Previously on Selfie: Pilot.
“Having haters online means you’ve made it!”
“Having haters in real life means people hate you!”
You know, this forced — and false! — dichotomy they’re trying to build up here really gets on my nerves. Social media isn’t just real life, inverted, nor the other way around.
Now, Selfie wants to make us believe that Eliza’s empowered in that she uses her appeal to men to get what she wants — but Henry takes that away from her by making her conform to the way the old Frickelschnitzes at the office want her to be, aiming to empower her better. Do I seriously have to sit here and listen to women gripe about another woman that she “probably had sex with all of them” to become the most successful sales rep and Henry, instead of defending her, leaps out to stop Karen’s flirty behaviour and drag her away whilst using his jacket to cover her backside??? I think not.
The constant competition Eliza is in with other women — at work, with her neighbours’ “Book club for Adult Virgins” friends who are really just intellectual snobs in terrible clothes (note: I am not criticising folks of that persuasion, I’m criticising the writers for taking that most predictable of shortcuts) who ask, “You’re reading?” like it’s the most improbable news of the year… also: “book club for adult virgins.” Eliza wants Henry to not get all “slut-shamy” on her, but she mocks women for not getting any? Hello, hypocrisy. You know, this shit is what makes female environments so toxic: the competition we are forced into amongst ourselves. Be condemned by the men in your life for doing x, be condemned by the women in your life for doing y. This competition — has to stop. But even as Eliza slowly feels more comfortable with the book club girls, this is never addressed, never said out loud. Like, I don’t want my female narrative to be all about silent improvement. I want my ladies to scream “DOWN WITH THE PATRIARCHY” and then ride into battle on horses that look like office staplers, ya know?
And besides: yes, she plays men like a fiddle because she knows what they want from her, whilst actually doing well at her job. It’s not Eliza that has to change. It’s everyone else that needs a chair to the face for not seeing how completely ridiculous the men she is pandering to are behaving. She wouldn’t have to do this if men in charge were capable of taking her seriously despite her looks and her provocative outfits. Selfie is only empowering in a strawman capacity because it’s doing everything to change her, whilst doing nothing to change the system that both forces and enables her to do this in the first place. She’s being shamed for being the “booty call,” instead of, I don’t know, being told that assholes like… what’s his name? … aren’t worth her time because they’re only using her anyway. Argh!
Wanna take a post-sex selfie?
Meanwhile, the world is also trying to change Henry. What, you’re not on Facebook?! LAME!!1! Henry sadly calls after them that he has a LinkedIn profile. Well, Henry, I may have Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, but I’ve also got a Xing profile that I’ve never looked at again… (I really should, I think a colleague of mine sent me a friend request recently.) Henry’s first foray into the Facebook timeline is just boring, too.
My first friend is my mom. Just like in life.
At least he’s happy that he got Sansa Stark in a buzzfeed quiz.
At the same time, Eliza’s incredibly ditzy in her work persona — which works for her, and it’s her choice, but the writers should allow her to stop pretending that that’s the only default mode she has. She’s ambitious, she has plans, and she’s getting there fine for now exploiting the fact that men think she’s all booty and no brains, but she’s coming to realise that people’s perceptions of her are going to impede her at some point. Again, that shouldn’t be there narrative here. The narrative should be: changing the fucking system. Think Legally Blonde, Selfie. Henry tells her to attempt anything to allow this show to pass the Bechdel test, but the writers give Eliza only two things in life: men and social media, and then Henry has to tell her to expand her horizons. Yaawwwwn. I mean, in context, it’s good advice, because that will actually further her happiness. But no-one’s life is that empty, come on, I can’t suspend my disbelief under the ceiling like that, even for comedy. It’s just lazy writing for poor comedic effect. If Eliza’s ambitious and has been getting successful places, she can’t be dumb. And as P!ink once said, always support your fellow woman*, but don’t support the Stupid Act. “Sexy shouldn’t come with a price tag of dumb,” were her excellent words; so what Selfie is doing that’s so wrong and insulting is making Eliza remain (contradictorily) dumb whilst suggesting that that is how she is, at her core. Instead of acknowledging that ditzy can be an act, a persona to adopt if you’re pretty and you want to make life easier for yourself (see Lydia on Teen Wolf), but that people have more layers. Instead of urging Eliza to reconnect with her love of other stuff, Henry — and thus, the show — frame her as being entirely void of any such capabilities. Eliza is a person. Surely she has the ability to enjoy a novel.
Oh God, and THEN the ladies at the book club also only have one thing on their minds: when Henry bursts in to ask Eliza for Facebook un-tagging advice, they assume he’s her boyfriend who wants to propose to her. No. Please don’t. NO.
And we already see that Henry is being framed by the narrative as the better partner for Eliza, even though Freddie did offer to take her home — but he only said to walk her to her door? Like, uh, she needs to be woken up every hour, someone has to stay with her? And then, after Freddie assumably took her home, Henry drives to her place, watches her light turn on, calls her to check up on her, and then tells her he’ll call back in an hour. After the stark contrast of Henry actually caring whether Eliza is ok and expressing his gratitude that she is vs. Freddie only caring that she didn’t answer his texts all day. Okay… it’s obvious where this is headed.
I don’t know if I can make it through another episode…
Next on Selfie: With a Little Yelp from My Friends.