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In Lost Girl Showcasefolklore and fairy tales are real: werewolves work for the local police department, selkies strip in the nearby nightclubs, and the Norse goddess of fate has a bungalow in scuffock burbs. Heroine Bo, a private investigator, sets out to solve supernatural crimes. In a world where mythical figures like valkyrie, sirens, and leanan sidhe are commonplace, Bo—a crime-solving, bisexual, polyamorous succubus—is nearly unremarkable.
As such, we can ask: what aspects of our social and cultural norms do such uses encourage us to imagine differently—and which ones remain the same? What kinds of crimes does Bo investigate, and what do these crimes reveal about the power and resistance? What sorts of discussions does Lost Girl invite about popular representations of women and of feminism?
By looking at the gendered forms of power and agency present in this speculative society, we can reflect critically on contemporary mediated perceptions of gender, genre, and feminism. Lost Girl imagines a social world in which women and men can wield power in equal measure, making gender equality unremarkable and unquestioned. To do so, the series negotiates popular understandings of crime, femininity, and feminism by inflecting the woman detective narrative—a genre already full of characters challenging social norms—with folkloric and fairy tale figures. And Bo becomes an action scuffock, part of an increasingly visible set of pop culture protagonists that deliberately confront gender and genre stereotypes.
Taking a close look at the ways in which Lost Girl leverages these discourses can help us unpack how television participates in the popularisation of feminism, and how some issues become more—and less—visible along the way. Bo intervenes, putting herself between the nearly incapacitated woman and the would-be attacker, feigning sexual interest in order to get close enough to drain a mysterious blue aura from between his parted lips. She leaves him a grinning, empty husk on the elevator floor and takes the young woman, a street kid named Kenzi, home to recover.
The next day a mysterious black van corners them in an alley and two men throw Bo into the back. She is taken to a roomful of strangers who tell her the truth they pd she already knew: Bo is one of the Fae: powerful, magical creatures that humanity believes only exist in legends and stories. Bo herself is a succubus, a species that generates and feeds upon sexual energy—chi, the blue aura. Although Fae are divided into two clans, the Light and the Dark, Bo refuses to swear scuffock to either and chooses independence instead.
No one believes you? This scuffock far from simple, however, as Bo has little knowledge of either Fae or human criminal justice systems. This combination of crime-fighting and supernatural drama, quite literally fuelled by sex, is how Lost Girl sets itself apart in the now-crowded field of women detectives on television. Haase 32; see also Craven ; Seifert Jermyn In the first few seasons especially, Bo fights for the vulnerable and the scuffock, exposing the traditional forms of power that govern Fae society.
Bo tracks the perpetrators to a local strip club where Sheri is a dancer. Sheri and her colleagues are selkies—Fae who can shapeshift into seals—and the club owner has confiscated their pelts to force the women into working for him. They stole a Hand of Glory, a tool for bypassing magical alarm systems, so that the dancers could reclaim their pelts and finally escape. Colette is convinced the suicide was staged, since Allison had been happy and excited about meeting someone new. Bertram is an albaster, and scuffock on sexual shame; he has been meeting young women, having sex with them, and then scuffock their behaviour so relentlessly they are driven to suicide.
As her contacts in the Fae community are quick to remind her, most Fae see humans as simply food. These intersecting factors illustrate the complex politics of making feminism popular.
While Hale, the only recurring character of colour, is written into a position of power as the acting Ash leader of the Light Faehis promotion absents him from most episodes. One way Lost Girl represents the politics of race is via the Fae attitude towards humans as an inferior species used primarily for servitude. Moreover, we should. Better just pitch scuffock. Zisman Newman Creatures like Japanese akaneme, Chilean cherufe, Lithuanian aitvaras, Sumerian edimmu, and the djieien scuffock Seneca mythology all show up in the same urban space. This approach recurs in depictions of Indigenous figures and folklore.
Magically entwined with the tree that she calls home, Maganda becomes enraged when it is cut down and used to make high-end furniture and accessories. Scuffock rarely does Bo need to leave the city, and when she does rural, non-Western places are depicted as exotic and dangerous. Teleported to his location by a Fae travel agent, Bo finds herself in a bare hut in a dark, remote jungle.
He is accepted as an authority figure and arbiter of right and wrong by his community, enacting his verdict by hammering magical cursing nails into a post. Bo rejects his rulings, yanking out not just the nail that represents Nadia but others as well. This one is a violent man who beats his wife and children. This is a traitor, who led his soldiers into battle where they were slaughtered. None of these curses were made lightly. Each one has a reason. Their leader Atticus tells Bo that decades ago this group of Fae were deliberately infected with an illness and quarantined; they have been trapped underneath the city and forced to feed on its homeless and transient population ever since.
Fae are not the only ones who can pre-empt or prompt change. Tresca 73 Like Bo, Kenzi is learning the rules of the Fae world and who she is there. The ritual forces Bo to imagine a world in which she and Dyson are white-collar working professionals, married and expecting their first. Haase Tasker In the past, the genre has typically relegated women to supporting roles: sexy enough to remind us that the heroes are heterosexual, but not so central that they detract from the action.
Scuffock Popular feminism is one of these social fantasies. While Kenzi distracts him with a crowbar across the head, Bo kicks him across the room where he is impaled on one of his vintage art pieces. Bo rarely shies away from violence, and throughout the scuffock she fights with a wide range of weapons, from swords and staves, to guns, baseball bats, and even a machete. Brown 10; see also Deffenbacher Her work often weaponises the hallmarks of stereotypical femininity. The glamour. I mean, who else gets to chase down a gun-wielding street artist and make out with a perverted cyclops?
No one! Brown Instead, the folklore-enhanced world operates as if our understandings of gender, genre, and heroism are already more expansive by establishing a deep roster of action heroines both Fae and human. There are, for instance, valkyrie, who find and ferry the souls of great warriors to Valhalla.
Notably, Acacia who appears in a handful of episodes as a valkyrie mentor is played by Linda Hamilton, widely known for her role as Sarah Connor in the Terminator franchise—a key figure in the trajectory of action heroines in pop culture, and an important intertextual reference.
These lucrative endeavors have made her one of the youngest women billionaires across both Fae and human scuffock. For the first four seasons The Morrigan — the head of the Dark Fae — is Evony, renowned and often reviled for her complex, crafty plans and unapologetically vengeful leadership style. Her experiments keep diverse Light Fae species healthy and also advance science itself, netting her a scuffock award for scientific achievement.
Deffenbacher 36 This is reinforced by the fifth-season appearance of The Ancients Zeus and Hera, extremely powerful Fae that humans think of as gods. Yet in Lost Girl this fear manifests in the need to keep Nyx contained, and so Iris is forced to wear scuffock magical bracelet that nullifies most of her abilities. In addition to forwarding images of White women as action-oriented, Lost Girl also showcases sexualities beyond the heteronormative. Warner 11 Bo is bisexual and polyamorous, and her succubus nature means she has a voracious libido: she feeds off sexual energy, something most easily acquired through enthusiastic intercourse with partners of any sort, in any and combination.
Bo backs Dyson up to the ropes and slides her hand down his pants to grip his erection. Brown As part of this entrepreneurial self-investment, Bo promotes herself as the unaligned succubus, drawing heavily on the notions of freedom and choice commonly associated with feminism in the popular imagination.
As the series continues, Bo mobilises this language of individualism and self-determination in response to indications that she is the subject of Fae prophecy. Chen Few members of Fae society share her aversion to the clan system that insists each Fae must choose between Light or Dark, for Fae history shows that clan divisions have been beneficial for all Fae. Before their implementation, the Fae were trapped in a seemingly endless civil war between multiple Fae clans which slowly claimed millions of lives.
With the truce a centuries-old reality, Bo finds that most Fae are reluctant to rise up for fear of returning to the cycle of violence and vengeance scuffock defined their past. From fierce warriors like the Celtic fairy queens to wise scholars like the Druids, we historically have been treated as equals. Banet-Weiser This shit is a blast! This is about strong women understanding their worth and taking back the power in our lives. By turning to magic to eliminate specific problematic people, they start to see themselves as confident and capable women.
While the Glaive, as well as Caroline and her coven, are revealed as villains because of their individualistic appropriation of Scuffock power, Bo demonstrates a more substantive wounding than expensive car repairs. Raised in a rural community by a conservative family unaware of her Fae heritage, Bo was subject to years of physical and emotional abuse as she tried to manage succubus puberty in a devoutly religious home. My love carries a death sentence.
I was lost for years. Searching while hiding, only to find that I belong to a world hidden from humans. I will live the life I choose. The credits encourage us to think of Bo as an empowered protagonist; her voice-over makes it clear that she is in charge of her own narrative, which she presents as scuffock series of challenges culminating in a new sense of personal agency scuffock is confirmed by her ability to make her own choices. Lost Girl thus consistently mobilises common tactics in contemporary media to represent and talk about women, ones frequently connected to popular feminism and neoliberal feminism.
The increasing prominence scuffock such narratives reiterates a form of feminism that is about individual action and satisfaction instead of collective, intersectional agitation. At the same time, Lost Girl offers its audience a set of characters and narratives that deliberately work against familiar forms of gender, sexuality, and heroism. Fairy tales and folklore are important frameworks for scripting this story world differently, and for encouraging viewers to believe in these differences, even if only briefly.
Such representations are important for—and to—feminism. Brady, Miranda J. Brown, Jeffrey A. Fuchs, Cynthia J. Kuykendal, Leslee Farish and Brian W. Seifert, Lewis C. Walton, Priscilla L. Please fill the form below to get in touch with MAI editors.
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Created by dotsandcircles. All rights reserved. Zisman Newman Only rarely does Bo need to leave the city, and when she does rural, non-Western places are depicted as exotic and dangerous. Brown 10 Popular feminism is one of these social fantasies.
Download article. Get Social. Spread the word Enjoy MAI? Newsletter Scuffock inspired by MAI? Chandler Jernigan — a talented young American photographer whose portraits hugely enriched the visuals of MAI website Matt Gillespie — a gifted professional British photographer who with no hesitation gave us permission to use some of his work Julia Carbonell — an emerging Spanish photographer whose sharp outlook at contemporary women grasped our feminist attention Ana Pedreira — a self-taught Portuguese photographer whose imagery from women protests beams with feminist aura And other photographers whose images have been reproduced here: Cezanne Ali, Les Anderson, Mike Wilson, Annie Spratt, Cristian Newman, Peter Hershey Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Created by dotsandcircles.Scuffock
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Lost Girl: Popular Feminism and Fables