Feminists are not just women. At its core, feminism is advocating for and believing that men and women should have have equal rights and opportunities, and men are just as important to that cause as women. I’ve often praised and held up strong feminist series such as Wynonna Earp and Killjoys for the way they write and deliver multiple layered, diverse, complicated women that serve as the core of their shows. However, one reason these series are such great feminist examples is the way the male characters on both of the shows are written.
Both showrunners, Emily Andras and Michelle Lovretta, are doing something that feels unique with their male characters. The men of Wynonna and Killjoys are written in a way that proves a strong, feminist woman can be at the core of your show, but that she doesn’t necessarily have to persevere despite constant undermining and doubt from the men around her. Instead, male characters can be feminists as well, and lift up these female heroines by treating them as equals and supporting them — emotionally as well as physically. It’s also nice to see Friday night lineup mate Dark Matter, while much more of an ensemble than female-led show, closely follow these ideals as well, often foregoing gender stereotypes in favor of developing well-rounded characters.
Men such as Doc Holliday, Xavier Dolls and the Jaqobis brothers not only want heroines like Wynonna Earp and Dutch to make their own choices, such as facing off against a sister who may have gone to the dark side or a Big Bad who may be her father, but they also trust them completely to do so. To go one step further, even after a decision has been made, these men support their ladies. While Wynonna and Dutch both have some sort of supernatural abilities about them, whether it’s a magical gun or connection to a mystical green plasma, the boys on their teams trust them to wield the power and never once try to rip it away from them. They are perfectly content to admit how much more powerful and well suited for the top spot both Wynonna and Dutch are, and there’s no doubting or not listening when the women are doling out the orders.
Now, just because these male characters fully support the female ones does not mean they don’t have a fully fleshed out storyline of their own, it’s just not THE story. Wynonna Earp and Killjoys’ driving story arcs have always been reserved for Wynonna and Dutch, and rightfully so, as they are the main characters of their respective shows. Doc now owns Shorty’s, Dolls is trying to figure out what exactly he is, D’avin yearns to be more than just the muscle and John has to move on from Pawter. These are all interesting and layered story arcs, but they aren’t taking over the show and crowding out the ladies who, always have plenty of room to take center stage. Wynonna Earp will always be about Wynonna and Killjoys at its core is always about Dutch, these stories from the male characters never overshadow or threaten that concept.
In our society young boys and men are taught to dominate, that power is gained by exerting strength and using it over others. However, the Wynonna and Killjoys men prove that one can still be powerful and masculine even when they cannot overpower the women by their side. Doc Holliday is one of history’s best sharp shooters, yet it’s Wynonna who always takes the final shot. While John and D’avin make up integral parts of the team, at the end of the day the final call is always resting upon Dutch’s shoulders. The men of these two series realize the important aspects they bring to the team. Things like knowing their way around space tech or having a background in tactical operations, are truly valuable skills to have and they give these men a firm grasp on their self esteem in the process. That pride and self worth allows them to admire and appreciate the female characters on their shows without feeling insecure in their own worth as a man.
As is the case with most representation issues on television, the more we see of a certain group of individuals, in this case male feminists, the more likely it is that others will see them too and hopefully, follow their example. Yes, we really love and need characters like Wynonna or Dutch, but it’s also really important to appreciate the Doc Hollidays, the Xavier Dolls and the Jaqobis brothers of the world. A minority cannot get ahead without the support of the majority, and while I’m sorry to make everyone do some math, that’s just the truth.
There’s too many examples in our everyday society of men wanting to rip down, shame and negate a woman who has a little bit of power. Not the men of Wynonna Earp or Killjoys. Hopefully other shows will sit up and take notice that while both these shows are delivering some of the best female characters on the same small screen, their boys aren’t too shabby either. Feminism isn’t just for women and it’s great to see these male characters embodying so many feminist characteristics. We need more men like it, not just on TV, but in the world in general. Men who will fight, support and respect women because really in the end, feminism benefits us all.
Do you love the men of Wynonna Earp and Killjoys as much as us? Add your thoughts in the comments below!
Killjoys airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on Syfy and Space. Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy and Space.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.