I enjoy plenty of movies and TV shows that are not inherently feminist, but since I have started looking at movies and TV shows so critically in the past couple years, I'm finding it harder and harder to watch a show for an extended period of time without starting to question the female characters. The female characters on Dexter are incredibly interesting, but certain things about them... certain stereotypes... have started to gnaw at me. (Spoilers ahead up through season 2... don't read if you haven't seen the show & intend to)
Debra Morgan (Dexter's foster sister): Debra is everything that Dexter is not. She is childlike, emotional, and wildly impulsive at times. In the first season she relies on the help of Dexter often to gain footing in the police department, and it starts to become clear that Deb has some serious Daddy issues. She dates and falls for a serial killer because she is so desperate to be in love. At times she's assertive and swears like a sailor, but then slips into all those "weak" parts of her character.
Lieutenant Maria Laguerta: Power hungry and a "cold-hearted bitch," Laguerta got her position through a lucky break, and struggled to hang on to it. Although she calls out the Captain for his blatant sexism in his treatment of her replacement, it is revealed that Laguerta is behind the emotional breakdown of her successor in order to return to her position.
Rita Bennett (Dexter's girlfriend): Rita is a mother with an abusive, heroine-addict ex-husband, who understandably, has issues with sex. She eventually works through her trauma and relies heavily on the support of Dexter, the first "good man" in her life (who is... a secret serial killer. But who keeps the world safe from murderers. By murdering them.), until she starts to believe that Dexter is a heroine addict. Dexter goes along with the rouse, and Rita stays by him. It was here I started to question her judgement seriously. I mean... SERIOUSLY! Come on, Rita! After her ex-husband gets out of jail and in the 2nd season she gets more assertive and stronger in her convictions, but as the viewers know, the joke's still on her! Because she is unwittingly dating a notorious serial killer.
Lieutenant Esme Pasqual: Lt. Esme Pasqual replaced Laguerta for awhile, and even though at the get-go she seemed to be cool, unflinchingly professional, and a hard ass, pretty soon her character dissolves into an obsessive, jealous girlfriend, suspecting (rightly) that her fiancé is messing around. Her obsessing breaks into her professional life and finally the crazy woman is let go.
So it's true that the male main characters also have serious flaws that can be seen as stereotypically male, but the stereotypically feminine issues that the female characters have are just soo old, and I'm hoping that as I keep watching the characters loosen up a little.