Death of the Critic


Written by: Tom Blaich

As this site moves forward and we begin to introduce more complex topics it will become useful for us to give a primer in some of the themes and ideas that we are talking about. We've done a little bit of this already, but we will be digging in a little deeper into the topics in question. Death of the Critic is, at its heart, a critical website where we try to take a deeper look at different aspects of media. From movies to games to music and more, we aim to enhance the discussion around media in order to deepen our knowledge and understanding.

In feminist critique, the concept of “The Patriarchy” is frequently examined. At its simplest state, a patriarchy is a male-dominated society, with power being passed from father to son and societal structures built around that. It is a system, that by its very definition has men being greater or more valuable than women.

But it is not always this explicitly shown in a text. Rarely do stories in contemporary settings state outright that their male characters are worth more in some ways than the female characters. We have to look at the roles that they each group take, and the way in which they interplay with each other.

A patriarchal system is not a new idea. For thousands, if not tens of thousands of years, we’ve seen stories detailing these kinds of systems, based in large part off of the patriarchal societies that created them. The treating of women like second class citizens or even property is directly reflected in the works created in these societies.

It is why many stories have women needing to be rescued by men, or women being controlled by men, or women being confined to subservient roles, or women being won through battle or competition while men are given positions of power and great amounts of personal agency. Men can be soldiers, heroes, politicians, bosses, but women have to be mothers or mistresses, bakers or prostitutes.

Look at
Horrible Bosses, whose three antagonists are: stupid and incompetent, a huge asshole, and a woman who rapes one of the main characters and is seemingly only around to be a sex object and so that we can laugh at the rape. A woman is given a position of power over a man, but it still just comes down to the fact that she is sexy and wants to have sex with our protagonist. She is ruled by her sexual desire, and we are to see her only as an object of desire.

Recognizing these power structures and how they manifest themselves in a text is crucial to feminist critique. It informs character relationships and behavior (male writers and directors making actresses act in a certain way), and it reflects on the society that has created it.


Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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