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May 4, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Women of the Wire

My girlfriend hates The Wire, and I don’t blame her for it. I am obsessed by it. I watch it when I should probably be paying her attention. It is as addictive as the heroin the Barksdale boys are pushing.

At first glance The Wire is about a bunch of gangsta ass dudes doing a bunch of gangsta ass shit. The main characters are predominantly male, African American and have drinking problems.

It is generally recognised as one of the best televisions shows ever. Whether you like it or not it gets down to the nitty gritty and explores many sociopolitical themes in great detail.

So it is not surprising that the women of The Wire are an interesting mix. It is very easy to overlook them. The show is penis-centric and many female characters are in the periphery with little to no development. They are prostitutes, strippers, cops and junkies and wives. However there are three characters which shine through the dirty streets as strong representations of different types of femininity on the streets of Baltimore.

Kima Greggs

A powerful women in all respects. Tough, competent, intelligent, beautiful, lesbian, mother and wife. The first time you see her on screen she shows up her male counterparts and throughout all five seasons she develops into a multifaceted being. She gives into temptations in a way that is slightly manly.

Sheeeit, I wouldn’t want to mess with her.

Rhonda Pearlman

Baltimore’s leading Assistant State Attorney has ambition. She wants it all and she is willing to play the political games to get it. She is deeply intelligent but also wants more. Her trysts with McNulty in the first season show that she has emotional needs, which can’t be met by the ‘typical male’. She is constantly balancing the ideal of a good case to lock away some baddies or a quick conviction to appease those higher up.

Brianna Barksdale

A minor character in the scheme of all five series, but ‘most def’ a powerful one. She is the sister of the Avon, the head of the drug ring and obviously a cohesive element in the operation. She is a matriarch who takes care of the soldiers and reaches out in times of need to ensure the family is provided for. A perceptive woman she just knows what is happening in the heads of those around her. Strong and proud she carries the family through into the dark times ahead with dignity.

In terms of the fictional Baltimore environment these women are ahead of the game and I think they can and should be seen as positive characters. The juxtaposition of the strong characters to the drugged-out gangbangers—many of whom have an obvious desire to break free from the cycle—builds up an impression that there is hope. It stands as a stark reminder that while there are some women achieving great things, inequality is an enduring problem.

Shirley was unable to hand in a column this week because she got some illness… We all hope the Velociraptor flu goes away soon


About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (2)

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  1. mikey says:

    Omar is a girl

  2. zen says:

    Yeah, cause he fucked another guy with his penis, which all women have. We just don’t know about it cause they only take it out in secret when no one’s looking.

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