Facebook: creating the life you want people to think you’re living.

Chloe is a Facebook addict.
Inspired by Sara’s post.

I joined Facebook back in early 2005; my first instinct was to snark on the site because the only people on there were my former high school classmates, and I wasn’t ready to “care” about what was going on in their lives. Then more of my friends started joining, and people I hadn’t seen in 13 years started contacting me. Soon it was the place to make plans, and keep in touch with my friends. I was even more excited when the UK hoped on the bandwagon because it meant I no longer had to write individual emails to my friends, all I had to do was update my status and write “how are you?” on their wall. Voila, a way to “maintain” a friendship.

I was also won over by the addition of applications and quizzes. Let’s face it, I think it’s important that people know I’m most like Elizabeth Bennett, and that if I were an ice cream flavor then I would be mint chocolate chip. One Facebook friend complained that these quizzes were about procrastination and a waste of time. It’s possible that those are some peoples’ motivations, but I think it all boils down to narcissism.

At this point, Facebook has become about showing the world who we think we are. We’re selling ourselves trying to prove to our “friends” that our lives are pretty damn good. Example: I know people who are constantly telling their SO via facebook that they love them. In reality, the relationship isn’t so good. Another example: a friend, wanting to show what a good step-daughter she is, posted a Mother’s Day message to her step-mom(who doesn’t have a Facebook)This resulted in a number of “likes” and showing of approval from various friends. Why not actually call the step-mom, the person it would actually mean something to? Well, the direct call doesn’t show the world that you are amazing for caring about someone you really don’t have to.

Maybe that’s unfair, maybe people do care, but I do think we’re getting pretty lazy when it comes to showing affection/interacting with people outside of Facebook. What happened to actually emailing/writing friends to fill them in? What about calling them? A few weeks ago I had a friend message me via FB instead of calling me to tell me she couldn’t make it to our lunch. Just a few years ago she would’ve called, left a voice mail and I would have known sooner rather than later that my plans had changed. Maybe I’m one of the few that doesn’t have instant access to FB, but honestly, a call seems more personal. It seems like your actually participating in a friendship.

Maybe it’s time we back away from the computer, call up one of our friends and see if they want to meet for coffee. Maybe we actually make the effort instead of letting FB do the work for us. Maybe it’s time we get back to the “real world.”

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The truth about you…

Carrie is talking shit about you!

After months of a creative drought, I’ve finally started writing (poetry) again. I find myself writing about people I’ve had issues with, my (and sometimes others’) perceptions of them. There are also times when I find myself twisting interactions and events, so that it is essentially fiction.

When I was in my second creative writing workshop we didn’t have much control over what we wrote about, or at least that’s how I saw it at the time.  During that semester I wrote a lot about one of my relatives. I used to worry about what she would think if they were ever published. Two poems have been published, and as far as I know, she’s never read them. I’ve never told her that she has two poems about her, mostly because I don’t know how she’d respond to them.  However, she (+ a few others) are  a rarity because I usually tell people I’ve written something about them, or a piece about the time we had some sort of adventure. I think the difference with those people is that I’m trying to sort of freeze this moment where they were something that they aren’t anymore; where we were something completely different. Even if the events in the poem didn’t happen exactly they way I wrote them there’s some truth to it.  Ok, so most of the people who know I’m writing/have written about are writers–they get that things are emphasized or distorted. My friend Jenny A. didn’t freak out when I wrote about her hectic and emotional few months during the time we lived together. After I sent her the poem, I told her that I sort of constructed more of a story around her. She responded with “I get it, it’s art.”

One of my creative writing professors once said, “people have to realize that if they are in your life, they are fair game to be written about.”  I don’t think this is a concept that most people grasp.  Most people aren’t ready to see how you view them, even if it is one element of them magnified to the nth degree. I think there’s a good amount of people who would jump up and say “that’s not how things really are.” Fair enough. My friend “Morticia,” quotes Henry & June to me whenever I tell her that I’m worried about how a person might respond to something I’ve written about them.
It’s a distortion. Henry, Look at me! Look! You can’t see me or anyone as they are! I wanted Dostoyevsky  –June Miller

Sometimes I think about telling those who don’t know. Everything is constructed so they can understand my truth, but I worry that will get lost somewhere, so I say nothing. I think for the most part that’s the best.

I used to believe that if someone wrote about me, I’d want to know. Now, I’m not so sure. It would depend on the someone. I’m curious though, who does want to know if they’ve been written about?

“Be Italian” (or any other ethnic group that is cool)…

Whenever I see a post about the kids on “The Jersey Shore” it’s always followed by comments about how they aren’t really Italian. There’s always someone pointing out that if they went to Italy they would be made fun of and not accepted because they don’t speak Italian and don’t look/act like they are from there either.

Now, the issue about “being Italian” has also been brought up in interviews with the cast, and they are always quick to respond that they aren’t representing Italian Americans; for them it’s about the Guido lifestyle. I can respect that. I’m curious though, about the gap that viewers see in “being Italian” and “being Italian American.” From my understanding, “the Jersey Shore” cast sees it as there  still being cultural ties/practices that relate back to the “old country.” So in living their way of life, and through ethnic background they consider themselves to be Italian…so why can’t the rest of us?

How much does cultural background influence us? If we have the ethnicity in our genes can we really say we identify with it  if we pass for “white” and are not raised in a place/by a person that encourages a connection with our heritage? What about those who are white, but were brought up in a place where the majority of people were from a different racial/ethnic background and that influence was strong?

In a way I can relate to the cast’s plight because as a Latina (who doesn’t know Spanish) I’ve been told many times over (usually by people of the Caucasian persuasion) that I’m not Hispanic. If this has ever happened to you, you can understand how incredibly frustrating it is to have some say this, especially when you do have many ties to your culture. There are subtleties that outsiders would miss. Hell, there are people who I’m related to who don’t really understand specific traditions because they were not brought up with those concepts in mind.

I’ll admit it, I’m annoyed by those people who don’t really identify with being Hispanic unless it makes them look cool among their “white” friends or helps them get a scholarship/job when they tick the box on an application form. It’s unfair for the rest of us who’ve had to put up with racial slurs and being treated with prejudice.  In fact I know one person who passes for white, who sort of laughed it off when their fiance boyfriend called them “a wet back,” simply shrugging and said he doesn’t know better.” All the people I know(white or Latino) would find that unacceptable, but maybe that’s because they’ve been immersed in the Hispanic culture. Or maybe they  just know that exploiting and insulting people of different ethnic backgrounds is never in vogue.

4 Square

Ok, so I skipped my Top 5 in February, but I give you my belated “Top 4” for March.

1.)Charlie McDowell: I’ll be honest, I’m still a bit unsure about Twitter. I can’t get on board with constant “tweets” about when a person is on a lunch break, what they’re eating, who they’re eating with, etc… Listen people, I know you think your life is interesting, but if you’re tweeting about it more than once a day/everyday then it probably isn’t that great.

I have an account, and I occasionally/rarely update. Ok, so most of them are “@s” to celeb tweets with the hopes that ONE of them with respond to me(sadly, this has yet to happen).

Thanks to one of these celebs(Alyson Hannigan, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer/How I Met Your Mother/American Pie-fame) I discovered the brilliant tweets of Charlie McDowell. The majority of his postings are dedicated to the girls living in the apartment above him. If you’ve ever had an obnoxious roommate or neighbor, you’ll be able to appreciate Charlie’s electronic post-it notes to those girls. If I didn’t know better I would think the girls above Charlie were my two ex-roommates from when I was 20(they were the least self-aware people anyone could meet, and they were each others #1 fan). This is the one time I wish Twitter had existed 5 years ago, that way I could document my “pain” and share it with the world.

2) Freedom Writers: I’m a sucker for films about good teachers connecting with and inspiring students that have been ignored by the public school system. I like it even more if the movie/novel is based on a true story. In Freedom Writers, we’re introduced to Erin Gruwell, a first year teacher assigned to a freshman English class filled with at-risk students. While most teachers would be eager to assign busy work, counting the days until they could pass these kids off to the next grade, Erin takes the time to get to know them and introduce them to a world they didn’t know existed. She cares about who her students become, and she wants the best for them.
Freedom Writers

3) TRANSform Me: It’s part of VH1’s “Beauty’s on the inside” hour, except it’s way better than its lead in show–Jessica Simpson’s “The Price of Beauty” (seriously,  skip that one!). It may seem like your typical makeover show, but I’m impressed with the message this one sends out. First off, the person who wants a makeover submits the video; there’s no secret footage, no moment where the host jumps out from some bushes to inform someone they are a fashion DON’T, and their family and friends are embarrassed to be seen with them. (Now, I like those shows, but I know lots of people who don’t). Second, our three lovely hosts (Laverne, Jamie and Nina) understand what it means to undergo a major transformation since they are male to female transsexuals. I think this adds a sincerity to the show, that others lack. They understand it’s not about what is on the outside; if a person doesn’t feel beautiful or confident from within, then appearances really don’t matter because then they lack depth.
Laverne, Jamie, and Nina!

4) Her Stories – African Amerian Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales: I stumbled across this collection when babysitting the other night. I have to say Virginia Hamilton has compiled a wonderful collection of stories, including one of my childhood favorites “The Talking Eggs.” While this book is aimed at children, there are some fun facts for adults to read at the end of each tale. It’s a difficult book to put down, as each story seems better than the next. Leo & Diane Dillons’ beautiful illustrations add to the stories.
Her Stories

“Chick Like Me”

Once on Boy Meets World, both Shawn and Corey went undercover as teen girls to find out what it was really like to be female. They had to deal with boys not understanding boundaries, only paying attention to them because they were attractive (Ok, this was mostly Shawn) and at the end of the day (like in any good 90’s sitcom) they learned a valuable lesson.

I only wish the poet Vagabond Andy, had undergone a similar experience before he penned his “masterpiece” for the Times, “The Trouble With Women: Forget the Fairytales.” This poem came to my attention via a former coworker who posted both this piece and a follow-up article on Jezebel.Com.

Like most women I’ve shared the poem with, she was outraged. Here’s a piece of work that thinks it’s being witty by taking a diverse group of people and boiling it down to one simple image. He assumes that we all want to be rescued by a prince, but only after a day of shopping and getting our hair done. It’s out the realm of possibility that we’re capable of taking care of ourselves, or that some of us aren’t interested in marriage, or being a size 0. According to Andy, what we want at the end of the day is to look hot for a guy who kinda sounds like a tool.

From what I gather the poem wants to be taken in similar vein to that of P!NK’s “Stupid Girls.” The difference is P!NK knows that while the current pop-culture is favoring plastic, dumb-downed girl—there’s also those who don’t fit the mold. She acts as the voice for those who don’t “want to be a stupid girl.” She understands that it’s the patriarchy and media who set these standards that some women buy into. I’m also going to go out on a limb here, and say P!NK is basing “Stupid Girls” off of her actual experiences as a woman, while Andy is just the casual observer.

The problem with Andy sitting on the side lines is he doesn’t seem to get those crucial points. He assumes that women are creating their own problems–they’re the one’s who came up with the idea of being a size 0 with double D’s; it has nothing to do with the male fantasy that’s being pimped out by a patriarchal society. This is why he has no problem reducing all females down to the image of  a Paris-Kardashian-WAG-celebutante. He is also silly enough to believe that’s what all women want to be. He misses the subtleties that each woman carries, most likely because he’s bought into the male fantasy. It’s entirely possible that the only girls he pays attention to are caught up in his image of what being a woman means. Maybe they ignore him, hence his frustration. Either way it seems his interactions with a variety of women is limited.

My friend Sara made an excellent point stating, “his somewhat sickening message is cloaked in rhyme, making it appear pleasing and acceptable when in fact his subject is heartbreaking and sexist. In this way, it mirrors the media and the society that are culprits in manufacturing the condition the protagonist finds herself in. Media/society puts forth these slick images of a happier, thinner, sexier, more buxom youthful “you” in such a way that we are lured by its gloss when, underneath it all lurks a darker, more sinister meaning.” This is why the poem is so dangerous, those who don’t read closely are likely to be hypnotized by his end rhyme and pop-culture references.

I’m curious to know how many buy into Andy’s way of thinking. I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if a good amount of men were nodding in agreement as they read this. But how many women jumped on the band-wagon? How many find this to be an excellent piece of poetry, representing the way things are today? How many of them don’t know to be offended?

The Trouble With Women: Forget the Fairytales

The trouble with women, hmm, let’s see,
Perhaps with some help from poetry?

“It’s a girl!” shouts the midwife, as she joins our world,
Long before her hair is dyed or curled,
Barbie and Ken, her first celebrity friends.
Can’t wait to see how this transcends:

From the day that she is born,
What wedding dress will she adorn?
Supposedly, the happiest day of her life,
Will be the day she becomes a wife.

Her diet starts the moment she wakes.
Of Prince Charming fairy tales and Diet Coke breaks,
Her head full of fantasies, of meeting “The One”,
A life of perfection and buckets of sun.

High expectations, from an early age,
Tall, dark and handsome, plus a good wage.
Funny too, and amazing in bed,
Completely faithful and ready to wed.

From Disney to Hollywood, selling the dreams,
Everybody lives “happily ever after”, it seems.
Hugh Grant movies, and a million love songs,
Johnny Depp in this season’s long johns,

James Bond adventure, Travolta grooves,
Brad Pitt body, Clooney’s moves,
Brosnan charm, Russell Brand wit,
She should have it all, “because she’s worth it”.

Grazia, Now and her other mags,
Breast implants, Louis Vuitton bags,
Diamonds galore, a girl’s best friend,
What kind of message does this send?

She embarks on her quest to find her hero,
But first she needs to visit size zero,
Slim-fast plans and self-help books,
A mortgage of cosmetics to help her looks.

“I’m not as slim … I’m not as pretty”,
Comparing herself makes her feel shitty,
But she doesn’t stop, likes her fantasy,
Yep, she loves to live vicariously,

She’s naked in bed, tears in her eyes,
Her naked man beside her, sighs.
“What’s wrong?” he asks. “That was insane!”
“I know, but compared to THAT my life is plain.”

“The trouble with women?” Well since you inquire
You may be relieved to hear it’s not dire,
My answer is she does too much gazing,
If she ditched her fantasy, her reality would be amazing.

-Andy, 2010

The Edge of Seventeen

I once read an astrological profile for my sign Gemini, that said Gemini’s eternal age is between 14-21.  Having other friends who are Geminis I can say this is for the most part true. I think sometimes it expresses itself in different ways.  For example an ex-roommate of mine is trapped emotionally and behaviorally (and I’m sure one could argue physically) in the mind/body of a 14-year-old girl.  That tender age where girls still think the world revolves around them and have a difficult time handling experiences that suggest otherwise. It’s a time when the movie “Mean Girls” is more of a documentary than a comedy.

But it can also be a sort of magical time, where anything seems possible. Maybe that cute boy will ask you out in front the whole cafeteria, maybe you will score the winning goal for your team, and you just might pass that calculus test with a cram session and a bit of luck. I think there are some great writers who can really capture that time in our lives where we seemed on the edge of something great.

They’re able to make us sigh with longing for an easier time (or what seems like a simpler time when our days are full of bills, appointments, job hunting). Even now I revisit the pages of Francesca Lia Block novel or a Judy Blume book.

I suppose the reason I’m drawn to the coming of age story  is because everything seems so raw. Even calculated experiences turn out otherwise, things are left hidden; everyone is waiting to unfold and show the world who they could be. I like it because it’s so different from the 20’s and 30’s syndrome where everyone thinks they know who they are, and they’re just waiting for everyone to bow down and say they’re “fucking amazing!”

Sometimes I think we should celebrate the people we used to be, before we got caught up in being a grown up.  Maybe we should take a page from Marie Howe’s book and examine those turning point experiences.

Practicing

I want to write a love poem for the girls I kissed in seventh grade,
a song for what we did on the floor in the basement

of somebody’s parents’ house, a hymn for what we didn’t say but thought:
That feels good or I like that, when we learned how to open each others’ mouths

how to move our tongues to make somebody moan. We called it  practicing, and
one was the boy, and we paired off — maybe six or eight girls – and turned out

the lights and kissed and kissed until we were stoned on kisses, and lifted our
nightgowns or let the straps drop, and, Now you be the boy:

concrete floor, sleeping bag or couch, playroom, game room, train room, laundry.
Linda’s basement was like a boat with booths and portholes

instead of windows. Gloria’s father had a bar downstairs with stools that spun,
plush carpeting. We kissed each others’ throats.

We sucked each others’ breasts, and we left marks, and never spoke of it upstairs
outdoors, in daylight, not once. We did it, and it was

practicing, and slept, sprawled so our legs still locked or crossed a hand still lost
in someone’s hair … and we grew up and hardly mentioned who

the first kiss really was — a girl like us, still sticky with the moisturizer we’d
shared in the bathroom. I want to write a song

for that thick silence in the dark, and the first pure thrill of unreluctant desire
just before we made ourselves stop.

-Marie Howe, 1997


What about your friends?

I recently lost a good friend to cancer.  This wasn’t just a friend I got to know for a brief part of my life only to lose contact due to busy schedules and bullshit. It was the type of friendship where no matter how much time passed we were able to meet up and pick up where we left off. It evolved over the years but always in a positive direction. Once on an old blog I wrote about how she was the chicken soup for my soul.  Yes, that’s cheesy, but it’s also true.

We all have those people in our lives where we can spend five minutes with them, and things just start to seem better. They’re the complete opposite of the psychic vampires/toxic people we sometimes find ourselves keeping company with.

There have been times I’ve found myself talking to or spending the day with people whom I’m not particularly fond of.  It is pretty rare, but when it does I leave feeling drained. Most of the time there was no actual connection, because it was all about them.  There was no give and take.  It makes me really wish I could get those moments back.

The loss of my friend has made me reevaluate who I want in my life.  I’m a pretty lucky girl, I have some really great friends out there.  The ones who aren’t so great eventually disappear from my life and I don’t try to reconnect with them.  I’m sick of having friends because it’s convenient for either me or them. We choose not to settle for so many things in life, why is it we sometimes settle when it comes to picking our friends?

The one’s worth keeping, well life sometimes gets in the way. When we are able to grab a moment to go to lunch, chat, or write emails, those things really do end up meaning something.  It’s a constant process trying to keep in contact,  letting someone know they’re important to you in some way. Why not let them know they count?

The Sound of Silence

Back when I was an undergrad my first poetry professor would organize various readings by published poets.  One of my favorites was E.A. (Tony) Mares. Most new poets know when giving a reading there’s always a chance they might fall into the “poetry voice.”  A lot of us try to use a different cadence for each poem, emphasizes specific pauses, or draw out a line. Sometimes we’re overcome with nerves and we return to our safety net.  As a result a lot of poems sound the same, and the audience gets bored. Granted there are some poets who use “poetry voice” because they think it makes the poems sound more interesting. If you ever meet a poet who does this, feel free to smack them Gibbs style.  Or you could also make fun of them by reading random things (the menu at IHop, the back of a cereal box, etc…) like they would read one of their pieces.

If you would like to encounter a poet who doesn’t use poetry voice, go see Mr. Mares.  It’s been almost 6 years since I attended his reading and I still can’t get it out of my mind. It was entertaining, each poem brought something new.  One  moment the audience felt like he was telling a joke, and during the next they were  reaching for a tissue.

In light of recent events I would like to share a poem he wrote about the loss of a daughter. I think there are so many great things working within this poem that really capture the speaker’s pain, and show the emptiness that is now in his life.

Crestview Funeral Home

Wrapped in white linen and your prayer shawl,
you travel well, my child,
my silent voyager into the unknown.
The service, traditional, simple,
flows with a dignified drone
for you, my most untraditional daughter.

As the prayers rise and fall,
images come back from a happier time
before this coffin of unvarnished pine,
pegged and with no nails.

Like a burning man in a sea of fire
I grab on to a plank of memory.
recall you and your sisters
traveling with me when I acted
on make-do stages everywhere in New Mexico.

We bounced along two-lane blacktops,
munched down burgers on the run.
Stayed in cheap motels in Raton,
Socorro, Roy, Ruidoso, Taos.
We loved the anarchy of life on the road.

There was that time on the Canadian
I stared down a bull,
mooed to him from the safety of the car.
“Dad, we’d better go,” you said
with those large, luminous, olive eyes.

I remember that time in Ruidoso
the conversation-starved man
followed us off the stage.

Stuck his head in the car window
and talked as I quietly slipped into gear,
waved goodbye, then slowly drove away
and he never stopped talking.
We laughed for hours over that.

The thin plank of memory smolders, then burns.
I swim on fire back to the prayers,
the service about to end.
This summing up of my daughter’s life.

Oh how I want to grab you and run, Galit.
I want to go on the road with you again,
play all those towns once more.
Drive, drive on forever into the sun.

– E.A. Mares, 2004

My 5

So here are 5 random things that I either discovered or really enjoyed this past month. I urge the rest of you to check them out.

1) Castle:Not just another cop show, it’s about a crime writer (Richard Castle) helping the NYPD solve crime.  The writing is amazing, just when you think they’re going to fall back on cliches they surprise you. There’s sexual tension between Nathan Fillion’s Castle and Stana Katic’s Kate Beckett, but the show isn’t constantly hitting us over the head with it. At this point the writers are showing us a truly beautiful friendship developing between them.  The writers also allow the police (Beckett’s team, Esposito and Ryan) to be intelligent and observant, they’re good at their jobs–Castle doesn’t need to solve the crime for them.
Whoo

2) Whip It! : It’s a coming of age story about a girl, Bliss Cavendar, from a small town in Texas. Her mother wants her to be a pageant queen, constantly reminding her that youth and beauty are fleeting. Bliss wants out of the town, and away from a destiny as Susie Homemaker. She ends up joining a roller derby team in Austin; she makes some cool, older (sometimes wiser) new friends, and really finds something to fall in love with.
Meet Babe Ruthless.

3) Cheryl Cole’s Boys: Now let me tell you this is one difficult track to get a hold of if you’re stateside. It’s penned by Adele, and is the B-side on Cheryl Cole’s single 3 Words. It’s a catchy and relatable song about girls falling for guys’ bullshit and ultimately getting a broken heart.

4) The Jersey Shore: One of the more controversial shows to hit the air in a long time. An old school “Real World” type reality show, where 8(and then 7) guidos and guidettes must live, and work together on camera. I initially avoided the show, not wanting to get sucked into trash television. I ended up catching the third episode (the one with the infamous punch) one night and fell in love with the cast. They’re probably the most “real” reality show cast we’ve had in years. They’re a group of funny, observant twenty-somethings who are learning the same lessons we all are. My only hope is that fame won’t go to their heads, and when we see them in the 2nd season they’ll be just as lovable and interesting as before.
GTL Baby!

5) Jwoww: I know she’s not one of the three JS cast members we see on late night TV, but she’s my fave. This is one ride or die chick. In a world where girls have no problem selling each other out, and not backing one another up, it was refreshing to see a young woman be there for her friend. She was one of the first people to come to Snooki’s defense after some asshole took a swing at her. Jwoww constantly made sure her friends were OK. If someone had a problem with her girl, you can bet your ass she was there to help out. She seemed to genuinely care about her amigos.
She ain't no Holla Back Girl

I’m holding out for a shero.

During the holiday season I re-watched the first and second seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Back in the day I was a huge Buffy fan. Actually I was a fan of any woman who could kick ass and save the world. Recently I was discussing Buffy with an acquaintance, when she complained about the lack of heroines on television today.  I pointed out that Ziva David from NCIS was a powerful woman.  She argued that Ziva often acts “like one of the guys,” and therefore wasn’t a good example of a modern-day shero.

Unfortunately the conversation ended soon after, so I couldn’t really explore her statement. I started wondering if our heroines need to be “girly” in order to be role models. Is being “one of the guys” some how admitting that femininity is weak? Can a heroine be extremely feminine,  have mostly masculine qualities, or is she easier to relate to if she has a mixture of the two?

I look back at Buffy, who throughout the show epitomized the idea of a girly girl. Joss Whendon admits that he based the character of Buffy on the idea of the hyper-feminine girl in the horror film who ends up being killed by the monster/serial killer. He decided he wanted to turn that idea around, have the girl fight back, and even defeat the big bad.

When we meet Buffy, she’s not exactly the girl we would pick as our crime fighter(if only the title hadn’t given her away). She’s not a dominant force like Xena traipsing through Greece in a leather ensemble with a metal breast-plate, and a multitude of weapons.  Nor is she Wonder Woman, transforming from unassuming girl with a day job into costumed female capable of heroic feats.  No, Buffy enjoys cheer-leading, she’s stylish, she cares about breaking a nail and she’s boy crazy. To bring the point home, in the first season finale she killed the Master in her prom dress (and heels).

At the time of Buffy‘s début, it was refreshing to see someone with her characteristics fighting the forces of evil.  However, there were multiple times when Buffy represented negative qualities  associated with being female. Take her romantic relationships, whenever she started seeing someone new, she was willing to sacrifice her friends (to a dangerous extent) in order to have a boyfriend. In the second season after her vampire boyfriend loses his soul and goes on killing spree, she wants to restore his soul primarily so she can get her boyfriend back. This pattern is later repeated in her relationships with Riley and Spike. She’s occasionally called on it, but never really hones in on the actual problem. Buffy takes the criticism as  her friends being jealous they can’t spend time with her, instead of what it really is; she makes bad choices so she can keep her “steady.”  In fact it’s rare (after the 1st season)to see Buffy happy when she doesn’t have a boyfriend. I understand this  makes Buffy a flawed character(and therefore accessible) but she never really learns, or grows as a person in that respect. So while it’s great that she can defend herself from a gang of vamps, her sense of self leaves a lot to be desired.

Ziva has also made bad decisions when her love life became entangled with her work. Take the fiasco with Michael, she repeatedly ignored Tony’s concern that Michael wasn’t who he appeared to be (which apparently was a rogue Mossad Officer). However, Ziva had to come to terms with her big mistake.

I suppose in some respect I can understand how my acquaintance found Ziva to be less feminine than other heroines; she is rarely openly emotional (but I don’t know many women who would want to be in the workplace), and isn’t easily shocked by DiNozzo’s pervy comments/behavior (which usually ends with her making fun of him).  Granted I don’t think this makes her any less of a woman, instead it acts as a reflection how woman have evolved socially throughout the decade.  Just because she and Tony bond over Maxim, doesn’t mean she can’t have “girl talk” with Abby. When it comes to her fighting ability and being able to handle dangerous situations, these characteristics do not come into play. So does it make her less of heroine because she prefers trousers over dresses? I seriously doubt it.

At the end of the day, there are still plenty of independent women being represented on television. There’s one gem I suggest you look up, Castle‘s Kate Beckett. She’s pretty much everything you could want in a shero; she’s smart, funny, observant, compassionate, capable of taking care of herself (and others), she makes mistakes, and learns from them.  As for the superficial side of things…she’s one hot–stylish mofo.