User avatar
silverwolf
Luis Cardinale, Exterminator
Posts: 39
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 5:43 pm
Location: Corntown, IL
silverwolf

Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby silverwolf » July 1st, 2011, 2:49 pm

Hello all. I was having an X-Files discussion with my younger 20 year old sister last night and had to bring this subject up and get some opinions. I enjoy a good XF discussion (obviously) and am used to critiques, being an artist. Our talk got heated, let me tell you! (Keep in mind, this sister is a journalism major who just took a class in feminist studies). We were discussing specifically the relationship between M & S, and their roles. My sister went off on a tangent, saying she doesn't like watching the show as much anymore (she used to watch it with me when I was a teenager when the show originally aired). Recently, I've begun an all episode rewatch which she has opted out of mostly. She told me she considers Scully "Mulder's housewife without the title", he didn't appreciate her, he delegated chores and busywork to her, he got to do do most of the fieldwork and exploring. He made sure her role as his work partner was circumscribed to mostly doing autopsies. She used "Never Again" as an example. According to my sister: Mulder didn't appreciate Scully, he took her for granted, and was a jerk in "Never Again" when she requests a desk and tells him "it's my life". My sister said she was angry how Scully often "did whatever Mulder told her". Now don't get me wrong, I do think that Mulder should have shown his appreciate for Scully more often than he did. What I tried to tell my sister was, though, that Scully is SUPPOSED to be the skeptic, the medical doctor, the voice of reason, and she disagrees with Mulder (a lot). They both, however, had a MUTUAL respect for other. Does anyone else here have any thoughts? Did Chris Carter show hints of anti-feminism in creating the role of Dana Scully? My head is spinning. Maybe I'm too worked up about this, but I take issue with criticisms of The X-Files and its characters, I can't help it. It gets under my skin.
hug]
Image
Image

User avatar
SpecialAgent88
Frohike, Electronics Division
Posts: 10159
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 8:13 am
SpecialAgent88

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby SpecialAgent88 » July 1st, 2011, 7:53 pm

I really didn't feel at anytime there was any disrespect on Mulder's part towards Scully because Mulder truly valued Scully's opinion on everything during their investigations. However, I can see your sisters point of view and it was Mulder who decided on what cases to investigate and he made most of the decisions and came up with almost all the theories to solve each case. Scully's role on the X Files is to help Mulder solve and prove each case through science and to come up with a more traditional or conventional theory, which would legitimize reasons to solve each case.

Mulder had an extremely high regard for Scully's opinion and it was her opinions that Mulder trusted the most. I think one of the major issues with X Files cases is the fact that Mulder was the lead Agent on every case or to put it more bluntly, Mulder is really Scully's boss, but I never felt Mulder treated her like a subordinate. The FBI is run very much like any government institution and Mulder being the head of this department makes all the decisions and is responsible for every decision made, so in a sense he had to perform his duties as a boss. So, if Mulder needed Scully to perform certain task, such as directing her to perform an autopsy, it was at the request of Mulder because he needed answers or evidence to help him make decisions to solve the case.
Last edited by SpecialAgent88 on July 2nd, 2011, 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image
Made by Gillyinfatuation

Milagro - Agent Scully falls in love but that's obviously impossible. Agent Scully is already in love.

User avatar
IceQueen444
Phillip Padgett, Typist
Posts: 769
Joined: May 10th, 2011, 12:39 am
IceQueen444

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby IceQueen444 » July 2nd, 2011, 1:27 am

I have to say I don't really think she was made out to be anti-feminist (and I was all but trained to look for that stuff with my high school). I understand how it could look that way but I think both had equal amounts of paperwork but they only ever showed scully because she was the one who was supposed to undermine the x-files so they showed her reports to show how the skeptic reacted since mulder made his points known!
Image

User avatar
LondonLady
Alvin Kersh, Deputy Director
Posts: 7822
Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 9:49 am
LondonLady

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby LondonLady » September 5th, 2012, 12:49 am

I do think that Mulder treated Scully disrespectfully at times. I think Scully thought this as well, as we see in her version of events in, "Bad Blood." We all remember the scene in the motel room. Also, in "Tempus Fugit," I think, Scully does an autopsy for Mulder even though she has been awake for 36 hours. I think that Mulder did take Scully for granted at times, but she let him do so, so she is to blame as well.

I think that Mulder grew to appreciate Scully more as time went on. By "The X Files: Fight the Future," he realised that he could not continue without her. Some people have argued that he just told her what he needed to tell her to make her stay. I disagree with this viewpoint. I think that Mulder is speaking so passionately in this scene that he has to be telling the truth.
"Those characters are forever searching...Even if we’re not watching them, they’re out there, in some dimension. Mulder and Scully are still doing their thing, ‘cause that’s their nature."
David Duchovny, August 2012

User avatar
Quest
Eddie Van Blundht, Plumber
Posts: 959
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 5:06 am
Location: NY State of Mind
Quest

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby Quest » January 26th, 2013, 12:07 pm

I think London Lady hit the nail right on the head, at least as far as my opinion is concerned. Although I may throw in and this might differ from her opinion, that I don't think Mulder realized that he took Scully for granted sometimes. I think his passion for his work and the quest for his truth blinded him as to what was right in front of him. And Scully knew this and sort of used herself as a way to anchor Mulder to reality.
Image

THE ANSWERS ARE THERE, YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHERE TO LOOK FOR THEM.

User avatar
TruthIsOutThere
Melissa Scully, Mystic
Posts: 2567
Joined: December 7th, 2011, 11:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
TruthIsOutThere

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby TruthIsOutThere » January 30th, 2013, 4:27 pm

Scully admitted herself (in "all things") that she was drawn to powerful men, and that's probably part of the dynamic. While Mulder did often take her for granted, I think his respect and affection for her really grew over time, and by the second film Scully is the professional and Mulder has more of the "stay at home" role.

It's weird, I never thought of Mulder as being Scully's superior before. They both held the rank of Special Agent, so (in technical terms), he didn't really "outrank" her. I do agree that he was the one in charge of the office, and had seniority over her in that regard (which is why he had the desk, decorated to his taste, chose the cases, etc.).
Image

User avatar
Agent Skulder
Langly, Tech Support
Posts: 9459
Joined: November 12th, 2010, 9:48 pm
Location: Eastern USA
Agent Skulder

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby Agent Skulder » January 30th, 2013, 6:14 pm

I think use of the word "housewife" in the context of this thread is a bit, ah, peculiar: Scully never cleaned up after Mulder literally or figuratively whereas most "wives" in traditional couples (still) get stuck doing most / all of the picking-up-after-people or housework.

But Scully was clearly his subordinate, at least during the first 1-3 "years" working with him. She was, after all, still at the FBI Academy when first hearing about "Spooky Mulder," so while they were both Special Agents, like in most jobs they most likely had different job (and pay) "grades" or levels.

It seemed like Mulder "directed" most of their cases but again - I always chalked that up to him having been in that department first. It was only after his abduction that they seemed to have achieved parity. And by IWTB, neither person was subordinate to the other. Then again, they were operating way off the grid, functioning as "consulting agents" but no longer government employees or "Special Anything."

I always wondered if they got paid for their consulting...
Season 10 Comic, by Joe Harris
The mytharc continues in #4
Sep 18, 2013

User avatar
Daedroth
Ed Jerse, Skin Care
Posts: 96
Joined: September 13th, 2012, 11:52 am
Daedroth

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby Daedroth » March 24th, 2013, 10:41 am

Shippers and perhaps fans in general have an idealized conception of Mulder and Scully's relationship in their minds, one that has little basis in reality.

That relationship was dysfunctional and even disturbing at times. The characters were rarely (never?) treated as equals (there are examples of this in pretty much every episode). Mulder could be, and often was, a jerk and kept ordering Scully around and she did as she was told. She sacrified a lot for him and lost a lot because of him and yet kept following him wherever his crazy quest took him, whether out of loyalty or some masochistic impulse, I don't know.

I don't know if "housewife" is the word I would use, but their relationship was far from perfect. It's fascinating to explore this darker dimension of their patnership so please, weigh in.

Muldersgirl9
Muldersgirl9
Rob Roberts, Food Service
Posts: 188
Joined: February 28th, 2013, 4:21 pm
Muldersgirl9

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby Muldersgirl9 » March 24th, 2013, 3:44 pm

As far as I can remember it was only in "Never Again" and a couple of other episodes that Mulder really was an insensitive and self-obsessed jerk (lol). I do think he really appreciated Scully (though he didn't always show it). However, I never felt Scully was subordinate to him. I really think that Mulder saw Scully as an equal partner and valued her opinions and her input to their work. I feel they had a mutual respect for each other. I also don't think that her role was mostly doing autopsies. Scully is also an investigator, they work together and as a team on many cases and Scully sometimes works alone.

I don't think Mulder ordered Scully around. Like SA88 said if Mulder asked Scully to perform certain tasks it was because they needed answers or evidence to solve the case. And also, it is Scully's job. I think Mulder making requests of Scully is the same thing as him asking someone to check out a person's history for him or analyse someone's fingerprints.

Yes, Scully sacrificed a lot for Mulder and lost a lot because of him but I believe that isn't Mulder's fault. Mulder also sacrificed everything and also lost a lot. Isn't that just the nature of the job, that it can be very dangerous and the personal costs are too high. Look at how guilty Mulder always feels that Scully has lost so much. As early as season one he even hints that she should leave him. In Tooms he says "They’re out to put an end to the X-Files, Scully. I don’t know why, but any excuse will do. Now, I don’t really care about my record, but you’d be in trouble just for sitting in this car and I’d hate to see you to carry an official reprimand in your file because of me." I can remember other episodes in the early seasons where Mulder gives Scully an out and she doesn't take it. At the end of the first film he tells her straight that she should leave him. He knows that she has lost a lot, he obviously cares about her and wants her to be happy.

However, Scully won't leave and ultimately, I think she stayed with Mulder because she wanted to but not out of some masochistic impulse. I think that she stayed for several reasons: 1. She was assigned to the X files and she felt a commitment to the job, 2. I believe it also became her quest, especially after her abduction. Scully wanted to find the truth just as much as Mulder did, 3. She enjoyed her job. She says in "Beyond the Sea" that she loves her job and in the X files movie she says she would quit if reassigned because she has seen so much that work outside the X files holds no interest for her. 4. Mulder and Scully became very close and good friends. Scully stayed because Mulder needed her and ultimately I think she needed him. In their demanding and dangerous job they could only rely on each other. 5. Scully was loyal to Mulder. However, Mulder was also loyal to her and I think he was devoted to her. 6. They fell in love :)
Last edited by Muldersgirl9 on May 28th, 2013, 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Daedroth
Ed Jerse, Skin Care
Posts: 96
Joined: September 13th, 2012, 11:52 am
Daedroth

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby Daedroth » March 24th, 2013, 6:11 pm

Yes, he appreciated Scully. He valued, liked and respected her, but he was also cold, distant and a jerk at times. I'm not saying they didn't like or trust or had genuine affection for each other, of course they did, but their relationship was far from perfect.

The writers never treated the characters as equals. Mulder was the hero and Scully was his faithful sidekick, Mulder basically solved most of the crimes by himself and without much effort while Scully struggled to keep up, Mulder was wise and always right and Scully was always wrong, always three steps behind him, Mulder got more screen time and Duchovny appeared first in the opening credits. I could go on.

Contrary to what you think, Mulder did order her around. All the time. He wasn't abusive or mean, but he constantly told her what to do. She was trained to perform autopsies, to examine and analyse and so on, I get that. Yet, she was never the one to assign and delegate tasks. She was never the one to say: "I'll do this autopsy while you go question that witness" or "I'll go ahead and examine this sample while you go dust for prints" or whatever. It was always Mulder, he was always the dominant force in the relationship.

Scully did give up many things for Mulder and lost a lot because of him. Her entire life revolved around him, his quest, his obsession. He was her life. I'm not saying that Mulder was to blame for her sister's death or her cancer, but these things were a result of her unhealthy devotion to him.

I have more to say about all of this, but I think I'm done for now.

Muldersgirl9
Muldersgirl9
Rob Roberts, Food Service
Posts: 188
Joined: February 28th, 2013, 4:21 pm
Muldersgirl9

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby Muldersgirl9 » February 19th, 2014, 4:00 pm

I thought Mulder and Scully’s relationship was one of the most genuine and honest I've ever seen on television and I think it's one of the many reasons why the show has endured. Of course their relationship wasn’t perfect. Relationships aren’t perfect in real life. None of the characters on this show are perfect. They're human. Mulder and Scully were two brilliant but extremely flawed individuals. Their relationship would be unrealistic otherwise and we wouldn’t be able to identify with them. In turns both could be self-centred, single-minded, cold, distant etc. Yes, they could treat each other crappy at times. That's just life. I think we can all be like that at times in a relationship/with family/friends. As Salome wrote in her brilliant review of Never Again on this forum

Mulder and Scully aren’t perfect. And they don’t act perfectly toward each other. But imperfect doesn’t automatically translate to dysfunctional. Why do we have to believe that they’re together because of some twisted and unhealthy psychological need? There’s a far more simple and compelling, if less melodramatic explanation: They’re friends.


I have never thought of MSR as dysfunctional. Dysfunctional by whose or which standards? Who or what defines what 'normal' or 'dysfunctional' is? To quote a poster on Haven

Dysfunction is an easy word to call MSR. This narrows down the characters´ motivations and ignores the more ideological reasons for M & S investment in the x-files, and their personal integrity.


I agree with this. Both M & S wanted answers and justice and they were both dedicated to the work.

You could say that Mulder’s family was dysfunctional. You could argue that M & S were dysfunctional because they were both workaholics, isolated by their work and rarely socialised with other agents. Due to the nature of the job, they could only depend on and trust each other. They were emotionally dysfunctional as they both had trouble expressing their feelings and could shut down emotionally. It could also be argued that they brought more dysfunction into the relationship with her father figure issues, although personally I never brought that; IMO if there’s one thing Mulder never was to Scully it was a father or authority figure. After all that M & S went through how could they not be dysfunctional in some ways? All they had were each other.

However, from my personal experiences many people have such issues; most families and relationships are dysfunctional, many people are workaholics, have father issues, emotional issues etc. "Dysfunction" is actually quite common. I think maybe all of us are a bit dysfunctional in some way so with regards to MSR I don't think there was anything that unusual. At the end of the day M & S were best friends and loved each other and would do anything for the other. I think this was one of the few shows which clearly showed a man and a woman as equals and needing one another. As Mulder says to Scully in the first film, she made him a person. She was the missing piece in his life. And I think the same could be said for Mulder in Scully's life. Needing someone is human. So it's impossible for me to view any of that negatively.

With regards to their working relationship a Havenite posted this brilliant summary:

Mulder and Scully both have their roles to play. Like any good team, they specialize. They each do what they are most suited for. Mulder is a profiler and intuitive. He gets inside peoples’ heads and tries to work out how they tick. This means he usually “comes up” with the leads. They're his leads because he's the profiler, not because he's the leader. Mulder didn't lead; Mulder followed leads. Scully wasn't following Mulder; Scully followed where the evidence took her like any scientist worthy of the name. Scully looks at things logically. She handles the science, the 'proof,' the follow up, the paperwork, and the higher ups. Mulder sucks at these things. Scully excels at them. She likes things ordered, she likes detail, and she likes following policies and procedures. She's perfect for these things. To say the initial identification of cases is more important than the follow up is erroneous. Professionally, Scully didn't need Mulder, but Mulder needed Scully. She was the one who tested the hypotheses.


So I wouldn’t agree at all that Mulder solves most of the cases by himself, in fact I think it’s a wonder how he solved any cases without Scully. It’s made clear that before Scully was assigned to TXF Mulder was getting nowhere with his work. I don’t think that Scully was always wrong, it was science that was wrong. On the show, the deck is stacked against science because if existing scientific and medical knowledge could readily explain the case in question, it wouldn't be an X-File at all. Many times, when Scully's hypothesis wins out, Scully discovers something new... a new phenomenon, a new species, etc. Having said that, I thought that the science was also very plausible and was good at explaining cases too (see my ‘Science’ thread). Scully was also quite often right about cases, just not necessarily in a scientific sense and she was also perfectly capable of working cases by herself (Chinga and Tithonus are examples).

As CC himself said: “Mulder and Scully came right out of my head. A dichotomy. They are the equal parts of my desire to believe in something and my inability to believe in something. My skepticism and my faith. And the writing of the characters came very easily to me. I want, like a lot of people do, to have the experience of witnessing a paranormal phenomenon. At the same time I want not to accept it, but to question it. I think those characters and those voices came out of that duality." The way I’ve always seen it, Scully was never supposed to disprove Mulder’s theories so it isn’t a right/wrong thing. All she requires him to do is to submit his theories to scientific reasoning (this is made clear in episodes like the Pilot and Herrenvolk). Without Scully all Mulder would have are lots of weird theories. They may be the truth but what good are they without science backing them up? Mulder needs science and he realises this himself. He needs proof that the world will accept. Scully keeps him grounded. She makes him work for his solutions and that makes those solutions more viable. She questions everything and demands more then just blind acceptance. She demands evidence, motives and reasons. As Mulder said it in FTF Scully's skepticism saved him and validated the work. Just because something seems paranormal doesn't mean it is and rational explanations were given which sometimes dismissed the paranormal ones. The truth was often somewhere in the middle, between Mulder's wild theories and Scully's hard facts of the known scientific world. Some episodes, like Dod Kalm, El Mundo Gira and Field Trip actually had rational solutions. Just because the Fluke Man existed, doesn't mean that the Boogie Man does. It has to be proven. The immediate problem in every case is to find the solution. Sometimes Scully's theories move the case forward more than Mulder's, sometimes they send her down a blind alley. The same goes for Mulder. Yet, somehow, they manage to come together and find the solution. That's what's important - not whose theory was right or wrong. Each person challenges the other's ways of thinking and, in doing so, encourages the other to open their mind and look at all perspectives. Still, it's always going to be in Scully's nature - and rightly so IMO - to question the paranormal theory at first, to look to science first as an explanation for anything before she jumps to a paranormal conclusion. Similarly, Mulder is likely to always be able to entertain the paranormal theory first, even want things to have a paranormal aspect when they don't. That's the nature of their individual perspectives and though they might both be more willing now to see the other side of the coin, they're still always going to start from their usual respective corners. That's how they work as a team - one person covers the paranormal angle and one person covers the scientific angle and they meet in the middle - and that's what makes their partnership so good and so smart and durable. IMO.

I know I’m not alone in thinking that most of their cases were left open-ended and unresolved, letting viewers wonder about the answers. I think this was essential so neither M nor S looked silly or wrong. In almost every case, Mulder is partially wrong while Scully is partially right (a good example of this is Nisei/731). Mulder being right doesn’t somehow make Scully inferior or unequal. He wasn’t right because he was the guy but because it was a show about the paranormal. He was right in the same way over men too. In seasons eight and nine Scully and Reyes were right most of the time but that didn’t somehow make either of them superior over Doggett. Also, I don’t think Mulder was so wise; he was deceived many times by the Syndicate and was often very naïve whereas Scully was always rational and practical. When it came to aliens he was actually usually wrong and things either turned out to be a hoax or have a rational explanation. Furthermore, we cannot trust Mulder’s memories; they change over time and he doesn’t even trust his memories himself. The story he tells in The Pilot is different from what we see in Little Green Men and is different from what he sees in Demons (with all that extra oxygen from the new holes drilled in his head and a bit of horse tranquilizer). I would never say that Mulder is mad because it’s clear he was onto something right from the off but it's also clear that memories and the paranormal in general were quite often shown to be unreliable. This was even parodied in Jose Chung and Bad Blood. Also the fact is that without proof no-one will believe Mulder (and no-one does as is shown in many episodes).

I have always seen Mulder and Scully as equals and I think it’s significant that even male fans have pointed out this equality. In the US in 1993 women were still a minority in much of the workplace, at least in law enforcement and especially in the 'old boys club' - the FBI. Scully's very presence was automatically subversive. As a partner, but especially as the 'junior' partner and one who had never been in the field, Scully could easily have been relegated to 'fetching the coffee' and doing paperwork while Mulder did all the 'real work' and of course, took all the credit. Scully's had the same training as Mulder and was just as capable. From day one she was out in the field with Mulder and he treated her like she could hold her own as a field agent and could watch his back. Scully saved Mulder as many times as he did her, in fact, I think she actually saved him more. Mulder was the older of the two of them and the senior agent. He treated Scully as an equal because he saw her as one and he didn’t seem to care about hierarchy either. They wouldn’t have gotten as far as they did had he kept pulling the rank card over her. He only did it once, in Never Again, and even then he didn’t seem to care whether she went to Philadelphia or not.

Scully was also Mulder’s intellectual equal right from the start, indeed some even think she was smarter than him. At their first meeting Mulder told her that he knew she was there to spy on him, yet he still asked her opinion on the case. This in itself was groundbreaking for the time considering the position of women in the workplace. Mulder not only respected Scully, she was on the same level as him and he never treated her like an inferior female incapable of doing her job without him standing over her shoulder, in fact he did just the opposite because HE respected her enough to know she could take care of herself and do her job without his supervision. In Scully Mulder saw someone who was his equal intellectually and in terms of ability, both physical and mental, gender a non-factor. Mulder never shunned Scully or tried to shut her out. On the contrary, right from the start he let her into his world, shared everything with her and completely trusted her with his life’s work. I wonder how many men would be able to do that. Mulder’s treatment of Scully really stands out when it is contrasted with how other men treated her: Doggett who saw her as a weak woman to protect and the sexist cops in D.P.O, 2Shy and Patience.

Mulder was the dominant force in the relationship


I think it’s clear that Mulder was not some dominant macho man and Scully wasn’t a weak submissive woman, in fact she was strong and assertive. Strength and independence was instilled in the character from the very beginning. When they first met Scully immediately contradicted Mulder’s assertions about UFOs and aliens and was self-assured enough to counter his theories with alternative explanations. She challenged his theories at every turn and it often drove him to distraction. I also think that Mulder had no desire at all to dominate her. He is also strong-willed and self-assured - self-assured enough to state his theories in courtrooms and to his superiors even though it exposes him to ridicule, but he never tries to psychologically, emotionally or in any other way dominate Scully.

As far as bossing each other around I think too much is being read into this. It is all about context. At my work my colleagues tell me to do something and I do it or vice versa. During that moment, we understand that it doesn’t mean anything; we are just trying to get the job done and we don't care as long as it is finished. I don’t see how Mulder telling Scully to do something makes him a jerk. By this definition everyone in the workplace, indeed anyone who ever makes requests of others is a jerk. Do you (generic) have a problem when Mulder tells Krycek or Doggett what to do, or Danny whom Mulder is constantly calling and asking him to do something? Mulder even tells Skinner what to do a few times! Is there a problem when other characters tell each other what to do? What about when Scully tells people what to do? She even uses the same language as Mulder; “I want you to”, “I need you to”, “Get on the phone” etc. Mulder and Scully obviously saw all people as equals so why wouldn’t they see each other as equals? I think this is really just the way things work in the world and I don’t see how it can be otherwise. There were times when Scully didn't mind Mulder taking the lead in certain situations and vice versa but that in no way meant that they weren't equals.

I don’t believe Mulder ordered Scully around. She had no problem questioning him. She didn’t just rubber-stamp whatever theory he came up with. She challenged him and his theories at every turn. She had no problem saying "no" and refusing to go on assignment (All Things is an excellent example) or insisting on continuing an investigation (Excelsis Dei being a case in point). Scully was very much a take charge person too. Often, she took the lead in investigations, she was the one asking the questions and doing the briefings. She was also very bossy and ordered Mulder around all the time too. I’d say they were in co-charge. Like everyone else, Scully did a lot of what Mulder asks because it’s her job and out of courtesy but there were also many times when she refused him and shut him out when she felt it was not right. Mulder did a lot of what Scully asked too. IMO this is what a partnership is. I think all this clearly shows that there was no relationship where Mulder was superior and Scully the dutiful subordinate.

There are three reasons – these aren’t in order despite the numbers - why there is no doubt in my mind that Mulder and Scully were equals 1) From a review I read: Mulder and Scully trusted each other with their lives. That kind of trust, in its purest sense, can only be achieved by equals. 2) They fell in love. You can only have a relationship between equals. Scully is a very strong and assertive woman. She doesn’t take crap from men (there are many examples of this). She has never been afraid to stand up to Mulder. She gave as good as she got and she put him in his place many times. Mulder likes strong women and that’s one of the reasons he fell in love with her. I think it is clearly shown that what Mulder loves about Scully is her power and autonomy: that she is strong, independent, smart, and fierce. His attraction and love for her are portrayed clearly as a result of her autonomy, rather than detracting from it. 3) From a Havenite: Scully’s whole life was based on following her own dream and being a woman who could stand on her own two feet and fight her own battles and be seen as an equal. And she found that in Mulder.

Mulder got more screen time.


Hardly. Throughout the show most of M & S scenes are together and when they are apart the screen time is equal. If one of them did get more screen time in an episode, it’s balanced out by the other one getting more screen time usually in the next episode or in an episode in the same season. It really depended on who the episode focused more on, so Mulder got more screen time in One Son but Scully got more screen time in Biogenesis. Scully also got a lot of her own episodes. Mulder gets more screen time in a few episodes in early season two but the only reason for this was GA’s role being reduced because of her pregnancy. Scully gets more screen time in most of season eight so it balanced out. Whilst the series was at times slightly Mulder-centric, Scully was a character in her right and the show was equally Scully-centric. TXF was a series with two leads, and I think this very clearly shows. The believer-skeptic dynamic was the heart of the show. You couldn’t have one without the other. This was the story of both Mulder and Scully and the writers always made an effort to show both characters in equal measure. As a result the screen time was actually remarkably equal and balanced. In fact, in general I think the screen time between men and women on this show was very equal; in season eight and nine Doggett and Scully had equal screen time and in season nine Doggett and Reyes also had equal screen time.

Duchovny appeared first in the opening credits.


Well someone has to come first. I think that to put GA first just to prove a point is quite silly. There are plenty of shows and films where the female lead appears first i.e. Friends where all three female leads appear before the male leads. It didn’t mean they weren’t equal. Duchovny appeared first because he was hired first and because he was a bigger "name" at the time (he had already made several television shows and movies). GA was essentially an unknown. However, right from the start the show was marketed as having two leads who were both equally important and I think this continued throughout the show. If the show really was sexist then in seasons eight and nine the men (Mulder, Doggett, and Skinner) would have appeared before the women (Scully and Reyes) which wasn’t the case. I’ve commented on the other points in “Why Today’s Women Need Dana Scully.” viewtopic.php?f=302&t=1277. I think that on the whole the MSR is one of the most equal and well balanced male-female working/personal partnerships on television ever.
Last edited by Muldersgirl9 on October 9th, 2014, 2:51 am, edited 25 times in total.

User avatar
TruthIsOutThere
Melissa Scully, Mystic
Posts: 2567
Joined: December 7th, 2011, 11:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
TruthIsOutThere

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby TruthIsOutThere » February 19th, 2014, 6:23 pm

Excellently written, Muldersgirl9. I agree with almost everything you wrote.

The only part I would disagree with is the part about who was smarter. Mulder, IMHO, was clearly shown to be one of the most brilliant people on the planet. He is even shown to have an eidetic memory. That's not to say Scully isn't smart/brilliant, but just that she wasn't (quite) in Mulder's league. But that's not a gender thing, as later on Scully is (again, IMO) smarter than Doggett. Again, both very smart characters, just I'd say that Scully is smarter than Doggett.

But overall I agree with you, and the characters were shown to be equals and it was far more functional than dysfunctional.

CC has even said before that the show was from Scully's point-of-view. He/they very clearly had co-stars, and each of their perspectives was given equal weight and validity.
Image

User avatar
sheldipez
Ed Jerse, Skin Care
Posts: 125
Joined: June 3rd, 2013, 7:17 am
Location: NE England
sheldipez

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby sheldipez » February 20th, 2014, 9:21 am

If my hazy memory serves me right (and it rarely does) Carter recently agreed (I think it was on the nerdy show podcastwith Season 10 writer Joe Harris, still worth a listen if it isnt! :P ) that Scully was the brains and Mulder was the heart of the show.

I mean both had their own specialist fields, Mulder in psychology and the occult & supernatural. But Mulder relies on Scully for her knowledge of science, both medical and otherwise, and the Lone Gunmen for the technical stuff. Scully is the smarts.

That said there's no escaping the fact that Mulder constantly dumps on Scully a lot though, hangs up conversations without letting her into the full picture, runs off, disappears, tells her half a story, keeps stuff from her, sends her on wild goose chases. It's constant! Next time you do a re-watch try having a shot every-time he does one of the above, you'd be passed out at the end of your first disc!

Using the last episode I watched this week Herrenvolk as an example Mulder jumps into a boat with Jeremiah Smith and leaves Scully for no real good reason, who happens to be then strangled and held hostage by an alien bounty hunter!

A lot of this is bad writing as they constantly try to keep the two separated when Mulder comes face to face with proof of the unbelievable so we can have the old tried and tested skeptic Scully doubt it later. She'd believe this stuff if Mulder stopped ditching her at every single chance he had!

Edit: Just having a browse for some other Herrenvolk reviews and AVclubsingle this episode out too:

"Scully, I need you to do something for me." How many times has Mulder said this? It gets worse every time, somehow.
Image

Muldersgirl9
Muldersgirl9
Rob Roberts, Food Service
Posts: 188
Joined: February 28th, 2013, 4:21 pm
Muldersgirl9

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby Muldersgirl9 » February 20th, 2014, 4:45 pm

I mean both had their own specialist fields, Mulder in psychology and the occult & supernatural. But Mulder relies on Scully for her knowledge of science, both medical and otherwise, and the Lone Gunmen for the technical stuff. Scully is the smarts.


You've said exactly what I wanted to say sheldipez. I think they were both experts in their respective fields. Mulder tended to be more knowledgeable about the paranormal. I always saw Scully as a walking scientific and medical encyclopedia lol. So in my personal opinion they were intellectual equals.

That said there's no escaping the fact that Mulder constantly dumps on Scully a lot though, hangs up conversations without letting her into the full picture, runs off, disappears, tells her half a story, keeps stuff from her, sends her on wild goose chases.


But from what I saw Mulder treated everyone like that. He was an equal opportunity ditcher as Krycek found out on their first case together, and IIRC Mulder ditched Skinner as well. I think it only seems sexist because Scully is Mulder's partner and a woman. I believe that with Mulder, a lot of his initial treatment of Scully came not from being sexist or disrespectful but from him being socially inept. He had been a 'lone wolf' for years, used to relying on himself and only himself because he had no one else he could trust. He essentially became reclusive, isolated within his work and so absorbed with finding the truth that he tended to ignore or overlook everything else. He was mocked by most of his peers, either seen as an annoyance or as crazy - I think this caused him to isolate himself further because he felt as though nobody ever could understand him. It's easy to just dismiss him as being selfish or a sarcastic jerk when, in fact, I believe it's part of his defensive mechanism to spare himself from being hurt by others. It's very telling about Scully's individual strength when Mulder lets her into his world, trusts her judgment, respects her different opinion, and has confidence that she can hold her own and be depended upon to get the job done without needing to be coddled. His work is extremely important to him. He is trusting it to her and this doesn't come lightly for him. In Scully I feel Mulder found someone who listened to him, who didn't dismiss him and whom he could rely on. Also, if you think about it, Mulder treats almost everyone the same way depending on groups. You have victims, frauds, co workers who are respectful, co-workers who are disrespectful, superiors, etc. I think he consistently treats everyone the same. I think he actually treated Scully better, but it was only because of who she was, because he trusted and respected her and not her gender.

Having said all that I've never seen what the big deal is with the ditching. I never viewed it as a slight against Scully but rather painting a clearer picture of who Mulder was at the time. It's not that he didn't need Scully or she wasn't valuable, it's just he had a single-minded pursuit of "the truth" (or his interpretation of it). I think it was part of Mulder's investigative technique and his way of working - if something occured to him he would check it out, no matter what time it was or whether or not she was there, etc. I just always saw it as them following different leads. That's why I think a lot of 'ditches' aren't ditches. He has his investigation, she has hers and they come together in the end. I think it also played into Mulder's way of thinking: Scully was a big girl. Perhaps paradoxically you could even say that this shows his huge respect for her. He knew she was as capable an agent as him, she had the same training and could take care of herself. If he had kept going back for her I think that might actually be seen as sexist.

I never felt Scully had a problem with the ditching and I think I am more annoyed by the reaction of some fanfic writers when they make a big deal out of it. If it didn't bother her I don't understand why it bothers them. If Scully was bothered she would have called Mulder out on it. I just don't buy the idea that she wasn't assertive or something to confront him about it when she was such an assertive person. She mentions it only two times, as far as I remember. In End Game, where she seemed more concerned than pissed off, and in Syzygy, where she said 'I didn't expect you to ditch me'. Which sounds like she considers it something unusual. I think that Scully just wasn't bothered. I think that she knew what the deal was and she knew Mulder didn't mean any disrespect to her. I think it was part of who he was and, I believe, she accepted that about him. She understood that it was how he functioned during cases. Sometimes he needed to act immediately and other times he acted without thinking or thought it was best to go alone. I just didn't see the big deal. In the end, if it really bothered Scully that much she would confronted him about it or left him.

I also never saw Mulder dumping on Scully or keeping stuff from her or sending her on some wild goose chase. I just see it as them doing their jobs. Mulder went off on a wild goose chase more than once.I think it's the nature of the job. That's what they signed up for. I think Mulder didn't trust Scully at the beginning but I also think it's significant that he told her about his sister in the Pilot. So even that early on he trusted her enough to tell her. And he also told her about Deep Throat quite early on. And the nature of the job meant that they eventually came to trust only each other. IIRC the only thing he didn't tell her about was the truth about her fertility and that only because I believe he thought he was protecting her. And let's face it Scully kept stuff from Mulder too i.e. her cancer getting worse, she didn't tell him about Emily sooner.
Last edited by Muldersgirl9 on February 21st, 2014, 5:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TruthIsOutThere
Melissa Scully, Mystic
Posts: 2567
Joined: December 7th, 2011, 11:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
TruthIsOutThere

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby TruthIsOutThere » February 21st, 2014, 1:13 am

In just watching "Herrenvolk" tonight, I saw the point sheldipez referenced. Certainly, at least in this case, it seemed much more that Mulder was single minded in his pursuit of whatever Jeremiah Smith was taking him to see. It seemed to me that was much more the cause than any intentional "ditch" of Scully. She seemed a bit perplexed by it, but seemed to realize that it wasn't intentional or malicious on Mulder's part.
Image

User avatar
sheldipez
Ed Jerse, Skin Care
Posts: 125
Joined: June 3rd, 2013, 7:17 am
Location: NE England
sheldipez

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby sheldipez » February 21st, 2014, 7:36 am

At the end of the day Scully is Mulder's professional partner (and later more than simply professional) and he's all willing to ditch her in the middle of dangerous situations. That is in line with his crusade for the truth and his personality but it doesn't make it easy to watch.

Mostly my problem with Mulder's ditching way too often leads on to the writer's leaning on the old sexist tropes of victimizing Scully (the old princess in the castle be rescued). I continued on watching season four last night and though again Scully gets abducted in Unruhe, for Mulder to come and rescue her (though he didn't ditch her!). There's plenty of times Scully rescues Mulder's ass, but it feels like its the opposite a lot.

Continuing with Season 4 as examples of their partnership though 'Unruhe' shows a split where Mulder's knowledge of supernatural is required yet he's still reliant on Scully's knowledge of cold hard science (for brain scans and explaining the lobotomizing going on - and later for her knowledge of German!) and someone elses technical knowledge (to manipulate the photos) to progress the case. It's not fair to call Mulder the clever one at all!
Image

Muldersgirl9
Muldersgirl9
Rob Roberts, Food Service
Posts: 188
Joined: February 28th, 2013, 4:21 pm
Muldersgirl9

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby Muldersgirl9 » February 21st, 2014, 8:25 am

At the end of the day Scully is Mulder's professional partner (and later more than simply professional) and he's all willing to ditch her in the middle of dangerous situations. That is in line with his crusade for the truth and his personality but it doesn't make it easy to watch.


I am confused where you see this. First of all, I don't believe Mulder would ever knowingly leave Scully in a dangerous situation because he cares about her and loves her. IIRC the only time he did leave her in a dangerous situation was in Herrenvolk and there was really no way he could've known that the bounty hunter was still alive. When Mulder "ditched" Scully he did it to protect her from danger i.e. End Game and it was actually Mulder who got into a dangerous situation in that episode. Whenever he "ditched" her HE was the one who got into trouble - Deep Throat, Little Green Men, Triangle. Yes he effectively ditched her in NIHT in season nine but 1) I consider that character assassination. I blame the writers for that and 2) If you look at it from the characters' POV I got the impression that Mulder wanted to stay. Scully actually persuaded him to leave because his life was in danger (the lives of Mulder, Scully and William were all in danger) and to me that shows their mutual devotion and care for each other.

User avatar
sheldipez
Ed Jerse, Skin Care
Posts: 125
Joined: June 3rd, 2013, 7:17 am
Location: NE England
sheldipez

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby sheldipez » February 21st, 2014, 9:15 am

Sorry but I don't have a eidetic memory of X Files, I struggle to remember by kids' birth dates, so I can't just call up which parts of the 200 odd plus episodes where he has ditched her in specifically dangerous situations. I'm doing a re-watch so I'll try and remember to post back he as when!

BUT in answer to the original complaint from silverwolf's sister
he delegated chores and busywork to her, he got to do do most of the fieldwork and exploring. He made sure her role as his work partner was circumscribed to mostly doing autopsies
that rings true, it's something my wife has noted, and I know shippers get quite emotional about this and say Mulder doesn't want to her go anywhere risky or protecting her but in reality it's because the writer's didn't want Scully to see anything that would break the skeptic dynamic that went on for way too long to the point where it Scully comes across as silly after a few years after all she's seen.

I have no idea why I posted in a 'MSR and Traditional Relationships' section, something I don't get enthusiastic about as I'm not a shipper, and any time I dig deep I feel like I run against inconsistencies and iffy writing, and/or characterization. I just guess the threads' title tickled me!
Image

Muldersgirl9
Muldersgirl9
Rob Roberts, Food Service
Posts: 188
Joined: February 28th, 2013, 4:21 pm
Muldersgirl9

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby Muldersgirl9 » February 21st, 2014, 12:21 pm

Sorry but I don't have a eidetic memory of X Files, I struggle to remember by kids' birth dates, so I can't just call up which parts of the 200 odd plus episodes where he has ditched her in specifically dangerous situations. I'm doing a re-watch so I'll try and remember to post back he as when!


No worries lol.

he delegated chores and busywork to her, he got to do do most of the fieldwork and exploring. He made sure her role as his work partner was circumscribed to mostly doing autopsies


I guess this is a matter of different perspectives but I just see this as Scully doing her job. She was a medical doctor, a scientist and a forensic pathologist. She had her job and Mulder had his. I don't think doing autopsies demeaned her somehow. Also, I think she actually spends as much time in the field as Mulder and I think they both had equal amounts of paperwork. As for Mulder I don't think he was ever portrayed as dominant over Scully. To say that Mulder "made sure she mostly did so and so" seriously undercuts both Mulder and Scully IMO. It undercuts Mulder's character because it implies that he somehow dictated to Scully and actively kept her out of field work. Mulder wasn't some macho man who needed to dominate a woman to feel big. It undercuts Scully's character to believe that she would ever allow anyone to dictate to her and control what she does - I think Scully would be seriously pissed off at the thought.

I also think that in Never Again you have to take into consideration that the episode is told from Scully POV. Morgan & Wong purposefully wrote Mulder in that episode to be obnoxious so that they would have an excuse to have Scully react the way she does and in order to put distance between them. It's their version of M&S that makes Mulder look overly obnoxious and makes Scully rebel and sleep with a total stranger. I don't think that's the normal Scully - or the normal Mulder - we see in other episodes from that season or any other. In the other episode where Mulder has been accused of disrespect - Bad Blood - remember that again it is from Scully's POV that Mulder appears disrespectful. Mulder of course had a completely different view of his actions in both episodes. I don't think Mulder ever disrespected Scully. Theirs was a relationship based on mutual respect and equality.
Last edited by Muldersgirl9 on March 28th, 2014, 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TruthIsOutThere
Melissa Scully, Mystic
Posts: 2567
Joined: December 7th, 2011, 11:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
TruthIsOutThere

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby TruthIsOutThere » February 21st, 2014, 2:50 pm

sheldipez wrote:Continuing with Season 4 as examples of their partnership though 'Unruhe' shows a split where Mulder's knowledge of supernatural is required yet he's still reliant on Scully's knowledge of cold hard science (for brain scans and explaining the lobotomizing going on - and later for her knowledge of German!) and someone elses technical knowledge (to manipulate the photos) to progress the case. It's not fair to call Mulder the clever one at all!


I don't agree at all with this. Mulder is shown to be (depending on the writer) anywhere from "brilliant" to "genius". That's pretty consistent throughout the nine years of the series.

I do agree that the trope of Scully being the skeptic (well, the way they had her not see stuff that Mulder saw) went on for far too long.
Image

Muldersgirl9
Muldersgirl9
Rob Roberts, Food Service
Posts: 188
Joined: February 28th, 2013, 4:21 pm
Muldersgirl9

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby Muldersgirl9 » February 22nd, 2014, 8:16 am

I do agree that the trope of Scully being the skeptic (well, the way they had her not see stuff that Mulder saw) went on for far too long.


I read somewhere actually that Scully continued to be a skeptic for longer than she should have because she felt that's what Mulder needed from her. If she gave in, if she immediately jumped on the 'weird theory' bandwagon, why was she there? He could have found a Diana clone to do that. So even though she might have grown tired of constantly being the 'wet blanket', she knew that's the angle that was needed to solve the case.

From a character POV I think this makes a lot of sense. Scully's really just that kind of person. Plus it made for some fascinating debates between them and between science and the paranormal IMO. That was what kept me watching. I don't really think the show would've worked with two believers either, it would've been rather dull.

User avatar
TruthIsOutThere
Melissa Scully, Mystic
Posts: 2567
Joined: December 7th, 2011, 11:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
TruthIsOutThere

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby TruthIsOutThere » February 22nd, 2014, 7:21 pm

I do kind of agree with that, and to be clear, I wasn't for them turning her into a complete 'believer'. More that it just became a bit ridiculous, where everytime Snuffleupagus walks into the room is moments after she steps out. ;)
Image

LostCat19
LostCat19
Flukeman, Sewer Cleaner
Posts: 19
Joined: January 22nd, 2014, 2:14 am
LostCat19

Re: Dana Scully: Mulder's housewife without the title?

Postby LostCat19 » March 9th, 2014, 12:49 am

I think Scully is as independent a character as it gets. She chooses to help Mulder. And much of what she investigates is personal to her, especially after her abduction in Season 2. If you don't believe Scully is an independent woman after seeing this show, you're either a misogynist or have a serious lack of observation.

By the way, I'm of the opinion that nothing from "Never Again" should be taken seriously. Never was there an episode so appropriately named. It was a terrible episode.