[Opinion] Is she annoying, or is she just a woman?

Pooja Singamsetty

Being a part of a TV series’ fandom seems like fun and games until a common pattern is realized, fans tend to demonize women for seemingly nothing, calling them annoying and unlikable while praising horrible male characters even after they’ve committed various unspeakable acts far worse than a seemingly “annoying” female character. 

So what makes men hate these women so much? It’s the double standard, not only is it all around us, but it has seeped its way into the media, corrupting the way men think of women portrayed in television shows. A prime example being; Skyler White, one of the most hated characters in AMC’s hit TV series: “Breaking Bad.” The main character of the show, Skyler’s husband, Walter White, is a mundane high school chemistry teacher, murderer, and methamphetamine producer/dealer who continuously lied to his family and put them in danger. So you must be wondering, what did Skyler White do to make the fanbase hate her so much if the main character is such a morally wrong person? 

The answer to that is: she cheated on him. While yes, infidelity should always be frowned upon at this point in their relationship Skyler felt lied to and betrayed repeatedly by her emotionally unavailable husband. It’s also worth noting that Walter attempted to cheat on Skyler as well, the only thing that stopped him was a brutal cringe-worthy rejection. Oh and, lets not forget the fact that he sexually assaulted his pregnant wife in the kitchen after being repeatedly declined on his sexual advances. Whenever “Skyler-apologists” bring up this heartless act, misogynist fans brush it under the rug by making rude comments about how “sensitive” people are or that it “wasn’t a big deal.” So if the sexual assault of a pregnant woman isn’t a big deal to many of the misogynistic Breaking Bad fans out there, what would be considered to be a “big deal” in their eyes, if anything at all? Well apparently that wasn’t their breaking point, it was the scene of Skyler singing Happy Birthday to the man she was having an affair with “Marilyn Monroe ” style. Now, as someone who has watched the show, I am capable of admitting that this scene was a cringe overboard, but this is nowhere near the intensity of the offenses committed by Walter White. And of course, in the interest of transparency it is also worth mentioning that Skyler’s hypocrisy may be seen as annoying, seeing as how she was so opposed to Walter’s secret lifestyle until she fell in love with the money, but can you blame her? Walter was greedy and obsessed with the money long before she was and when she was finally on board, fans doubled back on her. Yes it’s hypocritical, but in the grand scheme of things, what she did doesn’t hold a mere match to the wrong doings of Walter White.

Here’s a list of all the “unlikable” things Walter White did throughout the course of the show that his character is not held accountable for: involving a former high school student in a scheme to make meth, emotionally cheat on Skyler throughout the bulk of their relationship with Gwen, a woman who had broken things off with him years in advance, pressuring his son to consume alcohol to the point of throwing up, the direct or indirect murder of over 200 individuals (according to breaking bad fandom.com), the death of fan favorite Jane Margolis (which essentially led to the emotional downfall of Jesse Pinkman), poisoning and almost killing the child of another one of Jesse’s girlfriends, turning down thousands of dollars that would’ve helped him pay for chemo therapy and instead choosing to make a series of destructive decisions that would eventually lead to his death, and being responsible for the deaths of Hank Shcrader and Steven Gomez. All these horrible acts have not condemned Walter to a wave of hatred but rather being showered with love while much of this misguided anger is redirected towards the comparatively innocent Skyler White.

It isn’t always however the fault of toxic masculinity, but rather the way the show was designed to appeal to audiences. Creator Vince Gilligan crafted the show in such a way that the audience finds themselves blindly sympathizing with the overwhelming evil within. By portraying a tale of good and bad through the eyes of a morally corrupt drug lord, the show practically programs the audience to despise otherwise normal characters, like Skyler. But by not being able to expand their observation past the initial makings of the show, most misogynists aren’t capable of viewing situations from different perspectives, causing them to have a sexist, linear opinion on the characters and their actions in the show. 

Of course Walter was meant to be the villain, and everything he did was only in the best interest of the plot of the show, so it makes plain and simple sense for him to commit such heinous acts, but it only seems fair that characters who, in comparison, are only mildly annoying shouldn’t be so relentlessly hated on when at the heart of it, Skyler is just a flawed but mistaken female character. In fact, BuzzFeed wrote an article about 17 “annoying” female characters that would be loved if they were male and the first character on the top of the list is Skyler White, stating that she was unfairly judged from an overbearing male perspective. Everything Walt does is evaluated through the assumptions that his actions are “cool, drug-lord, action movie style”-esque whereas everything Skyler does is picked apart and criticized for having a naggy “ball and chain” attitude. Skylar may be an inconvenience at times, but when it comes down to it, most of the Skyler hate comes from a place of misogyny rather than genuine character evaluation. So next time you’re watching a TV show with an “annoying” female character, look past the initial observations and evaluate if that character is truly deserving of that title.