Categories
English

Womanhood, Femininity and the Police Force: An Analysis based on the Series CSI New York

Introduction

Feminism has captured the attention of several industries around the globe. In this case, it could be realized that the new sense of seeing womanhood has had a new standard ever since the introduction of liberalization has come to existence. The industry of TV programming is one of the realms affected by the movement and such change could be observed through programs such as CSI New York. The actual picture in the police force all over the globe provides a vision on how men are reasonably considered more powerful than women. Somehow, it is the nature of the job that requires manly approach, which makes it more feasible for men to work on. However, later on, as time changes and the nature of criminality evolves, it appears that in the process of investigation, it is not just physical strength but also that of the mental ability of the members of the force that works towards successful case closures. This fact has specifically been one of the focal messages of one of the most sought after TV series CSI New York. Spearheaded by CBS, this series, which first aired in 2004 specifically presented a mix of genders as members of the police force playing as their main characters. Focused on the investigation team, this series intends to show how the police system operates to solve cases in an intellectual manner.

In the discussion that follows, a distinction on how womanhood and femininity fits in the picture on how CSI-NY is presented shall be given particular attention to. Relatively, it is through this approach that the condition of direction of the most important value needed to be conveyed to the public. Understandably, this discussion aims to construct a foundation to show how modern American series represents women and implicitly imposes a sense of standard to assume the acceptability of the feminine members of the society. To cover this discussion, the 85th episode of the series CSI NY shall be used for distinguishing how two of the most prominent female characters in the series, Stella Bonasera and Lindsay Monroe, were depicted as a representation on how women are supposed to be treated in the police force and in the society as a whole. Such presentation dedicated to the said episode shall be connected to other sections of the entire series to accomplish a sense of distinction on how the writers of the series actually continue to imply the strength of femininity and the role that it has in establishing a more effective policing and investigative approach in the police force.

About the Series

First aired in 2004, CSI-NY’s original casting included Mac Taylor [played by Gary Sinise] and Stella Bonasera [played by Melina Kanakaredes] who are assumed to be the top authorities of the team both belonging to the upper tier of command play specific role of directing the team on how the investigation should go. Under their command are several lab investigators and other on-field investigators like themselves. Although the series do not impose on the matter so much, it could be realized how it aims to itemize the presentation of women in the show. This however would be discussed in detail in the section that follows.

Meanwhile, for the whole stretch of the series’ airing in CBS, there has already been several points when the characters have been changed due to the unavailability of the artists playing the said characters. Overall, there has already been at least eight women characters who made a name in the series. Their characters have particular similarities and differences. No matter, all these comparisons and contrasts entail how the writers of the series understand what it takes to be a woman in a man’s world.

Relation to Femininity

When the term ‘police force’ comes into mind, it is often relatively connected to idealisms such as being tough, brave, strong enough to catch the criminal and brawn enough to handle physical tasks of dealing with the agendas of the individuals breaking the law. Nevertheless, at the onset of the campaign for liberalization, women entering the police force became a common trend. Even though this fact is considered obvious and acceptable, only a few women are actually able to make a name at the top of the ‘battalion’ or the force itself. It is most often than not that the reason behind this is the fact that men are better at leading conditions of criminal chases compared to women who are at times compromised by their emotional conditions and their sense of sensitivity.

Was this a problem for CSI-NY? At first, the writers tried to establish that women will be women and somehow, there are instances when some aspects making a woman who she is cannot be simply altered by the profession that they enter. In the character of Stella Bonasera, no matter how tough the writers present her in each story line they create for her, she is often dressed properly [if not sexy]. This fact is also seen with how the other characters are treated by their storylines. Another factor about womanhood that is featured in the series is the idea that women are emotional, and when it comes to process by which investigations of criminal cases are undergone, the writers of the series intends to show how much such aspect of thinking and analysis play a great role in furthering investigations. Modern criminal science and forensics supports the said idea. Notably, instead of just seeing through the evidences, it is now suggested that the abstract being of the criminal tells more about the crime that has been committed. This is where the idea of being ‘sensitive’ about one’s emotional makeup comes in; and now one aside from women does the said aspect of recognition better.

Adding heart to the series, Bonasera played a great role in balancing the approaches of Mac Taylor [supposedly her boss in the team]. The way they play in each case together provides a valuable picture on how the contrast of characters between men and women work fully supportive of the possibilities that a case could be better analyzed and later on solved. With the collaboration of these elements, emotional, intellectual and scientific evidences, cases are presented in CSI-NY to have its roots and its fruits resulting to criminality and victimization.

Although Bonasera [along with some other women characters in the series] are already out from the plot, the culture of showing women as contrastingly able to handle manly tasks along with the capacity of using their womanly characteristics continue to be used in the story line of each episode. Joe Danville [the one who seemingly replaced the position of Bonasera] is presented the same way. Her capacity to be able to see through the situation of their suspects as well as that of the members of her team seems to be the defining factor that directly defines her role in the team.

On the other end, another female character in the series is Lindsay Monroe-Messer is noted another aspect of presenting how women are treated and later on accepted in the system of police force operation. Understandably, she was first presented to have been challenged by the fact of being new to the operations and coming from a remote area such as Montana. Her capacity to handle the process of tough investigation was somewhat questioned, however, she did manage to rise from the occasion and was accepted fully by the team. Such success of being accepted seems to be a representation on how women working on a task usually noted to be for the masculine group feels in relation to their achievement. This could be quoted from the cited writing of Burton Nelson, which mentions:

I love male approval. Most women skiers do. We talk about it often. There`s only one thing more satisfying than one of the top male skiers saying, ‘Wow, you are a great skier. You rip. You`re awesome.’

Referring to this particular sense of situational success identifies with the common realization of women  as they are being accepted in any system where men are often considered to be more in command. What makes women as women is the fact that they are able to withstand challenge after challenge and still represent their feminine side beyond all the direct and indirect discriminations that they encounter in each situation that they meet with in their jobs. In the case of Lindsay, such an approval even got her the attention of her former work-colleague, now husband, Danny Messer.

Overall, in the series, it is obvious how womanhood is valued. Nevertheless, Burton Nelson intends to question such approach in saying:

Femininity is unhealthy, obviously. It would be unhealthy for men to act passive, dainty, obsessed with their physical appearance, and dedicated to bolstering the sense of superiority in the other gender, so it’s unhealthy for women too.

Asking a question regarding the necessity of presenting women in a more attractive approach, defining their womanhood as somewhat in contrast and not in balance with that of the men seems to an off-state for Burton Nelson in her writing. Likely though, this aspect of presenting women and their state in being part of the team or the police organization is dependent on the course that they take to be of great help to their members through becoming more in complement with what their partners could do. At some point, it shows that teams of organizations composed of both men and women can work effectively together especially if they know how to adjust towards the other’s strengths and weaknesses thus using their capacities to support their own members which ends up to have good results.

Conclusion

From this discussion, it could be realized that two specific things, physical attractiveness and emotional sensitivity could define womanhood. Men might want to acquire such characteristics and be in command with each of these matters and yet it will always be the women who would know how to use such characteristics efficiently. No, men and women are not in balance with each other especially regarding their capabilities and capacities of being more open and understanding based on the emotional bearings of a person. The series CSI-NY hails the capacity of women to utilize emotion and does not show it as a hindrance to the cases that they are solving. Instead, the writers of the series seriously hope that such a character in women be used fully to make sure that the reasons and foundations behind criminality are properly considered especially in solving cases regarding serious issues of disdain criminal offences.

Overall, this discussion shows how the capacity of women should be realized as it is and not otherwise; this approach of seeing the real strength of women provides a defining edge on how the assumption of being a lady is to be recognized by others. The police force, a supposed male-defined institution, is shown herein [as based from the series discussed] could benefit more from instigating specific characteristics from the female members of the society. The capacity of women to be emotionally sensitive has been one of the most recent psychological discoveries of forensic science. Relatively, this discussion then intends to impose that women, although weak in some aspects, have strengths that could work in complementary with what the men can do, and thus should be recognized accordingly.

Reference:

I won I’m Sorry. Mariah Nelson Burton. http://www.speaking.com/articles_html/MariahBurtonNelson_1046.php. Web 25 February 2013.

Guthrie, Marisa (April 2, 2007). “Location shots have put the N.Y. into CSI”. Daily News. Web 25 February 2013.