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Friday, October 21, 2011

Terra Nova and the Positive Image it Projects

Source: http://www.aoltv.com/2011/09/26/terra-nova-pilot-cost/
This post has nothing whatsoever to do with travel or photography but I have recently gotten into the show and I think that barring the sci-fi elements, it is a great role model of a show. I am not saying it is the greatest show ever made. I just think that it represents a positive image for men and especially women. The reason I decided to write this post is because of reading this article of the documentary Miss Representation. The documentary is all about the negative manner in which the media portrays women. Either they are pretty and vapid with eating disorders or they are "ball busters" if they are in a position of power without being attractive. This is a growing influence on teen girls especially, leading to anorexia and bulimia.

I think that this impacted me since I actually developed an eating disorder when I was in middle school. I was anorexic and ended up losing like thirty to forty pounds in a couple of months. I was barely eating one meal a day and although I was thrilled about how I looked, it was just so unhealthy. I dealt with eating problems for years and it was amazing how well I hid it from everyone. It took me wanting to change myself and some really good friends in college before I finally kicked the habit. What's really funny is that now, if I am even late with a meal, I start getting hunger sickness.

This brings me to Terra Nova. I recently started watching it because a friend posted as their status:
Terra Nova is my dream show!! What an epic and ingenious concept! Incorporating time travel with dinosaurs; Starting human life on Pangaea 85 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period with animals that were never proven to exist??? Epic!!
 Who wouldn't want to watch it with that sort of endorsement. While the dinosaurs and the characters are very entertaining and have depth (the people at least), there is much more to the show. The main characters are Dr. Elisabeth Shannon, her husband Jim Shannon, and their three kids Josh, Maddy, and Zoe. Other important characters are Commander Nathaniel Taylor, Mira (the leader of a rival faction), and Lt. Alicia Washington.
More than half the cast of main characters are women and admirable women at that. Elisabeth is an extremely intelligent doctor. While she is beautiful, this is definitely not the main focus on her. Maddy, her oldest daughter, is also ridiculously book smart and even though she is a bit awkward, she's a nerd who gets the hot guy. She isn't obsessed with her looks and is mostly seen spouting trivia about dinosaurs. Mira, the leader of the Sixers (watch the show), is one of the strongest women in the show, both physically and in terms of her leadership capabilities. While she can be portrayed as hard, she is still feminine. You find out a little bit about her past which gives her character a bit more dimension. I think desexing is a form of reconciling an audience to a tough woman and it does women a disservice. It's almost like hyper-sexualizing a woman in order to make the tough woman sexually desirable. Boys will focus more on the sex part than anything else. Similar to Mira is Lt. Washington. She can hold her own and she definitely wears clothes that she can fight in. If anyone is most used for eye-candy, it's Jim. He's topless half the time! 
Also, another reason I am a big fan of the show is that the Shannons are a mixed family! YAY! Hopefully more and more mixes will be making it mainstream. There's plenty of other racial diversity as well, which is pretty exciting.
I personally think the show is very entertaining and I am loving the family dynamic. If you don't agree with me and think the show is utter garbage, good for you! If nothing else, I hope you will agree that the female roles are admirable and hopefully will be increasingly widespread. I know there are other shows with wonderful female characters as well, this one just stands out for me particularly. 
 If you are interested in women's issues, here is a great site: Women in the World

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