“Happy Valley” is a police drama by Sally Wainwright set in and around Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. The most fleshed-out male characters are the three murderers, two of whom are violent rapists. One other main male character is drunk and disorderly, making a fool of himself outside a pub, and the most sympathetic male character is a loser who has gone back to his mother after being thrown out by his wife for having an affair. Occasionally, he says sensible things. The protagonist, Sgt. Catherine Cawood, whose nickname in the nick is “Brunnhilde”, is a saint in human form. Always seeking to do the right, compassionate thing, always considering implications and the long term, she bears up under great stress. Her daughter killed herself after giving birth to her rapist’s child, and Caroline is bringing up her grandson and caring for her recovering alcoholic/addict sister.
In the last scene, the grandson is chatting away about wanting a dog- an alsatian or pit-bull or rottweiler- and my distinct impression is that Caroline is wondering if he will grow up to be like his murderous rapist father. I almost don’t want to admit it because that is so horrible.
In Middlemarch, the women in every case rule their men. Mary loves Frank but insists he get a good income before she will consent to marry him. Mrs Bulstrode cares for Mr Bulstrode in his disgrace. Though the Doctor is far more intelligent and sensible than poor Rosamund, she runs rings round him, always getting her way. Dorothea wants a husband more intelligent than she. It’s not possible, and her attempt is a disaster. He is mean cowardly and impotent, and falsely impugns her honour, publicly. So she picks her second husband because he is physically attractive.
All men are stupid I can cope with. All men are arrogant fools with a colossal sense of entitlement and resentment, and potential for extreme violence- even the ones in suits with responsible jobs- is more difficult, especially as women saying this probably think I’m a man. Margaret Atwood said Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them. Er- steady on-
I like to imagine I am not murderous. Really.
Here’s Storyending, who went for a drink with a man she loathed because she needed some information from him. She overcame her patriarchal conditioning and used men’s argument techniques on him, with the result that she defeated him completely in argument.
In both series of Les Hommes de L’Ombre, there is a strong female main character, but with a flaw. In the second series, the woman is blackmailed because she paid a fixer to arrange her international adoption- “bought a child”. In both, women go mad for love of the Gregory Fitoussi character. Women might not feel flattered.
I googled “All men are rapists” and found this article considering whether the human aversion to violence against humans is innate or inculcated.
To my women readers: are you frightened of men?