Some Tips for TV Ladies (and all others) Who Want to Go On Living

TW: violence against women, violent images, violent self defense suggestions

Snow Falls, Episode 3, Season 1 of Once Upon a Time doesn’t start out too badly. Snow White looks pretty cool in her forest garb and she’s obviously doing all right for herself hiding out in the forest from the evil step-mother. She pulls off a nice bit of highway robbery, which I liked for the reverse gender roles: female highwayman robbing the prince. Who doesn’t like to watch people being competent? Almost everyone does; there’s even a name for it: competence porn. It’s why heist movies, James Bond movies and doctor and cop shows are so popular. IMO it’s one of the reasons for The Good Wife’s popularity. Every character, but especially every woman character, on that show is competent in a realistic, everyday kind of way. Alicia Florrick, Kalinda Sharma, Diane Lockhart, Amanda Peet’s character, even the  opposing attorneys are all good at what they do. It’s still sadly rare to see competence porn involving smart, ambitious, kick ass women.

Which is why when the fail comes in Snow Falls it is such a let-down. I had forgotten exactly how much fail, in terms of logic and physical self defense there is in this episode.

So, in spite of her successful theft and later giving Prince Charming a well placed knee in the gut and a shove in the river, when the real baddies come after her, she damsels. That’s right, she wimpers while they pin her to a tree. I’ll give her a little bit of a pass because it’s three against one and she does try to escape when Prince Charming interferes, although she’s forgotten the first rule of self-defense: don’t leave anyone mobile enough to come after you when you run away.

I’m not going to focus on that because later we have the classic grab from behind around the throat. I think this kind of grab is one that most women are afraid of in real life, compounded by seeing it thousands of times on TV where the woman is helpless. The thing is SHE IS FAR FROM HELPLESS.

Once Upon a Time

The thing about self defense (and common sense) that Hollywood and TV forget or don’t care about because it would ruin their limited idea of what  constitutes a good story, is that if someone is close enough to hurt you, you are also close enough to hurt him.

So I’d like to repeat here: SHE IS FAR FROM HELPLESS.

She’s already halfway to a protective response if this guy were trying to strangle her, which he’s not. But if he were, she has her hand on his arm. She can pull his arm away from her throat and tuck her chin to protect her throat and her ability to breathe before focusing on getting away from him.

In terms of offense, bad guy is just as exposed to Snow here as she is to him. Everything on his body is in close proximity her hands, feet, elbows and her head (she can head butt him if she has to).

We all know how to kick and stomp our feet. His feet, with all their tiny little bones are right there, hard to miss if she slides her foot down his leg as she stomps. His knees are also right there, all ready to bend backwards under a good hard kick. His eyes are exposed to a being stabbed with her fingers. She could cause serious injury with any of these responses.

If, for whatever reason, she doesn’t want to cause permanent injury but thinks he’d be deterred by pain, his balls are within EASY reach of a grab and wrench. She could clap both her hands over his ears at the same time. I’ve seen her elbows, they are pointy and made for slamming into someone’s ribs.

That’s it for this week. I’m not feeling very well so I can’t seem to think of a snappy ending.

Updated to add: Right, now that I’m no longer sick, I remember how I wanted to end this post. I kind of got my hopes up for Once Upon a Time but I should have taken a clue from it’s lame title: Snow Falls. Not Snow Storms or Snow Drifts or anything else kind of cool.

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