Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Dress the detective so she can save me.

Apparently more women read James Patterson's novels than men. I happen to be one of those women and so are many of my reader friends. We tend to buy more books as a gender and to read more mystery and crime novels than any other kind. (or so I read the other day) 

Which brings me to what is irritating me these days. Are there enough women who are portrayed as crime fighters in television and movies  authentic enough to be believable. I haven't the time nor the inclination to do a research project on this topic but I do know what bugs me. And lately my irritation antennae has gone way up. I am seeing far too many women characters fighting crime wearing ridiculous clothes. It really distracts me from the plot. 

I thought about which show I remember watching with female characters fighting crime where the clothes and hair were more important to me than the plot. I came up with Charlie's Angels (1976-1981). I was about the same age as the characters which may be part of the reason. Now when I look back at what was billed as a show about sexy detectives I am surprised to see the actors wearing pretty comfortable looking clothing for the job they were pretending to do.

Publicity photo which is pretty tame by today's examples.

These outfits were seen as sexy in the day because the women were dressed more like the boys. But
they could run and jump in these clothes.

We loved to see "girls" do this and in the appropriate clothes.

Work outfits for crime fighters of the late 80's. 

Too much cleavage and too  much hair which is probably ok since she only chased the bad guys down once in awhile but I would hate to have to depend on her character to save me. (CSI Miami)
The new show (Quantico) does well with the female lead and then  blows it with her being the only cadet with her buttons undone or running in high heel boots. The hair is sometimes tied back but not always when it counts.

She can actually run after a bad guy.

Whether you like the show or not Jennifer Lopez wears clothes that make her
character believable. (Shades of Blue)

I would trust that she could get the bad guy
and save me.
Give us strong female characters who fight crime but for goodness 
sakes dress them so they can do the job!!


  1. Where's Jessica? Well, I guess she's not a cop; she just SOLVES the crimes. Have you watched The Mysteries of Laura? She dresses quite believably but the hair..........too long and beautiful to be practical in a chase.

  2. Accurate indeed. I got so fed up with crime shows in North America that I switched to only watching British ones. So far the clothing bothers me much less there. Female cops aren't often portrayed as sex symbols, and might be plump, believable mothers of teenagers or hard-nosed 30-year cops in leadership positions.

    Now I am trying to think of a non-police British female crime solver (other than Miss Marple)

  3. Hi Mary. Downloaded both of your books and adding them to my reading. Setting recognizable ... As a reader I love being able to 'see' the action. Looking forward to reading more. Jane Tims (fellow archetype workshop student!)