon's secrets. Presumably, her feelings for him were at least real to some extent, because I can't believe that Damon would be able to keep up that "you're in love with me" compulsion for very long. (See: my second paragraph, provided that my theory about how compulsion works is correct.)
ever_neutral: tvd ~ as if death itself was undoneever_neutral on September 22nd, 2011 02:57 am (UTC)
Re: part one.
Aaaaaaand you know I'm with you on the fucking rape "debate". Except. I have no problem sympathising with Damon when he's being awful. I'm not looking for paragons of normative morality in my supernatural genre fiction. I mean. This isn't just a Damon thing. We're expected to sympathise with Stefan at the end of 3.01 because he misses his girlfriend, even though he's just massacred dozens and dozens of people. This is the VAMPIRE diaries. The reprehensible mass-murderers/rapists are the "heroes" of the story. The show is pro-vampire. That's just something you have to take, or get out?

HERE IS MY SOLUTION: If you're gonna fridge a bunch of women in favour of Man Pain, you should also kill off an equal amount of MEN for Woman Pain too! Caroline killing that random dude at the fair in 2.02 is a good example of that. (Of course, that was more problematic because the guy was a POC, but IN PRINCIPLE.) Elena's endless grief over her fridged family members is another good example.

Which also means, Elena knew all this while? That possibly everyone knew all this while about the Damon/Andie shenanigans and NOBODY BOTHERED TO DO ANYTHING?

Well, I think that's kind of overwhelmed by Elena brushing off the far worse MURDER of Andie, in the same scene. I don't see how you could NOT take away that Elena's moral compass is seriously compromised right now. And I expect to see that explored further as the season progresses. You need to WAIT IT OUT, dude. (Also, I don't think that comment proves that Elena totally knew what was up with Damon and Andie. There's a moment in 3.01 where Elena calls Damon, and he lies about his whereabouts for no seeming reason. He could have just told her he was picking up Andie, but… he didn't want Elena to know??? And he's only being explicit about his dead "fake girlfriend" NOW because… what's the point in keeping it secret anymore? As for Caroline… well, it's not like she spends all her time with Damon. Why would she be privy to what he's doing?)

LET ME GIVE YOU A READ THAT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER. Throughout the episode, the idea of compulsion is hammered home quite frequently. There's the "I'm not your slave" line; there's Alaric joking about Damon's "fake, compelled girlfriend"; there's Damon randomly compelling a teenager not to drink his alcohol, etc. And then you have the big climax, with Stefan compelling Andie to kill herself. That calls back to Stefan's "they are PEOPLE; they're not puppets" line back in S1. It also calls back to Damon's murder of Lexie (and others) to punish Stefan. If Andie had any purpose at all, it was to be a symbol of the Salvatores' monstrosity. Is it a gross and reprehensible narrative choice? Absolutely. But the fact that Andie was a casualty to these men is manifest within the narrative. Structured like that, there is hope that all this repeating history can cease. That doesn't make the LACK of addressing-the-consent-issues any less troubling, obviously, but it's the most positive spin I can put on it.
Re: part one. - youcallitwinter on September 22nd, 2011 12:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: part one. - ever_neutral on September 22nd, 2011 01:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: part one. - youcallitwinter on September 22nd, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: part one. - ever_neutral on September 23rd, 2011 12:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: part one. - youcallitwinter on September 22nd, 2011 12:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: part one. - ever_neutral on September 22nd, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: part one. - youcallitwinter on September 22nd, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: part one. - ever_neutral on September 23rd, 2011 12:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
Frances: TVD - lexi poutgoldy_dollar on September 22nd, 2011 05:01 am (UTC)
THANK YOU FOR EXISTING AND BEING ON MY FLIST. Sometimes I can't believe that the 'rape/not rape' discussion is still so decisive in this fandom, but tbh the problem starts with the show's writing. The closest we've ever come to r-word was Caroline reminding Damon of how he abused her. So I don't think that the writers see what happened to Andie as rape - in fact, while we see Alaric looking a little uncomfortable with it, he mostly turns it into a LOL YOUR FAKE GIRLFRIEND JOKE which omfg why. And this isn't just a Damon problem - pretty much all of Stefan's victims so far have been women AND DON'T THINK I DON'T NOTICE JUST BECAUSE PAUL WESLEY HAS NEVER BEEN HOTTER, SHOW, OH I NOTICE.

I think my entire problem with Andie’s representation is that there’s always an element of doubt in the functioning of her free-will. You get moments where you think “oh, that’s her making the decision right there, so Damon doesn’t compel her all the time”, for instance that was the impression that Klaus gave with Andie’s blithe “you didn’t compel me, so I didn’t leave” speech, but she’s compelled to be in love with him.

SO MUCH THIS. I've even seen some fans talk about how 'pathetic' Andie was for going back to Damon, and just... what?? I mean, putting battered wife syndrome entirely aside for the moment, Damon compelled her to take away her fear, he compelled her to keep all of his secrets, and he compelled her to fall in love with him. WE HAVE NO CLUE WHO THE 'REAL' ANDIE IS OR HOW SHE WOULD REACT IN THAT SITUATION because we never saw her as a character before the compulsion. You are 100 percent right that the entire character was designed as a prop for Damon's manpain.

...ugh, I cannot. I get so angry just thinking about this and I just want to enjoy my show, WHY DO YOU DO THIS WRITERS.

all he need to do is go, “don’t be afraid” (which he did with both Caroline and Andie), and any time they have sex after that, it’s rape, because he’s taken their free will out of the equation. Would either of the girls have stayed if they hadn’t been compelled initially? Obviously not. They were both terrified when they found out, and they would’ve just run as fast as they could have. AND THEY DIDN’T.

RIGHT? RIGHT? And even all of this put aside, I literally do not understand how someone can watch this scene between Caroline and Damon in 1x03 and not see the rape imagery:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2DfrOfSzm0

SHE WAKES UP IN TERROR AND TRIES TO RUN AWAY. DAMON PURSUES. SHE TRIES TO DEFEND HERSELF. DAMON THROWS HER ON THE BED AND VAMPS OUT WHILE SHE SCREAM AND CRIES.

...but she said "yes" initially so it is not rape I guess? I don't even.

So Stefan made a choice in this scenario; killing Andie is a decision he makes, he kills her to prove a point. And the entire scene was about the lengths Stefan would go to to save his brother—how hard it is on Stefan. Poor guy has to kill people because he sacrificed his life. Again it’s a male drama with a female as collateral damage. And the point is, I’m not sure the show realizes that, I think they’re actually saying it’s ‘really hard’ on Stefan.

I actually covered my eyes with hands at that point in 3x01 and groaned aloud. When it first came out that Andie would come out, I weirdly had a few moments of hope?? Oh, a chance to redeem themselves, I thought! Maybe we will get some backstory! Maybe someone will finally say something to Damon about his treatment of Andie or slip her some vervain.

But no, she came back solely to be fridged for the sake of Man Pain.

And the thing is, it's not even that these things happened to Andie that bothers me so much as it's not condemned by the show. WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE HERE, WRITERS. Andie's entire arc was a circle of abuse followed by being murdered... without once getting to be an actual character. And at the end of it, we're told to feel bad for Stefan and Damon.
Frances: TVD - Caroline - DRINKgoldy_dollar on September 22nd, 2011 05:02 am (UTC)
I love that you brought up Katherine because she is a great counterpoint to this - yes, she does terrible things, yes, we feel some sympathy for her as an audience, but she is constantly portrayed as selfish and manipulative not just by the show but all the characters around her. She proclaims to love Stefan, but he clearly wants nothing to do with her BECAUSE SHE COMPELLED HIS FEAR AWAY AND ABUSED HIM, but Caroline and Andie never get to properly react to how Damon treated them.

Ugh, too many feelings, make me stop.
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on September 22nd, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - youcallitwinter on September 22nd, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)