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Laura Moon as a Litmus Test for White Femininity

Laura Moon as a Litmus Test for White Femininity

By: Ashleigh Thomas

Laura is cold, quite literally because of her living situation (get it? living situation?), selfish, and unapologetic. I will admit, it is refreshing to see a female character who wasn’t really interested in redemption. But, I don’t see why blogs, reviews, and fans are raving about Laura Moon being the embodiment of feminism.

I don’t dislike Laura. She isn’t one of my favourite characters; she’s neither here nor there to me. What I do dislike is Laura being touted as the show’s “Strong Feminist Representation”. I’ve seen multiple fans say things along the lines of “if Laura were a man, everyone would like her “and “disliking Laura is misogyny”.

Yeah, she’s physically strong. Probably more so than anyone else in the show. Seeing her go toe to toe with Sweeney has its charm. But she has no redeemable qualities and she knows it.

Well, it’s certainly not all everyone is angry about. I’m pretty irritated that she’s got two entire episodes about how boring and miserable she is, while we’ve hardly seen Bilquis, nor do we really know much about Shadow’s background. It isn’t misogyny to say Laura’s very bland, boring, and selfish character—is just that.

I don’t see why she’s being called “scene stealing”, “show stopping”, and “the best part” of the show.

How often is it that we see characters like Shadow? He’s a sensitive Black man, who adores (adored?) his wife and just wants to keep a low profile after getting out of prison. His characterization is refreshing to me. I can count on one hand the amount of Black men in sci-fi/fantasy who are allowed to be as wide-eyed and honestly, just as precious as him.

Amoral, badass white women, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen. And they continue to be heralded as peak feminist representation.

My question to white feminists in fandom is this: does the feminism you want include white women being free to be generally shitty like their male counterparts?

I propose a Laura Moon test for fans of colour. Do you want to watch a show because of it’s cool POC lead, but are worried about that character being sidelined (either in the plot or via fandom) for a white character? Now you can find out before getting invested if this show passes the Laura Moon Test. Here’s the criteria:

Does the show have a main character:

  • Of colour?
  • Who is interesting and generally just good representation?
  • That isn’t overshadowed by a white, female counterpart?

If you answered yes to all three, congrats, your show failed the Laura Moon test, which is a good thing. Go ahead and get invested. Your faves will not be neglected for the sake of a Strong White Woman (or white characters in general).

Since the season ended last night, there’s no real way to tell if they’ll improve Laura’s tendency to make everything about her. Hopefully, we’ll see the show expand on Shadow’s motivations as much as they have Laura’s. Also, can we just see him smile a little more? #freeshadowssmile

 

 

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View Comments (5)
  • Man, this article came at just the right time for me. My interest in American Gods is petering out in the second to last episode because of the Laura Moon focus. She’s just…unlikable. She’s a GREAT supporting character, but not so great as a central character. Same with Mad Sweeney.

    I just don’t enjoy shows where I’m SURROUNDED by unlikable characters, and American Gods is starting to feel that way.

    I checked myself, not an hour ago, because I wanted to make sure that this isn’t because she’s a woman, or because she’s white. Then I reminded myself that my favorite show on TV is Orphan Black and got over my concern.

    If Laura’s love/need for Shadow was anything but selfish, I wouldn’t mind following her for a while instead of Shadow. I need my lead characters to care about something beyond themselves, regardless of race or gender.

    I’m gonna finish this season, and then decide if I’m gonna watch the next.

  • Laura is unlikable and unsympathetic. And she’s got way more airtime than she should. I loved American Gods b/c I loved Shadow and I feel like he’s become a side character.

  • im the author. you’re BIG mad about laura huh?

    youre right, i would be less mad about laura’s characterization had she been black…because guess what. youre comparing apples and oranges. they are two separate things. nuance, my friend.

    i never said anything about sweeney. if you feel strongly about him then write your own article. i said passing off criticism as laura as ‘misogynistic’ is bullshit. she isnt above criticism. the show also hasnt been using sweeneys plotline to sideline shadow, which is 100% what my article was about.

    i didnt read the rest of your diatribe

  • There are two major differences between her and Mad Sweeney:

    1. Mad Sweeney had indeed shown redeemable qualities (if you consider feeling genuine guilt over LM’s death and then bringing her back again, redeemable).

    2. The show and the other characters treat him like the arsehole he has been. He is not written like a hero or a precious little victim in this world, whereas you can tell that’s their plan for this brat. They basically showed that any blame that LM had accepted (and it wasn’t much to begin with) will now be placed at the feet of Odin & MS. She is the epitome of a horrible person being treated as a precious flower based on her being a petite, pretty white woman and she happily takes that privilege. It doesn’t matter how many empty gestures you attribute to her (avoiding animals in the road), she has no real remorse about her overall behavior so those small deeds seem like a poor attempt at redemption.

    I’ve watched a lot of television and I can tell the difference between characters who are written as anti-heroes and people being written as heroes of the story. I will never like selfish, hypocritical characters who are written as heroes (see Stefan Salvatore).

    I love a good anti-hero though, Deadpool, Faith (early BvS), Red Hood, Mad Sweeney, etc.

    I don’t need anyone to accuse me of not liking a character based on her sex. Her sex is only relevant in that it tends to be women who are written this way. I also don’t want this character to represent anything to do with feminism.

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