transcripts of my comments on Vicky Frost’s Guardian Blog on Borgen Episodes 7&8 page 25

  • 4 February 2012 2:10PM

    hi @casisc, thanks for your response and interesting points in reply to mine which are here:
    your quotes of my points:

    The whole rather tiresomely signposted gender battles are all a little depressing. Since the issue would not have received any screen time or have been remarkable enough to be part of Borgen if it was about a male PM.

    i say depressing since i expected Danish Drama to be non-sexist. Yet here we have the formulaic gender bending stories that aren’t really gender bending at all. Since what it all comes down to in the end is that even a woman PM has to trade off sex, like all her other trade offs. Even the PM gives into sex that she doesn’t really want. Wives are still lying back and thinking of England/Denmark..

    Birgitte so far has thrown two competent and clever women Minsters, whose transgressions were fairly minor, to the wolves. She could easily have spun an escape for Anne-Sophie just as she did for Kaspar. She just couldn’t be bothered.

    Your points in italics:
    Really stimulating post, much of which I agree with, but to further debate and from the quoted bits … Para 1: I’d love to see some drama deal with the equivalent situation with a male PM. Those sort of tensions must happen all the time. Para 2: Why assume Danish drama would be non-sexist? But also, why should it be sexist to show the tension between that can occur within a professional couple when one takes on a role which pretty much affects their whole home life? Couldn’t the same thing happen within a same-sex relationship as well? Might one of the couple use/withhold sex? Emotionally blackmail the other about attention to kids? Isn’t this just life? The fact that it’s a woman PM doesn’t lessen that tension. Is it realistic to think that Phillip wouold just kick back and enjoy being the “primary care giver”? Surely an equal world is about finding ways to accommodate each other, and each other’s wants and desires. A straight acceptance by Phillip of a primarily home and supporting role (appreciate what you said about not really being a househusband) would simply be a role reversal. Real equality is perhaps more complex. Para 3: Doesn’t that just say “Welcome to the world of political power” to Birgitte? Hox is a shit but he (I’m hoping temporarily) outsmarts her through his PET contacts and the press. The press reaction to Sophie-Anne puts her, in Birgitte’s view, beyond saving. And to be honest, Sophie-Anne was so antagonistic to and demanding of Birgitte immediately after the bug was found that I’m not surprised she cut her adrift. Henriette could have been defended, but she decided to deny wrongdoing in a private meeting with Birgitte. Should the fact that she was a woman have trumped the lack of trust? I think Borgen at least presents women/power/relationships/trade-offs/media conscience. It doesn’t portray any sort of “perfect” world. But why should it? *

    i’d like to bring in everybody including @jojoma, @sussexperson @suffolk&good &@pencilsketcher who have also all discussed these points on page 21

    para 1-yes, sure, however i dunno if it would then be very interesting since the reverse situation is almost a stereotype isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be too perilously close to soap opera then?

    i propose that just on the basis of TV tropes/stereotypes that the wife of a highpowered man/ Man With A Very Important Job is a stalwart template along with the nagging or saintly and understanding wife. As Sussexperson has pointed out too, i’m suggesting tht the TV trope/stereotype dictates that the nagging wife is disapproved of. Derided even. Ashrew in fact. It’s considered very bad form to complain of your husband’s wonderful job. Think the ex-PM’s wife:she is a figure of scorn & pity..

    i’m trying to imagine Michelle Obama moaning. i’m sure she does. But would she really get into such a petulant pout about it as Phillipe? Doesn’t Michelle Obama take her job as a Mother extremely seriously and has said she is concerned about making sure her girls “have a normal life”. Obviously hugely intelligent and independent Michelle could be 5 CEO’s at once however she gave it all up in the blink of an eye. Because her hubbie has a Rather Important Job. She, Michelle, i’m pretty sure, sees it as a partnership and a joint enterprise. But not in a political or business way.

    If you think how Linden’s fiance in The Killing Remake treated her, giving her an ultimatum just for being on the job:it seems that men in Dramas are allowed to be much more cross about their other half’s Important Job whilst the women are surprisingly patient about them being so cross! In American Dramas, the wife of the Hero/Detective is shown as fully understanding and respecting that their other half has a Very Important Job which means that they serve and protect the public eg.a Higher Greater Cause..

    ran out of space!to be continued..

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