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Opinion | Pop Culture

TV's Women of Faith

The medium has a long way to go in its portrayal of both women and Christians, but ABC's Lost may be a promising start.

Ninety-nine percent of all American homes have a television set. Like it or not, TV is a part of our everyday lives. We can't write if off as trivial; we're watching it, and so are our friends, family, and neighbors. There's a lot of junk out there, sure. But great TV - which is admittedly rare - is no less worthy of our attention than a great movie or book. At its best, a good show expands our understanding of who we are and what it means to be human. It affirms what's universal to the human experience and challenges us to consider the world from another point of view. But what about our point of view, as women and as evangelicals? Who is telling our stories?

It's not surprising to discover that TV is lacking in sophisticated portrayals of both women and Christian faith. Alyssa Rosenberg's recent Atlantic article, "Joss Whedon and the Real Girl," dissected popular director Joss Whedon's complex, engaging portrayals of women in his hit shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. "Despite the fantastical circumstances his women find themselves in," writes Rosenberg, "Whedon has been unusually successful in bringing them to life by grounding them in the common experience of women, and portraying that experience with a sympathy and verisimilitude extremely rare in male directors." But what about the "common experience" of faith? Interestingly, Rosenberg points to a moment in which a female character explores issues of faith and science as an example of the sophisticated character ...

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Posted:April 7, 2009

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