Um, ok, so, I promise not to constantly blog about the ire the fucking “Lizzie Bennet Diaries” is causing amongst bloggers with major feels about these videos, but it’s come up again. And it’s not teen fangirls or anyone like that, it’s coming from (presumably) intelligent, bookish people.
This one however, I fully admit that I might just not understand.
I am not Asian. Neither am I of Asian descent. I could probably come up with a handful of “Asian Stereotypes” but I would never come up with a woman being controlling of another person under the umbrella of looking out for a family member. But, again, I am not Asian.
Here’s the situation: Caroline Bingley, of the original novel: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, is self-serving and elitist. She looks down on the Bennets because they a) have less money than her family does, b) are mostly silly and indiscreet women, c) they’re of a lower social class and they don’t give her what she believes to be her due consideration, and d) they’re competition. Caroline works with Mr. Darcy to convince Mr. Bingley to ditch Jane because Caroline doesn’t like the Bennets. She puts on a nice face around her brother because she is dependent upon him for her own life comforts and, I think, secretly fears that she won’t be able to secure her own wealthy husband (Darcy) if they keep socializing with the Bennets. (Caroline is one of the first to note Mr. Darcy’s crush on Elizabeth and Caroline doesn’t like it because she has been angling to become Mrs. Darcy herself.)
Again: the question is raised: how do you take this situation of women literally having to compete with one another in order to survive and make it believable in the LBD setting?
This one isn’t so difficult.
Even though we are an “enlightened” society and women no longer are dependent upon men for their security there is still a very strong societal competition between women in regards to men. It’s silly and stupid, but it is there. It takes a lot of work to not be annoyed with another woman if your dude fools around with her. Women, often, get pissed at the woman instead of the man who betrayed her trust. Caroline being jealous of Lizzie because she knows that the object of her desire is interested in her, unfortunately, isn’t a stretch.
Caroline, race aside, the entire series has been all about making herself look good/right/just when she appears in Lizzie’s videos. She might manipulate a situation to get Jane in a compromising position, and, no matter what the character might claim, she did it because she doesn’t like the small college town they’re living in or the Bennets. Her motives were purely selfish. Everything we’ve seen Caroline do is purely selfish. All the characters talk to the camera to an extent, but no one talks to the camera as much as Caroline Lee; even in moment when she’s imploring Lizzie to do something, or sucking up to her, she delivers her words to the camera. Caroline Lee doesn’t really care about anyone but Caroline Lee; she gets in good with Lizzie in order to clean up her image in the off chance that Darcy stumbles across them; she encourages Lizzie not to tell Bing about the videos and his unknown online status because then he’d see how much Jane cares for him and that would interfere with Caroline’s plans; she sucks up to Darcy’s wealthy, childless aunt, endearing herself to the woman so she’ll approve of Caroline as a potential heir. Now, I ain’t sayin’ she a golddigger…
But it’s important to remember friends: Caroline Lee is a domineering character not because she is Asian, but because Caroline Bingley is a domineering character.
Then, again, I am not Asian and therefore might not understand the ire.