I’ve been noodling over “What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?” for a couple days now, and I think I’ve finally settled on what’s been bothering me about it. Because as great as the Dean/Cas reunion scene was, the rest of 8x02 itself was… well, kinda not.
This is true. I thought she was more of a character than she was at first, but the elements I took to be character traits - her badass ‘interrogation’ of the pawn shop owner, her past tatoo etc. - were actually all fairly predictable stereotypes and more than that they were obvious ‘look, this is a woman and she is being strong, isn’t it impressive girls, aren’t you proud of us?’ elements, you know?
But honestly? I don’t care :/ Despite the episode title, I don’t consider that the episode WAS about her, it was about the auction and the tablet and the gods and Dean and Cas etc. etc… and so I didn’t mind her being something of a plot device to further the rest. I didn’t feel a need to care about her. I think to make too much of her character might have detracted from the rest of the story?
But then… IDK, Jodi has a pretty decent character even though we see her in an episode for basically the same length of time as we saw Mama Tran, so I suppose why NOT make more of a character out of Mama Tran…?
I’m sorry. I know this is a problem. But a lot of the time it’s a problem that doesn’t bother me. And most of the time I don’t notice it as problematic as it’s happening.
And I just - I still like her, as she is, she’s fun. And I like the episode A LOT, not just the Dean/Cas moments. The whole thing feels great to me.
I agree Sera was great at female characters… but that’s not enough of a good influence of hers on the show for me to miss her loss… :/
(this probably says more about me and my personal internalisations than anything else I guess - but I’m just not willing to make myself unhappy and destroy my enjoyment of this show by exploring that too deeply so, again, apologies!)
I appreciate your honesty about it, but I think it SHOULD bother you. It should bother us all. Lazy storytelling is lazy storytelling, and racial stereotypes are harmful by their very existence. A plot that relies on racial stereotype to drive the action is inherently a bad plot. 8x02 should’ve been rewritten so as to remove its dependence on the Tiger Mom stereotype and give Linda Tran a real tangible character, traits that could drive the action, rather than the other way around. Else, don’t include her in the plot at all.
Others can probably argue this better than I, but consider that when you or I, as white women, acknowledge that a problem exists but that we don’t care about it—that’s pretty much the definition of unchecked white privilege. Our very apathy encourages a harmful environment for minorities, one which allows racial stereotypes just like this to perpetuate.
Supernatural is usually much, much better about racial representation. Gordon Walker, Victor Henricksen, Rufus Turner, even Kevin Tran are prime examples of minority characters who are or were not defined by commonly held stereotypes about their race. Why so few minority female characters on this show are afforded the same development, I’m not sure, and I think it warrants greater fandom discussion than it has received up til now.