A rant about episode 8.3. If you haven’t seen it, don’t read it.
Supernatural has a unique ability to entertain me and piss me off in the same breath. It’s the Tracy to my Hepburn, somedays.
This week, it was the character of Randa, the self-described former “Georgia peach” [thanks for the imagery, Georgia O’Keefe] turned super stripper that got me burning and scowling at the screen. For Randa, having the heart of an ancient [male] Mayan warrior transplanted into her chest was, she tells Dean–who’s pinned down by two of Randa’s goons and splayed out beneath her at the time, which, ok–the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Her new heart changed her, she says, for the better: from a shy, retiring creature to aversion of herself that she sees as highly superior–a stripper in a seedy club in Boulder, Colorado.
Randa slinks around the narrative like a black mamba, making her first appearance in higher drag than Kurt Russel in Tango and Cash: high heels, skintight pleather dress, fantastic bob haircut and, oh yeah, the I’m-gonna-fuck-you-in-an-alley gaze. Sure.
Don’t get me wrong: she is gorgeous.
She also presents yet another sketch of femininity in SPN that assumes that our sexuality is bound by a binary and is linear in its trajectory: women are either repressed librarian-types (boring, but safe) or drop-dead bitch goddess whose power is expressed primarily in sexual terms (run, Dean, run!). And women, this episode tells us, would much prefer to be super-strippers in the freaking shadows than to seek out public fame, fortune, and glory–as did the male Mayan warrior who’d been carrying around what’s now Randa’s heart for almost 1000 years. Oh no: blessed with a new kind of eternal life–of the prospect of unending youth, power, and vitality–Randa decides to become an (admittedly gorgeous) sex worker.
Now, don’t get me wrong: there’s power to be had in owning one’s sexuality and from profiting from it–if it’s of one’s own choice to get in and to get out. But Randa doesn’t own the club where she works: her “power” within the narrative’s not tied to economics or ethos. No. She’s content (the episode would have us believe) to take her clothes off and swing the pole in a two-bit club–that’s all the power that she wants. Hell, that’s all the power she fucking deserves.
Wow. So not ok.
What a contrast she makes, huh, to Amelia and her print dress and freaking pic-a-nic basket at the end of the episode.
We can be sweet and save puppies–and earn Sam’s dick of death–or we can become hyper-sexualized [and masculinized? or we need a man inside us? I don’t even know what to think about that] monsters who yearn to rip Dean’s beating heart right out of his pretty, pretty chest.
Oh, Supernatural. What’ll it take for you to shift your gender politics out of Rick Santorum’s America and into the fucking twenty-first century?