June 2015: Inspirations / tv

An Open Letter to Gillian Anderson

If someone hasn’t heard of you, then obviously they must be living under a rock or on another planet, right? (I had to attempt a half-hearted X-Files pun…) When I was younger, Dana Scully was on TV screens all around the world. I wasn’t old enough to remember it that well, as I’d just sit there watching whatever my family put on. I’m catching up with the show as we speak – why did I wait so long?

It was only last year that I started paying attention, and started watching your work. I’m behind the times, I know, but I have grown to have a lot of respect for you. To me, I don’t see people who inspire me as someone I’d want to place on a pedestal like some kind of goddess. They’re the kind of folks that I could enjoy a cuppa with, you know? Somebody I can relate to in some way and Gillian, you are one of those people.

The media have a field day of labelling and scrutinising people if they say something that’s deemed as controversial. It’s usually something pretty standard that’s taken completely out of context. You have said that you are open to the idea of dating women, and that gender is irrelevant which is fantastic. As a bisexual woman, I think it’s great for me to see a woman such as yourself saying this. The only way for me to be able to relate to bisexual women on TV is in a small number of shows, or hoping that two characters I like end up in a relationship. Most of the time it’s wishful thinking on the latter as the writers often won’t go down that route.

Stella Gibson in The Fall is probably one of my favourite females in TV. There is something about Stella Gibson that is so refreshing to see on our screens. We’re so used to seeing a male protagonist as the lead on shows, but Gillian, take the wheel with all the other women, because I would watch shows with ladies as the lead anyday. Thank you for bringing her to life. Plus the scene in the hotel bar with Reed (Archie Panjabi)? Us folk that aren’t heterosexual have to take any scenes where we can get them.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 12.55.06It’s silly that with so many shows, they’ll hint at same sex kisses or relationships, yet don’t dare to actually go ahead with it. It’s a shame because plenty of shows and films cater to heterosexuals, but it’s like anyone else doesn’t exist. Not hating on you hetrosexual peeps, but can us bisexual, and other sexualities that exist get a little loving please? And when a couple in a show happen to be of the same gender, the happiness lasts about five minutes. Two of my favourite shows (Last Tango in Halifax and Scott & Bailey) both had gay couples in and both series ended with one woman from each couple, being killed in some shape or form.

In Broadchurch, there was a love confession and kiss between two female characters, Jocelyn Knight (Charlotte Rampling) and Maggie Radcliffe (Carolyn Pickles) and this scene lasted maybe a minute or two out of an episode. I was sat there, hands over mouth with joy. If I could ‘awww’ from the rooftops, I would. Yet people were complaining about it. They said they didn’t want older women kissing, that it ruined the episode and was unnecessary. Newspapers even reported that people believed the two characters were sisters up until the kiss. What?

Whenever there is a scene in a film or show where the people in it aren’t straight, the media and social networks go off on one. Why? People need to realise there is diversity in this world. The thing about you Gillian is that you bring so many different qualities to all your characters, and have this aura that makes everyone pay attention. Whether it’s being adorkable Dana Scully, fragile Blanche Dubois or stern but caring (under that exterior) Stella Gibson, you make people listen. You accept the parts that make a difference and play them well enough to get them noticed.

In the words of Fraser Crane? I’m listening.


Meg Siobhan


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