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Geography | Art & Design | PSHE

Killing Eve’s murderous women break TV taboo

Today, female characters can be bold, brave and strong — but what about violent? Killing Eve, which dominated the BAFTAs, is a story of complex women who are as bloodthirsty as any man. A Russian assassin and an MI5 operative pursue each other across countries in a murderous game of cat and mouse. There is tension, intrigue and a lot of blood. It's a familiar formula. But in Killing Eve, something is different: both the murderer and the spy are women. On Sunday night, Jodie Comer won the best lead actress BAFTA award for her portrayal of Villanelle, a glamorous Russian psychopathNot all psychopaths are violent. In fact many psychopathic traits (determination, single-mindedness, a disregard for others' opinions) are similar to those we celebrate in top athletes. with a taste for poisoned hair pins and big pink dresses. Comer's competition for the TV prize included her co-star Sandra Oh, who plays the eponymousThings that are named after a person or place, etc.  MI5 agent Eve, Villanelle's adversary. As soon as it was released last year, critics hailed Killing Even as thrilling, stylish and the future of television, while audiences delighted in watching women behaving badly. Now, with the second series due out in the UK next month, excitement is reaching fever pitch. Phoebe Waller-BridgeEnglish actor, writer, and producer, best known as creator and star of comedy series Fleabag. She has insisted that she did not become part of the James Bond writing team to change how female characters are portrayed., the writer of Killing Eve, has expressed frustration with "the cult of the strong woman character" on TV. She says it prevents women from being emotionally complicated on screen. In contrast, Waller-Bridge's female characters are celebrated for being selfish, twisted, complex and arrogant. For the writer, this also means showing women who are capable of great violence. "I think people are slightly exhausted by seeing women being brutalised on screen," Waller-Bridge explained in March. But "seeing women being violent [...] is refreshing and oddly empowering". For decades, the 'dead girl' trope has been replayed on our screens. Elle Hunt, in The Guardian, reflects that women appear in crime dramas only to be victimised by predatory men and end up as beautiful corpses. Most recently, Netflix's new release Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile has been accused of glamourising Ted Bundy, a charismatic serial killer who murdered dozens of women. In her book, Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession, Alice Bolin argues that crime shows have "power to reinforce social order" by presenting women as victims. In contrast, Killing Eve flips the formula of violence on its head, shocking audiences and subverting gender norms. Breaking boundaries? Is female violence on TV empowering for women? In pop culture, men are frequently violent and evil. Why does violence suddenly become unacceptable when it's committed by women? Do we still expect females to be good, docileCalm, obedient. girls? But can it really be empowering to watch women hurt and kill each other? Aren't we past the days of presenting cold-hearted killers (like James Bond) as cool and stylish? Should female characters aim to challenge abusive, toxic masculinity on screen, rather than imitate it? KeywordsPsychopath - Not all psychopaths are violent. In fact many psychopathic traits (determination, single-mindedness, a disregard for others' opinions) are similar to those we celebrate in top athletes.

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