BTS: Slut-shaming

Filed in Behind the Scenes by on April 27, 2012

This Post is syndicated fro Bernie Su‘s Tumblr

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gremlinowl asked: First off, I love the series- it’s absolutely brilliant. However, as a somewhat strong feminist, I do wonder at the slut shaming of Lydia. I understand it’s Lizzie who’s speaking, and she is highly judgmental, but I always read her as being a forward looking feminist in the book, whereas she seems somewhat less so in this series. Regardless of whether this issue is addressed, I’ll keep watching- and enjoying immensely!- but it would help with my peace of mind.

 

– This is my response to the Slut-shaming critique we’ve been getting – 

Hi GremlinOwl

Thanks for watching the show. The slut shaming critique is definitely something we’re aware of and honestly one of the few disappointments we have with the reception of the series. I’d like to clarify that we are not defending it. The critique is a fair one. It really is something we simply missed on.

Lizzie’s line early in episode 2 when she casually refers to Lydia as a “whooreey – slut”  is especially one I really really wish I had caught and taken back. :/

As for where it came from, I think it was a by product of our early development of the character and “what would Lydia be if she was modernized”.  We just overlooked it (not just Hank and I, but the whole writing team as well). Our only real response to this is that the Limbaugh “slut” comments and the gender political lines of this year’s presidential campaign hadn’t happened yet when we wrote and shot those episodes.

Basically, playfully referring to a bold, totally unapologetic, and presumably very promiscuous young woman (annoying sister or not) as a “slut” today has very different connotations now than it did 3-4 months ago. Again not defending, just giving context.

I’d like you (and the rest of the fans) to know that we at The LBD team have definitely been making adjustments to future episodes regarding this matter. I don’t think you’ll see us toning down Lydia but you will see us adjusting Lizzie’s choice of words and actions in dealing with her. I will say that Lydia provides an amazing foil and contrast to Lizzie in our version and I hope you and the fans will continue to enjoy the head butting that these two have throughout the story.

As for the modernization of Lizzie as a forward thinking feminist, I can totally see that interpretation. As a man, I don’t know if I have the right to say that Lizzie will fill that forward feminist archetype but I will say that she’ll continue to be idealistic, vocal, and forward thinking. One thing I will add for our Lizzie is that though she is beloved for being those things, our Lizzie can’t be beloved 100% of the time with everything she says and does. I just don’t find that to be possible if you’re idealistic and vocal (man or woman).

Finally, one of the challenging thematic changes we had to consider in our series is to incorporate the fact that women in the modern era have many more choices in life than in the 18th century.  So you will definitely continue to see that develop, acted upon, and vocalized by not just Lizzie but in Charlotte and Jane as well. – It may not be there yet, since every episode thus far has been set up and Darcy/Bing plot, but it’s definitely coming.

Thanks for watching,

Bernie Su

Lizzie Bennet Diaries Co-Creator and Head Writer

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