24 January 2016

Disturbing the Peace - The Importance of the Everywoman (Not Bella Swan)

***Since Arrow is coming back on, I guess I should finish this, especially since we all know she's okay***


So by now I'm pretty sure anyone who's an Arrow fan knows of this thing that happened, in which everyone's favorite plucky blonde computer genius got shot and may or may not be dead.

Let me say first that if Felicity dies, I will A) stop watching the show and supporting it in anyway, except for Flash crossover episodes where I have no choice, and B) picket any filming I can get to because it's BS.

However, I truly don't think Felicity is dead for a myriad of reasons. This post sums them up pretty perfectly, so I want to approach this from a little bit of a different viewpoint: that of the romance writer.

I write romance, so I'm pretty sure I have a working knowledge of it, at least. Comic books aren't known for subtlety and nuance most of the time when it comes to characters' relationships with one another, and they certainly don't cast women like Felicity Smoak (which is totally a real last name, something that still weirds me out) as the love interest of the hero unless she is horrifically killed and thus becomes a turning point for the hero.

This is known as putting her "in the refrigerator"--a term coined by comics writer Gail Simone after reading a comic book in which that literally happens (to Alex DeWitt in Green Lantern #54)-- and is used over and over and over again in comics and movies. And TV shows. And video games. And pretty much everything.


However, Felicity has spent four seasons subverting that in a most spectacular way. Most people will see a plucky blonde computer guru and think of Penelope Garcia on Criminal Minds, or at least I do. She and Morgan have one of my favorite friendships on network television, but that's the extent of it, a fact that frustrates the ever-loving hell out of Morcia shippers like myself. Throughout the first couple seasons, Olicity shippers had that same frustration--that our plucky blonde computer guru would remain in that role of "loves from afar." After all, Oliver was well into a relationship with Sara (and later with Laurel, which is just messed up but whatever; Oliver's not exactly in his right mind).

When Olicity went canon, I squalled. Because Felicity is me.

She's our Everywoman. She's the heart and soul of the Arrow team, who uses humor to defuse situations, who adds normalcy to an abnormal situation. She keeps Oliver grounded and acts as the rainbow to his thunderstorm. She brings a sense of color into the group, not just with her outfits, but with her personality, her kindness, and her general love for all of them. Sometimes she has to be mother hen, sometimes she's the concerned best friend, but she's always the glue that keeps the Arrow team together. Those women are typically stuck in those roles, but not our Felicity. And that's incredibly important for the "geeky" girls, the ones who are normally relegated to the background, the stand-ins. The women who think outside the box, the ones who kick ass in their own ways but not necessarily on a physical level, the ones who may not even be "conventionally pretty" like yours truly are normally not seen as worthy of the hero. And the fact that Felicity is, AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE OR SO HELP ME GOD, is representation I feel like is sorely lacking in a world where strong, worthy women are practically dude-light.

So, guys? If for some reason you decide to go down that road with her? YOU WILL HAVE FAILED THIS SHOW AND THIS DEMOGRAPHIC.


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