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A Brand New Day: An encouraging new role model for women in Hollywood

Date: October 15, 2009 | Posted By:
Felicia Day

Felicia Day

Felicia Day is not your typical female star—and that’s what we love about her.

Day became known to many television viewers during her stint on the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, starred in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog,” and is the writer, producer, and director of the popular web series The Guild, a show that parodies the culture of online role-playing games.

As noted in a post a few weeks ago, the majority of starring roles in television seem to go to curvy blondes. Redheads are usually cast as wacky sidekicks, like Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or as fiery-tempered fighters, like the argumentative Dr. Brennan in Bones. In defiance of this limiting stereotype, Day’s character, “Codex”, is a shy yet intelligent gamer who seems like the girl next door.

When asked by Wired magazine about the inspiration for The Guild, Day said:

Most people don’t make a living acting. But being the kind of girl who is stereotyped as the secretary — or I’ve played a crazy cat lady five times, which is fine because I do that very well — but at a certain point you’re like, ‘I am more than this.’ That’s why I wrote Codex [her character in The Guild]. I sat down and was like, ‘What role would I have the most fun playing and would never be offered to me?’ I think Codex, in a mainstream world, would have a perfect nose and great highlights, but that’s not reality. And I wanted to, somehow, infuse reality into what I was doing.

Rather than give in to the pressure to change to fit the Hollywood ideal, Day seems more interested in changing the way Hollywood works. The Guild has no studio oversight, no million-dollar budget, and no A-list cast. Yet their promotional video for the third season of the show has over 4 million views on YouTube, and was the number one video download on iTunes.

The viral video, entitled “Do You Want to Date My Avatar”, pokes fun at the disconnect between oversexualized gaming avatars and the real appearance and lives of the gamers themselves:

Felicia Day is proof that there is more than one way to succeed as a woman in entertainment, and that women don’t need to accept negative stereotypes in order to do so.

Watch Felicia Day in The Guild at www.watchtheguild.com.

–Elizabeth




What Do You Think?

9 Responses to A Brand New Day: An encouraging new role model for women in Hollywood

  1. Tweets that mention A B O U T – F A C E — blog » A Brand New Day: An encouraging new role model for women in Hollywood -- Topsy.com on 10-15-2009

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by joitheartist, Joi Weaver. Joi Weaver said: my new About-Face post is up! http://about-face.org/blog/archives/1801 [...]
  2. Jennifer on 10-15-2009

    It's so unusual to see a woman in gaming-related media who challenges stereotypes and sexism in gaming. Go Felicia Day!
  3. Abed Yamout on 10-15-2009

    i don't see any sexism in gaming! Games are based on purely the imagination of the designers and if its a guy who is designing it, he has the right to imagine whatever he likes and its his freedom of creativity. If a woman were designing it, she would have the same right.
  4. Chani on 10-15-2009

    Love love love Felicia Day! And "The Guild" is hilarious. I play the same online game as she does, and it's refreshing to see her celebrate and make fun of that culture at the same time. I love how she included characters that people normally don't think of as gamers - like the mom with 3 kids and the middle-aged guy. She's awesome (and that song is really catchy).
  5. pfctdayelise on 10-15-2009

    Can't resist pointing out... Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not a good example of a "wacky sidekick"! She more than held her own over many seasons of BtVS.
  6. Elizabeth on 10-16-2009

    Oh, don't get me wrong, I *love* Willow, she's a fabulous character! But as the opening to season 6 clearly shows, Willow (and the entire Scooby gang) comes a bit unhinged without Buffy, which seems to leave her squarely in the sidekick camp. She's powerful, funny, and interesting...but still playing second fiddle.
  7. Sabrina on 10-16-2009

    You've officially gotten me hooked on the webseries AND the song!

    I can't stop singing it!

    She's a great actress :]
  8. Jackie on 10-29-2009

    LoL, I liked the oversexualized male character, he was like Fabio. Really clever to make fun of how absurd it is that people would look like they do online, since it's fantasy and people are going to make their characters look like someone other than themselves usually.

    I also liked the woman in the blue outfit! That's the type of gamer I am.
  9. Hallie on 11-15-2009

    "i don’t see any sexism in gaming! Games are based on purely the imagination of the designers and if its a guy who is designing it, he has the right to imagine whatever he likes and its his freedom of creativity. If a woman were designing it, she would have the same right."

    Maybe you don't see any sexism. However, it is a fact that some do. After all, that's part of how the culture in America works--it's patriarchal and manipulative.

    I agree that artists can imagine whatever they want and draw it. After all, self-expression is part of what comes with freedom. But I disagree with your statement that implies that it is that artist's right to put sexist material in a (sometimes commercial) public place where it will further emphasize the negative stereotypes in our culture.

    Felicia Day is gorgeous and a wonderful role model. I hope that more people like her start showing up in Hollywood.