Rrroowww! I am the veriest…!

…idiot that ever had a double standard.

Last night, Ugly_Hubby and I were watching The Silence of the Lambs on late, late night TV (a late night TV surprisingly and sadly free of 1-900-HOTGRRL commercials, which crack me up, but plenty of weight-loss commercials, and I wonder if those commercials aired despite or because of the cannibalism—what better time to decide to lose weight than when watching Hannibal Lecter bite someone’s nose off?) But, anyway, at the end of the movie (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen this movie/read the book), as Clarice ran around the killer’s house and basement alone, I said:

“If my heroine did that in one of my books, that would immediately make her TSTL. What is she thinking? The guy has all of the advantages: he knows the layout of the house; he’s a crazy nut-job with a penchant for making skin-suits out of chubby girls, and she’s barely out of the FBI academy; he kills her, and no one will know where either Clarice or Katherine (the chick in the well) ever were.”

And I went on, blah blah blah, about how stupid people are who go down in the basement, even if they are cops, because shouldn’t she call for backup first?—and UH said, “Would you have said that if it was a guy?”

Ugh. Because although I’d like to say, “Yes!” and my brain says there is no difference, I had to be honest with myself and admit that if Clarice had been a guy, I would never have commented on it. I would have thought, “Oh, he should have called for backup” but I would never have applied the TSTL label to him.


That pisses me off. I don’t intend to have that double standard, I don’t. And yet, I apparently do.

And this especially pisses me off because I really like Clarice’s character; there is absolutely no evidence of TSTL behavior in the rest of the movie, and yet I was more than ready to cry ‘stupid’ at that one moment.

And in retrospect, perhaps it wasn’t totally stupid: after all, she was a trained agent, she needed to ascertain whether Katherine was in danger (and leaving the house might give the guy a chance to kill her), and she might be even more of a target leaving the house than inside it, where she can hide in corners and crap. I honestly don’t know what the accepted operating procedure in such a case would be (I do think she should have at least attempted to locate the phone, though).

Sigh. I know there has been discussion about a lot of readers being tougher on heroines than we are on heroes, but this…this bothers me about myself. It is one thing to forgive a guy for being an asshole easier than I can forgive a heroine for being whatever she is—but assigning different levels of intelligence to them for the same actions?

I am the veriest idiot.