baxter wrote:Presumably they meant that the comment seemed dismissive and insulting (through the tone and delivery rather than just the meaning of the words).
It's part of the professional "take offence" MO. See also a) A black woman in a film represents all black women, and the entire history of the black race, b) A woman in a film represents all women (who are a completely homogeneous group with a single collection of experiences), and any slight of a woman in a film is therefore an explicit attack on females in general, c) A man in a film who is portrayed as overtly sexist means that the entire work is overtly sexist.
Or maybe I'm just being cynical. I don't how many safety winks I need to put in this post. It seems to me that the problem with this sort of film "criticism" is that it takes specific instances of character and tries to generalise them, then uses this without irony to complain about generalisations.
No, looking at the cultural context as it pertains to how demographics are portrayed is just another way of analyzing art. Nothing's made in a vacuum, and if the only black woman in a work is portrayed in lazy, stereotypical way or if there's only one woman at all in a show with diverse men, and the woman's portrayed in a lazy, stereotypical way then we've found a weak spot.
Lynch's work is definitely open for gender criticism, and that's part of what makes it utterly fascinating. His method of creation relies a lot on cultural touchstones, including sexist ideas, and sometimes they're just there but sometimes he completely takes them to pieces as part of his analysis. That's why I've never gotten the feminist dismissal his work gets. Yeah, there's a lot of crap art out there where you can just roll your eyes at the portrayal of women, but Lynch takes his work to a level of character examination that gives another dimensional to even the stereotyped female characters. Twin Peaks isn't just an exploitive use of violence against women and sexual violence, the treatment of Laura is an in-depth exploration of that.
I mean, see the basis for the objections, but I think Lynch has made a complex enough work that calling the whole thing sexist and dismissive is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Doris and Frank are an eyerollingly sexist dynamic that he adds another dimension to in the second episode. The explanation makes them still stereotypical, but more complex and a kinder view of traditional femininity. Janey-E was presented as the nagging wife early on, and was unlikable because she was primarily seen berating Dale (not Dougie, for whom it was justified, but Dale so we were mad at her) before we see another dimensional of her where she PROTECTS him and we realize that her harshness to him is logical and a necessity right now. It's taking a sexist stereotype and showing that we've been unfairly judging them. Personally, I await this treatment for Tammy. I have a feeling we're going to see something interesting with her too.
For the original matter, though. "Tough cookie" is kind of condescending. He's calling her a cookie, taking her very powerful personality and boiling it down to something cute and nonthreatening. (Perhaps to cover that Gordon is himself too intimidated by Diane to approach her alone.) But it's Gordon Cole, it's in character for him to make a compliment that's also kind of condescending and he does condescend to Albert and Coop a lot too. And Lynch lampshaded Cole's sexism in the scene with Denise, she was worried he intended to put the moves on Tammy. With Cole, Lynch is presenting a man who has the deepest respect and affection for those around them but who can't shake his old-fashioned mannerisms. A flawed character, presented to the audience for love and respect. Played by no coincidence by Lynch himself.
It's kind of beautiful.