I Have A Character Issue: Perception of Women in Society
Based on her New York Times Op-ed I Have a Character Issue, Anna Gunn discusses the perception of women in society in correlation with her role as Skyler White on the award-winning television show Breaking Bad. As the one character who consistently opposed Walter White, the show’s protagonist, her character became an antagonist and a flash point for many people’s feelings about strong, nonsubmissive, ill-treated women.
Although Gunnn was prepared for not being the show’s most popular character, she was unprepared for the vitriolic response she inspired. Thousands of people have “liked” the Facebook page “I Hate Skyler White.” The consensus among the haters was clear: Skyler was a ball-and-chain, a drag, a shrew. Could this reaction ignited by Skyler reveal that audiences can’t stand a woman who won’t suffer silently or “stand by her man”? That they despise her because she won’t back down or give up? Or because she is, in fact, Walter’s equal?
In this speech, Gunn provides answers to these questions through personal reflection, analyzes why Skyler didn’t conform to a comfortable ideal of the archetypical female – which turned her into a measure of society’s attitudes toward gender – and questions why male characters don’t seem to inspire the same kind of public venting.
An Evening with Anna Gunn