top of page

Skyler White: Not Your Average Karen


No, this post is not going have Skyler White hate speech. Although many, including myself, hated Skyler from the start of the show for being a Karen, in retrospect it was underserved because she was more of an underdeveloped feminist icon on television. Yes, you read that correct. With a few tweaks here and there, Skyler White could have easily had the perfect feminist portrayal to her character but even with all the limitations there was more than one way she showcased that.


From the beginning of the show the creators depict Skyler as the perfect domesticated housewife; she’s pregnant, she stays at home, cooks for her family, plans her husband’s birthday and lives up to the most mundane standards that are set for married women. But she’s more than just an unassuming woman, she’s smart, she’s not one who’s fooled easily and throughout the show she’s the only one who’s able to look past Walt’s lies. If this is because she’s married to him, I beg to differ; Hank was part of the DEA, and it took him 5 seasons to figure anything out. Skyler however, kept Walt on his toes, always lingering behind him like a shadow.


Skyler was not only of the smartest characters on the show she also had a relatively realistic depiction of women in abusive households. In many movies we see the angry feminist; the one who hates boys, is physically violent, is  even more masculine than the men around her but Skyler fit none of those conventional roles (most of the time). Instead,she was realistic because she exercised her agency in ways that compelled Walt to comply to her wishes for example when she cheated on him with Ted, came back and told himimmediately. It infuriated him and the audience, but this was her way of getting back at a man who had jeopardised the safety of his family for pleasing his ego and was coercing her into staying with him. No matter how high the stakes got, Skyler stood firmly for what she believed in. This isn’t to say we don’t see moments where she falters but considering how constrained she was in defying Walt openly she got her way around it every single time.



So if Skyler is really so good why is she one of the most hated characters to exist? The answer to this question lies in introspecting our own internalised misogyny. While Walt goes around melting bodies (quite literally) how dare his wife who earns no penny of her own defy her husband? The entire show is based on the perspective of the men whether that be Walt’s or Jesse’s, we see the women through their eyes only, and this is partly the reason why any act of resistance by Skyler is met with criticism. Hence, through this lens the audience fails to empathise with her and indulges in rampant victim blaming without recognising manifestations of power by her.


In the end no one wins. Not Walt, nor Jesse, nor Hank, nor Marie, but Skyler does. Skyler manages to escape an emotionally abusive criminal husband, Walt Jr recognises his father’s manipulation, she ensures Walt leaves her money for her kids and she is not considered an accomplice in his crime. In the end no one wins, except Skyler.



65 views6 comments

6 Komentar


I think Skyler White's character was the moral compass of the show. Since we were all too consumed with Walter White's rise to becoming a kingpin she was the one who looked at the situation from a realistic perspective. She had her character flaws which included constant nagging of Walter, or sharing too many household secrets with her sister and her family, or even cheating on Walter to back to him. However, she was also seen as a loving mother to her children who wanted to protect them at all costs. I think any sane person would've rebelled if they got to know that their husband was drug dealer and melted bodies for a living. However, she was also seduced…

Suka
Membalas kepada

I agree that she was the moral compass of the show but as you said it becomes frustrating for audiences because it has no effect on Walter and we’re constantly trying to empathise with him because he’s a dying man. I think even before she wanted the money she really did try her best to get out of the situation; she sent her kids to Hank and Marie’s right at the start and took the blame because it Walt Jr would be horrified to find out what his father was actually doing. She also was considering how that would ruin Hank’s career. There were way too many lives impacted by Walt’s actions and the way I see it she just…

Suka

Great Post! The seriese "Breaking Bad" is one of my favourite. And yes you are right, when I start this, I actually don't like the charachter and her dipiction in the seriese because the only reason was that I just wanted to watch Walter white successful. And it has a sepcific reason, I tell you the reason is like the way how I imagine the main and leading charachter Walter. The start of the seriese with Mr. White. And the depiction o9f the Skyler white was just as pregnent women having some family issues like finances or husband' lungs cancer. But as gradually we move forward, she seems to be the person having some moralities, her own bounderies and the…

Suka
Membalas kepada

Exactly. Skyler was the only one who was almost completely held by her morality. Everyone else’s including Jesse’s as we see was shifting from time to time. Whatever Skyler’s stance was from day one she stuck with it and most importantly she always did it for her children.

Suka

This post has made me want to watch breaking bad again! I watched it a couple of years back and I don’t remember much but I do remember that I found Skyler really annoying. I think another reason why we never understood Skyler’s perspective is because even though Walt was a criminal, we were all on his side. At least I was. I didn’t want him to get caught even though I knew what he was doing was messed up. This is why each small thing that Skyler would do against Walt would get to me which increased my hatred for her. I do agree that she was badass. Walt wasn’t scared of anyone but he was definitely scared of…

Suka
Membalas kepada

I think one reasons why everyone including myself sided with Walter was because we could not understand where to direct our empathy. Seeing a dying man on one hand, trying to make some money to leave for his family and then a woman being coerced into staying in a marriage for her children just makes the audience really confused of who they side it. Since it begins with Walt and his perspective only I think everyone just naturally aligns with him.

Suka
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page