De-butching female cops on TV’s crime dramas

The New York Post recently published an article about how TV’s female officers have been femmed-up, or rather, “de-butched”, as their series progress. While this may or may not be the case, the issue I’m having with reporter Jarett Wieselman‘s conclusions, is that he seems to only be taking into account the length of the actress’s hair.

I must admit, I haven’t watched all of these shows on a regular basis but most of them are in my DVR and since I’m a fan of a woman in uniform (Jennifer Beals, I’m looking at you), I’d like to consider myself an expert on the subject (especially if VH1 needs me for a special “I Love A Woman In Uniform” show).

The first character put forth by Mr. Wieselman, is Detective Kate Beckett from Castle (played by Stana Katic). (Full disclosure, of all the programs mentioned, I have seen Castle the least, but, in every episode that I have seen, Beckett has always been very feminine, even if her work wardrobe wasn’t the most flattering.)

Wieselman writes:

Although she is still the tough, take-no-prisoners, feisty woman we met in the pilot episode, Castle‘s’ Detective Kate Beckett has undergone a physical transformation over the last three seasons.

Gone are season one’s masculine pantsuits, wide collars and short hairstyle. Season three strongly favors sleek leather jackets, plunging necklines and long locks. It’s almost as if the NYPD hired an image consultant to turn their top detective into “a girl.”

Did you read that the way I did? Butch = bad fashion and short hair. Femme = personal stylist and Pantene commercial hair.

The next female detective to be put under the butchiscope is Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) from Law & Order: SVU.

Yes, her hair was very short for a period of time, but her longer flowing locks aren’t putting a crimp in her jock walk. Also, there’s a reason there are Alex/Olivia shippers and fanfic writers galore – that stuff doesn’t just make up itself!

Following Detective Benson is Dexter‘s Debra Morgan.

Now, I’m sorry, but no amount of makeup, plunging necklines and shoving her tongue down a dude’s throat can convince me that Detective Morgan is straight. My male dog and male cat have more romantic chemistry than she does with any of her male love interests. Sure, I can try to blame that on the fact that in real life, actress Jennifer Carpenter is married to her onscreen brother, Michael C. Hall, but I’d like to think actors can get over that stuff and channel all of their energy into simulating sex with whoever they’re supposed to be doing it with. Here’s to hoping for Detective Morgan’s “aha moment” followed by some steamy love scenes with Officer Cira Manzon.

The next officer being called out really throws me for a loop. CSI’s Catherine Willows oozes feminine sex appeal even when she’s bogged down with a bullet-proof vest, a gigantic utility belt, baseball cap and aviators. She is the anti-Debra Morgan.

Lastly, but certainly not least, is Robin Tunney‘s character, Teresa Lisbon, on The Mentalist. First of all, if you aren’t watching this show, you need to start. Secondly, if Lisbon isn’t gay (I mean, hello, her name is practically Lesbian) I am putting in a request for a new gaydar this holiday season because mine practically does the can-can and the mashed-potato whenever she comes on screen. Even if she added two feet of extensions to her hair, it wouldn’t make her more femme.

I’m sure there’s nothing to get in a tizzy about, but I do think his choices, particularly the images accompanying his choices, are odd. If anything, there’s a lesson to be learned here world: short hair does not a butch make and the same could be said for long hair making you femme — unless you are a Hanson brother.