Recently, we wrote about female movie characters who gave major "written by a man" vibes — and the BuzzFeed Community came in clutch with even more submissions! Here are 23 more "written by a man" female characters.*
*Along with a few more answers from the
original Reddit thread, as well as this one from r/MenWritingWomen. 1. Lily and Robin from How I Met Your Mother
"I was an avid watcher of
How I Met Your Mother right to the horrible ending. The two main women on that show were portrayed really unfairly. Lily took on the role of the buttinski nag while Robin's character took on whatever characteristics the writers felt like giving her that season. It wasn't development. It was brand new stuff every time.
Also, the men in the show were far more developed than the women. Just watch
Spoiler Alert as proof. All of the guys' annoying habits were previously established in the show. If you watched it you'd know about them. But they had to make up annoying habits for both women specifically for that episode. Never saw them do those things before.
Lots of flaws in what I once thought was a clever show."
u/abrynne CBS 2. Debora from Baby Driver Suggested by u/sid1805
"I love [
Baby Driver], but her character is pretty pathetic. She’s willing to throw her life away or even die for some guy she’s known for less than two weeks. They went on one date and did laundry together."
u/DapperEmployee7682 TriStar Pictures 3. Penny from The Big Bang Theory
"Portrayed as unintelligent, wants to be an actor but has no acting skills and can't recognize that, is consistently broke, she can't function without this group of men across the hall and in turn they get to regularly sexually harass her, but that's cute because they're nerds and she's a cool girl. And she was the only regular female character for several seasons."
"Let us not forget, she was
literally not given a last name. it became a running joke that no one knew her last name and when they asked the cast after filming wrapped, they all laughed because she was never given one. Barf."
"I hated that the writers fell back on the good old traditional role for females in the final episode and made her pregnant. SO disappointing, because she'd been quite happily child-free up to that point. Why couldn't she have finally been allowed to get a decent acting role or career?"
u/AcerEllen000 Sonja Flemming / CBS/Courtesy Everett Collection 4. Beth on Yellowstone
Yellowstone was clearly written by a man."
"A lot of 'macho man' writing includes the trope of women being insufferably annoying and getting in the way of being a dude. You’ll see this on a lot of 'dude' subreddits like
or the like with 'wife’s out of town so I made this macho steak' as if women can’t appreciate a good steak either. Women on r/grilling Yellowstone are written through that lens."
u/dagmx Paramount Network 5. Ally — and really all the female characters — in Ally McBeal
"The TV show
Ally McBeal really grinds my gears ... because it had potential to portray strong, badass women, but completely dropped the ball.
The concept: Ally McBeal is a lawyer and the show follows her as she takes on both serious and wacky court cases. So far, so good. But then the show had to go and fixate on her love life...Literally every episode was about her romantic feelings towards someone. 'Does he really like me?' was all her character was concerned about.
Okay, but the other characters, were they any good then? The show had a lot of female lawyer characters, and most of them were described as the best in their field. That is all well and good, until you realize that this meant that they were all portrayed as cold, heartless machines driven by a desire to win any case. However, they all had one weakness: men, and these ice queens would thaw immediately when given the chance to go one a date with someone.
This show had the potential to explore cool themes. Ally could have been a great character who evolved from a man-obsessed push-over to a strong, independent professional woman, teaching her daughter to be independent as well. Oh well, so much potential lost..."
u/TeamTywinAllDay Doug Hyun / Fox Network / Courtesy Everett Collection 6. Teresa from The Maze Runner Suggested by mailiennguyen, emankhan12435, and mailiennguyen
First of all, she seems to have almost no personality (beyond, as commenters pointed out, "being mysterious" and "being Thomas' 'love interest,'" though I don't even know if we can call her that). It felt like her entire character was just meant to be a foil to Thomas' good intentions. She's the cold, heartless "for the greater good" character, but we never actually get a look into why she sticks to her guns so much, considering she had the same upbringing as Thomas, and Thomas completely changed his mind after the maze. The only real difference was that he was a man thrown into a society of other men, who become his "bros," whereas Teresa never really fits in. Also, the books and films never truly delve into the danger of a single teenage girl thrown into a society of confused, angry teenage boys, and it just gives major "written by a man" vibes to hardly even consider that. And in the end, she gets to "redeem" herself by dying for Thomas. Because of course, that's how her nonexistent arc ends.
20th Century Fox 7. Vicki in The Waterboy (and really any love interest from an Adam Sandler movie)...
"Any Adam Sadler movie. No way should any woman go for his character."
"One that sticks out to me is Fairuza Balk’s character in
The Waterboy. Like, the main character has no redeeming qualities, he’s dumb, unattractive, and his mom is really rude to her. But, because this is an Adam Sandler movie and he must end up with a Woman Who Is Way Too Hot For Him™️, she is obsessively interested in him and SHE pursues HIM relentlessly. Like, in what world????"
u/Sarahlpatt Buena Vista / courtesy Everett Collection 8. ...including all the wives in the Grown-Ups films, but especially Sally
"Sandler goes all-out with it in the
Grown-Ups movies, where all the wives are written terribly. I think the most reprehensible example is Kevin James' wife. She complains about him spending time with his mother, and he tells her it's her fault. Then she apologizes and says she'll try to do better, and takes him to a car wash to ogle college women in bikinis."
u/Varanjar Sony Pictures Releasing 9. Olivia in The Prestige
"I just watched
The Prestige again last night. Great movie, but damn it kind of sucked seeing ScarJo just there to look pretty, admit that she loved both men, and disappear after giving Angier the diary. Pretty lame.
Now that I'm thinking about it, pretty much every Nolan movie except for
Batman Begins relegates women to being either love interests only or incapable of being multidimensional characters due to their inability to not fall in love with the protagonist."
u/dinkerdill Touchstone Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection 10. Princess Tilde in Kingsman: The Secret Service
"The end of
Kingsmen, where the Swedish princess wants to have sex with the protagonist as a reward.🙄"
annechananne 20th Century Fox 11. Really all the women in the Kingsman films, actually
"It's really bad. There's a tracking device that can only work if inserted into a women's nether regions, and the main male character who is supposedly in a loving relationship has to be the one to apply this to the woman he needs to track even though there are other agents who could've done it. That whole arc made me furious. What if you need to track a man? Or a child? Or a menstruating woman? Or someone who doesn't want you to finger her? Pretty stupid secret agent device if you think with something other than a penis. Then he says he has to pee so he can get away from the woman, and she says he can pee on her (because of course she does). Then he FaceTimes his GF to tell her he had to cheat to save the world. Oh, but she forgives him by the end of the movie because of course she does. This killed the movie for me, which sucks because it had decent action scenes."
u/sweetpotato_pi 20th Century Fox 12. Jade in The Hangover
"She marries a dude who comes into the strip club she works at completely hammered, and then the next day she’s like, 'oh hello husband, I truly thought this marriage was going to be a real thing!' Again, in what world does a stripper in Las Vegas run off and marry her drunk client after meeting him that night? I’m sure IRL Vegas strippers get inundated with proposals from drunk assholes all the time and it’s probably really annoying and creepy. Only a man would write that she would not only say yes but try and treat it like a real marriage the next day. ... And then she entrusted him with her literal baby even though he was wasted and knew her for like an hour."
u/Sarahlpatt Warner Bros. Pictures 13. Scully from The X-Files
"I was in high school when the show first started, but I bought the box set recently and have been watching it again and am shocked at how little agency the character actually has. I remember 20+ years ago when the show was advertised as having a strong female lead but in hindsight she is there to make Mulder look good by being a straw man caricature of whatever scientific theory the show wants to subvert this week, she has no identity outside her role in the partnership (except when it's narratively convenient, like her father's death), and when the show wants to tell us the stakes are high, something happens to Scully so that she needs rescuing by her unstable, one-dimensional partner.
In the context of early '90s network TV, or the multitude of police procedurals that came after it, it's not the most egregious portrayal of women out there. But I was in high school in the early '90s and loved
The X-Files, it's been sad watching it back and realising how regressive the gender politics are between the lead characters."
u/Brian_McGee 20th Century Fox / Courtesy: Everett Collection. 14. Tammy in Twin Peaks
"Tammy in the 2017
Twin Peaks. She was an FBI agent, apparently a brilliant agent etc and so on, but her entire reason to be there was to wear skirts, bring the men coffee and have things explained to her by the men. The actress copped a lot of flack for her performance, but the script did a lot of the heavy lifting on that."
lynl Showtime 15. Liz in Shaun of the Dead
"She has some funny lines, and the actor does a great job with the thin material she’s given, but the character has no personality beyond just saying 'Shaun!' in an exasperated voice every so often. It’s hard to see why Shaun and her are supposed to be an item, and why we’re supposed to be invested in them repairing their relationship; they don’t seem to have much in common. She just seems like the stereotype of the ... girlfriend who represents the end of freedom and of fun, rather than an engaging person in her own right."
u/AreKidK Rogue Pictures / Everett Collection 16. Alabama in True Romance
"'While you’re out I’m gonna strip naked, soap myself up and slide into the bath to watch x-rated films until you get back.' Tarantino, this was not your finest work."
u/fearthe0cean Warner Bros. 17. Katy on Letterkenny
"Every character on that show is highly, well, characterized. But, fuck man, the dialogue and mannerisms they give her drive me up a wall. And I'm just some dude who will laugh at a fart joke from time to time."
"I love that show, but man. Katy is just so painfully the Not Like the Other Girls trope, it kills me. Just a total male fantasy of a girl who drinks beer, swears, and spits and loves casual sex, but is also super hot and will do emotional labor for them. As a girl, just ugh."
u/-rosa-azul- Lindsay Sarazin / ©Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection 18. Mollie in Ford v Ferrari
"She is hot, knows about cars, is constantly supportive of her man, and when Christian Bale starts to fight Matt Damon, she grabs a newspaper and watches because she is tough or doesn’t care or something."
u/rough-ah 20th Century Fox 19. Sévérine in Skyfall
"Just...the whole thing about her character. Also especially skeevy is the fact Bond knew she was sex trafficked, and still boned her after sneaking up on her in her shower!"
u/Corginos_Dorkus Francois Duhamel/©Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection 20. Alice in Closer
"That movie's dialogue is so awkward and creepy."
"There was so much hype about
Closer and to this day I cannot understand it. Awkward and creepy was a spot-on descriptor."
u/malachaiville Sony Pictures Releasing 21. Mary Jane in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection 22. Irene Adler in Sherlock
"It baffles me they portrayed her as a lesbian dominatrix blackmailer who falls in love with Sherlock. She was never a villain in the original
Scandal in Bohemia, instead she was a lady who just wanted to be left alone and marry for love. Sherlock was the villain in the story because he aided the scandalous king. In a SiB Irene is the one who is victorious, but in Sherlock not only does she need Moriarty's help to pull off her scheme, she also loses to Sherlock and needs to be rescued by him later. And her whole thing about being a lesbian in love with a man ended up going nowhere."
u/Puncomfortable BBC 23. Finally, let's end on one character that, yes, was written by a woman, but has "written by a man" energy: Anastasia Steele from 50 Shades of Grey
"Every time I remember
50 Shades of Grey exists, I want to projectile vomit in rage. Literally both a book and movie about a one-dimensional woman whose entire self-worth is validated by an abusive man, that manages to somehow be even worse than Twilight."
u/BoinkBoinkEtAliae Chuck Zlotnick/Focus Features / courtesy Everett Collection What movie or TV character do you feel gives off "written by a man" vibes? Let us know in the comments. Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.